BUCCANEERS recorded their first Connacht Junior 1A League victory of the campaign with a hard-earned 21-15 win over Castlebar at Cloondeash on Sunday. Castlebar had most of the ball for the game but Buccs worked their collective socks off, particularly in defence, to secure a morale boosting win.
Buccs line speed and tackling were outstanding for the whole game although discipline at the breakdown can be further improved. Castlebar were camped in or near the Athlone side’s 22 for the opening half hour but all they had to show for it was a penalty following a Robert Enraght-Moony infringement at the breakdown that earned the Pirates skipper a yellow card.
Late in the half, Buccaneers finally put some phases together and freed Ross Murphy-Sweeney along the right flank. He chipped and chased and then kicked ahead again but was tackled off the ball before he could score. The referee awarded Buccs a penalty try. Just before halftime, brilliant pressure and play was finished off by Ryan O’Meara for a try converted by Eoghan O’Toole for a flattering 14-3 lead at the interval.
Buccs maintained their momentum following the change of ends and Andrew McAleer with a pick and go through the ruck ran in from 25 metres for a 45th minute try converted by O’Toole. Following this strong spurt by the midlanders, Castlebar came good again in the final quarter with tries on 59 and 75 minutes reducing their arrears to 21-15. With admirable defending led by O’Meara, Harry O’Reilly, Liam Donnelly and Robert Teape, Buccs penned the Mayo side back before two late penalties brought Castlebar back into the danger zone. A prolonged spell ensued during which Ger Fallon was in the sin bin but Buccaneers were not found wanting in defence and held on for a vital victory.
BUCCANEERS:- H.Hughes; R.Murphy-Sweeney, R.Teape, A.McAleer, C.Forde; E.O’Toole, G.Fallon; R.O’Meara, D.Buckley, H.O’Reilly; F.Galvin, C.Harewood; L.Donnelly, R.Enraght-Moony (captain) and D.Touhy. Replacements:- N.Harney, J.McCauley and L.Chalkey.