12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
BUCCANEERS 22 OLD BELVEDERE 16, Dubarry Park
Scorers: Buccaneers: Tries: Daniel Riordan, Paul Harte 2; Cons: Alan Gaughan 2; Pen: Alan Gaughan
Old Belvedere: Try: Tom Sexton; Con: Conal Keane; Pens: Conal Keane 3
Winger Paul Harte was the hero for the Pirates, scoring a last-gasp try after a touchdown from young Belvo hooker Tom Sexton had thrown a spanner in the works.
Buccs, who finished top of the Division Two table this time last year, came into the final round needing a win to make them safe at the lower end of the top flight standings.
Fellow strugglers UCD and Young Munster were facing off at Belfield and with Munsters claiming four league points with a 17-14 win and UCD gaining a losing bonus point, Buccs' pre-match tally of 22 points would not have been enough to keep them up.
In the end, a superb injury-time try from Harte did the business for the midlanders. Buccs threw caution to the wind as they ran the ball out of their 22, facing a 16-15 deficit.
Good support play and some excellent angles of running saw them gain serious ground before speedster Harte was released for the try-line. Alan Gaughan's successful conversion was the icing on the cake.
The first half was a tense affair. The Dubliners had the wind but failed to make it count and relied on three penalties from out-half Conal Keane.
Trailing 9-5 at the break, Buccs led early on thanks to a try from the Connacht-contracted Daniel Riordan but Keane's boot got Belvo ahead.
On 58 minutes, Harte bagged the first of his two tries and Gaughan's conversion and 72nd-minute penalty made it 15-9 in Buccs' favour.
Sexton made a real fight of it late on when he rumbled over from close range, with four minutes of normal time remaining.
Keane's conversion attempt bobbled its way over to set up a thunderous finish at 16-15 but Buccs brilliantly burst into life as they showed the quality of attacking rugby they can play.