On a wet windy Saturday night in Tuam Buccaneers J1s narrowly lost this Connacht Junior 1A League round 4 game by 10-5. The gale force wind and a whistle happy ref were also big factors in setting the tempo of the game.

Buccs were on top from the start but failed to get points on the board. They looked most likely to score and very dangerous once they moved the ball through the hands. In this exciting low scoring encounter, Tuam had the gale force wind in their face but were the first to score a try with brute force and pace leaving the score 7-0 at half-time from an Ian Murphy touch down.

Against the wind and multiple Tuam attacks, Buccaneers defended their line bravely for most of the second half from within their own 22, with excellent tackling from Harry Balsiger, Sean Flynn and Keelan Connolly.

Eventually Buccs burst their way up the pitch for a Thomas McGann try. It started with a surging powerful run from Connolly, then Buccs standoff Michael Hanley with quick feet and silky hands released Evan Gallagher on the inside channel, who then gained 30 yards with a high speed break. The Pirates eventually scored in the corner with full back McGann due to excellent handling from his team mates.

The final quarter was a grandstand finish but Tuam won a penalty and Buccs ran out of time. If the game had lasted another 5 minutes, most spectators felt that Buccaneers would have got the match winning try due to their superior fitness and handling skills. Congratulations to Tuam for holding out and emerging victorious in this sporting game but the Athlone side will rue not opting for kicks at goal with a number of first half penalties, especially with a placekicker of Hanley’s renown in their side.

Best in the forwards were Gallagher, Flynn and Cedric Fokam. The backline was led brilliantly by the young but experienced Hanley and brave skillful Harry Balsiger.

BUCCANEERS:- T.McGann; R.Murphy-Sweeney, H.Balsiger, C.FitzGibbon, H.Hughes; M.Hanley, E.O’Reilly; A.Obono, E.Gallagher, C.Fokam; F.Galvin (captain), C.Walsh; J.Curley, B.Fagan and R.O’Meara. Replacements:- S.Flynn (roundy), D.Bolger, K.Connolly, A.Flanagan, S.Flynn (beag) and C.Rooney-Digan.

Referee:- Nathan Kearns (Connacht).