BALLINASLOE 5 BUCCANEERS 7 (U-15s)
An epic rugby match was witnessed last Sunday involving two hugely committed teams serving up an immense battle of intense, highly skilled rugby which enthralled everyone who was lucky enough to be there. No, it wasn’t in the Millenium Stadium, it was in the slightly less auspicious venue of Moher Road, Ballinasloe where Ballinasloe and Buccaneers clashed in the Connacht Under 15 league.
Matches between these two clubs at all levels are always fiercely contested, particularly due to the their former amalgamation for a period between the mid 90s and mid 2000s. This game was no different and both teams served up an exhibition of committed and skilled rugby which ended up with a narrow 5-7 win for the visiting Pirates.
The first 15 minutes was a ding dong battle largely played between both 22 metre lines with both defences coping well with whatever their opponents threw at them. As the half wore on, the well drilled Ballinasloe team got the upper hand and following a sustained period of pressure near the Buccs line their speedy backline spotted a mismatch on the blindside of a ruck 10 metres out and cleverly switched the play to go over for a try eight metres from the corner flag. The Ballinasloe place-kicker narrowly missed the conversion which would later prove to be crucial.
Buccaneers managed to get to half time with no further breaches and used the time well to re-group. Ten minutes into the second half, following a period of sustained pressure, the Buccaneers Captain Shane Greene, who lead the side magnificently, spurned the opportunity to kick three easy points from in front of the posts. The penalty was tapped quickly and, following a series of quick rucks, second row Rob Muldoon drove powerfully towards the Ballinasloe line. Although initially held up short, his pack supported in behind him to get him over the line where he managed to ground the ball superbly. A true team score which typified the tenacity of these young Buccs.
The ever lively scrum-half Leo McFarlane stroked over the conversion which was to prove to be the match winning score. The Buccaneers team managed to counter the gallant Ballinasloe players as they tried to redeem the game. The Galwaymen had one penalty with five minutes remaining but the kick sailed narrowly wide. The contest finished with Ballinasloe camped on the Buccs line but, following a knock-on, Buccs were awarded a scrum which they won and the referee blew the final whistle after the impressive Jack Scouler kicked the ball dead.
The entire squad of 20 players deserve great credit for their superb performance, in particular their tackling, rucking and never say die attitude proving just enough to overcome their game opponents.
Buccaneers:- Tommy Devery, Dean Buckley, Ethan Connolly, Julian Devenny, Martin Fallon, Shane Greene (captain), Darragh Murray, Ruairi Campion, Leo McFarlane, John Why, Cameron Rooney-Duigan, Jack Scouler, Conor Larkin, Killian O’Sullivan, Dean Reynolds, Ebhan Slattery, Patrick Lynch, Kevin Horan, Robert Muldoon and Michael Byrne.
Buccaneers Yellow Vs Ballina U15’s -Connacht League Semi-final by Brian Tallon
Buccs Yellows were hoping for success as they faced Ballina in the semi-final of the U15 Connacht League to help offset the disappointment for their team mates Buccs Black team, who narrowly lost to Corinthians in the other Semi Final. The task was a mammoth one for the Yellow team, as they had already lost to Ballina earlier in the campaign and Ballina remained unbeaten going into this match.
Ballina had the kick-off and Buccs went well from the start with a confident catch by 2nd row Keelan Connolly setting up the platform for a Midlanders attack which led to an infringement by the Ballina lads at the ruck and resulted in a superb penalty kick from outhalf John Tumelty right into the left corner, 10 metres out from Ballina’s try zone. After 3 good phases of forward’s pick and go off the base of well protected rucks, Buccs wing forward James Finlass ducked under a sea of bodies to touch down for the opening score and 5 points to Buccs. Shane Coughlan’s conversion kick unfortunately failed to find its mark.
Ballina showed their character by responding decisively after try scoring hero Finlass knocked on the ball at the re-start due to cross purpose with his wing forward partner Conor Rohan as both went for the restart ball and the resultant scrum was the impetus for Ballina’s retaliatory try scored moments later. Their no.10 slotted over his conversion to give them the lead 7-5 after only 4 minutes of play.
