CONNEMARA-OUGHTERARD 5 BUCCANEERS 32
BUCCANEERS U-16’s made little of the over 200 miles winding round trip and foul weather on the western seaboard when overcoming Connemara-Oughterard 32-5 in the quarter-final of the Bank of Ireland Connacht Cup. They outscored the combination side by five tries to one at the rain-swept Monastery Field, Clifden, on Sunday.
With terrible wet and windy conditions to contend with, both teams were already soaked to the skin by the time the game kicked off. Buccaneers had the wind at their backs in the first half and, after some slipping and sliding on a water sodden pitch, they got an early penalty which Andrew Henson slotted between the posts. Over the next 20 minutes the teams were evenly matched with some good carries from both sides. With a few minutes to go before halftime Buccaneers were putting pressure on the hosts defence and forced a wayward pass which was intercepted by Kyle Mahon who raced over to score just past the post to leave a straightforward conversion for Henson to slot over.
It was 10-0 at halftime but the game was still very much in the balance. However, not long after the restart, some brilliant work from Stephen O’Connor, who stole the ball, broke the line and sprinted over from 40 yards, put 15 points between the teams. Buccaneers were now firmly on top and captain Kyle Byrne showed his class when he pounced on a loose ball, tucked it under his arm and left everyone watching as he ran home from 35 metres to score the Pirates third try. Conor McCormack was next to score for Buccs after some brilliant work by Brian Doyle who worked tirelessly throughout. Henson converted and the Athlone side were now 27-0 ahead.
Connemara/Oughterard had scored 62 points in the previous two rounds and their hard work and good play was rewarded with a well-deserved try with 5 minutes to go before Elliott Rooney-Digan crossed the line again for Buccs to ensure the win for Buccaneers on a final score of 32-5. The margin was harsh on the host side who really put it up to Buccs, but thankfully Buccaneers march forward to a home semi-final against near neighbours Creggs on the weekend of 1/2 April.
BUCCANEERS:- A.Henson; D.Burke, E.McCormack, K.Mahon, M.Turner; B.Doyle, D.Lyons; I.Jocher, E.Rooney-Digan, D.O’Leochain; T.Mason, T.Trainor; S.O’Connor, C.McCormack and K.Byrne (captain). Replacements:- A.McCormack, R.Fallon, C.Whitney, N.Chapel, P.O’Sullivan, S.Duffy, L.Marjanovic and M.O’Connor.