- Result: Galwegians Firsts 17 - Buccaneers 31
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Sep 14th 2019
- Competition: Connacht Senior League
Buccaneers came out on top in this Connacht Senior League clash at Crowley Park last Saturday, in what proved a very useful run-out for both teams before the start of the AIL next month too.
Played in dry but breezy conditions, the visitors enjoyed early territory and they opened the scoring when Torin Rensford surged in for a 10th minute try converted by Frank Hopkins. However Wegians soon responded, and when a good touch finder led to turnover near the Buccs line, flanker Michael O’Donnell dived over from close range for his third consecutive try in this campaign. Full-back Ewan Strang converted to level the match.
Buccs continued to look threatening but Wegians were dominating territory, and a brilliant weaving run from the returning no. 9 Rory Gaffney almost gave them the lead, only for his intended pass to go straight into touch. Shortly after it was the visitors who struck a decisive blow when a breakout from deep in their own half by centre Darragh Corbett saw him link up with his centre partner Shane Layden who careered through for a 32nd minute try at the posts.
The Blues almost had the perfect response when a deft chip ahead from out-half Stephen Browne stretched the Buccs defence, only for a knock-on to deprive the hosts. Then just before the half-time whistle, Buccs again turned over possession in their own half, with winger Eoin O’Reilly crossing for his side’s third try in the right corner. Hopkins conversion rebounded off the near upright but Buccs held a comfortable 19-7 halftime advantage.
Both sides rang the changes at the break, and Wegians now looked a different proposition up front especially. However they went further behind in the 54th minute when another breakaway move led to a fourth bonus try from the young Buccs winger Harry O’Reilly who scampered down the left wing to touch down.
Rather than fold, Wegians showed admirable durability facing the elements to dominate long periods of territory and possession. They got their reward in the 70th minute when substitute hooker Andrew Paton was driven over for an unconverted try. Then five minutes later further home pressure was rewarded again when a flowing move was finished off by O’Donnell for his second try of the game, and incredibly his fourth of the League campaign.
With the margin reduced to 24-17, this gave the Blues a sniff of snatching something. However when trying to force the game, it was Buccs who had the final say when captain Layden made break to send full-back McGann over in the corner. Hopkins’s conversion was the last act. However there was much to take from this contest as both sides gear up for the AIL campaign which is due to start next month.