Buccaneers triumphed over Galwegians by 22-10 in the final of the Connacht U15 Development League.
A midweek toss of a coin gave the young Pirates home advantage for this decider, and they also made the most of playing on the main pitch at Dubarry Park.
Both teams tried to dominate and stamp their authority from the beginning of the game. Impressive command and control from David Colgan and Charlie Kennedy throughout pushed Buccs consistently forward. Early breaks by Peter Mulvihill and skipper James Connolly pinned Wegians inside their half. The home front row trio of Hugh Cunniffe, Nathan Duffy and Ewan Murphy were very aggressive at the breakdown, causing the visitors problems all over the pitch.
Fionn McDonnell and Rory Kilgarriff lorded the line-outs, securing quality ball and allowing Buccs to attack. A multiple phase attack yielded the first try, scored by John Dillon-O’Shea and converted by Colgan.
Soon after, enterprising play from Martin O’Grady, Adam Donovan, Brendan Costello and Thomas O’Brien, who broke from midfield, fell just short of the try-line. However, great energy by Mulvihill saw him crash over for Buccaneers second try and a 12-0 lead.
Galwegians hit back with a fantastic try just before the interval, when Brendan Costello was yellow carded, to narrow their arrears to 12-5 at half-time.
Buccs responded to the pressure and their midfield stepped up to the challenge. A terrific Donovan break aided by a dummy run from Alex Grinko earned Buccs their third try, touched down by O’Brien.
The westerners rallied and looked like scoring a try, but resilient home winger Paul Maloney stood firm. The Athlone side then sealed victory when turnover ball gave Donovan a chance he was not going to refuse to score Buccs fourth try.
Galwegians continued to battle and scored a late consolation try to complete the 22-10 scoreline. Sean Kelly put in a great shift for the victors with his strong carries getting over the gain line. Another replacement, Thiago Costa, playing only for the third time, and debutant Prefima Blessing, also caught the eye for the worthy winners.