Both sides contested ferociously at the breakdown and the big hits did take their toll as Buccs hooker Patrick Ryan had to leave the field of play when he was winded, to be substituted by James Downes, who himself then had to be replaced by the barely recovered Ryan, after only 1 minute of rugby, after Downes took a hard knock to his knee.
The intensity and commitment with which Buccs attacked and protected the breakdown allowed the Buccs to control the game and their much improved rucking gave Ballina little chance to impose themselves on the game.
Ballina tried to mix up the game by kicking over the top, but Rory Smith on the right wing caught the ball and drew 2 tacklers to off load to John Tumelty at full back, who in turn broke around 2 weak tackles in the centre of the park to open up the defence and bring play right up to Ballina’s 22. This led to Buccs being able to set up a Maul on the Ballina 5 metre line and credit to Ballina’s stoic defence as they held up the Buccs attack and won a penalty scrum when the maul failed to go forward. Ballina’s scrum half ill advisedly tried to run the ball back across his own try zone off the scrum and Darragh Mulvihill’s quick pace and rush tackle forced him to try off load to his Centre, who lost the ball to the ground. Both Rory Smith and James Finlass dived for it and Smith got the ball under control to ground it for an opportunistic try and put Buccs back into the lead 10-7. Again Coughlan’s conversion kick failed to find its mark and the 1st half finished out with 10 more minutes of intense play but no additional scores for either side.
In the second half Buccs restarted and the Midland lads had the better attacks, but were stopped short of the try line on 3 occasions as Ballina defended heroically.
On a day when all players on the field put in monumental performances it was hard to identify a stand-out performance, however special mention has to be given to both Conor Rohan at 7, who made big tackle after big tackle and was instrumental in killing off any chances for Ballina to set up plays from rucks or set pieces, and Liam Winnett who carried ball time and time again, creating holes in Ballina’s defence. It was Rohan’s huge hit on Ballina’s danger man no.10 that gave 2nd row, Mark Tallon the opportunity to contest for the ball and win a penalty when the isolated player failed to release. The resultant penalty kick by Tumelty brought play to just outside Ballina’s 5 metre line and set up no 8. Liam Winett for a crash try to put Buccs 15-7 ahead but again the conversion this time from John Tumelty didn’t slot over.
Ballina fought back and brought play back into Buccs 22 and when they won a penalty, another knock to Patrick Ryan stalled play for a while as he received treatment for an ankle injury. When play resumed moments later, Buccs had switched off in the centre of the park and Ballina’s big no.10 capitalised with a tap penalty and ran straight through to give himself an easy conversion as he touched down beside the post. With the score 15-14 and over 5 minutes to play a nerve shredding time followed as Ballina desperately went in search of a winning score and Buccs hoped to put the game out of reach. Near the close of the game Ciaran Sugrue saved a near certain try when he courageously slid down on a kick deep into Buccs half and quick support from Cameron Digan gave the rest of the pack time to set up their defence to have the game finish out 15-14 and a massive win for Buccaneers, giving them their ticket to a final against old rivals Corinthians.
Final Score Buccaneers Yellow 15- Ballina 14
Buccaneers Yellow; 1 Carl Doran 2. Patrick Ryan 3. Cathal O’Grady 4. Mark Tallon 5. Keelan Connlley 6. James Finlass 7. Conor Rohan 8. Liam Winnet 9. Shane Coughlan 10. Ciaran Sugrue 11. Cameron Digan 12. Darragh Mulvihill 13. Daniel Ennis 14. Ruairi Smith 15. John Tumelty & Subs- Paddy Toland (for 6), James Downes (for 2), Oisin Rock (for 7).
Ballina v Buccaneers Under 14 league
Date January 31st 2015
Score Ballina 10 Buccaneers 15
Wellington boots, coats, hats, scarfs and gloves were the order of the day, and any distant memory you may have held of that holiday on some sunny beech immediately vanished when you stepped out of the car at Ballina rugby club for the Under 14 league encounter between Ballina and Buccaneers.
The Buccaneer Sharks had an edge to them in the warm up and they certainly looked well up for this encounter.
That positive attitude would be needed, the pitch was very heavy and the weather cold, windy and wet, this as you can appreciate did not lead to a flowing game of rugby but there are days when a team must dig deep and win ugly and this was.
