Performance for the ages as Buccaneers maintain premier position on division table

Oisin McCormack is presented with his Audi ‘Man of the Match’ award by Buccaneers president, Billy McMickan

Oisin McCormack is presented with his Audi ‘Man of the Match’ award by Buccaneers president, Billy McMickan


Giving one of their best home displays for many a season, Buccaneers taught the students of University College Cork some harsh lessons in their Energia All-Ireland League Division 1B game at Dubarry Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Pirates got stronger as this top of the table clash proceeded, securing another bonus point victory, the impressive 29-0 win keeping Buccs at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the opening third of the league.

Buccs made five changes in personnel from their win away to Malone with Matthew Burke, Darragh Murragh, Ciaran Booth and Oisin McCormack returning in the pack where Danny Qualter reverted to lock while Shane Jennings resumed at fullback. John Murphy and Conor Booth started for College with Louis Bruce switching to centre.

A dull afternoon meant that the floodlights were on from the start but conditions were otherwise good for both the players and the big crowd. The early exchanges were somewhat tense as both teams realised the importance of the outcome. Buccs began on the front foot laying an early siege on the Students line and seemed certain to score on at least two occasions, which they probably would have done had they been a little calmer.

UCC survived this onslaught somehow turning over possession before then settling into the contest. Harry West did very well to win a chase against UCC’s leading try-scorer Sean Condon to tidy up after 10 minutes while McCormack then retrieved possession in front of his own posts four minutes later as College strove for an opening.

The exchanges remained fairly even for a spell before Buccs enjoyed another period of pressure, getting ever closer until Frank Hopkins was held up over the visitors’ line on 22 minutes. But this pressure was rewarded when West opened the scoring with a 26th minute penalty. A minute later the homesters scored their first try of the game and it was a beauty.

Qualter acrobatically caught the restart on the stand side and smart handling saw the ball reach Josh O’Connor on the opposite flank where he off-loaded to Shane Layden who sent West haring away for a slick try that he also converted for a 10-0 lead.

UCC responded with a fine move but Cian Whooley overhit the final pass. McCormack was sin-binned on the half-hour for a tackle on the ground and the Cork side then sensed an opportunity to get on the scoreboard. Two penalties were punted to the left corner but College could not penetrate the hard-hitting defensive tackling of the Pirates. Indeed, it was Buccaneers who had the final chance of the half but West’s long-range penalty was off-target.

Buccaneers Maintain Momentum

Back to full complement following the change of ends, the Shannonsiders made the perfect start to the second half. Wonderful handling by Saul O’Carroll, Layden and Jennings carved open the College rearguard and this time there was no denying Hopkins who touched down at the uprights. West duly converted and, just two minutes into the half, Buccs were now 17-0 ahead.

Ten minutes later groundhog McCormack got over Stewart Lynch to win a penalty 30 metres out. The ever alert openside flanker promptly tapped and took off, leaving a trail of defenders in his wake to dive over for a smartly taken try at the posts. West’s straight-forward conversion stretched Buccs advantage to 24-0.

Shortly after the hour mark, Shane Delahunt and Sean Masterson launched a counter-attack in midfield with the latter sending O’Connor away along the right flank where his pace and desire proved too much for the UCC cover, the winger getting over for an unconverted try at The Bounty corner.

Spirited UCC then put some good phases together but it was too little too late, being mainly forced acrossfield due to aggressive and disciplined defending by the Pirates who utilised their bench to good effect in the closing quarter. The growing confidence in the home side meant that they believed victory could be achieved but to keep a College side scoreless adds gloss to the 29-0 win.

Once again, this was another tremendous all-round squad effort by the Midlanders. Massive workrate by the forwards, some sublime handling by the backs, and powerful and sustained tackling and workrate throughout were key ingredients in this victory allayed to a significantly improved ruthlessness when scoring opportunities present themselves.

BUCCANEERS:- S.Jennings; J.O’Connor, S.Layden, S.Mannion, S.O’Carroll; H.West, F.Hopkins; M.Burke, S.Delahunt, M.Staunton (captain ); R.Byrne, D.Qualter; D.Murray, O.McCormack and Ciaran Booth. Replacements:- S.Masterson (for Byrne, 45 mins ), S.Lombard (for Staunton, 50 mins ), W.Reilly (for Hopkins, 57 mins ), M.Hanley (for West, 70 mins ), O.Burgess (for O’Carroll, 70 mins ), M.Staunton (for Burke, 70 mins ), R.Byrne (for Murray, 74 mins ) and S.O’Connell.

Pre-Match Function for Banbridge Fixture

There will be a pre-match function for the All-Ireland League game against Banbridge on Saturday, December 3, which is Buccaneers final home AIL this year, an ideal event to get together pre-Christmas.

Cost is only €30 per person and covers meal with complimentary wine in The Bounty, 100-page matchday programme and free admission to the game.

Groups or individuals can also be catered for. To book for this not to be missed game, kindly contact the club’s administrator, Geraldine at 0861732711 or any club officer.


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