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UCC Surprise High-Flying Buccs

UCC Surprise High-Flying Buccs

Buccaneers’ five-match unbeaten run in Division 1B was ended by a hungry UCC side at the Mardyke on Saturday afternoon.

A brace of tries from full-back Willie Walsh was the highlight for the Cork students who led 14-5 at the interval.

Considering Buccs had beaten table toppers Clontarf last weekend, this was a hugely impressive result for Conor Twomey's side.

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The visitors, riding high in second place, played into the wind in the first half and took an early lead when full-back John O'Brien touched down.

O'Brien had threatened before that, breaking away down the left wing before being tackled after he had chipped ahead. UCC held out from the resulting penalty.

But the hosts could do nothing when O'Brien dived over in the left corner for the opening score, five minutes later. Jack Carty was off target with his conversion attempt.

UCC hit back impressively and in the 13th minute, Walsh broke through for his first try of the afternoon which centre Andrew Burke converted. It was a lead they would not surrender.

Buccs spurned a couple of try-scoring chances, the best of them when Kolo Kiripati's attempted offload was intercepted by UCC hooker Andrew Cudmore close to the home line. Connacht centre Aidan Wynne also spurned an overlap.

Coming up to half-time, UCC struck for their second try. They set up a five-metre scrum after executing a superb maul drive. From the set piece, 'College maintained possession at close quarters and prop John Ryan barged his way over. Burke's conversion put nine points between the sides.

UCC could have added to their advantage before the break, but winger Colin Crowley was denied a try by the covering Paul Harte and Burke missed a kickable penalty in the closing minutes.

Carty failed to convert a 51st minute penalty after UCC's Gavin Duffy was pinged for coming in at the side of a ruck.

Buccs failed to convert two more try-scoring opportunities in the third quarter. Marcus Madden was called back for crossing, and Kiripati was also whistled up for a penalty award to the Athlone men just when it looked like they might score a try. Out-half Carty converted the resulting penalty, 54 minutes in.

UCC quickly replied with Walsh's second try, which saw the full-back cantering over on the left, and the hosts' defence soon kept Madden out again as he tried to ground the ball.

They lost number 8 and captain James Ryan to a yellow card with ten minutes remaining, and then O'Brien finished off his sixth try of the campaign after a series of scrums for the Pirates in the UCC 22. Carty missed the conversion.

In the end, Buccs' only reward was a losing bonus point on a forgettable afternoon for Hendre Marnitz's men, who had scrum half Adam Kennedy sin-binned in injury-time for not releasing in the tackle.

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)