YOUNG BUCCS GO TOP
RUGBY with MICHAEL SILKE
WATERPARK 6 BUCCANEERS 40
BUCCANEERS U-20s moved to top of the South-West Conference Division One League following another bonus point victory when defeating Waterpark 40-6 in Waterford on Saturday. Injuries meant that the Pirates fielded with four changes to their starting XV for this encounter and it took the midlanders quite some time to reach the necessary tempo. However, they put in an impressive second half performance that maintains their wonderful start to the league.
Terry Hynes, Conor Morrissey and Dan Kiely came into the pack while Tom Finucane started in the backline. Conditions in the south-east were good with a firm sod and no breeze. Waterpark came flying out of the traps and pinned Buccs back in the opening quarter. They forced a series of penalties to take a 6-0 lead but they were to later rue missing a further three placekicks in that promising start. Buccs gradually got their act together and Finucane opened their account when, following a ruck, the ball was moved wide and the winger got in near the corner. Ben Carty converted to give the visitors a lead they never looked like relinquishing thereafter. They hit Waterpark with a sucker punch in the final move of the half when Finucane gathered a long kick ahead to counter attack and he set up Eoghan O’Reilly for a try which Carty converted for a 14-6 halftime advantage.
Buccs took over in the second half and, following some sustained pressure, Ricky Dixon broke through for a try at the posts that Carty somehow failed to convert! But the outhalf was soon back on song, converting a further three Pirates tries. Harry Hughes finished off a raid after the ball was moved out the backline. Next O’Reilly was on hand to capitalise on a further series of pick and goes to touch down at the posts and then the fullback completed his hat-trick when Carty’s crossfield kick was pinpoint accurate to expose the hosts.
Backs O’Reilly and Carty regularly caused all sorts of problems for Waterpark. Hynes excelled for Buccs with Saba Meunargia (despite spending ten minutes in the sin bin) another key influence in the front row. Cian Romaine and Sam McCormack also made notable contributions. Buccaneers match against Sundays Well has been brought forward to next Saturday with a 12.30 p.m. kick off, so these young Pirates will have an early start for their second trip to Cork in a fortnight.
BUCCANEERS:- E.O’Reilly; T.Finucane, S.Doyle, S.Dempsey, H.Hughes; B.Carty, R.Dixon; T.Hynes, C.McGrath, S.Meunargia; C.Romaine, D.Kiely; C.Morrissey, R.Enraght-Moony and S.McCormack. Replacements used:- D.Small, P.McLoughlin, B.Gilligan and R.Ashe.
TUAM 10 BUCCANEERS 18
BUCCANEERS THIRDS climbed to third place in the Connacht J2 League following this hard-earned 18-10 win away to Tuam on Sunday. In miserable wet conditions, the first half was evenly contested but Buccs had the better of the exchanges thereafter for a merited victory.
The opening half was a messy enough affair and ended with the teams level 3-3. However, the returning Karl Turley finally unlocked the home defence for a well-taken try shortly after the change of ends. Darren Costello scored a penalty in each half before substitute Kevin Langdon got the decisive score when he rumbled over the home line for a try. This was a solid team effort, particularly effective after the interval when the pack worked well as a unit. Here young No.8 Peadar Hennessy caught the eye while Turley, Brian Walsh at fullback and Nicky Purcell were best of the backline.
BUCCANEERS:- B.Walsh; M.Tormey, J.Shaughnessy, K.Turley, G.Fallon; D.Costello (captain), N.Purcell; P.Rikadze, K.Grehan, C.Galvin; G.Kenny, V.McGrath; M.Lyons, K.Kennedy and P.Hennessy. Replacements:- C.O’Reilly, J.Lopez, C.Shanley, K.Langdon and O.Flaherty.
BUCCANEERS 34 BALLINA 11
Two tries apiece from Brian Stack and Conor Murray and a try from Brian Collins saw this emerging Buccaneers U-17s side take the Connacht League points in commanding style against a solid Ballina side by 34-11 at Dubarry Park last Saturday. The win was marred by an injury to prop Conor Kelly mid way through the first half and Conor was taken by ambulance from the field of play. It appears the injury may be restricted to a very bad foot sprain and the team wish him well with his recovery. Donal Ryan did a good job when coming on as replacement and, with Michael Burnell and Jake Berry, they had another solid performance as a front row unit.