Buccaneers started on the front foot with the pack playing well and the big men Ethan Connolly, Evan Gallager, Chas Alozie and Martin Fallon punching holes up front, eventually the ball came out to the backs and they moved it from ball to hand extremely fast allowing Paddy Lynch to go over for an excellent try near the corner flag. The resulting conversion was narrowly missed and the score stood Ballina 0 to Buccaneers 5.
Ballina bounced straight back where Buccs failed to retain possession from the restart, with the ball turned over and immediate pressure put on the visitors try line. They held on valiantly for a period but eventually a gap appeared wide on the left side and Ballina went over for a try on the corner flag. The conversion was missed and the scores stood Ballina 5 to Buccaneers 5.
Just before half time Buccaneers had Jack Martin sin binned for repeated off side offending, and Conor Larkin had to go off with a shoulder injury but the lads from Athlone held out for half time and both teams had a chance to regroup.
The second half opened up with the teams again slogging it out and ownership of the ball turned over on both sides, Ballina had obtained possession from loose ball midway in their half and tried to move the it quickly across the back line but Jack Scouler showed good anticipation and intercepted the pass, running over for a try at the right corner flag. Again the conditions played a part and the conversion was missed leaving the scores Ballina 5 to Buccaneers 10.
Ballina then held a period of domination with a lot of penalties against the lads from The Midlands, in fact the first half count was 9 penalties against us to 1 for Ballina. Part of this was that Buccaneers were defending really well and were anxious to ensure fast line speed giving their opponents no time on the ball but in doing so meant going off side on occasion. The pressure from Ballina eventually told getting a deserved try, again the conversion was missed and the score stood both sides equal.
Buccaneers however were not finished and back they came. Camped on the Ballina try line Jack Scouler came from the rear of the ruck with an old fashioned pick and go, showing good technique he kept low to the ground diving over the try line with two Ballina defenders trying in vain to hold him up. The conversion was missed and the score stood Ballina 10 to Buccaneers 15.
Eventually, the whole game came down to the last 5 minutes, for if Ballina came back and scored Buccs U14’s would have walked away from this mud laden pitch with a draw or conceivably a defeat. However, the mental strength and spirit of these young players shone through, they were not going to allow this to happen and held absolutely firm.
Ballina did put in a huge effort and the last five minutes of the game were played around the Sharks 22. Time and time again the Pirates stood firm and cleared their line to capture a well-deserved victory which was celebrated when the final whistle blew!
The conditions made rugby hard to play and mistakes were made with some bad calls, way-wood kicking and easy turnover. The tackle count however was excellent and the spirit 100% with this team in the making. They just need to string all elements of their game together and the consistency of performance will come for sure, well done to all.
Team: Ethan Connolly, Even Gallagher, Chas Alozie, Martin Fallon, Kevin Horan, Michael Lynch, Shane Greene, Jack Scouler, Leo McFarlane, Darragh Murray, John Why, Conor Larkin, Jack Martin, Evan Slattery, Paddy Lynch
Bench all used: Billy Daulton, Rory Campion, Owen Slevin, Killian O’ Sullivan
Buccaneers U13’s v Ballina – 1st Cup Competition – John Waters
As has said before to watch this space, with 4 tries and three conversions the Bucc’s U13’s have got off to a great start for 2015. With the league lost on our 1st three outings of the season all is now looking rosie for the start of the Cup campaign. A storming start, which took Ballina completely by surprise, scoring his first hat-trick of the season the Bucc’s number 8 “Kyle Blackweir” was, by a country mile, man of the match today.
Strong running and great tackling were the main ingredients needed to put the away team to the sword. Captained by Ronan Hanley who, as always lead by example and with his pack under severe pressure due to hooker Deema Sheehan getting injured in the warm up Anthony Connolly was on hand to jump into the lion’s den and was, from the start, a fine replacement. The usual suspects Shane Finerty, Koranato Kirpati and Sam Fogarty were tireless in their efforts, the latter almost going over for a well worked try. A Ballina fight back shortly after Kyles 1st try evened the scores up to half time with their full back taking advantage of a gap in the Bucc’s backline and showed great speed to touch down under the posts. With scores even, GAME ON!!
