BUCCANEERS gave it their all in the Bank of Ireland Connacht U-13 Cup final but simply could not match an excellent display by Carrick-On-Shannon who triumphed on a 29-0 scoreline at the Dexcom Stadium on Sunday.

Playing down the slope Carrick had first benefit of the breeze and promptly put the young Pirates under pressure with Shane McGirl weaving his way through for a 4th minute try converted by Henry Hanrahan. When the centre chipped over the cover five minutes later, Buccs were unable to clear their lines and McGirl finished off a series of pick and goes for his second try also converted by Hanrahan for an early 14-0 lead. That was extended to 17-0 at half-time following a penalty by the impressive McGirl.

Five minutes into the second half McGirl surged over to complete his hat-trick. Buccaneers fared much better for the remainder of the game but just could not apply the finishing touch to get on the scoreboard despite some spirited play and promising territory. In the final move of the match, McGirl proved unstoppable as he collected his fourth try in a player-of-the-match performance. Hanrahan’s touchline conversion completed the 29-0 margin.

Carrick players had a decided size advantage over the Athlonians, who were wearing Marist College jerseys due to a clash of colours, and in McGirl they had a real jem; he looks destined to be the new Shane Layden from that region. They were more organised and cohesive and their place-kicking was impressive too. Buccaneers had used the league to give all their players game time and, although the Cup result was not what they had hoped for, these young players can take great credit from their progress thoughout the season. All teams aspire to reaching finals but only two can be there and the Buccs boys can take pride from achieving that goal.

Footnote:- This game marked not only Buccs final match of the season but also referee Peter McCarthy’s last outing before he hangs up his whistle after many decades officiating. Enjoy your well-earned retirement, Peter.

BUCCANEERS:- M.O’Dwyer; D.O’Sullivan, D.Moran, F.Kelly, R.Connor; J.Heneghan, S.Griffith; L.Clancy, H.Dolan, J.Monaghan; A.Costello, R.Farrell; D.Murphy, C.Kelly and O.Kelly. Replacements:- P.T.McGuirk, A.Connaughton, R.McCormack, A.Akinfaye, C.Burke, C.Kilcommons, J.Murray, J.Hurley, N.O’Donohue and O.Killeen.

CARRICK-ON-SHANNON:- C.McGovern; N.Washington, H.Kilszek-Sromek, S.McGirl, R.O’Shaughnessy; H.Hanrahan, Q.Joubert; A.McNamara, I.Mulvey, L.Durkin; S.Gleeson, C.Gavican; N.Taylor, D.O’Connell and N.Zondagh. Replacments:- E.McKeon, H.Fitzgerald, J.McGarry, N.Guckian, G.McDermott, E.Phillips, A.Sheridan, G.Duffy and J.Creighton.

Referee:- Peter McCarthy (Connacht).