Cup win by Seconds


BUCCANEERS SECONDS and Dunmore served up a whole-hearted Connacht Junior Cup battle under the Dubarry Park floodlights on Saturday night when the Pirates came out on top by 25-10 to advance to a quarter-final joust away to Creggs next Sunday. This was a passionate and sometimes rip-roaring affair in which the niftier Pirates were the sharper outfit. But the visitors made them work all the way for their win in a most enjoyable contest.

Buccs made a bright start in cold but otherwise ideal conditions and Colin Daly opened their account with an 8th minute penalty. Dunmore conceded a number of penalties that ensured the hosts enjoyed early territory and the Athlone pack mauled over for a 13th minute unconverted Ryan O’Meara try to lead 8-0. Dunmore retorted with a well-worked Conor Burns try after 22 minutes. Flyhalf Burns converted and then kicked a penalty to edge the Co. Galway outfit 10-8 ahead and they held this slender advantage to the interval despite Buccaneers putting their best series of phase together approaching half-time.

Early in the second half Cian McCann displayed slick handling to snaffle possession and soon the Pirates were on the offensive again. Following a penalty to the right corner, McCann went close to getting over but the ball was then spread smartly to the opposite flank where Harry Hughes flew in for a 46th minute try which Daly converted to regain the lead. Five minutes later Ross Murphy-Sweeney scored an outstanding solo try from his own ten-metre line, leaving a trail of Dunmore players in his wake as he raced away to touch down between the uprights. Daly duly converted and added a late penalty to seal a richly warranted 25-10 victory.

This was Cup rugby at its most fervent with O’Meara, McCann, Rory Grenham and Sean O’Connell to the fore in the forwards exchanges against a much bulkier pack. Halfbacks Frankie Hopkins and Gerard Fallon controlled most of the game and skipper Daly was calmly influential.

BUCCANEERS: J.Nagle; R.Murphy-Sweeney, R.Teape, Colin Daly (captain), H.Hughes; F.Hopkins, G.Fallon; C.Fokam, R.Grenham, S.O’Connell; S.Kroupa, F.Galvin; Cian Daly, B.McDonnell and R.O’Meara. Replacements:- C.McCann (for Cian Daly), Cian Daly (for Galvin, temp), Cian Daly (for Kroupa), T.Thompson (for Fokam), S.Kroupa (for McDonnell), K.Connolly (for Galvin), C.Rooney-Digan (for Teape), S.Flynn (for O’Connell) and A.Evans (for Hopkins).

DUNMORE:- A.Canny; A.Kenny, D.Bough, J.Bowens, E.Rattigan; C.Burns, C.Lyons; A.Glynn, J.Geraghty, S.O’Toole; S.Conneely, R.Cummins; R.Huxford, C.Fahy and M.Cummins (captain). Replacements used:- Jason Murphy, B.Walsh, James Murphy, E.Glynn, F.O’Reilly and L.Coyne.

Referee:- Jason Craughwell (Connacht).