- Result: Galwegians U17 21 - Buccaneers 9
- Venue: Dubarry Park on Sun Dec 16th 2018
- Competition: Connacht U17 League
After a lay off of 5 weeks we played our first competitive game against a high flying Buccs team last Sunday at Dubarry Park. Conditions were near perfect as we took to the field on the main pitch. We expected a serious physical and tactical challenge and we were correct from a rebuilt and well drilled Buccs outfit.
The game was nip and tuck in the first half and while we felt we played very good rugby, carrying, rucking, tackling and moving the ball wide, Buccs contained us despite sustained pressure in that half.
We were probably unlucky not to convert more than two penalties to their one at half time. Darragh Creighton converted our first after some excellent carrying by Darragh Kennedy in particular as well as Mark Duffy and Patrick Keane. We scored our second penalty c 15 mins in with Darragh again accurate from the tee leaving us 6:0 ahead. Buccs hit back on 26 mins with a penalty of their own looking like the half was going to end 6:3. However, the Sky Blues had a different view.
After a solid lineout and a maul that made little ground, we moved the ball inside, reset and Garvin Surlis gave a lovely skip pass out to Joe Agbo, who drew in the defense and popped a lovely pass out to Ciaran O'Flaitheartha taking a lovely position on the outside to finish the score off as clean as you like. Buccs did not lie down however, and took a well hit penalty on 35 mins that brought the half-time score to 11:6. A really tough encounter.
Buccs hit again with yet another penalty 2 mins in to the 2nd half, 11:9 and game very much on. Galwegians, showing plenty of grit and smart play, went back up the pitch and won a penalty 2 mins later which Darragh Creighton duly converted - 14:9, this game was far from over 5 mins in. Both teams gave it everything for the next 20 mins or so. Hugh Duffy was introduced for the injured Ben Hynes and made a great impact. Zak Kavanagh replaced the tireless Mark Duffy an again it was seamless as was Konagh Greefe who replaced Tadhg Melville.
We did have more than our share of possession in Buccs half but were peanalised too often for infringements but we made very few heedless errors. Millar Yule ran a fantastic line on 26 mins to score a fine try after a lovely pass out from Darragh Creighton to put some distance between the teams. Darragh converted and we saw the game out at 21:9. Buccs did not score a try and that was down to some really staunch defending on our own line and also some hard tackling and rucking all round the park.
Buccs lived on the offside line all day but were well met by our forwards and Zak Rather at 12 all day worked tirelessly. Our two wing forwards Garvin Surlis, making a welcome return after 14 weeks off through injury and Tadhg Melville, whose form has been tremendous this season made life very hard at ruck time for Buccs. Gary Lally, Edward Shekete and Conor Joyce had a fine day and did a lot of the unseen graft to win us possession and halt Buccs in their stride.
Our 9, 10 combination of Darragh Kennedy and Luke Kelly are coming more and more into their stride and controlling the game really well. Benjamin Hynes worked very hard all day for us in tackles and rucks. Millar Yule played his first game at 15 for us to replace the injured Jack Beatty and more than held his own - Yule is always a threat and running hard from the back strikes panic into the opposition. Two guys who punched against their weight literally were Luke Kelly and Patrick Keane - fearless at times in terms of tackles made.
Our two players that did not get a run on the day are replacement hooker Ben Hornibrook and replacement prop, Marcin Drozdz. Our injuries have been pretty ever present this season with Jack Beatty out with a soft tissue issue, Tom Kelly, replacement 9, a fractured hand, George Hill, who plays everywhere, concussion and our latest casualty and just returned from injury, Cian Clancy who injured his knee at the weekend. We wish them all a speedy recovery.
Two Buccs players were carrying nasty injuries after the game - Ruaidhri Fallon thankfully is carrying a soft tissue ankle injury, not a break while Adam Flanagan was well shaken but fine.
Thank you as always to all parents for their support generally and for drivers.