UL BOHEMIAN 16   BUCCANEERS 21

 

BUCCANEERS snatched a last gasp try to defeat UL Bohemian 21-16 in their Ulster Bank League Division 1B tie played on the back pitch at sunny Thomond Park, Limerick, on Saturday. Buccs dictated play for the majority of the proceedings but a gritty home side battled all the way and will take solace from both their performance and the losing bonus point secured.

 

Ross Keller replaced the injured Alan Gaughan at fly-half for Buccaneers who made three personnel changes from the previous week’s draw with Dublin University. Shanes Delahunt and Layden started at hooker and fullback respectively with Callum Boland switching to centre. Conditions were near perfect for this encounter on the compact but sheltered pitch.

Most of the action was confined between the two 22 lines in the opening half, despite the visitors getting off the mark with a fine Keller penalty after just two minutes. Layden and Eoghan O’Reilly made a few early flurries as the game took time to come to the boil. UL Bohs used diagonal kicks to good effect before Shane Airey levelled for the hosts on 14 minutes. Keller landed another decent penalty from a similar position outside the ten-metre line seven minutes later but the teenager was just short with another long placekick on 26 minutes, shortly before Ger O’Connor replaced the injured Mark Dolan.

Ian Condell incurred a yellow card for not releasing on 37 minutes and Keller landed another sweet strike before Airey missed a penalty, after Buccs were guilty of crossing, with the final kick of the half at which stage Buccs led 9-3.

The Pirates lost O’Reilly to injury at half-time with Conor FitzGibbon joining his cousin Billy Henshaw in the three-quarters line. Mata Fifita came on for Stephen McVeigh four minutes into the second period while UL Bohs introduced Shane O’Boyle for the injured Ed Cross. Kolo Kiripati trundled forward shortly after this but lost possession as Buccs built up some momentum, making the Limerick side suffer while depleted. Layden and Henshaw then made strong inroads down the right before Buccs moved the ball infield and Jacob Walshe surged over for a 45th minute unconverted try, the young prop’s third touchdown in successive matches.

Now 14-3 to the good, it looked likely that Buccs would kick on from here but concentration and application dropped as did the temperature with the arrival of showers. The Red Robins capitalised on this and Rory White got in for a 57th minute try at the posts which Airey converted. The Athlone side will not be happy with the defending for this score and, three minutes later, there was just a solitary point between the sides when Airey landed a penalty after Henshaw was sin-binned for not rolling away.

Martin Staunton and Garreth Halligan replaced Saba Meunargia and Delahunt respectively in the final quarter with young McVeigh returning to the fray as Satchwell, who had run himself to a standstill, was withdrawn. Boland made a promising carry as the tempo continued to build but Kiripati knocked on in the tackle as he stretched for the home line shortly afterwards. The Pirates then went through some good phases but Layden chipped too far and a shade too early and he lost the chase to touchdown on 72 minutes. UL Bohs, for whom Jack O’Donoghue was outstanding, led for the first time when Airey slotted over a 76th minute penalty after Fifita was pinged for not releasing.

This stung Buccaneers into their best period of sustained play and they laid siege inside the home 22 for the remaining minutes. Their chance looked lost when Keller’s late drop goal attempt was wayward but the Pirates won possession from the restart and again patiently went through the phases for a protracted spell that looked like ending in disappointment when Boland’s drop goal attempt was blocked. But the centre’s sharp reflexes and keen desire somehow retrieved possession from the midst of three home players and, when the ball eventually reached Layden on the left, the fullback powered through two tacklers for the winning try. Keller’s fine touchline conversion completed the dramatic 21-16 victory that should have been forged much earlier and more comfortably.

A performance, perhaps, in keeping with some of Buccaneers displays this season; very promising and committed in spells interspersed with lapses of focus and control. However, the players showed wonderful resolve and character to keep the ball alive and create the match-winning score. Walshe and Delahunt were terrific in the front-row and Rory Moloney had his best showing to date while Layden, Alex Hayman and Keller were pick of the backline. This was a crucial victory as all the other sides in the top half of the league won.

