Buccaneers and Malone served up wonderfully entertaining Ulster Bank League fare at Dubarry Park on Saturday night with the home side holding on for a thrilling 37-30 victory.
Buccaneers prevailed at the end of a fast-flowing encounter played in ideal conditions, with the bonus point win bringing them within one point of second place in Division 1B.
Two youthful squads played loads of off-the-cuff rugby that kept the minds of the modest attendance off the frosty night with the teams matching score for score for large swathes of the game.
Jack Carty opened the scoring with a penalty for the Pirates after just two minutes but Malone were ahead on 13 minutes when Johnny Burgess sliced through for a try at the posts which Josh Pentland converted.
Three minutes later, it was the turn of the midlanders to cut the opposition’s defence to shreds when Conor Fitzgibbon angled in for a smartly-taken try which Carty converted.
It got even better for Buccs within six minutes when the in-form Carty surged through the middle and he committed two defenders before offloading to Callum Boland for a try which Carty converted for a 17-10 lead after a very lively opening 23 minutes.
Buccaneers were indisciplined in the next period and a brace of Pentland penalties was followed by a yellow card for Conor Finn.
Nevertheless, Buccs put some good moves together despite their temporary numerical shortage but, ironically, from one of these Nial Shannon intercepted inside his own 22 and made terrific ground before kicking ahead for Chris Leathem to win the chase and ground the ball for a 38th minute try which Pentland converted.
However, there was still time for Carty to level the match when, with the final kick of the first half, his fine penalty had the scoreboard reading 20-20.
Buccaneers made a flying start to the second half with Eoghan Grace and Garreth Halligan leading the charge that yielded a Carty drop goal before Pentland again levelled the scores with a 52nd minute place-kick.
But two tries in eight minutes gave Buccs the decisive edge. Out-half Carty scored the try of the game, breaking on 57 minutes and then catching his own chip ahead to touch down at the posts.
His conversion brought his tally to 20 points for the game. He then made the snipe that was finished off by replacement Diarmuid Higgins who, literally, crawled over the visitors' line for the fourth try.
Carty was injured in this move and Boland converted the bonus point score for a 37-23 lead.
Malone refused to throw in the towel and Pentland finished off some decent play for a 73rd minute try which he converted.
The Ulstermen, with Corrie Tipping back on the park after ten minutes in the sin-bin, then pounded the home line in the closing minutes.
But a resolute Buccs defensive effort, in which Billy Henshaw excelled to earn the man-of-the-match accolade, just held their line intact in a welter of excitement.
Despite a losing bonus point, Malone lost ground on the top four with Buccaneers closing the gap on both UCD and Dublin University to just a solitary point.
Referee: Darragh McCormack (IRFU)