BUCCANEERS 37 CREGGS 12
The Sportsground was looking it’s best for the Bank of Ireland Connacht U-15 Cup final on Sunday when neighbours Creggs and Buccaneers locked horns. Creggs had given Buccs a 36-14 hammering in the league in Athlone and were strong pre-match favourites. However, Buccs have been on an upward curve since Christmas and they emerged comprehensive 37-12 victors following an impressive team display from start to finish.
Following an indifferent league campaign, Buccs started the Cup campaign in a wet Westport where they left it late to overcome a stout local team. Next up was a trip to a fancied Sligo where the lads started to put their game together with a good performance. Last week the noticeably improving ‘Blacks’ were finally in Dubarry Park where they recorded a clearcut semi-final win over Corinthians.
Buccs continued in that rich vein of form from the kick-off, starting the final fired up with slick handling that put the rejuvenated Darragh Glennon away on a strong run which resulted in Ciaran West going over for an early try with Rory Dolan starting his kicking masterclass with the conversion.
Another kick to the corner resulted in a Creggs lineout where good pressure left the ever-alert West an easy touchdown. Phillip Finnan scored next after more good handling with Hugo Hannon conspicuous. Just before half time Andrew Cotton swept round from his right wing to score Buccs fourth try in the left corner.
24-0 up at half time and a shellshocked Roscommon/Galway border outfit had been thwarted at every turn with Oisin O’Donoghue and Rueben Colleran outstanding in defence. Buccs were totally on top with strong scrummaging led by Evan Claffey and super lineout throwing by James Kelly. A fine chip ahead by Senan Nugent fell to James Ryan who was hauled down near the line but the swift support by Hugo McGowan put the rampaging Peter Bourke over in the corner.
Flyhalf Dolan then stroked over a penalty before Nathan Kelly, who had been carrying and offloading from the first whistle, plunged over from close range. Buccaneers were able to give their bench valuable match time while a game Creggs outfit scored twice to leave the final score at 37-12. A wonderful performance from the whole squad and management to finish the season after which Adrian Leddy (Connacht Rugby) presented the Cup to the victorious Pirates skipper West.
BUCCANEERS:- P.Finnan; A.Cotton, D.Glennon, O.O’Donoghue, S.Nugent; R.Dolan, H.McGowan; J.Ryan, James Kelly, C.West (captain); E.Claffey, P.Bourke; R.Colleran, H.Hannon and N.Kelly. Replacements:- D.Cleary, D.Dullea, O.Egan, R.Nagle, Jack Kelly, J.Bourke, A.Brown and E.Killeen. O.McLoughlin, S.Brett, A.Connors, T.Coleman, F.O’Brien, A.Bellacemi, E.O’Sullivan and S.Nitilescue.
CREGGS:- J.Finn; D.Kelly, L.Shally, C.Trimble, C.Fitzmaurice; K.Curran, D.Fleming; J.Walsh, C.Diffley, R.Bligh; P.O’Farrell, H.Kilcoyne; P.Fannon, J.Dolan and C.Kiernan. Bench:- S.Kearns, M.Biesty, R.Webb, D.Fallon, A.Smyth, M.McSharry, M.Biesty, J.Keane, D.Donohue and R.Connelly.
Referee:- Keith Haverty (Connacht).