FIRSTS CRUELLY DENIED IN SENIOR CUP FINAL
CONNACHT SENIOR CUP FINAL
BUCCANEERS 16 CORINTHIANS 14
SPORT has a cruel way sometimes. That cruel way can manifest itself in many ways but few will top what happened to the firsts on Saturday last when beaten in controversial circumstances in the Connacht Senior Cup Final held at Dubarry Park.
The team for seventy-nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds had produced a stunning display of patience and determination, only to be undone by a penalty that looked dubious at first looking and will rancour with supporters for some time to come.
Conditions were ideal if slightly overcast and the home side went into this game as favourites given their loftier standing in the All-Ireland League. However, Corinthians belied their so-called standing with quality play from the start and their scored were earned and well deserved.
Buccaneers started the game brightly. Two tries from John Sutton and Graham Lynch gave the home side a 10-0 lead but Corinthians were starting to gain control and two intercepts from Cathal Evans and Craig Hansberry seemed to be a sign of the intent that was beginning to be shown from the lad.
That intent reaped its own reward just before half time when the forwards drove Buccaneers off their own ball and Ryan Guilfoyle sent a pass to Nick Harrison who was not going to be a denied. Simon Keller added the extras and in the space of a couple of minutes, Corinthians were back in the game.
After the restart, Mikey Hanley kicked Buccaneers further ahead but that would be their final score until that fateful 80th minute. In the meantime, Corinthians were dominant and they took the lead when Mark McDermott and Simon Keller laid the foundation for Jack Noone to touch down on the wide right. Keller’s conversion giving Corinthians the lead.
There were now fifteen minutes remaining and the Corinthians defence was resolute. Buccaneers had two penalties but both were missed by Hanley. His second miss coming from in front of the posts.
Corinthians supporters could have been forgiven for thinking they had withstood the Buccs onslaught. However, with time up and the clock reading 80:00, referee Daithi Flood deemed that there was an infringement following a knock on from a Buccaneers’ hand. Nothing looked of the sort and despite the protestations of the support in the stand. The penalty stood and Kieran Joyce kicked the penalty to send the Buccaneers support into rapture and the Corinthians Support into desolation.
This defeat was sickening but the performance and character of the side speaks volumes for the way they dealt with the defeat after the game with sporting congratulations of their opponents and a determination to put the record straight when Wanderers come to Corinthian Park on Saturday Week.
CORINTHIANS: M McDermott; S Hudson, C Evans, D Keane, M O’Reilly; S Keller, R Guilfoyle; A Bourke, J Noone, C Hansberry; C Rafferty, C Ryan; A Broderick (captain), J Campbell, N Harrison.
Replacements: P Noone (for Keane, 31 mins), G Noone (for Bourke, 50 mins), C Joyce, R Murphy and J Whyte.
BUCCANEERS: C Boland; T McGann, S Layden (captain), K Joyce, D Corbett; M Hanley, G Lynch; H O’Reilly, J Sutton, M Staunton; P Claffey, R Byrne; E Galvin, O Treacy, S.Meagher.
Replacements: S O’Connell (for Staunton, 35 mins), T Rensford (for Claffey, h/t), F.Hopkins (for Lynch, 62 mins), R Murphy-Sweeney (for McGann) and D Browne.
Referee: Daithi Flood (Connacht).