BUCCANEERS 17 CREGGS 14
BUCCANEERS U-16’s advanced to the Connacht Cup final following a hard-earned 17-14 victory over Creggs at Dubarry Park on a cold Wednesday evening. The visitors had a much taller pack but Buccs forced the early pace and were rewarded for their enterprise when Elliot Rooney-Digan crashed over for an unconverted try. Just before halftime they added a second touchdown which followed some fine interplay with Andrew Henson applying the finishing touch and then adding the conversion for a 12-0 lead.
In a contest that lacked sustained fluidity, Creggs showed more urgency following the change of ends and scored a converted try in the third quarter. But the young Buccs responded and, after they tapped a penalty inside the Creggs 22, the ball was moved smartly right to left where Eoin McCormack powered over for an unconverted try. Creggs replied swiftly with their second converted try to set up a tight finish but the Pirates proved up to the challenge, with their penalty moves working well throughout, as they held on for a richly deserved 17-14 victory.
Kyle Byrne led his teammates by example with Stephen O’Connor to the fore while Paul O’Sullivan and Conor McCormack both made impacts when introduced from the bench. They now face Loughrea, who surprised hot favourites Sligo, in Sunday’s final on the wide open spaces of The Sportsground (note early kick-off 11 a.m.) While Buccs must not underestimate the Co. Galway side who will pose dogged opponents, the Athlonians can come out on top provided they work harder in defence and at the breakdown whilst also ensuring that they make touches with their line-kicking.
BUCCANEERS:- A.Henson; D.Burke, E.McCormack, K.Mahon, L.Marjanovic; B.Doyle, D.Lyons; D.O’Leochain, S.O’Connor, E.Rooney-Digan; R.Heaslip, T.Trainor; T.Mason, K.Blessing and K.Byrne (captain). Replacements:- J.O’Reilly, C.Hudson, A.McCormack, C.McCormack, M.Turner, M.O’Connor, P.O’Sullivan and I.Jocher.