Buccaneers U18’s touch rugby squad perform admirably in weekend Dublin double header

Buccaneers Touch Rugby’s U18's team travelled to Merrion Road in Dublin on Saturday for a double header of matches against DSC Wanderers Touch club.

DSC Wanderers lined out with a very strong team as virtually all of their players were Ireland U18 or U15 internationals from the recent Junior European Championships. Buccaneers, meanwhile, were missing at least half a dozen key players and fielded six debutantes who were playing their first competitive game of touch.

In the opening game, Buccs got off to a flyer when John Finnan put Jack Gordon for a try in the first minute. DSCW were not phased by this as the home side then took control of the game. They quickly levelled the score and used their power and pace to good effect, establishing a 5-1 lead at the break. Buccs had understandably struggled in the first half with so many debutantes but they stepped up a gear in the second half as two tries from 'Man of the Match' Philip Finnan and a great break and finish from halfway by Cian Copelin left the final score 7-4 to DSCW. There was some excellent defence in that period also with Philip Finnan chasing back to make some brilliant last gasp touches while Dion Chitanda, Molly Copelin and Christina Whittaker frequently shut down DSCW attacks.

Buccs had barely 10 minutes to regroup before their second fixture against a reinforced DSCW team who had the luxury of adding a few more U18 boys internationals to their team. The conditions were fast deteriorating with steady rainfall throughout the day and this caused many handling errors. DSCW started the stronger and were 3-0 up at the break before Buccs once again fought back strongly with two fine scores from who else but Philip Finnan to narrow the gap to 4-2 going into the final quarter. DSCW finished strongly however with three more scores in the last 10 minutes Overall, it was very rigorous examination for Buccs against one of the strongest touch sides in the country at any level. A big positive was the performance of the new players. As well as those already mentioned, Andy Quinn, Alex Connor and Mya Russell all kept the DSCW defence under pressure with their pace, hard running and footwork.

These two games will have been ideal preparation for Buccaneers as they look forward to Round 2 of the Ireland Touch Series (ITS ) which takes place in Portlaoise next Saturday.


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