BUCCANEERS 40 MONIVEA 17
A blistering opening half performance ensured that Buccaneers Seconds winning sequence in the Bank of Ireland Connacht Junior 1B League would continue when they entertained Monivea at windy and wet Dubarry Park on Saturday night. Buccs had a bonus point in the bag by the end of the opening quarter as they overran the visitors on their way to building up a 33-0 halftime lead and eventually win 40-17.
Buccs lined out with a quartet of changes from the win over Corinthians. Jensen Nagle returned at fullback with Sean Flynn, Jack Scouler and Ryan O’Meara starting in the pack. Wind driven drizzle assisted the hosts at the start and they dominated from start to finish of this half, spurred on by Conor Morrissey’s try after just 5 minutes. Four minutes later, Leo MacFarlane’s swift tap penalty sent Nagle flying along the left flank and he sent Ross Murphy-Sweeney in for a try.
O’Meara notched the third near the uprights following a neat pass from John Why after 19 minutes. From the restart Sam O’Sullivan made a strong carry before linking with Harry Hughes whose dancing feet saw him scoot along the left flank to secure the bonus point try. The Pirates had to go through quite a number of phases to earn their fifth try, Why applying the finishing touch. He landed four conversions also to ease Buccs 33-0 to the good at the interval.
Now assisted by the elements including heavy rain, Monivea fared much better following the changes of ends and prop Tiernan Murray gained reward for their improved showing with a try. Buccs precision and tempo dropped noticeably and the visitors scored the try of the match when Sean Fitzpatrick’s break from his own 22 yielded a smashing solo try converted by Ross McKeogh to narrow their arrears to 33-12.
This drew a retort from Buccs and Why grabbed his second converted try in the contest. Monivea had the final say when Dean O’Reilly scored a late touchdown to complete the 40-17 scoreline. Buccs were sublime in the opening half but very lacklustre thereafter on a pitch that stood up remarkably well to two matches in the inclement weather. Hughes and Why were pick of the backs while skipper Morrissey, Sam Fogarty and O’Meara worked hard in the forwards battles as Buccs regained top spot in this division.
BUCCANEERS:- J.Nagle; H.Hughes, R.Murphy-Sweeney, S.O’Sullivan, H.Balsiger; J.Why, L.MacFarlane; N.Guliashvili, C.Morrissey (captain), S.Flynn; J.Scouler, S.Fogarty; L.Balsiger, L.Doyle and R.O’Meara. Replacements:- G.Fallon (for MacFarlane, inj. 24 mins), R.Keighery (for Scouler, inj. 32 mins), C.Rooney-Digan (for O’Sullivan, h/t), C.Daly (for Doyle, inj. 48 mins), M.Staunton (for Flynn, 54 mins), S.O’Sullivan (for Keighery, 63 mins) and S.Flynn (for O’Meara, 74 mins).
MONIVEA:- R.O’Connor; M.Walsh, D.Collins, P.Flannery, D.O’Reilly; R.McKeogh, B.Gillen; D.Kelly, F.Killarney, T.Murray; D.Burns, E.Murray; R.Hickey, E.Maher and K.Connell. Replacements:- G.Fitzmaurice, R.Coughlan, J.Quirke, D.Newell and S.Fitzpatrick.
Referee:- Karol Collins (Connacht).