A youthful Buccaneers squad travelled to the capital for the final round of the 2019 Irish Touch Series (ITS ), the venue for which was the 5G pitch at Donnybrook's Energia Park.
The opening game was against a very strong Sandymount side who contained no less than two 2018 European Champions in their ranks. Sandymount dominated in the first quarter but the Buccaneers defence held shape. Buccs then took a shock lead against the run of play when Paul Gavin took advantage of some hesitation in the opposition defence to run the length of the field and touch down. Sandymount were not phased however and continued to pin Buccs back on their tryline. Only some strong Buccs defence kept them out temporarily before they got over for the equalising score. Sandymount quickly added a second to hit the front and their calm controlled play was proving difficult to combat. A clever interception by Leah Downes prevented another score as Buccs temporarily lifted the siege. Sandymount finally added a deserved third try and looked to be heading for victory. Buccs hit back with a great 1-2 between Adil Kurt-Elli and Paul Gavin down the left wing putting Gavin over. Sandymount finally wrapped up the victory with a fourth try seconds before the end.
Buccs had plenty of opportunities against Belfast Warriors in game two but could not finish as aggressive opposition defence held them at bay. It seemed like the game could go either way at this stage before Warriors hit Buccs with two quick tries to take control of the game. Try as they might the black shirts could not keep Belfast at bay and the Ulster side ran in three more touchdowns before the end. Buccs visibly tired, but Paul Gavin did get over before the end for a consolation score.
The hosts provided game three opposition, a highly entertaining game with Buccs putting it up to the young and talented Donnybrook side. Donnybrook enjoyed an early lead before debutante Sean Doak squeezed over in the corner for his first try for Buccs. Donnybrook increased their lead with two more scores before Paul Gavin scored his fourth try of the day. Against a very strong attacking side, Buccs’ defence was again notable as they kept out several more tries with some good touches by the likes of Doak and Aymerich.
Marley Park Barbarians provided the opposition for Buccaneers final contest. The wily Barbarians used all of their experience to stretch the Buccs defence out wide and run in four tries in all. Buccs hit back with scores from Nigel So and Sive Cusack for a final score of 4-2, with the highlight of the game though was Zara Kurt-Elli showing her Ireland U18 coach Paul Brown how it is done with a nifty sidestep!
Star man for Buccs was Paul Gavin with four tries while Anna O'Brien also impressed in attack. There also some strong defence from Aymerich, Doak and Kurt-Ellis.
Buccaneers: Nigel So, Paul Gavin, Sean Doak, Brendan Wilkins, Denis O'Connor, Adil Kurt-Elli, Zara Kurt-Elli, Leah Downes, Molly Wilkins, Anna O'Brien, Sive Cusack, Manuel Aymerich, George Mullen.