UL BOHEMIAN:- M.Lawler; T.Rafferty, A.Enright, R.White, R.Bourke; S.Airey, C.Miller; P.Poillet, T.Doyle, V.O’Regan; Ed Kelly (captain), C.Kindregan; E.Cross, I.Condell and J.O’Donoghue. Replacements:- S.O’Boyle (for Cross, inj. 44 mins), J.McNamara (for Enright, 55 mins), C.Flanagan (for Kindregan, inj. 67 mins), J.Molloy and C.Ryan.

 

BUCCANEERS:-  S.Layden; B.Henshaw, C.Boland, A.Hayman (captain), E.O’Reilly; R.Keller, M.Dolan; J.Walshe, S.Delahunt, S.Meunargia; D.Qualter, K.Kiripati; S.McVeigh, R.Moloney and L.Satchwell. Replacements:- G.O’Connor (for Dolan, inj. 35 mins), C.FitzGibbon (for O’Reilly, inj. h/t), M.Fifita (for McVeigh, 44 mins), M.Staunton (for Meunargia, 60 mins), G.Halligan (for Delahunt, 66 mins) and S.McVeigh (for Satchwell, 71 mins).

 

REFEREE:-  John Carvill (IRFU).   

LOUGHREA 10  BUCCANEERS 19

BUCCANEERS SECONDS took a firm grip on the Connacht Junior 1B League when they defeated second-placed Loughrea 19-10 in a tough tussle at Ballygastly, Loughrea, on Sunday. In a hard-fought battle, Buccs atoned for their only defeat to date at the hands of the westerners early in the season and confirmed their pole position in this division.

 

The homesters were fired up for this duel between the leading two teams but came up against a strong, composed and sustained Buccs collective effort. The Athlone side led 14-10 at the break, Rory Grenham scoring their try and David Fagan kicking three penalties. Loughrea replied with two unconverted tries. In a challenging environment on a heavy surface and spells of rain, Buccs dug deep in the second half and their man of the match Paul Gallogly’s try was the only score after the change of ends.

 

BUCCANEERS:-  J.Feeney; N.Purcell, B.Walsh, S.Flynn, J.Lopez; D.Fagan, D.Griffiths; K.Grehan, R.Grenham, B.Campbell; J.Tormey, S.Byrne (captain); R.Byrne, S.McCormack and P.Gallogly. Replacements:- D.Lennon, S.Flanagan, N.Flynn, J.O’Rourke and G.Fallon.

YOUNG MUNSTER 21  BUCCANEERS 17

A blistering start by Young Munster paved the way for their 21-17 victory over Buccaneers U-20s in this exciting Donal Walsh Cup (North section) match played on the back pitch at Tom Clifford Park in Limerick on Saturday.

The midlanders were greatly depleted for this encounter, with props Ryan O’Meara and Conor Kenny joined on the injury list by backs Sean Doyle and Harry Hughes. Consequently, they were off the pace in the opening quarter, at the end of which ‘the Cookies’ led by 16-0 through a Ben Betts try and three David O’Mahoney penalties. Brian Gilligan opened Buccs account with a try converted by Charlie McMickan as the visitors got to the tempo of the proceedings. However, a Mike Devaney try from a breakaway gave Young Munster a 21-7 half-time lead.

Buccs, with Graham Lynch excelling at stand-off, were a transformed outfit on the restart and steadily got the upper hand. Their hard work was rewarded with a Darren Blackweir try, converted by McMickan. Fullback McMickan then landed a penalty to peg the deficit back to 21-17. In a thrilling finish, Buccs laid siege to the home line but a knock-on denied Gilligan a late match-winning score and thus they trade places with Young Munster on the league table.

CASTLEBAR 15   BUCCANEERS 3

 

BUCCANEERS WOMENS team suffered their first reversal in the Connacht Womens Development League when they went down 15-3 away to Castlebar.  Buccs had a number of enforced changes while the Mayo ladies were stronger in their backline on this occasion than when Buccs won at home earlier in the season.

