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Naas 16 - Buccaneers 24   07/10/2016

Naas 16 – Buccaneers 24
Naas senior squad hosted Buccaneers at Forenaughts for the first time in round 3 of the Ulster Bank League on Saturday last (1st October). The game kicked off at the usual time of 2.30pm in perfect sunny conditions and was viewed by a large gathering of enthusiastic home and visiting supporters.
Naas dominated proceedings during the opening stages but were repeatedly pegged back by superb tactical kicking from the Buccaneers out-half Luke Carty. The first score was an outstanding try by Buccaneers scrum-half, Conor McKeon in the 15th minute which he also converted. This was promptly followed by another Buccaneers try scored by flanker Rory Mahoney.
Naas needed to respond quickly and did so following the restart when fullback Fionn Carr crossed for an excellent try on the right flank that was superbly converted by scrum-half Peter Osborne. A further successful penalty kick in the 33rd minutes, also by Peter Osborne, narrowed the Buccaneers lead to 2 points at the interval (score: 12-10).
Naas asserted themselves in the third quarter and seized a narrow lead following an outstanding penalty kick by Peter Osborne, in the 53rd minute. Osborne repeated this minutes later to extend the Naas lead to 4 points from a further outstanding penalty. When Buccaneers lost a man to the bin in the 75th minute, Naas looked well in control.
In the last 5 minutes, however Naas conceded two tries against the run of play to come away empty handed, and were especially unlucky not to secure at least a losing bonus point.
The first score originated from a Buccaneers scrum on halfway, following which they attacked through the Naas centre to the 22, where they were awarded a further scrum. Their scrum-half Conor McKeon then cleverly exploited space in the Naas defence to power through for a superb try in the 15th minute, which he also converted (score: 0-7).
Buccaneers showed they meant business 5 minutes later when they crossed the Naas line for a second try wide on the right flank. This opportunity was presented when Naas lost possession at a lineout on their 22, Buccaneers then moved the ball rapidly through the centre and to the right wing where flanker Rory Mahony gathered and powered over (score: 0-12).
Naas reacted immediately from the restart with a superb long-range carry by lock David Benn who took ball into contact on the Buccaneers 22 and with Naas out-half Michael Skelton and flanker Will O’Brien also involved in securing at the breakdown. Peter Osborne then gathered and off-loaded superbly to Fionn Carr who powered through for an excellent try on the right flank, which was also converted by Peter Osborne (score: 7-12).
In 28th minute, Naas were awarded a penalty following a deliberate knock-on. From the subsequent lineout on halfway the entire Naas pack, Dan O’Byrne, Charles Kings, Adam Coyle, David Benn, Paul Monahan, Eoin Walsh, William O’Brien and Paul Tolofua, mauled brilliantly to win a further penalty. Peter Osborne kicked for a further lineout on the Buccaneers 5m line. Naas unfortunately knocked-on and subsequently allowed Buccaneers to relieve the immediate threat.
In 33rd minute, Johne Murphy brilliantly won a penalty for Naas as he challenged at the breakdown and Buccaneers failed to release. Peter Osborne expertly converted from the 22 to narrow the deficit to 2 points (score: 10-12).
Very influential for Naas in the closing stages of the half were Will O’Brien, Johne Murphy, Peter Osborne, Paul Tolofua, Eoin Walsh and Andrew Shanahan, Charles Kings and Henry Bryce. The score at the interval remained 10-12, to Buccaneers.
Naas asserted their influence on the game in the 3rd quarter and mostly dominated territory and possession. They gained the lead for the first time in the 53rd minute, following a superb penalty kick by Peter Osborne after Buccaneers went offside at a ruck on their 22. In the 55th minute, Will O’Brien expertly snatched possession in contact on halfway and at the following ruck, Johne Murphy won a further turn over penalty for Naas. When this was advanced 10m for dissent Peter Osborne was presented a further scoring opportunity which he again executed brilliantly to stretch the Naas lead to 4 points.
At this stage Naas team were bolstered by the arrival of Warren Larkin, replacing Paul Tolofua in the backrow, and shortly thereafter by Max Whittingham replacing Andrew Shanahan, both of whom performed excellently for the remainder of the game.
As is often the case in sporting contests the results are decided in the closing minutes, and so it proved on this occasion. Whilst Naas were attacking in the Buccaneers 22, with less than 5 minutes remaining, they became isolated and lost possession in contact. This opportunity was ruthlessly exploited by the Buccaneers wing Jordan Conroy who used his considerable pace to counter-attack Naas on the left flank and he then switch to the opposite wing, whilst avoiding multiple tackle attempts, to score an exceptional individual try in the right corner. Following a superb convertion kick by Conor McKeon Buccaneers now had a 3 point lead, and this inspite of having just lost their lock to the sin bin.
Following the restart, Buccaneers again attacked Naas through the centre as if to capitalise immediately on their previous score. The Naas defence struggled to cope and after over committing in the centre they were exposed on the right flank as the Buccaneers replacement wing, Eoghan O’Reilly powered over for the final score and to deny Naas a losing bonus point. The full-time score finished 16-24 to Buccaneers.
Whilst this result may be difficult for Naas in the immediate aftermath, they will undoubtedly learn quickly from it and improve from there - as the best team always do.
The Naas senior squad next travel to Limerick on Saturday 8th October for their round 4 UBL game against Shannon, which kicks off at the later (than normal) time of 4pm due to the Leinster v Munster game that afternoon.
Naas Team:
15. Fionn Carr, 14. Andrew Shanahan (Max Whittingham, 70’), 13. Johne Murphy, 12. Henry Bryce, 11. Rob O’Connor, 10. Michael Skelton, 9. Peter Osborne, 1. Dan O’Byrne, 2. Charles Kings, 3. Adam Coyle, 4. David Benn, 5. Paul Monahan, 6. Eoin Walsh, 7. William O’Brien (Capt.), 8. Paul Tolofua (Warren Larkin, 55’). Replacements: 16. Conor Johnson, 17. Conor Doyle, 18. Warren Larkin, 19. Andrew Kearney, 20. Max Whittingham.
Buccaneers Team:
15. Danie Poolman, 14. Rory O’Connor, 13. Shane Layden, 12. Mataele Fifita, 11. Jordan Conroy, 10. Luke Carty, 9. Conor McKeon, 1. Martin Staunton, 2. John Sutton, 3. Dykan Quinn, 4. Daniel Qualter, 5. Cian Romaine, 6. Stephen McVeigh, 7. Rory Maloney, 8. Koronato Kiripati. Replacements: 16. Shane Delahunt, 17. Rory Grenhan, 18. Ruairi Byrne, 19. Graham Lynch, 20. Eoghan O’Reilly.



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