Winning start for Buccs in J1 League

Rugby with Michael Silke


BUCCANEERS made a winning start to the Connacht Junior 1A League when they defeated Sligo 22-18 in a well-contested opener at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday.

The first score came from the boot of Darragh Corbert with a penalty kick forged by Gavin O’Toole. Buccs then won another penalty from a lineout to lead 3-0. Sligo soon levelled it up again with a penalty. Corbert then scored a wonderful individual unconverted try off a midfield scrum showing good passing and decision making from Buccaneers for an 8-3 lead. Just before half time Sligo gained the lead after their much stronger scrum pushed the homesters over the line. The opening score of the second half was a penalty kick by Sligo after a poor ruck decision to give the visitors an 8-13 advantage on the 52th minute. Buccs then played their way into the opposition 22 and, after some good carries, Dean McMahon with a great individual run lead him to touch down under the posts with the conversion added by Corbert to regain the lead by 15-13 on the 60th minute. Sligo responded to take the lead again with an unconverted try five minutes later. On the 70th minute Buccs had possession just outside the north-westerners’ 22 and, with a penalty advantage, Hopkins attacked the line and off-loaded brilliantly to Buckley who took the pass with great skill. The hooker broke the line and dotted down under the post making Corbett’s conversion a formality. Brave defence for ten minutes then ensured the Athlone side held out with a turn over on our own line from Buckley to win the game.

BUCCANEERS:-S.Flynn,D.Buckley,S.O’Connell; H.Ronaldson,B.Collins;T.Philips,G.O’Toole and T.Rensford; F.Hopkins (captain ), D.McMahon; R.Murphy-Sweeney, R.Enraght-Moony ,E.O’Reilly, G.Fallon; D.Corbett. Replacements:- N.Flynn, E.Cooney (for Flynn,39 mins ), O.Treacy (for O’Toole, 30 min ), D.Mannion (for Fallon,52 mins ) and J.Lopez



BUCCANEERS and Galwegians served up fairly entertaining fare when the teams met in the Connacht Junior 1A League at Crowley Park, Galway, where the homesters prevailed 27-26 on Saturday. Buccs made four changes in personnel, all in their pack, for this encounter.

Wegians opened the scoring through a seventh minute Peadar Beirn penalty. They forged their opening try when Dan Faulkner got in for a 27th minute touchdown with Beirn adding the conversion. Buccs best opportunity came via a terrific break by Frankie Hopkins who lacked swift support. The Pirates scrumhalf was then yellow-carded moments before half-time for illegally slowing possession. Galwegians added further punishment when substitute Gary Carroll could not be stopped and Beirn’s conversion, the final act of the first half, gave the hosts a 17-0 advantage at the interval.

Fourteen man Buccs then added to their difficulties four minutes after the change of ends when conceding a rash penalty on their own 22. The Tribesmen again punished them as they spread the ball right to left where the overlapping James Kennedy got through for an unconverted try.

Eliminating errors and continuing to toil ceaselessly, Buccaneers quickly got back into the contest. Teenage hooker Cian Daly was decidedly unlucky to be edged into touch at the corner flag but Buccs forced the hosts back over their line following the resultant lineout. From the ensuing scrum, the ball was moved to Darragh Corbett who scythed in for a 49th minute try. Astoundingly, the fullback drilled the conversion wide, which was to cost Buccs dearly.

Six minutes later, a committed chase by Ross Murphy-Sweeney and Corbett following a kick ahead forced Eamonn Dowling to carry the ball over his own goal line to earn a scrum for Buccs. The Pirates pack shunted forward before Torin Rensford broke away to power over for a try left of the posts with Corbett adding the conversion. Just three minutes later, Dean McMahon made ground down the left flank and when the ball was transferred to Hopkins the Pirates scrumhalf weaved his way in for a try between the uprights. Corbett’s conversion narrowed the arrears to 22-19.

As the contest entered the final quarter, Rensford turned over possession on the home ten-metre line. Owen Treacy flashed the ball to the left and, moments later, Gerard Fallon was dotting down for a bonus point try for Buccs. Corbett landed a superb touchline conversion to put the Athlone side 26-22 ahead with 17 minutes remaining. Fallon was sin binned five minutes from time, his attempted intercept deemed a deliberate knock-on. Galwegians made their numerical superiority pay off a second time, as they went through the phases and Shane Ryan scored the decisive try. Despite Beirn being unable to add the conversion, the westerners won for the second week in a row by the narrowest of margins and now top the league table.

BUCCANEERS:- D.Corbett; G.Fallon, E.O’Reilly, R.Enraght-Moony, R.Murphy-Sweeney; D.McMahon, F.Hopkins; S.Flynn, C.Daly, H.O’Neill; H.Ronaldson (captain ), T.Rensford; T.Phillips, D.Mannion and O.Treacy. Replacements:- N.Farrelly (for Flynn, 28 mins ), R.Byrne (for Mannion, h/t ), S.Flynn (for Daly, 67 mins ),D.Mannion (for Rensford, inj. 64 mins ), G.Dunican (for Farrelly, 76 mins ), J.Lopez and A.Murtagh.


BUCCANEERS U20s commence their season with a qualifier for the J.P. Fanagan Leinster Premier League away to Seapoint on Sunday. This match kicks off at 3 pm. in Kilbogget Park, Killiney.


The All-Ireland League kicks off on Saturday week when Buccaneers host Naas in the opening round of Division 1B at Dubarry Park. There will be a pre-match function in The Bounty for this game. Cost is €30 per person for 3-course meal with complimentary wine and free programme plus admission to the stand for the match. Contact our Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711 to book.


The club lost one of it’s real characters with the passing of Joseph Lyster. Heartfelt condolences are extended to his wife Lola (a stalwart on our ladies committee ) and extended family. May he rest in eternal peace.


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