 

Straight from the kick-off, both teams tried to gain the upperhand but a lot of play was contained between both 22 lines. Castlebar got some early dominance and opened the scoring with an unconverted try in the corner after some powerful running. Buccs went hunting for a score from this point and made their way into home territory through sterling work by forwards Christine Mannion and Mele Kiripati. The Mayo girls held them out on this occasion but indiscipline at a ruck yielded a penalty to the Pirates. However, Michelle Reynolds’ placekick fell just inches short and so the homesters led 5-0 at the break.

The second half proved difficult for both sides as rain now poured down and handling errors were too frequent. However, Castlebar got more breathing space when they notched a second unconverted try to double their advantage but Buccs responded well and were rewarded with a successful Reynolds penalty to reduce the arrears to 10-3. A frantic final ten minutes followed as Buccs gained momentum, forcing Castlebar to defend deep. In true Buccaneers fashion, they piled on the pressure but a turnover ball proved costly as the home ladies worked their way upfield to score their third try for a 15-3 win.

A disappointing result but, nevertheless, one that does not truly reflect on the endeavours by Buccaneers for whom Deirdre Farrell on her first start for the team was their top performer, being particularly powerful in defence.

BUCCANEERS:-  M.Reynolds; F.Cooney, A.Kelleher, M.Devaney, D.Farrell; H.Kilduff, S.Hynes; T.Finnerty, M.Kiripati, K.Hynes; D.Cromar, K.Bradley; C.Mannion, A.Kemmy and E.Phelan (captain). Replacements:- K.Downey, B.Casserly, M.Jinks and N.Gough.

FIXTURES

 

BUCCANEER SECONDS entertain Creggs in the Connacht Junior 1B League at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday, kick off 2.30 p.m. Following last week’s key win over nearest challengers Loughrea, this Buccs squad is now in the driving seat but they will underestimate the visitors at their peril. Creggs recorded a fine victory over Ballinrobe and will travel with some confidence. However, this Buccs squad is their strongest in some seasons, well coached by Owen O’Reilly. Their focus and will to win is second to none and they look set to maintain their winning sequence.

BUCCANEERS THIRDS look to have a much tougher proposition when away to N.U.I.G. in their Connacht Junior 1C clash at Dangan on Sunday, kick off 2.30 p.m. However, this Buccs crew have been improving match on match, including a highly commendable home draw with leaders Sligo last time out. College narrowly won the earlier meeting between these sides and it could be just as tight in Galway this weekend.

BUCCANEERS WOMEN also travel to face N.U.I.G. at Dangan on Sunday where their Connacht Womens Development League game starts at 2 p.m. The Buccs girls won the corresponding fixture in Athlone in a game that was keenly contested. The Pirates will be hoping to have a strong panel available for this must-win encounter which is likely to be another very close affair.

 

YOUR CLUB, YOUR COUNTRY

Ticket stubs for the IRFU’s ‘YOUR CLUB, YOUR COUNTRY’ draw should be returned by all sellers this weekend. Ten topclass prizes are on offer in this draw. Tickets are keenly priced at only €10 each and the club retains the proceeds of all tickets sold. So please endeavour to sell all tickets.

 

CAR PARK

A new One-Way Traffic System in the Car Park is being implemented with immediate effect. This is as a result of safety concerns, particularly in respect of the younger players who are being dropped off there for training and matches, but it applies to coaches, managers, players and parents at all levels……Minis, Youths and Adult.

Cars should go left to the east of the clubhouse where a new Set-Down / Pick-Up area is outside the steps to the Lower Deck section of the building. Players must now enter and leave the pitches/training areas via the main stiles (under the Dubarry Park sign). The double gates, adjacent to the storage container, will be locked at all times for training now. Cars should depart by going clockwise around the Car Park to the main exit.

Your help in ensuring the safety of all members, particularly our younger players, will be greatly appreciated. Check above information and also new lay-out for training areas on our website www.buccaneersrfc.com

 

CONGRATULATIONS

 

Congrats to Robbie Henshaw on another terrific performance when winning his fifth Senior cap in Ireland’s thrilling win over Australia.

CONDOLENCES

Deepest sympathy is extended to Michael Stapleton and Michael Silke and families on the recent deaths of respective sisters-in-law.

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