Buccaneers savour provincial cup success on the double in sun drenched Dexcom Stadium

The victorious Buccaneers U18.5 squad are pictured in celebratory mood after winning their provincial cup in the Dexcom Stadium on Sunday

The victorious Buccaneers U18.5 squad are pictured in celebratory mood after winning their provincial cup in the Dexcom Stadium on Sunday

BUCCANEERS 32 SLIGO 10

MICHAEL SILKE

Buccaneers retained the Bank of Ireland Connacht U16 when defeating Sligo in a lively decider contested at sun-drenched Dexcom Stadium on Sunday.

Two early tries set the Shannonsiders on their way and they kept the north-westerners at arms-length thereafter to ensure that the Enda O’Rourke Memorial Cup remained “home” in Athlone.

Philip Finnan opened the scoring after just 4 minutes following a penalty to touch on the right from which possession was moved smartly infield and the livewire fullback flashed over the Sligo line for a try on the left. John Paul Flanagan opened the Yeats County boys account with a penalty three minutes later but Buccs responded quickly. Owen Egan blocked an attempted clearance and the busy scrumhalf then won the race to touchdown for a 9th minute try. Ruairi Dolan, whose first conversion rebounded off an upright in the diagonal breeze, found the range with a 13th minute penalty won following an end-to-end attack to put Buccaneers 13-3 ahead.

Buccs were dominating but a couple of over-elaborate passes spoiled further try opportunities. One of these, an unnecessary skipped effort, was to prove costly as it gave possession to Sligo who then went through the phases to score a try wide on the left by Daniel Allen. Flanagan matched this endeavour with a fine touchline conversion to tighten the margin to 13-10 after 28 minutes.

The Pirates retort was instant, forcing a scrum from the restart before slick hands moved the ball to the right where Darragh Glennon’s desire and strength was rewarded with a try. Dolan’s conversion put the Athlonians ahead by double scores 20-10 at the interval.

Sligo needed the first score following the change of ends but Peter Bourke put in a try-saving tackle in the early moments of the second half. Ten minutes into this period an impressive maul by Buccs was finished off by James Kelly for an unconverted try. They then held their opponents scoreless throughout the second half. Nathan Kelly powered over between the uprights following a tapped penalty and Dolan’s conversion completed the 32-10 victory for this exciting Buccaneers crew.

BUCCANEERS:- P.Finnan; J.Paul, D.Glennon, O.O’Donoghue, A.Cotton; R.Dolan, O.Egan; C.West (captain ), J.Kelly, A.Brown; E.Claffey, P.Bourke; H.Hannon, R.Colleran and N.Kelly. Replacements:- D.Dullea, P.D.Sunny, F.De Tena, T.Coleman, J.Walshe, A.Connor, J.Bourke, S.Nugent, D.Cleary and E.O’Sullivan

Under 18.5 Cup Success

BUCCANEERS 31 SLIGO 14

Buccaneers dominated the Bank of Ireland Connacht U-18.5 Cup final from the start as this group finally inflicted defeat on their nemesis Sligo to forge a convincing 31-14 victory in a final fixture also contested at the Dexcom Stadium on Sunday.

The breeze had changed direction from the opening fixture and favoured Buccs at the start during which they dominated territory. The midlanders were unchanged from their semi-final game, played in atrocious weather and a sodden pitch, but the unusually summer-like conditions and the firm surface in Galway were much more to their liking.

A smashing Dylan Bruton break in which he arced away from a number of would-be tacklers looked like unlocking the opposing cover but he was denied when his chip over the defence took a wicked bounce away from him. But just a minute later, Buccs grabbed a lead that they never looked like relinquishing when Lorcan McCormack finished off another super attack for a 13th minute try at the left corner. Charlie O’Carroll’s touchline conversion rebounded off an upright.

A Danny Reid break kept the Shannonsiders momentum bubbling before Patrick Egan and Niall Tallon drove forward with the No.8’s clever kick ahead presenting Conor Dowling with the type of opportunity he thrives on and the winger won the chase to notch a 20th minute try, this time at the right corner, for a 10-0 lead.

Sligo missed a penalty shortly afterwards and the dynamic Egan piled further agony on them when he stormed through to dot down between the uprights for a 30th minute try. Charlie O’Carroll duly added the conversion and the Pirates were in full sail, 17-0 ahead at half-time.

Buccs continued their front-row rotation policy for the second half and it took Eoin Naughton just three minutes to make an impact. O’Carroll got quick ball away from a ruck and the replacement hooker was soon scampering away for a try which O’Carroll converted.

As Sligo endeavoured to counter a few minutes later, Bruton swooped on possession and knifed through the cover and he sped away from half-way to dot down at the posts. O’Carroll’s conversion gave Buccaneers an unassailable 31-0 advantage, even though there was almost half-an-hour yet to play.

Following a brief flare-up, Thomas Cotton was yellow-carded for apparent retaliation while injury forced Bruton’s withdrawal. Understandably, Buccs focus and intensity dropped and Sligo finally got on the scoreboard with a try converted by Mark Tempany. The north-westerners continued to battle and were further rewarded with a late Kealan Schoen try, the conversion completing the 31-14 scoreline.

BUCCANEERS:- D.Bruton; C.Dowling, T.Cotton, T.Sheehan, L.McCormack; D.Reid (joint captain ), C.O’Carroll; J.Casey, E.McMickan, N.Robinson; M.Fallon, C.Kelly (joint captain ); S.Rohan, P.Egan and N.Tallon. Replacements:- E.Naughton (for McMickan, h/t ), A.Oates (for Robinson, h/t ), A.Saka (for Fallon, 52 mins ), J.Bourdon, G.Murphy, M.Droust, M.S.Radebe, J.McCormack and D.Gavin.

 

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