The second half gave Bucc’s the wind at their backs and allowed Ruairdhi Fallon, again starting at Fly Half to push the ball deep into Ballina’s 22 for Adam Burke to chase, and chase he did causing huge panic from the away team. This set up Kyle’s 2nd try under the posts, as always a calm Fallon slotted the conversion home. Some fantastic individual performances from Gavin Daly, Mikey Turner and Martin Donnelly gave the impetus to Bucc’s and a good back line move where Tom Shine and Ben O’Carroll passed the ball out to Adam Burke who crossed in the corner for the third try of the day. Burke is now putting himself in good positions to trust his speed and will definitely be in line to score many more tries this season. Ben O’Carroll and Tom Shine are starting to understand each other and their own individual positions which will benefit the whole team due to their speed and passing ability.
Conor Waters made his first start of the season and equipped himself well in the first 20 mins and was in the right place at the right time to get away with an intercept ball only to be pegged back by some good tackling from the Ballina defence. With subs now been used Eoghain McCarthy and Brandon Green came on and added to the intensity. But a special mention to Mikey Turner’s replacement, Conor Gillen who came on at scrum half when the match could easily have turned against Bucc’s, but thanks to some good passing and excellent put-ins Conor was in top form and is now serious competition for the number 9 jersey . Fionann Henry had a solid game and constantly provided outstanding support throughout and it is good to have him back after his recent injury.
The U13’s are starting to now get a winning mentality and it is important that each of the players keep to the training and match day schedules allowing for a more structured and well-rehearsed environment.
Final Score Buccaneers 26- Ballina 7.
Buccaneers U17’s v Ballina
A full strength squad travelled to Ballina to continue the U17’s unbeaten run.
They were met by a well drilled Ballina side who were well up for the encounter. Buccs played with a strong breeze in the first half and battled hard with little reward up to the half hour when Aaron Martin made easy work of the Ballina defence crossing the line with Kyle Higgins converting in style.
Against the breeze Buccs battled well and their defence kept them in the game. After defending for long periods the Pirates pushed forward and in the dying minutes Thomas McGann killed the opposition off with a great individual try with Kyle kicking true for the conversion.
Final Score 14-0 to Buccaneers.
Best for Shannonsiders representing the Midlands in the Heart of Mayo were Aaron Martin, Darren Buckley, Thomas McGann & Corey Reid.
Buccaneers U18 v Sligo at Home
Buccaneers U18s got their first competitive outing of the League underway at Dubarry park on Sunday, losing out to a well prepared Sligo side. Head coach Billy McMickam was without several of the regular squad due to injuries and other commitments, but this served as a useful workout for the newly forming squad.
Niall Farrelly, Conor Kenny and James Foley bring valuable experience to this squad and although they will need to juggle outings with the 18s due to their selection with the club 20’s, they enjoyed the rough and tumble that the Sligo pack presented. Farrelly was man of the match until his dismissal early in the second half for a very controversial red card and it was a game changer. Foley carried strongly and Conor Kenny on his return to play following recent injuries acquitted himself very well.
Cory Reid had a fine game and the full back positon will surely be his for the season ahead. Ross Cooper and Paddy Browne also had solid games.
Conor Cleary and Calum Turley made welcome returns to club rugby and younger members of the squad Kyle Higgins and Daniel McGlynn got a taste of rugby at this level.
Overall a useful workout and performances will improve as the full squad make their way back playing.
Team : N Farrelly, J Berry, C Kenny, B Collins [Capt], C Cleary, K Rigney, C Turley, J Foley, P Browne, K Higgins, J O Keefe, N Conway, R Cooper, J Wentzel, C Reid, D McGlynn, D Ryan, B McEvoy, A Murphy, J Egan, N O Kane, J Dolan, S Ricard, J Milling, M Burnell
Good luck to Buccaneers players Luke Carty, Conor Murray, Ryan Jinks, Brian Stack, Paul Daly, George O Hara and Brian Daly as they take the field for neighbours St Bridgids in the Roscommon MFC Final this Sunday
Training and Fixture – Training continues on Friday nights at 7pm. Next match v Castlebar on Sunday 19th at home in Dubarry Park
U17 v Sligo League at home.
