BUCCANEERS U-20’s also scored 35 points at the weekend when they accounted for the newly renamed University of Galway by 35-10 in their J.P.Fanagan Leinster League qualifier played at Dubarry Park on Sunday. But in dreadful weather conditions this was a different kettle of fish compared to previous day’s free-flowing exploits. Nevertheless, the outcome was the same and equally merited, Buccs achieving qualification for Division 2.

Buccs made two changes from the side that won convincingly at Galwegians. Fit again Cian McCann returned at blindside flanker and David Colgan started on the right wing with Ben Daly switching to fullback.

On a miserable wet and windy day, the Students had first benefit of the elements. Buccs suffered an early setback with a knee injury forcing Luca Giles off after just 8 minutes. Nevertheless, they made the early running and Luke Balsiger finished off good work for a 13th minute try near the uprights and Ruaidhri Fallon added the conversion.

Soon afterwards James Blair incurred an incredulous yellow card and Daniel Bent opened the College account with the resultant penalty. Buccs remained in the ascendancy and fierce pressure approaching halftime forced a series of close-in penalties with which the Students struggled to deal with. Eventually Liam McCartan was sin-binned and a penalty try awarded to Buccs for a 14-3 advantage at the interval.
Buccaneers continued to force the pace after the change of ends but over elaboration and a hastiness in endeavouring to move the ball wide meant several promising positions were not capitalised on. This was frustrating as the home pack was the superior unit and Buccs surely would have profited more had they kept the ball tight.

Following a brief flare-up, the Galway side’s hooker Drew Hamilton was yellow carded. Following a prolonged period in the opposition 22, Buccs eventually got the breakthrough when the young Scot Blair got over for a 58th minute try which Fallon converted from the left.
The westerners retorted with a Callum Wall try, converted by Bent, to leave his side trailing 21-10 as the game entered the final quarter. But Buccs responded equally swiftly with McCann finishing off good build-up for a try on the left, Fallon again adding the extras.

McCann and Fionn McDonnell made regular rumbles forward in the closing stages and in the final moments University of Galway got in further trouble on their own scrum close to their line. Tom Shine was up in a flash to put in a thumping tackle before the defender could clear and the alert Fallon swooped on the loose ball for an opportunist try which he also converted. This completed the 35-10 bonus point margin which secured Buccaneers qualification for Division 2 along with Corinthians while University of Galway and Galwegians will campaign in Division 3.

In the testing conditions and some finicky officiating (Buccs will need to maintain better discipline in similar situations), this game was all about the result. McDonnell, Charlie Byrne and Dylan Bolger did well in the forwards exchanges while Fallon and Shine were best of the backline where Orrin Burgess could profit more if he curtails his tendency to get ahead of passes.

Two interested specatators at the game were Gearoid Clarke, whose son Christian featured for the visitors, and his brother Jack, whose son is the Galway side’s team captain but missed out this match due to injury.

BUCCANEERS:- B.Daly; D.Colgan, J.Blair, T.Shine (captain), O.Burgess; R.Fallon, M.Glynn; K.Egan, O.Dolan, C.Byrne; L.Giles, F.McDonnell; C.McCann, G.Daly and L.Balsiger. Replacements:- D.Bolger (for Giles, inj. 8 mins), C.Brill (for Egan, 64 mins), N.Loughnane (for Glynn, 64 mins), S.Treacy (for Colgan, 70 mins), A.Burke, R.Byrne and J.Dunican.

UNIVERSITY OF GALWAY:- D.Cassidy; D.Smyth, H.Guest, J.Fitzgerald, O.Cresham; D.Bent, D.O’Connor; L.McCartan, D.Hamilton (captain), C.Wall; B.Baturov, D.Lohan; L.Quilter, D.Healy and J.Lelievre. Replacements:- E.Fenton, C.Bracken, S.O’Toole, A.Ford, C.Clarke, S.McDonnell and N.O’Reilly.

Referee:- David Andreu (Connacht).