DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 38 BUCCANEERS 26
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY and Buccaneers traded places in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster U-20 Premier League 2 when College came out on top of a high-scoring 38-26 encounter played at Santry on Sunday. Trinity outscored the visitors by 6 tries to 4 and now sit one point above the midlanders who travelled with 4 players who had taken part the previous day in Cork in the AIL victory against UCC. In excellent ground conditions for rugby the crossfield strong gale was a factor for both teams backline passing, resulting in two interception tries by the Trinity team which turned out to be the difference on the scoreboard on the day.
Best for Buccs on the day was Man of the Match hooker Cameron Brill who hit some crunching tackles and scored a try and judged the wind well to get all his lineout throws on target. Energetic No. 8 Robbie Byrne played like a legendary leader all day, while fellow back rowers John Dunican and Gavin Daly carried and hit hard all day. Utility forward Dylan Bolger was a powerhouse in the second row with first team player Fionn McDonnell, who was jumping majestically in the lineout winning all his own lineouts. Bolger popped up in midfield on numerous occasions with his by now trade mark tip on pass using his soft hands, acting as a decoy for the Trinity defence until he got close to the try line himself where he drove low and hard to cross the line and touch down but the referee deemed it a double movement. The front row of Charlie Byrne, Brill and Kieran Egan kept Buccs in the game during Trinity’s purple patches with powerful runs and tackles and showed great fitness getting back into their defensive lines.
Debutant fly half David Colgan worked well with hardworking energetic Ethan Friel at 9 and brought his midweek Carlow College form to Dublin and scored a skillful kick through try of his own. Adam O’Carroll came close on a few occasions to scoring as his mazy high-speed running proved a problem for the Trinity defence while Ben Daly scored a try. Debutant winger Pref Malassou shows great promise and centres Tom Shine and Jack Crampton were creative and strong all day.
The game definitely turned in Buccaneers favour once the ‘bomb squad’ of Nathan Loughnane, Oisin Dolan, Jim Connolly, Aaron Burke and Deema Feehan were deployed and Buccs had the Trinity try line at their mercy on numerous occasions only for the final pass not connecting.
This is only half time really in this saga as Buccs return to play Trinity in Dublin on the 26th of March in the Leinster Cup quarter-final. These trilogy of games between Buccs and the Dublin University club have served many positive purposes earning a competitive sense of respect between both groups of players and management and supporters. The game was a very sporting and enjoyable encounter for all involved, excellently officiated by Marco Pietri.
A few work-ons over the coming weeks around backline fluidity, ruck defence and line speed and this team can get back to their unbeatable status. Next up is league leaders Terenure College in Dubarry Park on the first weekend in March followed by another trip to Dublin to play UCD.
BUCCANEERS:- A.O’Carroll; P.Malassou, T.Shine (captain), J.Crampton, B.Daly; D.Colgan, E.Friel; C.Byrne, C.Brill, K.Egan; F.McDonnell, D.Bolger; G.Daly, J.Dunican and R.Byrne. Replacements:- O.Dolan, J.Connolly, A.Burke, N.Loughnane and D.Feehan.