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Buccaneers 13 – Naas 36   06/10/2018

Naas began their Division 1B All Ireland League campaign last Saturday, and they could not have asked for a more difficult assignment to start. For their first fixture they had to travel to Dubarry Park, Athlone to face Buccaneers who last season played in the upper echolons of Division 1A and favourites to win this league. What transpired was a brilliant performance by Naas who apart from a 15 minute spell either side of half-time totally dominated proceedings and were totally deserving winners.

The visitors got off to a blistering start and were on the scoreboard within three minutes. Will O’Brien burst through from the base of a ruck to take play into the Buccs 22, Fionn Carr carried on the attack and the ball was then quickly moved out to Peter Hastie to score in the corner on his Naas AIB debut.

Peter Osborne narrowly missed the conversion attempt and we then had to wait until the 23rd minute for the next score. Paulie Tolofua was penalised for a high tackle and out-half Michael Hanley calmly slotted the kick to reduce the margin. But the home side made a big mistake straight from the restart. A kick for touch went out on the full giving Naas a line-out just outside the 22. David Benn won this and the ball was moved out to the backs and Andrew Ellis. Another player making his Naas AIL debut he had a lot to do when receiving the ball, but showing great strength he brushed off three would be tacklers to score in the corner. A tremendous conversion by Osborne gave Naas a 12-3 lead.

Naas were in control at this stage, their packs were bossing the game and the backs looked dangerous when in possession. However they fell asleep for 15 minutes which could have proved costly. On 34 minutes when Buccaneeers won a penalty in the Naas half, their scrum-half Colm Reilly tapped to himself and caught the visitors cold. He ran 30 yards without a hand being laid on him to score beside the posts, with Hanley converting. Within sixty seconds Naas were in trouble again. A quick line-out again caught Naas napping and only a last gasp tackle prevented Callum Boland scoring. The ball was then quickly recycled but luckily for Naas the home side knocked on with the try line at their mercy. In was all Buccs at this stage and they went close again when Rory O’Connor was just denied in the corner. However Naas held on to lead 12-10 at the interval.

That lead only lasted two minutes on the resumption with Hanley kicking a penalty to give the home side a one point advantage. But from there on to the final whistle Naas took over to eventually run out emphatic victors. On 46 minutes they regained the lead. After winning a penalty they kicked into the corner and from the subsequent line-out they launched a driving maul which was pulled down by Buccs. This saw the home side lose John Sutton to a yellow card and Naas electing for a scrum penalty. At the base of this scrum Peter Osborne picked up and dived over unchallanged for a try which he converted.

Despite losing Adam Coyle to a yellow card on 60 minutes Naas were now in control and extended their lead five minutes later. Some lovely play by the Naas backs put Andrew Ellis clear and he raced through to score. Osborne converted and he was also successful with a penalty on 71 minutes to put Naas 29-13 clear. The afternoon got worse for Buccaneers as Torin Rensford received a yellow card just before the final whistle, and from another maul set up from the penalty Cilian Dempsey got over to score a fifth Naas try. The conversion by Osborne brought the scoring to a close with Naas successful by 36-13.

A dream start then for Naas to this All-Ireland campaign. Sometimes a scoreline does not represent a true reflection on a game, but that was not the case here with the visitors totally deserving winners with a try bonus point as well. Next up for Naas is a home fixture with Ballymena next Saturday at 2.30pm. This is a Family Day in the club with Free Admission for all, childrens entertainment and free barbeque. All are very welcome.

Naas: Fionn Higgins, Andrew Ellis, Fionn Carr, Ross Bailey Kearney, Johne Murphy, Peter Hastie, Peter Osborne, Conor Doyle, Graham Reynolds, Adam Coyle, Mike Russell, David Benn, Cillian Dempsey, Will O’Brien, Paulie Tolofua. Replacements: Cathal Duff, Jack Barry, Pierce Dargan, Ryan Casey, Rob Campbell.

Buccaneers: Graham Lynch, Rory O’Connor, Callum Boland, Aidan Wynne, Darragh Corbett, Michael Hanley, Colm Reilly, Martin Staunton, John Sutton, Niall Farrelly, Torin Rensford, Evan Galvin, Owen Treacy, Rory Moloney, Simon Meagher. Replacements: Harry O’Reilly, Eoghan Maher, Ross Flanagan, Frankie Hopkins, Thomas McGann.





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