Buccaneers dominated this game on the scoreboard but Ballina were stubborn and fronted up very well in the pack where honours were even through the match. Willie O’Meara and Brian Finlay did a lot of the unseen hard work at the breakdown and were well supported by back rows Brian Collins, Kieran Rigney and Ryan Jinks. Jinksy broke the line on a number of occasions with his now customary abrasive style and he was a willing ball carrier all through the game. This forwards unit will continue to develop and will need to be even more committed and cohesive for tougher tests to follow.
But it was the Buccaneers backline that lit up the day with centres Colin Kenny and Stack causing all sorts of difficulties and they were given lots of opportunity to run with fine distribution from both Paddy Browne at scrum half and outhalf Luke Carty. Carty also had a strong day from the boot, and as well as some excellent work in finding touch, he added a penalty and three conversions for a haul of 9 points. Congratulations to Stack who scored those two tries on his starting debut for Buccaneers. His second try drew cheers from those in attendance as he broke the line and raced under the posts despite several attempts from Ballina to put him down. His partnership with Kenny is a hugely anticipated one for the future.
Jamie O’ Keeffe and Jason Wentzel started in their preferred wing positions and were solid in offence and defence. However it was full back Murray who really laid down a marker on Saturday. His lines of running were exceptional, and one charged block down aside, he was totally assured and was unlucky not to add to his two tries on a number of occasions due to resolute Ballina defending. He was also commanding under the high ball and will have drawn a lot of satisfaction from his overall performance.
BUCCANEERS:- M Burnell, J Berry, C Kelly, B Finlay, W O’Meara, K Rigney, B Collins, R Jinks, P Browne, L Carty, J O’Keeffe, B Stack, C Kenny, J Wentzel, C Murray, D Ryan, D Deehan, B Daly, J Ryan, C Jockner, E Kanimon, B McEvoy and N O’Kane.
BUCCS HOME TO DUNGANNON ON SATURDAY NIGHT
BUCCANEERS will strive to return to winning ways when they host Dungannon under the Dubarry Park, Athlone, floodlights on Saturday night. This Ulster Bank League match kicks off at 7.30 p.m. Dungannon lie in seventh place in Division 1B, four berths below the midlanders.
Buccs, who suffered their first reverse of the season when going down in controversial circumstances by a solitary point at Corinthians, should have sufficient strength in reserve to overcome the Ulster club. They also have the incentive to avenge last season’s home defeat when Gannon surprised the Pirates early in the season. The northerners have exciting talent in their backline where Peter Nelson, Chris Cochrane and Chris Farrell are a potent trio. James Bates skippers the side at scrumhalf while Stuart McCloskey could be partnered in the centre by club president Paul Magee! The Sinnamon brothers and Paul Jackson (brother of Ireland’s Paddy) form a hardy front row. Sean Doyle is an exciting back-rower while lock Plunkett McCallan is a late convert from GAA.
Buccs will look to Jack Carty and Mark Dolan to dictate the tempo and territory. Shane Layden, Billy Henshaw and Eoghan O’Reilly have the finishing finesse to more than match the visitors. Danny Qualter, Conor Kindregan and Martin Staunton, backed by young guns Luke Satchwell and Rory Moloney can ensure that the home backs get decent possession. If Buccaneers are as clinical and disciplined as they need to be, then they can fashion a home win in this Hodson Bay Group sponsored game.
A pre-match function takes place in The Bounty, sitting at 6 p.m. 3-course meal + wine, seat in the stand and matchday programme all for just €30 per head. Terrific value. Some places still available. Contact our Administrator Geraldine at 086 1732711 to book. Groups or individuals welcome.
