At 5 pm on a beautiful Sunday evening the unbeaten in Leinster Buccaneers U-20’s rolled out of the Aviva Stadium full of young men with big ideas of going a full league campaign undefeated. Winning has simply become a habit for this Academy of Winners, maintaining their 100% win record in their J.P.Fanagan Leinster Premier 3 Division campaign. The morning started very different for Niall Quinn’s travelling management team of Martin Staunton and Damien Shine with five starting players “Unavailable for Selection”. All credit to the available players and the club’s commitment to having built such a big talented panel with strength in depth and competition for places in this ever-improving group of nearly 40 players.

No quarter was given from the kick-off by the young Pirates who all stuck to the game plan and raced into a 3 points lead from the talented boot of Ruaidhri Fallon despite a tricky South County Dublin cross wind blowing. Skillfully he again a few minutes later nailed on a conversion from a Lasha Laoshvilli try. Buccs crossed the Lansdowne line five times before half time but failing to score until the powerful Luke Balsinger scored the pack’s second try of the game. Buccs lineout and rolling maul was a massive weapon that Lansdowne had no answer for. Lansdowne got a breakaway try leaving the game 15-7 at half time in favour of the Athlone club. The second half was a similar story of Buccs missed try scoring opportunities with Orrin Burgess getting a lone try leaving the full-time score 20-7.

Buccs forwards were on top for the entire game with powerful player of the match Cian McCann carrying well all day while Fionn McDonnell gave an exhibition in catching lineout ball. The other forwards were dominant, dynamic and clinical in everything they did proving the old adage again “forwards win games, backs decide by how much”. The backs were rock solid and worked seamlessly, counter attacking at every opportunity. Power and skill in contact won the day for Buccaneers. Going forward into the home straight of their league campaign,
this squad of mostly U-19’s now have the platform to add width, flair and pace to their game by including their back three in their attacking options thus rewarding their forwards on the scoreboard for their absolute dominance over all opposition packs at this age level.

All involved in this encounter were grateful to referee Paul Manning and really appreciated the hospitality and sportsmanship from their hosts Lansdowne RFC in their world class facilities with an equally warm welcome to their guests. Buccs host Blackrock College next Sunday week and the final February Sunday game is home to high flying NUIG. Training continues on Friday nights at 7:30pm in Dubarry Park.

BUCCANEERS:- B.Daly; M.Glynn, D.Colgan, T.Shine (captain), L.Duane; R.Fallon, J.Connolly, E.Gallagher, L.Laoshvilli; C.McCann, F.McDonnell; K.Kiripati, D.Fitzgerald and L.Balsiger. Replacements:- C.Brill, O.Burgess, K.Egan, M.Byrne, E.Friel, C.Malone, M.Mitchell and D.Blackweir.