BUCCANEERS 28 DOLPHIN 19, Dubarry Park
Scorers: Buccaneers: Tries: Alan Gaughan, Kolo Kiripati 2, Niall O'Hara; Con: Alan Gaughan; Pens: Alan Gaughan 2
Dolphin: Try: Barry O'Mahony; Pens: Barry Keeshan 4
Making his AIB League debut for Buccaneers, former Wanderers back rower Kolo Kiripati scored two timely tries to turn a 13-13 score-line into a 23-13 home lead.
Winger Alan Gaughan bagged all the points as the Pirates took in half-time with a 13-10 advantage.
A controversial Barry O'Mahony try and Barry Keeshan's left boot got Dolphin back in touch but tries from Kiripati and Niall O'Hara settled it.
Dolphin travelled looking to end a two-match losing streak against Buccs and to build on last season's fine campaign, which saw them finish sixth in the table.
Buccs are missing eight or nine squad members due to injury at the moment and after a year down in Division Two, they were admittedly a little wary of how things would pan out against a strong-looking Dolphin line-up.
But Buccs, with Connacht's Danny Riordan, Aidan Wynne and David Gannon to call on, quickly got into their groove.
Their pack making going headway off set piece ball, and winger Gaughan landed a 15th-minute penalty to open the scoring.
He weaved his way over for a converted try, five minutes later, to send the small but boisterous crowd into raptures.
Gaughan swapped penalties with Keeshan before Dolphin grabbed a try in first half injury-time.
Referee Simon McDowell awarded the score despite doubts over whether O'Mahony had grounded the ball at all.
Keeshan made it a seven-pointer and suddenly the Cork men were only three points down at the turnaround.
That seemed to be a pivotal moment as AIB Club international Keeshan was able to kick his side level, with a penalty early in the second half.
But then Samoan Kiripati announced himself in the game with a quick brace of tries which put 10 points between the sides.
Keeshan got Dolphin back within four points by slamming over two late penalties, yet there was still time for team captain O'Hara to burst through and claim Buccs' bonus point try.