1st XV v Buccaneers (A) by D O’Brien 17.10.2015
Buccaneers RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1B
Saturday 17th October 2015.
Buccaneers V Highwaymen it was not, but we did have a little bit of good fortune. It was a tough all round encounter against a team that will challenge hard for promotion. Buccaneers have a strong pack with some experienced and talented players and their set pieces are reliable. Buccs had to play from 16 minutes onward with 14 men when their impressive hooker was sent off for a tip tackle. St Marys had a man in the sin bin for the last ten minutes and at that stage, it was tremulous. The Marys’ defence showed their renowned spirit as forwards and backs, shoulder to shoulder threw themselves in front of the surge, clung with fingernails, and drove with shuddering force to repel the onslaught. Meanwhile, the ashen faced supporters gripped the rails, to steady wobbling legs and sagging hearts.
Having skipper Rob Sweeney back made a difference, especially in the scrum and he kept his men going all game. It has to be observed that we were missing some senior players in the pack and backline. Marys were caught narrow at times especially early on when Buccs scored a good try out wide. St Marys’ kicking from hand needs further work on timing and accuracy. When the ball was run, we looked dangerous and twice quick thinking opportunism by lively Robbie Glynn, led to tries. With ball retention and pace, there is no doubt of our talent and potency. Our maul too is potent and when 20 – 17 down and 17 minutes to go, after an excellent lineout take by Barry O’Flanagan near the Buccs line, we had an superbly guided maul which ended with Brian Mc Govern touching down; this was the winning score, importantly converted from far out by Sean Kearns. It was interesting to see David Fanagan on the wing where he acquitted himself well and Darragh Fanning at 12 where he showed his versatility and ability and was our best player, forever looking for work in attack and defence and frequently steadying and retrieving situations.
You are all aware that we are entertaining the Ballymena Braidmen at Halloween; no masking it, it could be scary! It is very good to play Ballymena once more; we have a very long and warm friendship with the club. However, they are the leaders and this is a real barometric test of both teams. We will need to have our strongest team and our top game to prevail. They have a balanced and talented team; they play strong fast rugby and will have the confidence of being the only unbeaten team in AIL division 1B. It is important that the supporters come and get behind Smythy’s boys.
On six minutes, Buccs scored that converted try, by winger, Eoghan O’Reilly and led 7 – 0. Then on 16 minutes, a tip tackle led to the sending off and Sean converted the ensuing penalty, 7 – 3. A Buccs penalty on 23 minutes made it 10 – 3 and then on 31 minutes a penalty was awarded to the visitors on the Buccs 22 and alert scrumhalf Robbie Glynn tapped and went, he sizzled through the defence and made it over with two tacklers hanging on. 10 – 10. On 34 minutes, a quick, adventurous drop out from our 22 was picked up by the Buccs winger, Rory O’Connor, and he ran in a converted try. Then, just on half time we were awarded another penalty and again Robbie saw his chance and exploded into action, giving on the ball to David Fanagan, he made ground and off loaded to skipper Robert Sweeney who ploughed through defenders and hard working Kevin Sheahan took it on for the line, drove over, and Sean converted . Half time 17 – 17.
The second half was into its 21st minute when Buccs added a penalty from their kicker, Alan Gaughan and we trailed 20 – 17. Just two minutes later we had a penalty and captain Rob, decided on the corner, Sean put it in perfectly and Barry had the lineout take and big Brian, ever in the thick of things, scored. The conversion to ensure Buccs needed more than a kick to win, hit it beautifully and we were leading. In spite of frantic and ferocious pressure by Buccs we did not buckle and it ended 20 – 24.
The Squad (Rolling substitutions)
15 R Crotty, 14 T Kennedy, 13 I Dineen,12 D Fanning, 11 D Fanagan, 10 S Kearns, 9 R Glynn, 8 K Sheahan, 7 B O’Flanagan, 6 D Aspil, 5 M Fallon, 4 C Ruddock 3 Rob Sweeney (Capt.), 2 H Kean, 1 B McGovern, M Elliot-Murray, T O’Reilly, P Starrett, I Cullinane, E Robillon.