Seconds romp into Curley Cup final


BUCCANEERS SECONDS romped to a 57-3 Curley Cup semi-final victory over their Ballina counterparts under the Dubarry Park floodlights on Saturday night. On a mild evening with a light breeze, conditions were near ideal.

Ballina had first benefit of the breeze but an early brace of tries by Jensen Nagle quickly established the homesters’ superiority despite Ronan Connolly landing a penalty for the visitors. Harry Balsiger, near the uprights, and Cameron Rooney-Digan, wide on the left, added tries as the Athlonians took control. Sean Flynn notched their fifth touchdown just before the interval when a pair of Gerard Fallon conversions had the home side 29-3 to the good.

A slick, quick try just after the restart when Luke Balsiger made good yardage to send Harry Hughes in to score set the tone for the second period. Luke Balsiger then burst through for a try of his own before Sam Fogarty ploughed through the visitors cover to nab another touchdown. Conversions by Fallon stretched the advantage to 50-3 at the three-quarters stage.

Rooney-Digan, the smallest man on the Pirates crew, was surprisingly yellow-carded for a high tackle in the final quarter! Then, in the final move of the game, Jonathan Epstein was sin-binned for an off-the-ball tackle that denied Harry Balsiger a scoring opportunity and referee Siobhan Daly also awarded a penalty try in this incident to complete the 57-3 scoreline.

Thus, like the U-20s, Buccs Seconds scored nine tries in an impressive display. Their smart handling and swift movement was too much for the north-westerners (who arrived with only 20 players although having agreed to a squad of 23, which meant Buccs had to “stand down” a trio of their replacements ahead of kick-off). Conor Morrissey, Leo MacFarlane and the Balsiger brothers caught the eye in this victory.

BUCCANEERS:- J.Nagle; H.Hughes, R.Murphy-Sweeney, T.Shine, H.Balsiger; G.Fallon, L.MacFarlane; A.Abono, C.Daly, J.Kelly; C.Morrissey (captain), S.Fogarty; L.Doyle, M.O’Neill and L.Balsiger. Replacements:- C.Rooney-Digan (for Shine, inj. 12 mins), S.Flynn (for Abono, 34 mins), A.Flanagan (for Murphy-Sweeney, h/t), C.Brill (for Kelly, 55 mins), C.O’Grady (for Doyle, 55 mins), L.Doyle (for Fogarty, 63 mins) and R.Murphy-Sweeney (for H.Balsiger, 63 mins).

BALLINA:- C.Quinn; R.Donnellan, M.Cribben, M.Moran, C.Walsh; R.Connolly, N.Molloy; P.Harrison, S.Tuffy, J.Walsh; J.Epstein, K.Howley; D.Pavlyuk, M.Collins and J.Keighley. Replacements used:- M.McLoughlin, D.McLoughlin, O.Collins, A.Ruane and S.Murphy.

Referee:- Siobhan Daly (Connacht).