EARLY KICK OFF IN JUNIOR CUP
Because the Ireland v New Zealand international fixture takes place on Sunday, BUCCANEERS SECONDS have an early kick off when they commence their Heineken Connacht Junior Cup campaign at home to Ballyhaunis. This game is now a 12 noon showdown at Dubarry Park on Sunday. There is tons of potential and experience in this Buccs outfit but they have not clicked just yet as a unit. Hopefully the Cup will bring out the best in them. The Byrne brothers, Lorcan Walsh, Liam Doran and Rory Grenham form the nucleus of a decent pack that could feature Kolo Kiripati. Meanwhile backs Paul Harte, Decie Byrne, David Fagan and Glen Costello are capable of being match-winners. On home soil, Buccs should advance.
BUCCANEERS THIRDS also have home advantage on Sunday when they entertain Westport in the Connacht J2 League. This game is scheduled to kick off at 2.30 p.m. but that could change too due to the All Blacks match. (Check club’s website for latest information). Buccs will be expected to make it a home win if they are focussed and purposeful.
Meanwhile, BUCCANEERS U-20s face a very early start on Saturday morning as their South-West Conference League Section A fixture away to Sundays Well has been brought forward to this Saturday with a 12.30 p.m. kick off in Musgrave Park. Buccs currently sit atop this league, following a hugely promising start to their campaign that includes bonus point wins in three of their four victories to date. They have some very exciting players in their panel and, if they can improve discipline to match the enterprise and effort shown so far, they can make it two successive wins in Cork in a fortnight.
A surprisingly lack-lustre Ireland made too many errors in shipping a 32-15 defeat by Australia last Saturday. However, for ROBBIE HENSHAW it was nevertheless an occasion to remember as the young Buccaneers player won his third Senior cap and his first on home soil. There will be better days ahead at this level for the Coosan centre and, fingers crossed, next Sunday against the mighty All Blacks could be one of them!
FIVE BUCCS IN CONNACHT TEAM
Five Buccaneers players featured in the Connacht Womens side that took on their Leinster counterparts at Dubarry Park last Wednesday night. Colette McSpadden started and Emer Phelan was an early substitute, while Mele Kiripati, Natasha Egan and Michelle Reynolds also got game time in a commendable 12-0 defeat.
PARTY NIGHT AT THE BOUNTY
THE BOUNTY is putting on a Christmas Festive Party Night on Saturday, December 14th. Five-course meal, late bar, dancing to the Showband sound of TOP BRASS followed by a DJ, all for only €25 per head. You won’t get better value than that this Christmas. Phone 090-6477566 to book.
PITCH BOOKINGS/LOCK UP
On the subject of bookings, teams must use the on-line booking link on the club’s website www.buccaneersrfc.com to book pitches for matches and/or training. This should be done by Tuesday evening so that allocations of pitches can be confirmed or otherwise at the club’s weekly Executive Committee meetings.
Also, each team is responsible for putting out the flags and goal-post pads and, more importantly, putting them back in an orderly fashion in the storage container, which should be then locked. Some teams are falling down in this regard while the floodlights (quite an expensive facility to use) have been left on, on more than one occasion recently. All players and mentors are urged to respect this request.
BUCCS PIPPED AT THE POST IN THRILLING DERBY
RUGBY with MICHAEL SILKE
CORINTHIANS 19 BUCCANEERS 18
BUCCANEERS 100% winning sequence came to a controversial end when Galway Corinthians pipped the Pirates with the final kick of a splendid contest to win their Ulster Bank League Division 1B encounter 19-18 at Corinthian Park, Clounacauneen, on Friday night. The two Connacht teams aspiring to top this division drew the largest crowd to a club game in the province for quite some time to the Tuam Road venue for this hugely anticipated derby clash. The home win meant Corinthians led the league overnight prior to Terenure College’s victory on Saturday.
Both teams fielded in strength with quite a number of Connacht A players included in each line-up, the hosts starting ex-Bucc Denis Buckley among their notables. Jack Carty at standoff, Peter Reilly at tight-head and Billy Henshaw on the right wing were the Athlone outfit’s starting changes from their memorable win over Shannon. Pre-match rain resulted in a damp sward but the night remained dry if cold.
