BUCCANEERS U-20s completed their home J.P.Fanagan Leinster League fixtures with an impressive 39-19 victory over De La Salle Palmerston at Dubarry Park on Saturday when they outscored the visitors by 7 tries to 3. The sides will meet again in Athlone in the Purcell Cup quarter-final on March 24th.

With kick-off of this game refixed to the unusually early time of 11.00am, and no doubt an even earlier start for the travelling South County Dublin team, this game threw up some thrilling rugby from the get-go. With both teams missing a number of starters, the quality of the game wasn’t affected, especially from the young Pirates, whose backs played some of the most free-flowing rugby of the season so far.

From early in the game, the Buccaneers forwards got on top, especially at scrum time, their scrum penalties were order of the day to set the perfect platform for the eager backs to show their metal. And it didn’t take long for the first try of the game with a perfect platform set up on the left by the forwards, followed by great hands from all seven backs, getting the ball out to right wing Andy Quinn, who touched down in the right corner, his first of his hat trick of tries on the day.

This was a sign of things to come for the remainder of the half as Buccs, playing against s significant wind, were completely dominant throughout, happy to defend when it mattered. Before half time, Quinn got his second try in the same corner and hard-running full-back Cormac Lyons added the third after another great backs move from deep, with Lyons finishing off with a typical strong carry down the left channel. Half-time saw Buccaneers lead 15–0 with none of the tries converted against the strong swirly breeze.

Buccs certainly went into the second half with plenty of confidence, very much in control of all facets of the game and now with a strong breeze on the backs. But things don’t always pan out as expected. DLSP certainly came out of the blocks with a lot of energy and vigour and were duly rewarded when a Buccs attack was not executed accurately inside the opposition 22, and a pass was picked off and intercepted with the DSLP player running in to score under the posts.

Buccs quickly responded with a try of the own, when hard-carrying prop, Tevita Finau, carried with power and aggression to touch down under the posts. While this try retained the Buccs cushion, DLSP were not giving up without a fight and with another Buccs attack breaking down close to their own 10m line, DLSP hacked through and with the attacking player about to be caught by the Buccs cover tacklers, the ref adjudged there to be an illegal tackle off the ball and harshly awarded a penalty try to DLSP. 22-14.

The travelling team were now growing in confidence and could see an upset on the cards, and then a crossfield kick by the classy “Palmo” fullback, caught out the Buccs covering backs in the swirling breeze and found the attacking winger down the right channel, the flying wing, weaved his way around the two Buccs players who were back-peddling and scored his side’s third try, leaving only 3 points between the teams.

As the game was about to potentially turn on its head, the stronger Buccs team regained their composure and took control of the remainder of the game. Quinn crossed for his third try of the day, Lyons went under the posts for his second and Kyle Barret, coming on and playing on the wing for this game, got just reward for his energetic display by notching Buccs seventh try of the day, leaving the final scoreline at 39-19 to Buccaneers.

Overall, this was a decent performance from Buccaneers and no doubt Head Coach Dave McAllister will be happy with the attaching performance of his backs division. More pleasing was the cohesion displayed across the park for the most part and certainly now a decent platform to build on for our next game.

As indicated at the top, both sides were missing a number of players and this was certainly an opportunity for a few Buccs lads to put their hand up for the first round of the Purcell Cup, which kicks off in two weeks’ time, co-incidentally, against the same opposition at the same venue.

BUCCANEERS:- C.Lyons; A.Quinn, T.O’Brien, C.McDonagh, M.Glynn; E.Joyce, E.Friel; A.Oates, A.Burke, C.Byrne; L.Giles, C.Sheehan; J.Crampton, K.Kake and R.Byrne. Replacements:- T.Finau, T.McClain, J.Rowan, N.Botes, S.McGrath, K.Barrett and L.Cassidy.