BUCCANEERS U-20’s dominated their JP Fanagan Leinster Premier League 2 match against league leaders St. Mary’s College for the vast proportion of this game played in bright conditions at well-attended Dubarry Park on Sunday. But they simply could not score and the visitors made the most of precious few opportunities to eke out a 14-0 victory that cements their position at the head of the league table.
The home pack gained early ascendancy and time and again drove the metropolitans much taller and bigger unit backwards. This superiority yielded a 13th minute penalty but Stephen Mannion untypically drilled it wide. Virtually all the half was played in St. Mary’s territory, yet Buccs just could not find that vital pass to unlock the visitors’ defence. Then, in the final move of the half, Michael Byrne’s attempted reverse pass was intercepted by his opposite number Sean Bourke who raced in for a try which he also converted. This was the Dublin side’s first visit into the home 22 and a real sucker-punch that left Buccaneers undeservedly trailing 0-7 at the interval.
Another error 11 minutes into the second period was also punished. Jensen Nagle did not find touch when clearing under pressure and St. Mary’s countered swiftly with Joe Nolan applying the finishing touch for a try also converted by Bourke. The exchanges were more even after the change of ends when the light breeze freshened somewhat to the benefit of winners.
Buccs battled gallantly to the bitter end but just could not conjure up scores that their unceasing endeavour and energy, especially by the forwards, richly warranted. Lasha Laoshvili, Fergus Galvin, Harry O’Reilly and Mathias O’Neill stood out in a magnificent performance by the pack while Mannion was pick of the backline.
BUCCANEERS:- J.Nagle; B.Nealon, D.Mulvihill, S.Mannion, H.Balsiger; M.Byrne, N.Horan; H.O’Reilly, D.Browne (captain), L.Laoshvili; F.Galvin, M.Tallon; J.Scouler, M.O’Neill and L.Winnett. Replacements:- L.McFarlane (for Horan, inj. 18 mins), G.Catarino (for Winnett, 50 mins), C.Forkam (for Laoshvili, 57 mins), R.Venter (for Nealon, inj. 64 mins), L.Winnett (for O’Neill, 65 mins), E.Gallagher (for Browne, 73 mins), Cian Daly (for Tallon, 73 mins) and R.Dempsey.
MARY’S COLLEGE:- D.McAuliffe; J.McSharry, M.Whelan, T.MacMahon, M.McEvoy; S.Bourke, A.McEvoy; K.Quinn, G.Hassett, C.McEleaney; E.Byrne, C.O’Neill; J.Shaw, I.Wickham and J.Nolan. Replacements:- E.Massey (for Quinn, inj. 11 mins), N.Loris (for O’Neill, 20 mins),J.Grant (for Wickham, h/t), J.Coolican (for Hassett, 57 mins), E.Franklin (for A.McEvoy, 57 mins), M.Barlow (for McSharry, 57 mins), C.O’Neill (for Byrne, 70 mins), B.O’Mahony (for M.McEvoy, 70 mins) and I.Wickham (for Nolan, 73 mins).