MONIVEA 7 BUCCANEERS 16
A really strong second half performance secured a well deserved Connacht Junior 1A League 16-7 victory by Buccaneers over Monivea at the Castle Grounds, Monivea, on Sunday. The hosts were dogged, relying on a kicking game in testing conditions to pin Buccs back whenever the opportunity presented itself. The Pirates stuck to the task on hand to record a win that keeps them in third place in this division as well as avenging their single point home loss to Monivea early in the season.
Monivea had first benefit of the breeze and were swiftly on the scoreboard. The visitors’ had a weakness at lineouts in the opening half and an overthrow close to Buccaneers line after just four minutes led to a very soft try for the Co.Galway club. A brilliant conversion gave them a 7-0 advantage.
Thereafter a frustrating first half unfolded for the Athlone side as they gave the ball back a few times and Monivea made use of the wind to kick the ball downfield, refusing to play anywhere outside of the Shannonsiders 22 if possible. However, Buccs rucking and breakdown was of the highest order for the whole game.
With Torin Rensford and Andre Kruger giving great physicality from the second row, Buccs responded straight away. Endeavouring to play their preferred brand of expansive rugby, Ross Murphy-Sweeney was soon haring down the right wing where he was held up just short of the home line. But Buccs continued to apply pressure that eventually cracked the home cover. Eoghan O’Toole got over for try which his brother Gavin converted to level the scores. The remainder of the half continued with Monivea harnessing the wind by kicking in behind the midlanders cover whilst Buccs strove for field position. The teams were deadlocked 7-7 at half-time.
Buccaneers utterly dominated the second half but could not notch a try. Nevertheless, their efforts put Monivea under frequent pressure and forced them to concede penalties. Gavin O’Toole eased Buccs ahead with a brace of placekicks and, with the final kick of a hard fought contest, he added a third penalty that denied the westerners a losing bonus point.
Youngsters Robert Enraght-Moony and the returning Kruger were outstanding in defence and hard carrying while Buccs scrum was a joy to behold. This 16-7 away victory in draining weather and underfoot conditions will reinforce the Pirates self-belief ahead of next Sunday’s Junior Cup quarter-final against Connemara.
BUCCANEERS:- H.Hughes; R.Murphy-Sweeney, D.McMahon (captain ), R.Enraght-Moony, C.Forde; E.O’Toole, G.Fallon; H.O’Reilly, R.Grenham, N.Farrelly; A.Kruger, T.Rensford; T.Phillips, G.O’Toole and O.Treacy. Replacements:- D.Buckley, T.Thompson, S.O’Connell, A.Shine-Lynch and E.O’Reilly.
BUCCS AWAY TO CONNEMARA IN CUP QUARTER FINAL
Buccaneers face a daunting test when they travel to Clifden on Sunday to square up to Connemara in the quarter-final of the Connacht Junior Cup. Kick off for what should be a competitive and intriguing contest is 2pm. with extra time played if the teams are level at the end of normal time.
On their own Monastery Ground, the Blacks will be strong favourites. They have lost just one league match this season and edged a tight contest 13-8 away to second placed Creggs last Sunday. Prior to that they overcame Buccs narrowly at Dubarry Park but the Athlone side can take confidence from that outing as a strong second half effort just ran out of time for the Pirates.
They must not allow Connemara get up a head of steam or build up a lead on Sunday. Nor must they be overawed by the occasion. Cuteness, pragmatism and discipline will be key ingredients for what is a mainly youthful Buccs squad. The experience of Rory Grenham,
Torin Rensford and the O’Toole brothers will be vital to Buccaneers prospects. Owen Treacy and Niall Farrelly will be competitive in the forwards battle where youngsters like Harry O’Reilly and Andre Kruger are unlikely to be fazed. If the midlanders hold their own in this sector, then Ross Murphy-Sweeney, Harry Hughes, Callum Forde and Robert Enraght-Moony have the pace and talent to unlock the Blacks defence. Skipper Dean McMahon can be counted on to lead by example while Ger Fallon, Trevor Phillips, Darren Buckley, Ross Cooper and Kevin O’Connor are others who could influence Buccs in their quest to spring a surprise. If the Pirates back themselves and play to potential, then they have what it takes to make a successful raid out West.