Buccaneers look to maintain top spot with win against Old Wesley

Buccaneers captain Kolo Kiripati is pictured with mascots George and Natalie Rikadze prior to the win over UL Bohemian

Buccaneers captain Kolo Kiripati is pictured with mascots George and Natalie Rikadze prior to the win over UL Bohemian

Buccaneers head to Dublin on Saturday where they face Old Wesley in the Ulster Bank League Division 1B at Donnybrook, kick off 2.30pm.

This will be a tricky test for the Pirates as the hosts are now third in the table, just one point behind leaders Buccs.

Last weekend Buccs knocked UL Bohemian off the pinnacle of Division 1B with a stunning 49-17 Ulster Bank League victory. The Pirates now top the league table on scoring difference.

Buccs enjoyed a surprising amount of territory against UL as they constantly moved forward. Alan Gaughan opened their scoring with a ninth-minute penalty. On 18 minutes the Pirates moved the ball snappily from a scrum on the right and Poolman’s skipped pass sent Conroy scampering away from near halfway for an unconverted try wide on the opposite flank.

Seven minutes later a second try looked imminent following a Mata Fifita rampage through the middle. Poolman carried on to Galvin whose offload to Layden was fractionally forward before Gaughan tagged on a second penalty after 28 minutes. Griffin showed his class with a wonderful 31st-minute break that was stopped just short before the centre’s contribution was brought to a premature end due to injury. O’Reilly came in on the right wing with Poolman moving to centre.

The home pressure was rewarded with a second Conroy try when he squeezed in at the left corner flag following a deft John Sutton offload after 35 minutes, just two minutes after UL Bohs Ricky McKenna had been yellow-carded for a deliberate knock on that brought another promising raid to a halt. Outhalf Gaughan added a splendid conversion, but Buccs had another setback when Kolo Kiripati was withdrawn due to injury, U20 Meagher replacing him.

In the final move of the half, Gaughan showed good strength and desire to finish off more sustained Buccs pressure to stretch over the line for a try and his straight-forward conversion completed the action of the half after which Buccaneers were fully deserving to be 25-0 ahead.

UL Bohs came storming out of the blocks following the change of ends and Harry Fleming carved a gap through an unusually lacklustre home defence just a minute into the second half. Robbie Bourke converted and belief swiftly returned to the Limerick side’s ranks. Their momentum gathered further pace when David Rowesome burst through for an unconverted try to reduce their arrears to 25-12.

Buccs promptly consolidated, helped by the return of the talismanic Kiripati. They again demonstrated good composure and conviction in the build up to O’Reilly’s bonus point try with Gaughan landing another excellent conversion, and he quickly added a penalty. UL Bohs kept their hopes alive when following neat interplay hooker Rowesome’s second try wide on the right tightened the margin to 35-17.

But that was as good as it got for the visitors as Buccaneers regained momentum from the restart. Stephen McVeigh powered over for a 64th-minute try near the posts making Gaughan’s conversion elementary.

In the final move of a fast-flowing contest, Danny Qualter intercepted a desperate attack by the Red Robins and he offloaded to Layden whose hack ahead was swooped on by Poolman to score Buccs' sixth try. Gaughan completed the action with another magnificent conversion to ensure that Buccaneers scored 49 points for the second successive home match.

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