Buccaneers U-20’s travelled to a windy Kirwan Park, Kilternan, on Sunday to take on De La Salle Palmerstown in the last fixture of this end of the draw in the J P Fanagan Leinster Premier 2 League.

This was a very important fixture for this ambitious Buccs outfit to keep them in the hunt for honours, but a well drilled DLSP team were certainly no pushovers where their current league position belies their ability. This was all the more evident when one looks at DLSP’s recent run of form with a win and a couple of very tight losses, so Buccs were expecting a tough encounter and DLSP certainly didn’t disappoint.

With the strong wind blowing in a couple of directions throughout the game, this was a dogged affair where free-flowing rugby was never going to be the order of the day and making life extremely difficult at line-out time. In saying that, Buccs stuck to their task with much reliance on the power of their formidable pack, especially at scrum time, and ground out a well-earned 15-3 victory in the end, scoring two tries from Nathan Loughnane and Finian Murray and a conversion and penalty from the boot of outhalf Rory Lynch.

The scoreline might have been better, but for the fourth week on the trot, Buccs actually crossed the line on a number of other occasions, coming away with nothing where the grounding was not captured in time. This game was certainly won upfront, with the power of the Buccaneers forwards being dominant throughout, led from the front by prop Murray with some powerful ball carrying from Jack Crampton.

With the Buccs backs improving by the week, recent recruits Jack Donnelly, Cormac McDonagh, Shaun McGrath and Dylan Duffy are all welcome additions to this squad. Lynch was solid at 10, dictating pace and direction and his kicking out of hand was exceptional, particularly given the windy conditions. Loughnane was busy and energetic at 9 and took his well-deserved try with real appetite in the first half. Cormac Lyons started at 13 for this fixture and he carried and defended well in this channel, and probably would have inflicted more damage had the conditions been more suitable for running rugby.

Given the difficult conditions, this wasn’t a pretty game, but all-in-all it was a decent performance from the Pirates, in what was an important, ground-out win, moving them into 3rd place in the table at the half-way stage. It was an overall team performance from Buccs, where Murray and Crampton led a very good overall forwards effort with Loughnane lively and assured in the backs. Buccs also welcomed the return of Conor Sheehan and Ewan Joyce back into the fold for this fixture, both returning for the first time after lengthy injury layoffs and both getting a taste of action ahead of the Christmas break. Both lads are welcome additions back into the squad.

DE LA SALLE PALMERSTOWN:- D.Weatherley; L.McKechnie, H.MacHesney, P.Agnew, Z.Bourne; T.Finlay, H.Grady; S.Pedlow, A.King, E.Sutton; James Kenny, L.Troy; John Kenny, A.Murphy and S.Galvin. Replacements:- S.Stokes, T.Williams, B.Slattery, P.Basquel, J.Nolan, C.O’Buachalla and W.Saunders.

BUCCANEERS:- J.Donnelly; N.Loughnane, C.Lyons, C.McDonagh, S.McGrath; R.Lynch, K.Barrett; A.Oates, A.Burke, F.Murray; T.McClain, J.Rowan; L.Giles, J.Crampton and R.Byrne. Replacements:- O.Donoghue, T.Finau, J.Connolly, C.Sheehan, E.Joyce and A.Quinn.

Referee:- Keith Condell (Leinster).