CORINTHIANS 24 BUCCANEERS 17
Buccaneers U-20’s bowed out of the Leinster Rugby Purcell Cup at the semi-final stage to a 78th minute well worked Galway Corinthians try that earned the Tribesmen a 24-17 home victory at Clounacauneen. Congratulations to Corinthians and best of luck in the final as they strive to become the first ever Connacht club to win the Purcell Cup.
The game was played in perfect conditions in a very sporting competitive spirit. Best for Buccaneers on the day were Aaron Burke, Charlie Byrne, Jim Connolly, Jack Crampton, Luca Giles, captain Gavin Daly and Robbie Byrne who put in another man of the match display. The Buccaneers back line had to deal with the loss of their international centre Yishai Avrahami in the first 2 minutes with an ankle injury and the excellent creative outhalf Charlie Naughton at half-time due to a leg injury. Energetic scrum halves Ethan Friel and Nathan Loughnane were excellent both sides of the ball with precision passes and crunching tackles all day.
10-7 up at half-time, Buccs were in the driving seat after a first half break from Naughton who offloaded to Tom Shine to touchdown under the posts. On the 64th minute, Shine gathered his own kick through to release Cian McCann who offloaded to Giles to score under the posts. David Colgan got the conversion. That was the end of their scoring despite some excellent carries from Ben Daly, Dylan Bolger and Orrin Burgess.
A second successive season finale of a Leinster Rugby cup final was denied to Buccaneers by an excellent team late, late try by Corinthians. Thanks to Jolly Boys Pizza + Grill the match day sponsor.
Buccs 20’s still have silverware to play for when they host Enniskillen RFC in the Scallon Cup on 29th of April and are away to Nenagh Ormonde next Saturday 15th of April in the John McCormack Cup. They also have to look forward to hosting the Jamaican U19s on the August Bank Holiday Monday and the inaugural Ray McLoughlin Cup between Buccaneers RFC and Blackrock College RFC.
The player development philosophy of Martin Staunton’s squad is very impressive over the past two seasons, and now with 25 players looking to progress from the U18.5’s squad everything is looking very positive for them. This squad has used 46 players this season, going in the right direction as a pathway team for their Senior AIL side where 14 U-20’s have been capped at AIL level this season so far. The best is yet to come as Buccs U-20’s regroup for next year’s Leinster League qualifying Connacht Clubs round Robin tournament.
BUCCANEERS:- D.Colgan; B.Daly, Y.Avrahami, J.Crampton, O.Burgess; C.Naughton, E.Friel; J.Connolly, A.Burke, C.Byrne; L.Giles, F.McDonnell; D.Bolger, G.Daly and R.Byrne. Replacements:- O.Dolan, K.Egan, C.McCann, J.Dunican, N.Loughnane, T.Shine (captain), M.Glynn and P.Malassou.
Referee:- Cathal Roddy (Connacht).