The scrum was to be an area of major contest and an early penalty award here to the visitors was immediately sent over by Carty while Sean O’Hagan missed a penalty at scrumtime shortly afterwards. Both teams went at each other with gusto with the Buccs defence resisting the westerners to go on the counter. A great Carty run set up a ruck from which Shane Layden caught Mark Dolan’s perfectly judged diagonal kick to the corner for a well-executed try that was not converted.
Injuries were now emerging as a factor for Buccs with Garreth Halligan (20 minutes) and Peter Reilly (27 minutes) having to be replaced by David Heffernan and Diarmuid Higgins respectively. This eventually heralded a loss of competitiveness in the scrum particularly when Danny Qualter too had to go off five minutes before half-time. His replacement Shane Casey was, in his over-enthusiasm, swiftly yellow carded for disrupting the ball at a ruck. Nevertheless, Buccs added to their tally before the interval with Carty kicking over a lengthy penalty to put the midlanders 11-0 ahead at the break.
Corinthians restarted in storming fashion, forcing Buccs on to the back foot and opened their account with an O’Hagan penalty. The homesters endeavoured to keep the ball alive as much as possible but Buccaneers defence, although tending to drop back too deeply, was not breached until close to the three-quarters stage when Finn Gormley finished off a move for a try in the left corner. O’Hagan’s conversion cut Buccs advantage to a single point, 11-10 ahead.
Buccs hit back with a vengeance, led by Carty’s commanding influence, and the outhalf flighted a terrific crossfield kick that was collected by Layden who, under pressure, passed to Henshaw who surged in for a try which Carty converted. A brace of O’Hagan penalties narrowed Corinthians’ arrears to 18-16 before Rory Moloney, who was having a stellar performance especially in attack where he made a significant contribution to Buccs’ second try, fell victim to the fickleness of the referee. The teenager was sin-binned for not binding at a scrum and another yellow was flashed at Buccaneers by the match official when Casey was sin-binned for the second time, being deemed not to have released Denis Buckley in the tackle in the home half.
With a two-man advantage, Corinthians now threw everything at Buccaneers but the visitors’ defence coped admirably until a couple of further officiating decisions fuelled their ire. Deep in added time, Buccs interpreted a message that the game was in it’s final move and kicked the ball dead only for the referee to further continue play. From the resultant lineout, Corinthians were awarded a hotly-disputed penalty. Denis Buckley was again in the thick of the action, lying on the ball and Layden came straight through the ruck to compete. Travelling supporters anticipated a relieving and match-winning penalty but the referee ruled otherwise, deeming that Layden came in from the side! O’Hagan, cool and calm beyond his years, accepted the responsibility like a veteran and steered the difficult kick in both range and angle between the uprights to pip Buccs at the post.
It was a hard-fought but sporting duel and Buccaneers were gutted by the home side’s last gasp and often unlikely-looking win. There was wonderful defence displayed by both sides. Dolan and Carty took the primary honours for Buccs with Layden also prominent in the backline where Henshaw and Conor Finn showed flashes at times. The fledgling Moroney continues to have an increasing impact in a pack that worked hard against a determined opposition unit. James Tormey and Martin Staunton battled hardest but injuries impacted and gradually Buccs were playing more on the back foot in the second half. Eoghan Masterson and Joey Merrigan excelled for the winners with Finlay Bealham another forward to shine. Skipper Gormley led by example and received notable assistance from fellow backs James Buckley and Mickey Murphy, the latter being a significant influence when introduced.
Although bitterly disappointed to lose, particularly the controversial manner of this defeat, a totally committed team effort yielded a losing bonus point that keeps Buccs in third position. The Pirates will, in time, surely relish tackling the same opposition on home soil at a stage that could be a crucial encounter for either of these skilful rivals. Roll on St. Patrick’s weekend!
CORINTHIANS:- D.Panther; D.Claasen, J.Buckley, F.Gormley (captain), I.Venter; S.O’Hagan, M.Walsh; D.Buckley, J.Merrigan, F.Bealham; G.Warde, U.Dillane; D.Phelan, J.Connolly and E.Masterson. Replacements:- M.Murphy (for Walsh, h/t), J.Burns, M.Byrne, T.Toolan and P.Noone.
