Buccaneers came a cropper in their Ulster Bank League Division 1B game away to University College, Cork, at The Mardyke where they lost 19-13 in a fast-paced encounter on a dull and breezy Saturday.
The midlanders were forced to make two changes from the side that impressed when defeating Clontarf, Shane Monahan and Clifford Richardson both being unavailable. This resulted in some tweaking in the backs and forwards with Alex Hayman coming in at centre and Paul Harte moving to the left wing, while Marcus Madden started at wing forward with Stephen Burke switching to the second row.
So Buccs again found UCC a ‘banana skin’ as the eager students got another precious home victory that gives them some breathing space. Their pack was more cohesive and better organised on the day and they were tremendously disciplined whilst refusing to wilt although under pressure at several stages in an engrossing battle. The two Ryans, James and John, were immense for UCC and their lively backline always threatened. Yet, Buccaneers will be very disappointed for they lacked the balance and sharpness of recent outings. Nevertheless, they created no less than ten try chances although converting only two. Perhaps they may have underestimated College but Buccs focus and precision was just not what it needed to be on this occasion. However, the losing bonus point could yet prove priceless.
Buccaneers: J. O’Brien; C. Boland, A. Wynne, A. Hayman, P. Harte; J. Carty, A. Kennedy; M. Staunton, G. Halligan (captain), C. Higgins; S. Burke, P. de Burca; M. Madden, C. Watters and K. Kiripati. Replacements used: C. Lavelle (for Harte, inj. 70 mins) and A. Hughes (for Burke, inj. 78 mins).
Next fixture: Ulster Bank League Division 1B, Buccaneers v UL Bohemian at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday, kick off 2.30 pm.