A late Stephen Mannion penalty earned Buccaneers a tight 23-21 J.P.Fanagan Leinster U-20 League Premier 2 Division victory over NUI Galway at Dubarry Park on Sunday. This was a right ding-dong battle that grew in intensity as conditions worsened. Buccs deserved the verdict but made life difficult for themselves.
They were sluggish when dealing with an early NUIG attack, failing to clear their lines despite having time to do so. The Students punished this lethargy to score a try and it took the young Pirates some time to settle into the contest. But they scored a super try with Jensen Nagle racing in following a lovely decoy by Mannion for a try which the fly-half converted. Buccs put the ball through hands before Ruan Venter finished off in style to notch their second try.
Both sides traded penalties as the game progressed but as a fine day turned rotten weather-wise NUIG hung in there. Buccs looked sure of victory when College sustained a yellow card in the final quarter but the Students rallied to score a late converted try that put them ahead by the minimum. However, the Athlone side galvanised themselves for a strong finish and Mannion secured the spoils with a fine penalty.
Liam Winnett was Buccs outstanding performer and locks Jack Scouler and especially Mark Tallon can be well satisfied with their efforts. Venter at fullback and stand-off Mannion were pick of the backs while the substitutes made an impact on the proceedings.
BUCCANEERS:- R.Venter; D.Ennis, D.McNamara, D.Mulvihill, H.Balsiger; S.Mannion, R.Dempsey; C.Daly, D.Browne (captain), L.Laoshvili; M.Tallon, J.Scouler; C.O’Grady, M.O’Neill and L.Winnett. Replacements:- H.O’Reilly, C.Forkam, F.Galvin, G.Caterino, N.Horan, M.Byrne and C.Digan.