U-20’s win Connacht League title


BUCCANEERS claimed the revived Connacht U-20 League title when they came from behind to deservedly overcome Corinthians 20-6 in a well-contested decider at Dubarry Park on Sunday.

A well taken penalty from Jack Conway opened Corinthians account and the out-half doubled his side’s advantage with another penalty as Buccaneers fell foul of the referee’s whistle. However, it would be the last score for the visitors as Buccs drove on. A tap and go penalty led to a try by Finian Murray, converted by James Clarke, that overtook the Corinthians lead and Buccs followed up with a penalty from Clarke before half-time.

Trailing by four at the restart, Corinthians went all out to retake the lead and were unfortunate not to have scored following some brilliant steals and turnovers. However, they would be felled by a real sucker punch when Caleb Smerdon somehow collected possession and found a gap that didn’t seem to exist, and the centre outran the westerners’ cover to touch down. This was a killer for the Tribesmen who had looked the more likely to score at that stage. Clarke was unerring with the boot and his conversion shaved the inside of the post while a further penalty would conclude the scoring and seal the win for Buccaneers.

The Pirates skipper Fionn McDonnell led by example in the forwards battle, winning all his side’s lineouts as well as most of the opposition’s. Prop Murray finished as the league’s leading try scorer and the home backrow trio showed well on both sides of the ball.
Meanwhile, the backline played their best game of the season to date, hunting down and tackling their opponents relentlessly. Yishai Avrahami created breaks regularly while the star of this final was Cormac Lyons. The full-back was a force of nature with his barnstorming runs creating havoc for the Corinthians defenders.

The Inaugural Bank of Ireland Connacht U-20-s League Cup was presented on behalf of Connacht Rugby by Robert Lahiffe to victorious captain Fionn McDonnell.

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

CORINTHIANS:- D Joyce; H Calleja, J Tunney-Ware, C Grant, E O’Rourke; J Conway, T Farthing; J Duffy, C Leonard, A Burke (Captain); G Kilkelly, E Mulligan; D Fitzpatrick, P Flannery and R Gaughan. Replacements:- B Butler, E Oifoh, J Hughes, E Connolly, B McGuckian, K Brennan, R McDonnell and H Sheridan.

Referee:- Johnny Quinn (Connacht).