U-17s advance to Connacht League final


On a cool but sunny Sunday, Buccaneers U-17s advanced to the Connacht League decider with a 46-12 victory over Creggs at well-attended Dubarry Park. Not having played for a month, Buccs were not as sharp and cohesive as they can be and it took them some time to get to grips with Creggs’ doughty challenge.

Buccs made a quick start, Andrew Henson getting an early try that Kyle Mahon converted. But Creggs responded with their best spell of the opening half and a Micheal Kelly try converted by Gerard Healy levelled matters. Mahon added a pair of penalties either side of a yellow card to Creggs outhalf Kelly.

The Pirates then found their groove coming up to the interval. Slick and swift hands sent Henson on his way to his second try and a barrelling break by Sean Glennon made huge yardage before the hooker’s offload sent Paul O’Sullivan racing away for a try. Mahon converted both touchdowns to give Buccaneers a healthy 27-7 lead at half-time.

Mahon notched a try on the right and O’Sullivan showed good strength to grab his second between the uprights. The impressive Mahon converted both to stretch the homesters advantage to 41-7. The physically bigger Creggs side continued to battle and were unlucky to be held up twice over the home line but their hard work eventually gained some reward when Matthew Byrne scored an unconverted try. However, Buccs had the final say when their captain Kyle Byrne finished off the final move of the game for a try that completed the 46-12 margin.

Despite the scoreline, Buccaneers will need to improve considerably when they face Corinthians in the final. There was a rustiness about their play and a lack of precision and focus at times while the early injury to Kailin Blessing was a big blow. Mahon in the backline and Glennon in the pack were the best performers on the day but there is talent, ability and potential aplenty in the squad that, with work on the training paddock, will make them a sharper and dangerous outfit in the decider.

BUCCANEERS:- A.Henson; P.O’Sullivan, K.Mahon, M.Turner, D.Burke; B.Doyle, D.Lyons; D.O’Leochain, S.Glennon, E.Rooney-Digan; T.Mason, T.Trainor; K.Blessing, S.O’Connor and K.Byrne (captain). Replacements:- C.Hudson, R.Fallon, S.Duffy, M.Almagro and M.O’Connor.

CREGGS:- C.Farrell; G.L. de Oliveira, R.Ward, L.Kilcommons, H.King; M.Kelly, A.Beckett; J.Blighe, R.Butler, P.McMorrow; G.Healy, M.Fallon; M.McDonnell, L.Cormican and M.Beirne. Replacements:- M.Noone, B.Geraghty, C.Cuttle, J.Moylan and J.Lohan.

Referee:- John J.Martin (Connacht).