A gutsy performance by a Buccaneers side with a blend of young guns and old guard saw the Athlone side defeat Creggs 29-8 in the opening round of the Cawley Cup. This Pool A game was played in fine conditions at The Green, Creggs, on Saturday night.

Unfortunately, it did not get off to a good start when the Buccs promising second row Mark Tallon hit a ruck with tremendous force but dislocated his shoulder in the process. Fergus Galvin replaced him at ten minutes on the clock.

It took Buccs 15 minutes to score their first try after sustained pressure by the away team. Gerard Fallon flashed a long pass to Ross Murphy-Sweeney who had a bit of work to do but got in at the corner to score. Three minutes later Andy Evans, who had a fine performance, slotted a penalty.

On the 25-minute mark Buccs were under severe pressure inside their 22. However, a great steal by Robert Teape and a lung-busting carry by Cathal O’Grady allowed Evans to go coast to coast for a fine try. The Pirates finished up the half with another Evans penalty to lead 16-0 at halftime.

Buccs started the second half with another successful Evans penalty and began exerting pressure on all fronts. Gavin Daly was immense and his dominance around the park was evident for all to see. Other young players like Fionn McDonnell in the lineout and Luke Balsiger played with a skill and maturity that makes it exciting times to be a Buccs supporter.

At the hour mark, Creggs scored a well-worked try, and this team should be commended for sticking to their task and playing hard for every second of the match.

However, in the 62nd minute, Evans struck another fine penalty to leave the score 5- 19. From this point the match became a real battle, with some excellent kicking by Creggs pinning Buccs deep in their own half. However, great stalwarts for the club Trevor Thompson and Sean Flynn were subbed on and Buccs would not be denied. This pressure resulted in a penalty to Buccs, slotted home with ease by Evans. As the game was in its final stages, the Athlone side were rewarded in the 75th minute when, after some well-worked phase play, under 20s hot shot Tom Shine broke for the line. Shine was generous and passed to Harry Balsiger, who finished in style to complete a fully deserved victory in their opening outing of the season.

CREGGS:- L.Meehan; A.Kelly, M.Purcell, M.Farrell, C.Duignan; S.Purcell, M.Brandon; S.Og Higgins, B.Coady, T.Curley; B.Donohoe, F.Temple; T.Farrell, B.Diffley and C.Purcell. Replacements:- D.Arnold, T.O’Brien, P.Lohan, L.Kilcoyne, J.Martin, P.Corcoran and R.Cahill.

BUCCANEERS:- A.Evans; H.Balsiger, C.FitzGibbon, R.Teape, R.Murphy-Sweeney; G.Fallon, E.O’Reilly; J.Kelly, C.Daly, S.O’Connell; F.McDonnell, M.Tallon; C.O’Grady, G.Daly and L.Balsiger. Replacements:- S.Flynn, T.Thompson, F.Galvin, O.Burgess, T.Shine, C.McCann and K.Connolly.