Following their exploits earlier in the week when defeating UCD, Buccaneers U-20’s came back to earth with a bump when suffering a 25-17 J.P.Fanagan Leinster League Premier 2 setback to Wanderers at Dubarry Park on Sunday. Buccs were utterly dominant in the opening half-hour but went off the boil for long periods thereafter with the visitors taking full advantage to secure a bonus point win.

Buccs made a number of changes from the UCD match with Adam O’Carroll (injury) and Cian McCann (rested) being key absentees. But on a fine dry afternoon, that did not hamper their progress initially and two unconverted tries were scored in the opening 12 minutes when playing against the breeze. The Pirates made ground through a penalty to touch and, following Oisin Dolan’s offload, Tom Shine split the visitors’ defence to notch a 7th minute try on the right.

Five minutes later, Buccs opted to maul from a similar situation near The Bounty corner and John Dunican emerged like a jack-in-the-box to score the midlanders’ second touchdown. James Blair’s conversion attempts were both weak but Buccs were already 10-0 ahead against a team they had defeated 52-5 away before Christmas. With the homesters penning the Dublin outfit deep in their half for a further 20 minutes, a repeat of that victory looked possible.

But Wanderers defended stoutly against the lighter home pack although conceding a litany of penalties that surprisingly did not incur a yellow card. Meanwhile Buccs misfired in a number of good scoring opportunities including a Shine grubber kick proving a fraction too strong for Ben Daly to get to before going over the deadball line. Much more wasteful was Orrin Burgess who twice lost control of the ball when over Wanderers line, albeit the second time it looked like he may have actually grounded the ball legitimately.

A rare foray into Buccs 22 following a splendid break by impressive substitute Rory Morrin was finished off by Harry Whelan for an unconverted try after 33 minutes. Burgess knocked on yet again in a promising Buccs raid just before Daly’s too casual pass was read by James Shields and he raced away to touch down between the uprights. Rory O’Sullivan-Sexton’s conversion gave Wanderers a 12-10 halftime lead totally against the run of play.

The visitors were a different proposition following the change of ends, with confidence and self-belief now flowing through their ranks while Buccs struggled to click. Shine was yellow carded in the third quarter for a high tackle on Max Patterson, although the Wanderers hooker had ducked very low. O’Sullivan-Sexton, who impressed when switched to flyhalf following Dylan Stafford’s enforced withdrawal, slotted over the penalty.

Jamie McMahon shrugged off a couple of weak tackles to claim his try as the game entered the final quarter and Patterson secured a bonus point try for Wanderers late in the contest. Buccs made a late rally in which Robbie Byrne burst through for a smashing try converted by Blair. But the Pirates left it much too late to turn matters around and were empty-handed after a match that they were in near total control of initially but paid dearly for their profligacy and errors. Too many home players were off-colour with only Shine, Byrne and Fionn McDonnell being anywhere near their best.

BUCCANEERS:- B.Daly; D.Colgan, O.Burgess, T.Shine (captain), D.McCormack; J.Blair, E.Friel; D.Bolger, O.Dolan, C.Byrne; F.McDonnell, K.Egan; J.Dunican, G.Daly and R.Byrne. Replacements:- A.Burke (for Egan, 59 mins), J.Crampton (for Friel, 64 mins), C.Brill (for Bolger, 64 mins), P.Malassou (for McCormack, 73 mins) and D.Feehan.

WANDERERS:- R.O’Sullivan-Sexton; H.Stone, D.Hale, J.Shields, H.Whelan; D.Stafford, A.P.McDermott (captain); R.McArdle, M.Patterson, F.Dougan; M.Atkinson, J.Duffy; O.Carroll, J.McMahon and S.Atkinson. Replacements:- Z.Boyle (for McMahon, 8 mins), J.McMahon (for S.Atkinson, 20 mins), R.Morrin (for Stafford, inj. 30 mins), M.Cassidy (for Stone, h/t), R.Shanahan (for McArdle, 60 mins), M.Kilroy (for Dougan, 60 mins), J.Brady (for McDermott, 64 mins), C.Crowley (for Duffy, 67 mins) and M.Cassidy (for Carroll, 67 mins).

Referee: – Kevin Bolger (Connacht).