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IRFU Community News

Naas 33 – Buccaneers 19   13/04/2019

After a slow start Naas stamped their class on proceedings to overcome the challenge of Buccaneers and book their place in the play-offs to reach Division 1A of the All-Ireland League. With so much at stake a big crowd turned up in Naas to see this contest, and the home support went home happy but only after a very nervous beginning.

Naas suffered a big blow within five minutes as they lost their captain Paulie Tolofua to injury, and their worries were compounded after 19 minutes. They knocked on a ball in midfield and Buccaneers ruthlessly punished the mistake. They quickly moved the ball out their backline, creating a big overlap which led to Rory O’Connor getting in for a try with Michael Hanley adding the conversion. On 28 minutes it got even worse for Naas. Buccaneers were by far the better side at this moment and were camped in the Naas 22, launching wave after wave of attacks. They finally got ther reward when some fine handling by their backs put Darragh Corbett in to score at the corner. Although Hanley missed the conversion the visitors had opened up a 12 point lead.

Naas needed to respond quickly and to their credit their did. Within four minutes they won a scrum penalty on half-way which Peter Osborne dispatched to the corner. From the line-out they set up a driving maul and when this was stopped just short of the line, Richard Fahy passed the ball out to Ruadhan McDonnell who showed great strength to force his way over for a try which Osborne converted.

On 38 minutes we saw an amazing passage of play. Buccaneers went back on the attack and out-half Michael Hanley put in a cross field kick that Aidan Wynne knocked on with a try at his mercy. From the scrum five yards out from the Naas line, Richard Fahy passed to Andy Ellis who beat his opposite number and took the ball up to the 22 before kicking ahead. Fionn Higgins collected the kick and brought play up to the Buccs 22 before off loading to Niall Delahunt. The latter looked sure to score but was stopped just short of the line, however Ellis who started the move was on hand to finish it by taking the pass and scoring under the posts. With Osborne tapping over the conversion Naas were in front for the first time by 14-12, which was to be the interval score.

Naas were by far the better side in the second-half and with the likes of Adam Coyle, Graham Reynolds, Will O’Brien and Ruadhan McDonnell to the fore they were putting Buccaneers under increasing pressure. Peter Osborne has enjoyed a great campaign – his 169 points makes him the leading scorer in both Division 1A and 1B of the league – and on 52 minutes some great footwork by him left the Buccs defence for dead as he scored under the posts. On 68 minutes the game was finished as a contest when following a strong carry by Eoin Walsh, the ball was quickly transfered out to Peter Hastie who finished in style and with Osborne converting both tries the Naas lead was out to 28-12.

There was still time for both sides to add tries with the props Conor Kenny and Conor Doyle scoring for their respective sides to leave the final score 33-19 in favour of Naas. So after a long, tough campaign of 18 matches, Naas finished third in the table, a magnificent performance by the players and coaching team. Their reward is a play-off semi-final on Saturday week, April 27th against Old Wesley. This game is in Donnybrook with a 2.30pm kick-off and all support will be greatly appreciated.

Naas: Peter Osborne, Fionn Higgins, Niall Delahunt, Eoin Walsh, Andy Ellis, Peter Hastie, Richard Fahy, Stephen Lackey, Graham Reynolds, Adam Coyle, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Ruadhan McDonnell, Will O’Brien, Paulie Tolofua. 

Replacements: Conor Doyle, Jack Barry, Cillian Dempsey, Gauthier Petit, Fionn Carr.

Buccaneers: Graham Lynch, Aidan Wynne, Rory O’Connor, Robert Enraght Mooney, Darragh Corbett, Michael Hanley, Frank Hopkins, Michael Staunton, Rory Grenham, Conor Kenny, Ruairi Byrne, Torin Rensford, Sean Masterson, Brian McDonnell, Evan Galvin. 

Replacements: Darren Browne, Conor Kenny, Niall Farrelly, Owen Treacy, Colm Reilly.





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