BUCCANEERS U-20’s recorded their fourth successive victory when defeating Tullamore 26-0 in their J.P.Fanagan Leinster League Premier 3 match at Spollanstown. Their bonus point victory leaves Buccs on top of the league table as the competition takes a break for the festive season.

The day was defined by scrummaging. Buccs forwards, led by pack leader Gavin Daly, blitzed through the Tullamore pack without hesitation as they won every single scrum of the match, including scrums where the put in was from the Tullamore side. Cameron Brill was excellent against the head in every scrum. Buccs shot off the mark from the first blow of the whistle with big hits coming in from the uncompromising Daragh Fitzgerald and energetic Daly. The young Pirates showed no problem in putting Tullamore on the back foot, with quick ball from Ethan Friel at ruck time, who was substituted for the promising Adam O’Carroll at halftime, and the fantastic kick returns from the brilliant prospect for the future Adam Flanagan. Flanagan started at full back and moved to scrumhalf at the interval while the big accurate boot of Dylan King allowed the Athlone side to have a territorial advantage throughout.

Fitzgerald, Lasha Laoshvilli and Brill all crossed the home line where Tullamore’s scrambling defence denied scores to the visitors until Fitzgerald opened the scoring with a try converted by King. Kieran Egan rummaged his way over the line for an unconverted try that gave Buccaneers a 12-0 lead at halftime.

Rory Kilgariff opportunistically wrestled and stole the ball back from a Tullamore lineout who couldn’t keep the athletic Cian McCann and versatile Jim Connolly out from their rucks, such was the sheer intensity of the Buccaneers attacking play, led by Tom Shine upfront who found space where there appeared to be none allowed for another try, which was well worked and a little half-break from the unstoppable Jack Finn brought the ball up to the line where the high energy all action Daly crashed over to add points to the board. Buccs maintained their momentum right to the end and were rewarded with a bonus point try in the final move of the contest. Ben Daly took the ball at an angle from skipper Shine to burst his way through for a fine try. King converted both second half tries to complete the 26-0 scoreline.

King was player of the match with David Colgan another to impress at centre in a squad that is creating a style of rugby that is playing to their own strengths, adapting to the challenge of the opposition and making winning games simply a habit. Tullamore, despite the endeavours of Zach Wright, just could not match the enterprises and effort of their neighbours. Buccs final game of 2021 is a friendly away to Queens University on Saturday next.

BUCCANEERS:- A.Flanagan; J.Finn, D.Colgan, T.Shine (captain), B.Daly; D.King, E.Friel; L.Loashvilli, C.Brill, K.Egan; R.Kilgarriff, C.McCann; J.Connolly, G.Daly and D.Fitzgerald. Replacements:- A.O’Carroll, J.Henson and R.Fallon.