Buccaneers have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season following UL Bohemians’ success at Dubarry Park.
UL Bohemians are arguably the in-form team in Ulster Bank League Division 1B at present. Leading 12-8 at half-time, they were on course to record their fourth win on the trot.
Number 8 Sean Rennison powered over for a 12th minute try for Bohs in sunny conditions, taking a great line onto an inviting pass from scrum half Cathal Sheridan. Winger Darren Moroney added the second try late in the first half.
Buccs had an unconverted try from young winger Callum Boland, adding to a fourth minute penalty from Adam Kennedy.
Number 8 Kolo Kiripati started the move which led to the try, nine minutes before the break, and Boland did well to finish off in the right corner.
But just two minutes later, an angled kick from the excellent Sheridan caught Buccaneers off guard and Moroney crossed to the left of the posts for his third try in four league games.
John O'Brien provided quite an attacking threat for the Pirates and was an assured presence at full-back.
The second half was a scrappy affair with neither side being able to dominate for any length of time. Bohs, who lost Sheridan to a fractured arm, had a slight breeze at their backs, and had the lion's share of territory.
Penalties from full-back Ed Torrie after 51 and 64 minutes extended UL's lead to 18-8. Buccs' much-vaunted attack seemed to lack the spark and imagination of earlier in the season.
In the end it was Bohs' well-drilled defence that won it for them, with former Bucc Kieran O'Gorman getting though a huge amount of work. They were able to frustrate the hosts and leak just three points to David Connellan, who slotted a 74th minute penalty.
It was a very impressive performance from the Limerick outfit, especially with the likes of David Kilcoyne, Sean Henry, Dave Foley, Brian O'Hara, Tommy O'Donnell and Cian Aherne unavailable and JJ Hanrahan currently injured.
UL out-half Aidan McNulty successfully completed his first 80 minutes of the season, after an injury-ravaged six months.
The losing bonus point has Buccs just two points ahead of third-placed Lansdowne in the table. The Pirates have a game in hand and will need to win all their remaining fixtures if they are to reel in current leaders Clontarf, who are nine points better off than them.
Ian Costello's Bohs side are now back in contention in fifth place. There is a four-point gap between themselves and Buccaneers.
Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU)