The Thirds teams of Buccaneers and Galwegians served up an enthralling Connacht Junior 2A League tie that ended in a welter of excitement as Buccs snatched a 23-21 victory with a final move of the game try at Dubarry Park on Sunday.

Buccs took an early lead courtesy of a Darren Costello penalty but Wegians responded with a smart converted try by their centre. The midlanders responded to the challenge and applied concerted pressure for a spell that was finished off by early substitute Declan Brady whose unconverted try nosed Buccs 8-7 ahead. They continued to force the pace and were rewarded for their efforts when Rory Grenham grounded for a try near the posts, Costello’s conversion giving the hosts a 15-7 lead at the interval.

An injury to a Galwegians prop caused a lengthy half-time delay and we wish him a full and swift recovery. When the play resumed Wegians gradually got a foothold on the proceedings and a converted try left just a solitary point between two hard-working teams. A Brendan Fagan penalty gave Buccs a bit of space on the scoreboard before the light blues dictated territory in the final quarter. The home defence remained steadfast even when Declan O’Rourke was sin-binned.

Then with time almost up Galwegians were awarded what seemed to a scrum for a knock-on by the referee but the visitors quickly tapped and went, catching Buccs off-guard to run in for a converted try at the posts that looked sure to earn the spoils. However, the Pirates restarted promptly and soon regained possession before going through a number of phases in which Alex Hayman’s calm awareness proved vital as they made inroads into the Tribemens’ territory. It looked like their momentum had been halted wide on the left but Karl Turley seized the opportunity to pick from the back of a ruck and dart in on the blindside for a dramatic match-winning try.

This squad continues to unearth talent from former years with Hayman and Garreth Halligan returning to the field of play along with Costello and Sean Byrne. Trevor Thompson forced a number of key turnovers at vital stages, Fagan was composed at flyhalf and Brady made an impact following his earlier introduction. Galwegians, helped by their losing bonus point, retain leadership of this league but victory has moved Buccaneers up to third.

BUCCANEERS:- D.Costello; L.O’Connor, A.Hayman, R.Grenham, H.Hughes; D.Fagan, G.Fallon; P.McManus, C.Brill, T.Thompson; G.Kenny, L.Baker; M.Lyons, T.Ward and S.Byrne. Replacements used:- E.Slevin, R.Mahon, K.Grehan, D.Brady, L.Callinan, G.Halligan, K.Turley and D.O’Rourke.

Referee:- Jason Craughwell (Connacht).