Young Pirates cruise to win


BUCCANEERS U-20s qualified for Division 2 of the J.P.Fanagan Leinster League with a comprehensive 53-3 victory over University of Galway at balmy Dangan on Sunday. Buccs were full value for their victory that could have been even more emphatic, scoring 9 tries against a game College side that could not stem the tide for the full duration.

In near perfect weather and pitch conditions, Buccs began as bright as the sunshine and they quickly pinned the hosts deep in the home half. Following a number of penalties the ball reached Finian Murray and the massive prop cleared defenders like skittles as he surged over the line for a 6th minute try converted by Kevin Maher. The Pirates maintained their bombardment and UG’s Shane McDonnell was yellow carded as the penalty count mounted. But the Shannonsiders butchered a number of really good try chances in that early offensive.

They too began to make errors which helped the Students settle into the contest and Christian Clarke landed a 16th minute penalty that at that stage did not look like it would prove to be their solitary score. Robbie Byrne was then sin-binned but Buccs continued to dominate, although they were wasteful with opportunities. However, they eventually made their superiority pay in the final move of the half. Aindriu Oates twice made ground following a lineout throw to the front and fellow prop Murray was on hand to finish it off for an unconverted try that left the midlanders 12-3 ahead at halftime.

College had the better of the early exchanges after the change of ends but it was the Shannonsiders who struck first, Paidi O’Leochain diving over for a 50th minute try on the right before Dermot Cawley became the second home backrower to visit the sin bin. Murray secured both his hat-trick and a bonus point for the Pirates when he powered over on the hour mark to stretch Buccs lead to 22-3.
It was all one-way traffic in the final quarter as Buccaneers finally became more cohesive and replacements Oisin Donoghue, Tim McClain, Jack Crampton and Patrick Egan all made their presence felt with tries. Pirates skipper Fionn McDonnell, who lorded the lineouts, also got in on the act, his quick tap and go catching the Students napping.

Lots to enthuse about in this victory but, equally, much to work on. Only four of the nine tries were converted while handling and decision-making have room for improvement. McDonnell led his side well, Egan made a notable impact following his introduction and Murray is a tower of strength in the pack. Young Ethan Friel did nicely at scrumhalf while Caleb Smerdon was solid in the backline.

Buccaneers and fellow Leinster League Division 2 qualifiers Corinthians now duel at Dubarry Park on Sunday next to decide the winners of the revived Connacht U-20 League title. Kick off is 2 p.m. for what should be a cracker.

UNIVERSITY OF GALWAY:- E.Moreno Santamaria; C.MacEntire, S.Nnamani, D.Cassidy, C.Luddy; C.Clarke (captain), D.O’Connor; D.Carr, L.Jones, A.Ford; F.O’Connor, L.Quilter; S.McDonnell, D.Cawley and J.Lelievre. Replacements used:- A.Galander, C.Bracken, S.White, D.Lohan, P.Maher and O.Beirne.

BUCCANEERS:- C.Lyons; E.McDonnell, C.Smerdon, Y.Avrahami, D.McCormack; K.Maher, E.Friel; F.Murray, O.Dolan, A.Oates; F.McDonnell (captain), R.Goldin; K.Kake, J.Dunican and R.Byrne. Replacements:- P.O’Leochain (for E.McDonnell), O.Donoghue (for Oates), J.Crampton (for Kake), A.Burke (for Dolan), T.McClain (for Murray), L.Mechan (for Dunican) and N.Loughnane (for Friel).

Referee:- Karol Collins (Connacht).