Buccaneers under 17 team got off to a flying start in their first league match, at home to a fancied Sligo team with a narrow but hard fought win. On a showery October morning Buccs started very well ,taking the game to Sligo and were unlucky after 10 mins not to score in the left corner, following sustained pressure from a significantly large and powerful Sligo pack.
The visitors were however first to get on the score board with a well taken try, which they failed to convert, after 20mins. Not allowing themselves to be overwhelmed these young Pirates fought back and scored a penalty within 5 mins all the time playing into a strong breeze.
As expected with the wind behind them the second half was all Buccaneers as they controlled they play with some super kicks into the Sligo 22 and converted a penalty after 10mins and eventually scored a well-deserved try after being held up over the line on 3 separate occasions.
Battered and bruised this heroic team held out for a justified 11-5 win.
The performance by this bunch of young men was a particularly heroic, with each one playing an equal part to defeat this fine Sligo side.
Due to the team work and commitment displayed, it would be wrong to single out any one man and if this team continue to play with the same commitment for the rest of the season, they will go far in this competition and do their club proud.
Team – Daniel Guinan, Brian Kenny, Thomas McGann, Corey Reid(C), Kyle Higgins, Dermot O’ Rourke, Robert Teape, David Noad, Kalem Byrne, Jamie Milling, Eric Fletcher, Darren Buckley, Arron Taylan.
The sun shone down at Dubarry Park as Buccaneers U14’s lined up to face Castlebar in their third game of the current league programme, the weather seemed like a good omen and indeed this proved to be the case for the Midland side. Buccaneers were playing into a strong wind in the first half but stormed away racking up three tries in 20 minutes, it would be difficult to single out any one player as the whole team played well from forwards to backs alike.
The forward pack made some tremendous line breaks with Dean Buckley, Evan Gallagher, Oisin Lough, Martin Fallon, Julien Devany, Shane Greene, Michael Lynch and Jack Scouler forming a tight forward pack and making excellent line breaks time and time again. When they neared the Castlebar try line Buccs then moved the ball quickly to the backs and Leo MacFarlane, Darragh Murray, Daniel Westman, Fergus O’Sullivan, Conor Larkin, John Feeney, Dean Reynolds showed deft control to hand, going over on either wing and one time under the post, to rack up a three try lead. Try scorers for the Pirates in the first half were Darragh Murray, Conor Larkin, Shane Green. Castlebar to their credit showed real spirit and they fort their way back into the game, scoring a try just before the close of the first half, they converted the try leaving the score 15 to 7 going in at the break.
Buccaneers high tempo performance had slipped at the end of the first half with some tackles been missed, so still all very much to play for in the second half for both teams. The home team started the second half with real purpose and zeal and within ten minutes scored a tremendous try which started from centre field and with a strong break from forward play and one pass to the outside winger Conor Larkin, they were away and scored under the posts and with the resulting conversion sailing between the upright. Buccs continued to power forward at pace, putting real pressure on the breakdown and giving Castlebar real issues and no time to settle, it was not long before they breached the Castlebar line for the fifth time, this time an absolute blistering run from the left winger Dean Reynolds starting from deep before cutting in and running under the posts and converted well extending the lead to 29 to 7.
You had to admire this young team as they were relentless in this second half performance, and they continued to move the ball at pace through the forwards and backs and it was not long before the sixth try was scored. Real pressure was applied on the Castlebar line, the resulting pressure forced a clearance been hurried by Castlebar and the hurried kick fell to Darragh Murray where he showed typical tenacity in forcing his way over the try line and subsequently taking the conversion.
You had to admire the lads from Castlebar as they did not give up and this positive attitude was fully rewarded with a try late on, leaving the final score Buccaneers 36 to Castlebar 12.
Buccaneers first points secured on this seasons league campaign, this is a good confidence boost for the team and gives them a real platform to build on, the sun shone this day and Buccaneers certainly shone with this performance. Try scorers in the second half were Dean Reynolds, Conor Larkin, Darragh Murray and conversions Leo MacFarlane and Jack Scouler. All substitutes were used on the day and they performed excellently when they came on Eabhan Sleator, Dairmuid Glynn, Michael Byrne
This was a real team performance, so well done to all !
U14 Connaught A League v Ballina, Away.
