It was Buccaneers turn to host the third round of fixtures in the Ireland Touch Series (ITS ) on Sunday last as nine touch rugby teams from around the country descended upon Dubarry Park.
Playing conditions were excellent during the course of the day with Buccaneers Touch fielding two full squads combining a mixture of youth and experience, the Bulls and the Stars.
The Bulls, who were in Pool A, were once again captained by Paul Gavin and they started off the day with a resounding 7-3 win over newcomers Munster Touch with Rory Silke (3 ) and Andy Moran (3 ) getting on the scoresheet, along with James O'Beirne who was playing in his very first touch game.
In game two, the Bulls took on round two winners Belfast Cooke Warriors and went down 1-6 to the eventual winners, Rory Silke scoring the try for the Bulls.
Game three ended in a 2-5 defeat against Old Belvo Touch with Kevin Brady Barry and Kieran Abrook getting the tries.
Game four was a titanic battle against Dublin kingpins Old Wesley. Buccs Bulls were level at 2-2 with scores from James O’Beirne and Rory Silke before two late scores nicked the win for the Dubliners.
The Buccs Stars meanwhile faced off against Racoon West of Galway in a Connacht Derby in game one on the main pitch. This game was notable for two brilliant tries that were scored by Buccs Stars. Firstly, Alex Connor sidestepped a Racoon West defender near his own line before running the length of the pitch to touch down. Then Philip Finnan sidestepped three Racoon defenders before outpacing the cover to score in the corner. These scores had the Stars level at 2-2 before the experience of Racoon West told with two late scores giving them the victory by 4-2.
Game two was against the Marley Park Tipsters and it ended 6-2 to the South Dublin side. Captain Ben Porter finished well off a '32 Short' move and Philip Finnan again used his exceptional footwork to score straight off a tap-off.
Game three was a hard-fought battle against DSC Wanderers. The scores were level for most of the game, tries from Cian Copelin with another magnificent length of the field effort and Ben Porter from a 'quickie' had Stars level at 2-2 before the speedy and youthful DSCW team stretched away to win 5-2.
In game four, the Stars were feeling the attrition rate with Star player Philip Finnan out with a knee strain. Bulls captain Paul Gavin stepped in and this proved crucial in the end. Early scores from Sofia Rizza and Jack Gordon had the Stars 2-1 ahead before RW hit back strongly, exploiting the shortside expertly for two tries. The Stars looked set to equalise when Andy Moran sliced through the defence before passing to Jack Gordon but he couldn’t hold the pass. With time running out Paul Gavin again stepped up, burning the outside defenders to score the equaliser, the game ending with a 3-3 scoreline.
The very last game of the day was a local derby with Buccs Stars taking on Buccs Bulls. It was an entertaining affair with the Bulls triumphing 4-3 in the end. Aoibhin Tynan got two tries for Bulls with Paul and Andy also getting on the scoresheet. Replying for the Stars were Alex Connor, Sofia Rizza and Ben Porter.
For the second tournament in a row, Belfast Cooke Warriors took out the ultimate prize, winning their second ever ITS tournament with a 5-1 win over the Tipsters in the cup final.
This event was very well organised by Michelle Coen and Michelle Mulcahy of the Ireland Touch Association as well as Buccaneers’ Brendan Wilkins.
The final round of this year’s ITS will take place on Saturday, October 22, in Dromore RFC, County Down.
Video clips of some of the great tries scored on the day can be found on the Buccaneers Touch Rugby facebook page.