BUCCANEERS U-17s never really got going in their Bank of Ireland Connacht Cup semi-final against their arch-rivals Corinthians who proved the better side on the day, winning 22-11 at Corinthian Park. These two teams have served up some great contests in recent seasons but this duel did not reach those heights as the homesters got a firm grip on proceedings from the start.

Buccs have quite a small panel in both numbers and size and the absence of a number of key players greatly limited their options on a sunny and warm afternoon. Assisted by the breeze and on a hard surface, Corinthians were quickly on the offensive but missed a straight-forward early penalty. However, from the restart Pasha Thiam thundered through a number of tackles for a smashing 4th minute try converted by Daniel Browne.

They came close to scoring again five minutes later but Manuel Almagro got over the ball to keep Buccs line intact. The respite was short-lived as the Tribesmen mauled over for an 11th minute unconverted try, Oisin Berthoz applying the finishing touch. Kyle Mahon opened Buccs account with a 20th minute penalty to reduce the arrears to 12-3 at half-time.

Corinthians winger Eamonn Harte was yellow-carded for a high tackle on his opposite number and Mahon landed his second penalty early in the second half to lift hopes of a comeback by the midlanders but Cian Duignan replied with a home penalty to keep his side 9 points ahead. Midway through the half, a quickly tapped close-in penalty by Berthoz, surprisingly withdrawn during the league final, caught the Pirates napping and the scrumhalf notched his second try which Duignan converted.

Buccs continued to battle but all they could muster was a Paul O’Sullivan try that completed the 22-11 scoreline in a match that surprisingly failed to really catch fire as previous contests had. The referee’s fussy officiating did not allow the game to flow but Corinthians, whose much bigger pack dominated, were worthy victors despite the best efforts of Mahon, Andrew Henson, Kyle Byrne and especially Kailin Blessing for league winners Buccs.

CORINTHIANS:- D.Browne; E.Harte, A.Laffey, B.Grealy, C.Duignan; L.Mullarkey, O.Berthoz; D.Noone, O.Meehan, M.Fallon; M.J.Fahy, D.Walsh; P.Thiam, L.Keaveny and J.Donovan. Replacements:- J.Kavanagh, N.Briggs, J.Maloney, K.Schouten, C.Whyte, J.Farragher, C.Noone and M.Laffey.

BUCCANEERS:- A.Henson; D.Burke, M.Almagro, M.Turner, P.O’Sullivan; K.Mahon, D.Lyons; K.Blessing, S.Glennon, E.Rooney-Digan; T.Mason, T.Trainor; S.O’Connor, C.McCormack and K.Mahon (captain). Replacements:- C.Hudson, J.O’Reilly, R.Fallon, S.Duffy and M.O’Connor.

Referee:- K.Cooney (Connacht).