BUCCANEERS and Galway Corinthians served up an absorbing J.P.Fanagan Leinster U-20 League Premier 2 duel which finished in a welter of excitement as Buccs threw everything they could at the visitors in their efforts to salvage a share of the spoils at Dubarry Park on Sunday. However, they found the westerners defence resilient to the last as Corinthians held on for a 14-7 victory that keeps them in second place in this division.

Despite an early injury to Daragh Fitzgerald, Buccaneers opened the scoring after just 7 minutes. Tom Shine made good yardage before his offload in the tackle sent Adam O’Carroll scampering away for a try which he also converted. It took Corinthians only four minutes to level, as Aaron Flynn waltzed through some porous tackling for a try converted by Harry Rogers.

Buccs were forced to further readjust their pack when injury also forced Luke Balsiger off with Kieran Egan coming in. The replacement seemed to have grounded the ball for a try to the left of the uprights following sustained pressure by Buccs inside the Corinthians 22 just before the interval but referee Christian Short (former Connacht and Buccaneers lock) after some deliberation deemed the prop had been held up. The teams remained tied 7-7 at halftime.

Corinthians restarted much the stronger and were rewarded when Sam Concannon burst through for a 44th minute try converted by Rogers. Buccs responded and edged the possession battle but their play lacked its usual precision and was also littered with wrong decision-making. Possession was kicked away too much and the ball was lost too often, albeit Corinthians steadfast tackling was a factor in a game that was played mostly between the two 22s.

Buccaneers piled on fierce pressure in the final ten minutes and Barry put in a try-saving tackle on McCann while Jim Connolly and Egan again were held out just short of the line. In hindsight Buccs lacked the nous and patience to unlock Corinthians committed rearguard action despite the best efforts of skipper Shine, Egan, Oisin Dolan, Fionn McDonnell and James Blair. Victory for Corinthians, for whom Connaill Muldoon was hugely influential, earned them bragging rights in Connacht and also consolidated their second place on the league table where Buccs slip a notch to fourth.

BUCCANEERS:- A.O’Carroll; B.Daly, Y.Avrahami, T.Shine (captain), O.Burgess; J.Blair, D.Colgan; D.Bolger, O.Dolan, C.Byrne; L.Giles, F.McDonnell; D.Fitzgerald, G.Daly and L.Balsiger. Replacements:- R.Byrne (for Fitzgerald, 4 mins), K.Egan (for Balsiger, 19 mins), C.McCann (for Giles, 48 mins), J.Connolly (for C.Byrne, 54 mins), N.Loughnane (for Colgan, 54 mins) and J.Dunican (for Bolger, 66 mins).

CORINTHIANS:- S.Hennessy; B.Macken, T.Waters, C.Goode, A.Flynn; H.Rogers, B.Barry; J.Duffy, C.P.Leonard, A.Burke; S.Concannon, C.Muldoon; M.Holmes, L.Walsh and A.Nash. Replacements:- B.Hynes, R.Flynn, E.O’Connor, E.Mulligan, J.Fenton, S.Comer-O’Brien and F.MacCearra.

Referee:- Christian Short.