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Buccs Sparkle In Athlone Sunshine

Buccs Sparkle In Athlone Sunshine

A sparkling performance by Buccaneers in the opening half of their rescheduled Ulster Bank League match against Belfast Harlequins sent them on their way to a 39-22 victory at sunny Dubarry Park on Saturday.

On a firm surface, two understrength teams endeavoured to play at a high tempo resulting in ten tries amid the feast of scores.

Both sides were depleted and gave youth its chance with Ben Carty making his league debut at out-half for the Pirates in place of elder brother Jack who was skippering Connacht Eagles, while Shane Casey made his first start for Buccs in the back row. Lawrence Babe captained the visitors from their back row.

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Buccs secured a bonus point in the first half during which they scored four tries, Luke Satchwell opening their account when he finished off enterprising play with just three-and-a-half minutes on the clock.

Buccs showed another side to their play with a superb maul being finished by AUDI Athlone man-of-the-match Martin Staunton for their second try on 21 minutes.

Five minutes later, James Tormey charged through for a try following further bright home play, while Alex Hayman grabbed number four after 33 minutes. Callum Boland landed a penalty and one conversion to give the midlanders a solid 25-0 half-time lead.

Robbie Creighton nabbed an intercept try from halfway within a minute of the change of ends and Jonny Holmes converted to give 'Quins hope of a comeback.

But busy Buccs centre Hayman touched down for his second try on 53 minutes and Boland’s conversion made it 32-7 on the scoreboard.

That is how it remained, despite Casey incurring a harsh yellow card on the hour mark, until a hectic final six minutes in which four tries were scored.

Roger Kirkwood scored what seemed a consolation try for the Belfast club after 76 minutes, but it galvanised them to notch two more in quick succession.

Full-back Holmes surged through three minutes later and, within a minute, replacement Michael Scholes was haring in for another to earn 'Quins an unlikely bonus point.

However, Buccs had the final say when, straight from the restart, Kolo Kiripati thundered through for Buccs' sixth try – all of which were scored in the left corner – and teenager Carty added an excellent touchline conversion.

Referee: Kieran Barry (IRFU)