Buccaneer’s played the fourth league game of the season away to Ballina. To say that the conditions underfoot were difficult would be an understatement, the pitch was well cut up and this meant heavy going for both teams attempting to play rugby.
The match itself was a difficult contest with few scoring opportunities been created. Buccaneers chose to play with the wind in the first half and the game developed into a hard slog, not surprising given the conditions and state of the pitch.
Ballina had a strong defensive game plan that was well executed and they were very quick and aggressive in the ruck, tackling extremely well and Buccs found it difficult to create any real opportunity. Buccaneers chose to kick often for territory in the first half but more often than not this resulted in possession going back to Ballina. The half ended with no points on the score board for either side.
The second half was more of the same and Buccaneers were guilty of allowing alot of turnover over ball, the forwards were continually slow to the break down, whereas Ballina were much quicker giving them the benefit of turnover ball consistently through the match. When Buccaneers moved the ball through the back line they more often than not knocked on from poor handling, it should be said that conditions were not the best but the level of knock on was high.
The first breakthrough came with some good ruck ball won by Balina, the ball was moved quickly through the back row, which created a one on one on the outside wing, the Ballina winger beat our defensive tackle and enjoyed a free run to the line going over in the corner. Ballina missed the resulting conversion leaving the score Ballina 5 and Buccanears 0.
Buccaneers in the next phase of the game upped the level of intensity and did put pressure on the Ballina line, they got a penalty midway inside the Ballina half and Buccaneers kicked the resulting penalty to touch on the Ballina try line, however once again Ballina turned over our line out and the chance was gone.
The Pirates in this phase of the game did get the ball over the try line, Jack Scouler had made a line break close to the Ballina line, the forwards pilled in behind him, pushing him and ball over the line. Although the ball was grounded, he was adjudged to have dropped onto his knees without releasing the ball in the movement, resulting in a penalty to Ballina where they cleared their lines.
It is difficult to pick out players today as alot of errors were made by the team but it is fair to note the performance of Michael Lynch who tackled all day with-out a missed tackle.
Honest summary today would be, difficult conditions with some tough referee decisions but cannot excuse our deficient performance. Poor ball handling allowed too many knock on’s, forwards were slow to ruck ball and Ballina were quicker and more agressive giving them turnovers throughout the match. The few chances we did have were poorly executed without the normal level of ball carry that we are normally accustomed to.
Sometimes you can learn from a defeat and this was one of those days ! Final Score Ballina 5, Buccs 0.
Team: Ebhan Slattery, Lorcon Withers, John Why, Conor Larkin, Jack Martin, Darragh Martin, Leo McFarlane, Shane Green, Dan Buckley, Ethan Connolly, Julian Devany, Martin Fallon, Ruari Campion, Michael Lynch, Jack Scouler
Bench all used: Dirmuid McLaughlin, Fergus O’Sullivan
Satisfying Win by U16’s v Connemara.
Buccaneers U16s got their League campaign back on track with a convincing win at home to Connemara RFC on Sunday.The pack certainly raised their performance and took the game to Connemara right from the off.
The front five for Buccaneers of Obono,Murray,Slevin,Brosnan and Kenny gave a solid platform in the scrum whick allowed James Kelly the opportunity to cross for an early try which was converted by Michael Hanley.
Kelly put in a barnstorming ‘man of the match’ performance and was ably supported in the backrow by Aaron O Reilly and Anthony Lynch.
Michael Hanley controlled the match from outhalf and put in some clever kicks for territory which were well chased by both wingers Donnchadh Gately and Killian Foxe and Kian McBrearty.
In the second half Niall Murray added 2 more tries as Buccaneers pulled away comforable winners on a scoreline of 37-0.
Buccaneers are now well placed to contest a play off spot in the League if they can build on this performance.
Buccaneers team:Atrio Obono,Adam Murray,Robert Slevin,Ted Brosnan,Eoghan Kenny,Aaron O Reilly,James Kelly,Anthony Lynch,Max Feehan,Michael Hanley,Captain,Killian Foxe,Niall Murray,Kian McBrearty,Donnachadh Gately and Shea Henry.
Replacements: Darren Tuohy,Inigo Gomez Loteo,Patrick Henry,Mel Mullooly,David Gavin