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.