Buccs ‘pay’ for bad start

By Michael Silke BUCCANEERS………………….16  CORK CONSTITUTION……….29 A woeful beginning and a couple of slices of good fortune to their opponents cost Buccaneers dearly when they went down 29-16 to league leaders Cork Constitution in their AIB League Division One meeting at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday. Buccs had a dreadful opening quarter of an hour when they were completely at sea. They coughed up two tries in the first nine minutes and the visitors tacked up fifteen points in as many minutes for a 15-0 lead. At that early stage, a rout looked on the cards but, to their credit, the home side regrouped to force their way not only back into the game but, as it progressed, they had the Cork side in some considerable discomfort. The midlanders got within bonus point of the Munster men with twelve minutes remaining and, at that stage, Cork Con looked anything but champions-elect. However, a glorious comeback was not to be and Con snatched a fortuitous fourth try just two minutes from the end to seal their eleventh win out of twelve games and, with it, a crucial bonus point, something that the luckless Buccs could not muster but was the very least their endeavours and enterprise merited despite that terrible start. Finnerty, Killian O’Neill and Kelly toiled earnestly as the home forwards gradually got the better of the visiting pack while Warwick (apart from the blip when his long pass gifted Con their third try) and Robinson were pick of the home backs. Thus, the battle goes on but, if Buccaneers play as consistently as they did for lengthy periods against the clear leaders on Saturday, then the ability and self-belief is certainly there to eke out the necessary points in the remaining three games. BUCCANEERS:-  T.Cregan; T.Robinson, W.Wallace, A.Wynne, A.Hayman; P.Warwick, M.Bruce; M.Diffley, G.Halligan, K.O’Neill; P.Cunningham, D.McGowan; C.Finnerty, C.Hartigan (captain) and D.Kelly. Replacements used:- A.Hanley (for Cunningham, 52 mins), K.O’Gorman (for McGowan, 63 mins) and G.Kelly (for Halligan, 71 mins). Blood substitution:- A.Hanley (for Finnerty, 20-27 mins). CORK CONSTITUTION:-  D.Hurley; D.O’Riordan, D.Nethery, T.Gleeson, C.Healy; D.Lyons, P.McKee; C.Murphy, R.Quinn, Tim Ryan; J.Moloney, S.O’Connor; M.O’Connell, B.Cutriss and F.Cogan (captain). Replacements used:-  D.Murray (for Quinn, 57 mins), E.Leamy (for O’Connell, 57 mins), Tim Ryan (for Murphy, 57 mins), J.Stringer (for McKee, 80 mins), D.Fogarty (for O’Connor, 80 mins) and Murphy (for Tom Ryan, 80 mins). REFEREE: Simon McDowell (Ulster). Rucks and mauls