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Rugby – UCC 36-49 Buccaneers

Buccaneers started off this Division 1B tie off strong; Conor McKeon was the first to put his name on the score sheet, successfully kicking a penalty only minutes before UCC’s Shane Layden gave away possession to send Jordan Conroy scampering away for his first try. Kevin O’Keeffe salvaged something for his side, with a 9th minute penalty for The College. McKeon added to his tally with a  12th minute penalty before good pressure, reignited by the hosts, sent Conroy in for his second try of the game, as Buccaneers cruised into the lead with a McKeon conversion, giving Buccaneers a 25-3 lead.

UCC clawed back: following a penalty kicked to touch in the left corner, Robert O’Donovan forced his way over the line for a try to give the UCC a lifeline. O’Keeffe converted for the college to reduce the hosts lead to 25-10 score at the interval.

After the break the Scholars again opted to punt the ball into the left corner from a penalty and, after a good drive following the lineout, Conor Barry stretched over the line at the 42 minute mark for a try, which was again well-converted by O’Keeffe. Four minutes later UCC turned over possession in midfield, and quick hands by the Scholars yielded a Chris McAuliffe try in the right corner, which went unconverted. McKeon was able to get another three points to his name with a 54th minute penalty for the Buccs.

The hosts dominance was rewarded with a bonus point when Danny Qualter set up Meunargia for a bonus point try, which McKeon once again converted. UCC simply refused to be beaten, and a quick succession of phasing resulted in Barry’s second try and a bonus point for the visitors; O’Keeffe’s successful conversion leaving the game at 35-29.

In the closing moments McVeigh set up Gaughan to further add to the College’s misery. UCC snatched one back late on as Feeney pulled away. As the referee reached for his whistle, Mata Fifita wrestled possession from Cillian Ansbro and powered through for the Buccaneers sixth try.

BUCCANEERS:- L.Carty; E.O’Reilly, S.Layden (captain), M.Fifita, J.Conroy; A.Gaughan, C.McKeon; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, S.Meunargia; R.Byrne, D.Qualter; E.Galvin, R.Moloney and S.McVeigh. Replacements:- R.O’Connor (for Conroy, 65 mins), G.Lynch (for McKeon, 65 mins), D.Quinn (for Staunton, 72 mins), R.Grenham (for Sutton, 72 mins), J.Foley (for Byrne, 73 mins), and D.Quinn (for Galvin, temp. 52/54 mins). 

U.C.C:- C.McAuliffe; K.O’Keeffe, K.Slater (captain), M.Linn, J.Kiernan; C.O’Regan, R.Walsh; C.Slowey, B.Burns, R.O’Donovan; D.Lynch, R.Moran; C.Barry, G.Smith and D.Feeney. Replacements:- T.Kiersey (for Linn, 56 mins), L.McSharry (for Smith, 59 mins), E.McCarthy (for Smith, temp. 18-28 mins), T.Kiersey (for Barry, temp. 31-40 mins), F.McDermott and C.Ansbro.

REFEREE:- Mark Patton (IRFU).