Greystones maintained their winning ways and also their perch atop of the J.P.Fanagan Leinster U-20 League Premier 2 division when they defeated Buccaneers 19-13 at sunny Dr. Hickey Park on Sunday. But Buccs will rue this as a missed opportunity for they dominated this contest for large swathes.

Exchanges in the opening half were somewhat lacklustre with Andrew Quinn’s penalty proving the solitary score before the interval. Stones missed 3 placekicks while Buccs were held up over the home line. It took awhile for the second half to warm up too before the Pirates capitalised on a home yellow card to apply steady pressure. Eventually they got overdue reward when the pack mauled over and Robbie Byrne applied the finishing touch for a 50th minute try converted by Quinn.

However, Yishai Avrahami then incurred a silly sin-binning for apparent retaliation and Greystones took advantage when Fionan Denver’s break took him to the Buccs line and his offload sent Ross Mackey over for an unconverted try at the hour mark. Quinn replied with a Buccs penalty to edge them 13-5 to the good.

But a weak pass was intercepted by Ollie Barr on halfway and he ran in for a 65th minute try which he also converted to leave just a single point between the teams as the match finally came alive. As the exchanges heated up both sides escaped yellow cards for a high tackle apiece. Greystones snatched victory when winger Thomas Gilmore showed blistering pace along the left flank that left a number of tacklers trailing in his wake as he scored a wonderful solo try from his own half to take the lead for the first time.

Barr added the conversion and, as Buccs piled on the pressure forcing a handful of late close-in penalties, he ended the game in the sin-bin. Greystones conceded a series of infringments almost on their goalline in a thrilling climax that surely warranted a penalty try as Buccs tasted defeat for the first time this season. However, they had the territory and opportunities to win and will learn harsh lessonto be more clinical and disciplined.

GREYSTONES:- O.Barr; D.Henry, C.Balmaine, C.Stewart, T.Gilmore; R.O’Connell, J.T.Holland; J.Salmon, R.Byrne, C.McGrath; C.Sweeney, B.Murphy; N.McNulty, R.Mackey and F.Denver. Replacements:- J.Short, D.Potts, D.Manek, N.Ross, S.Dalton, R.Morgan and C.Condon.

BUCCANEERS:- C.Lyons; R.Lynch, C.Smerdon, Y.Avrahami, P.O’Leochain; A.Quinn, N.Loughnane; C.Byrne, D.Bolger, F.Murray; L.Giles, F.McDonnell (captain); A.Oates, P.Egan and R.Byrne. Replacements:- O.Dolan, T.Finau, R.Goldin, J.Crampton, L.Mechan, K.Barrett and J.Clarke.

Referee:- Keith Condell (Leinster).