An early red card proved too much of a setback for Buccaneers Seconds to overcome as they went down to their second Connacht Junior 1A League defeat, this time at home to Castlebar on Saturday night. Buccs battled valiantly to the bitter end against the Mayo side who had a much taller pack. The visitors scored a converted try in each half to seal their 14-0 victory.

Under the Dubarry Park floodlights on a mild dry evening, Buccaneers made a handful of changes from their loss away to Dunmore. Exchanges were relatively even in the opening quarter at the end of which Cian Daly saw red as Barry Walsh was taken out in the air. The home hooker may not have seen the Castlebar fullback and there was no malice in the offence but the referee had little option but to send Daly off.

A Harry Balsiger counter-attack following a Castlebar penalty that dropped short was Buccs most exciting phase in the first half. Three minutes before the interval, Ross Murphy-Sweeney was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on. It was inevitable that Castlebar, now with a two player advantage, would finally unlock the committed home defence and Aaron Wootton powered over following a close-in scrum. Walsh’s conversion gave the westerners a 7-0 lead at halftime.

The visitors doubled their advantage within three minutes of the restart, James Balaski racing in on the left and being allowed continue unchallenged until touching down behind the posts for a try. Skipper Walsh added the easy conversion. But the winners will be disappointed to not have built on this and their lineout frequently misfired; why Buccs opted for scrums in these incidents is a mystery?

Buccs dug deep but added to their difficulties with a number of dissents being penalised; this they will need to eradicate. The homesters raised their game in the final quarter and the penalty count began to mount against Castlebar with Luke Staunton and Liam Hegarty visiting the sin-bin in the closing stages.

Brendan Fagan, James Kelly and Cedric Fokam battled gamely in the home pack while Andrew Evans and Eoin O’Reilly were best of the backs.

BUCCANEERS:- A.Evans; R.Murphy-Sweeney, H.Balsiger, C.FitzGibbon, H.Hughes; G.Fallon, A.Flanagan; J.Kelly (captain), C.Daly, C.Fokam; S.Fogarty, C.Walsh; B.Fagan, R.Teape and T.Curley. Replacements:- E.Gallagher (for Teape), E.O’Reilly (for Fallon), G.Fallon (for Evans, temp.), K.Connolly (for Fogarty), A.Abono (for Balsiger), C.Rooney-Digan (for Flanagan), S.Flynn (for Fokam), T.McGann (for Hughes) and F.Galvin.

CASTLEBAR:- B.Walsh (captain); J.Balaski, C.Carter, L.Staunton, R.Sweeney; S.Rogan, D.Togher; J.Baxendale, T.Keane, D.Mulgrew; A.O’Donoghue, M.Staunton; L.Robinson, D.Staunton and A.Wootton. Replacements:- D.McHale, S.Staunton, C.King, M.Goodwin, L.Hegarty, R.Newcombe, C.O’Neill and D.O’Donnell.

Referee:- Mark Fitzgerald.