A young Connemara team eventually succumbed to concerted Buccaneers pressure in a 33-6 defeat at Dubarry Park. Buccaneers threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Connemara for 35 of the first halves 40 minutes but their advances were met by stiff Connemara resistance. Indeed, despite, being under heavy Buccaneers pressure, Connemara did offer attacking intent, particularly through the impressive Michael O’Toole and David McDonagh, who was playing in an unfamiliar role of 6 and excelled in his new role. After a neat Connemara move, Sean Joyce was presented with the chance of a three points after Buccaneers infringed at the breakdown, the captain made no mistake as he slotted the ball between the posts for an unlikely 3-0 lead for Connemara.
No matter the age of the team, Connemara’s resolute defence was impressive, but special mention must go to the three 18 year olds in the Connemara line up: Niall Staunton, Chris Heneghan and Roddy O’Donnell. The ink was barely dry on their respective Leaving Certs and they were thrown into action against Connacht’s Premier club side and done themselves and their club extremely proud with their committed and fearless performance.
Buccaneers began to turn the screw at the end of the first half, and they were dually rewarded with a fine try after numerous phases from a line out. They did, however, fail with their conversion attempt, leaving the score 5-3 to Buccaneers at half time.
The second half began as the first half ended: with Buccaneers pressure aplenty, and it wasn’t long before the Athlone side crossed the whitewash again. Connemara’s blitz defence was exposed when the Buccaneers fly half chipped over the heads of the onrushing Connemara defence before retrieving his own kick and running in unopposed for the games second try. Buccaneers were, this time, successful with their conversion making the score 12-3. Connemara responded to this try almost instantaneously; David McDonagh fantastically fielded a Michael O’Toole garryowen and Buccaneers, over eager to retrieve the ball, went off their feet at the breakdown. Once again, Sean Joyce, from a difficult angle, dissected the posts with a fine kick to make the score 12-6.
Connemara were going hammer and tongs in denying Buccaneers more scores and, in the process, two players, Richard Bourke and Chris Heneghan had to be substituted. These substitutions made the Connemara team disjointed and the Blacks so far brilliant defence began to tire and Buccaneers dually added three more late tries bringing the final score to 33-6.
Although the club will never be satisfied in defeat, the players, young and old alike, can be extremely proud of their efforts, particularly as the majority of these players had never played together.
Next up for the Blacks is the home game with Galwegians on Saturday. The club hopes to see a big home crowd at the game.
John O’Sullivan – PRO