BUCCANEERS 38 CREGGS 14
BUCCANEERS U-16’s captured the Connacht League Division One title when they defeated Creggs 38-14 at Tuam on Saturday. On a bright afternoon, Buccs hit the ground running in this replay and had a firm grip on the trophy early in the proceedings. As sometimes happens after a closely fought draw, one team does not really turn up for the second innings and the outcome was long decided by the halftime whistle at which stage the Pirates held a commanding 38-0 lead.
Buccs, with the benefit of the diagonal breeze, went on the offensive from the start and their endeavours were rewarded with quickfire tries, the first coming from Senan Nugent after just 4 minutes. Captain Ciaran West promptly added a second and No.8 Nathan Kelly stormed through for the Athlone side’s third touchdown for a 19-0 lead by the end of the opening quarter.
It was not all one-way traffic but Creggs could not breach the Shannonsiders stout and organised defence when they got into the 22 where Andrew Cotton’s big boot regularly cleared their lines followed by excellent chases from his teammates. Flying fullback Philip Finnan raced away from halfway to score Buccs fourth try and scrumhalf Owen Egan notched a cheeky fifth soon afterwards. Nugent’s second try made it half a dozen first half touchdowns for the Pirates with Rory Dolan’s near flawless kicking converting four tries to give his side a comprehensive 38-0 half-time advantage.
Underdogs Creggs have a proud tradition and they were not going to go down without a battle. An early converted try following the change of ends gave them hope and they pinned back Buccs for long periods of the second half. But they found it very difficult to add to their tally, a second converted try coming too late to affect the outcome.
Buccs were sublime in the opening period but they were somewhat indisciplined and understandably complacent thereafter. Nevertheless, despite not adding to their tally in the second half, they richly deserved winning this trophy which was presented to the Pirates skipper Ciaran West by Rob Dolan on behalf of Connacht Rugby. Cup campaign commences on Saturday next with a very tricky assignment away to Galway Bay at Dangan, kick-off 2.30 p.m.
BUCCANEERS:- P.Finnan; A.Cotton, D.Glennon, O.O’Donoghue, S.Nugent; R.Dolan, O.Egan; C.West (captain), James Kelly, A.Brown; P.Bourke, E.Claffey; R.Colleran, H.Hannon and N.Kelly. Replacements:- J.Bourke, Jack Kelly, D.Dullea, P.D.Sunny, D.Cleary, J.Paul, H.McGowan, T.Coleman, A.Connor and S.Bogdan Nitulescu.
CREGGS:- J.Finn; D.Kelly, R.Kelly, C.Trimble, C.Fitzmaurice; K.Curran, D.Fleming; J.Walsh, C.Diffley, R.Bligh; P.O’Farrell, H.Kilcoyne; D.Fallon, J.Keane and C.Kiernan. Replacements:- M.Biesty, R.Webb, P.Fannon, J.Dolan, C.Timon and J.Trundle.
Referee:- John J. Martin (Connacht).