Buccs finish with a flourish

A late scoring blitz by Buccaneers earned them a bonus point 25-7 victory over Shannon in their Ulster Bank League Division 1B game at Dubarry Park, Athlone on Saturday. The game between two youthful sides was still in the balance entering the final quarter with the Pirates deservedly 10-0 ahead before the final scoring salvo stunned the visitors.

Although Buccs dominated territory and had majority possession mainly due to the industry of Danny Qualter in a hard-working pack, they lacked a clinical edge for large spells of this contest.

However, a series of close-in forays led by Kolo Kiripati was finished off by McVeigh for a 24th minute try converted excellently by Callum Boland who added a penalty 10 minutes later following further home pressure. Buccs led 10-0 at half-time, an advantage that looked vulnerable in the prevailing conditions.

Rain and clouds arrived shortly before the interval, necessitating floodlights for the restart. Shannon dominated following the change of ends. Buccaneers eventually hit the form they are capable of in the last quarter hour with fast and slick handling initiated by Kiripati and carried on by Dolan, David Butler, and Layden being finished off wide on the right by Billy Henshaw for an excellent 70th-minute try. Boland’s conversion was just short and, when Shane Mullally wrong-footed his opposite number six minutes later to curve in for a neatly-taken Shannon try converted by Ronan McKenna to make it 15-7, the possibility of a grandstand finish was set up.

Buccs riposte was instant with smart hands by O’Reilly and Rory Moloney in a swift counter-attack proving too much for the Limerick side as the impressive Layden burst through on the left for an unconverted try. The Pirates again displayed a cutting edge with a sweeping move, angling left to right for a try scored in the corner by Fifita to complete Buccaneers’ bonus point triumph.

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