Dublin University continued their excellent form defeating Buccaneers 27-6 in Saturday’s Ulster Bank League Division 1B encounter at Dubarry Park.
A late fourth try secured a bonus point for the visitors who climb to third in the standings, while Buccs drop one place to sixth and into the bottom half of the table following a fourth successive defeat.
For the second successive match, Buccs were forced to make six changes in personnel which did not help their cause, but nevertheless this was a very flat effort by the Pirates in testing weather and underfoot conditions.
On the sodden surface, they were off the pace as the students were a much sharper and cohesive outfit. Wing Killian O’Leary and hooker Pat Finlay were the only changes to Trinity’s starting 15, while Buccs trio Rory O’Connor, Michael Mannion, and Conor Lowndes were out through injury and Jacob Walshe was not available. Cameron Hertz made his long-awaited debut for the Pirates with Brannagh Corcoran also making his first start in the backline where Graham Lynch returned at scrum-half. Saba Meunargia, Cian Romaine. and Sam McCormack came into the pack, the latter for his first senior outing in this season’s AIL.
Buccs had first benefit of the wind and rain, but Trinity settled quickly to take a ninth-minute lead, their pack driving over the home line where Angus Lloyd applied the finishing touch; Jack McDermott was unable to add the conversion.
The Midlanders suffered a further setback on 13 minutes when Alan Gaughan joined their growing injury list, with Alex Hayman coming on in the centre. Subsequently, debutant Hertz was short with a penalty from five metres inside his own half, but then a College player knocked on. From the resultant scrum, Buccaneers were awarded a penalty which the young South African converted.
Despite that setback, the visitors promptly displayed their try-poaching capabilities when they quickly tapped a 21st-minute penalty and moved the ball to the left where O’Leary provided the overlap, but McDermott was unable to convert from close to the touchline.
Buccs responded with out-half Hertz kicking a second penalty five minutes later. Then at the other end, Ben Carty put in a terrific try-saving tackle after a Buccs clearance had been blocked down. Coming up to half-time, McDermott was missed by several tacklers as he made good yardage, before Romaine was sin-binned for slowing the ball illegally.
It proved third time lucky for McDermott, as he finally found the range with the resultant penalty to give Dublin University a 13-6 advantage at the interval. Buccs were forced to make a second change with Ricky Dixon coming on out of position for the injured Callum Boland for the second half. Hertz was fortunate shortly after the restart when his attempted clearance was blocked down, but just as Romaine returned to the fray Lynch incurred a yellow card for his third successive match.
In the 54th minute Nick McCarthy put Tom Ryan cantering through for a try under the posts. McDermott’s conversion stretched Trinity’s advantage to 20-6 and there was little doubt then about the outcome. Buccs battled until the death without any real cutting edge. On several occasions they got into promising positions inside the visitors’ 22 but lacked the necessary composure or firepower to score, although their pressure did earn a yellow card for Dublin University replacement Conor Gleeson with 13 minutes remaining.
Buccs just could not fashion a try that could have salvaged a losing bonus point, and the students showed the hosts how it should be done two minutes before the end when Tim Maupin made a break from halfway. The USA international surged through for a fine solo try at the posts to earn Dublin University a bonus point. McDermott kicked the conversion to complete the 27-6 scoreline.