BUCCANEERS:- C.Boland; B.Henshaw, C.Finn, A.Hayman (captain), S.Layden; J.Carty, M.Dolan; M.Staunton, G.Halligan, P.Reilly; J.Tormey, D.Qualter; C.Kindregan, R.Moloney and L.Satchwell. Replacements:- D.Heffernan (for Halligan, inj. 20 mins), D.Higgins (for Reilly, inj. 27 mins), S.Casey (for Qualter, inj. 35 mins), S.Macauley (for Finn, 55 mins) and E.O’Reilly.
REFEREE:- Dave O’Flynn (IRFU).
HIGHFIELD 5 BUCCANEERS 45
BUCCANEERS U-20s turned on the style to inflict a 45-5 South-West Conference Division One League defeat on hosts Highfield at Woodleigh Park, Cork, on Saturday. Conditions were wet and dreary but Buccs, despite losing Terry Hynes to injury in the warm-up, fielded their strongest side to date as they notched up their third straight win and joint leadership with UCC in Division One.
Buccs hit the ground running, despite the miserable conditions, and Ricky Dixon and Cian Romaine got close to the home line before the visitors opened the scoring. Ben Carty opted for touch with a kickable 9th minute penalty to the right flank and, following the lineout, Dixon sucked in the cover to send Sean Dempsey in for a try which Carty converted. A close affair looked in prospect when Highfield replied with an Aidan Johnson try almost immediately but Eoghan O’Reilly caught a home chip over the cover to launch a counter attack that was carried on by Ross Enraght-Moony before play was switched to the right where Brian Gilligan got in for a 23rd minute try converted by Carty.
Five minutes later, O’Reilly had another snipe and linked up with Harry Hughes whose kick ahead was finished off by Sean Doyle for an unconverted try. The exciting Dixon broke from the back of a scrum to angle in for a cleverly-taken 34th minute try in the right corner. Carty’s conversion via an upright gave Buccs a commanding 26-5 halftime lead.
Within three minutes of the restart, Evan Galvin was romping in for a converted try and, nine minutes later, O’Reilly’s attack-minded style was rewarded with a try on the right after Buccs had won a lineout on the left. Carty’s conversion put Buccs 40-5 to the good and Buccs now utilised their bench while the homesters too took some remedial action that stemmed the tide somewhat as the game drifted to its end. The only other score of the final half-hour was Doyle’s second try on 73 minutes fashioned by a lovely break by the eager Dixon. Carty had a rare blemish to his near immaculate kicking when he sent this straight-forward conversion under the crossbar! However, Buccs were clearcut masters, securing a winning bonus point 45-5 win.
This was a splendid all-round team performance by Buccaneers with pint-sized pair Davis and O’Reilly causing regular palpitations to the Corkonians while Carty was another back who could be well pleased with his contribution. Josh O’Rourke and Sam McCormack were prominent in the forwards exchanges in which props Jacob Walshe and Saba Meunargia dominated while skipper Marc O’Connell offered most resistance at No.8 for Highfield.
BUCCANEERS:- E.O’Reilly; B.Gilligan, S.Doyle, S.Dempsey, H.Hughes; B.Carty (captain), R.Davis; J.Walsh, C.McGrath, S.Meunargia; J.O’Rourke, C.Romaine; S.McCormack, R.Enraght-Moony and E.Galvin. Replacements:- C.Morrissey (for Galvin, inj.), C.Claffey (for Gilligan), D.Kiely (for Enraght-Moony), P.McLoughlin (for McCormack).
HIGHFIELD:- B.Murphy; M.Morris, D.Morrissey, C.Murphy, C.Lougheed; B.Hayes, A.Johnson; J.Sinnott, R.Steele, P.Lee; C.O’Connor, M.Mullane; J.ODonnell-Fitzgerald, C.Philpott and M.O’Connell (captain). Replacements used:- C.Touhy, D.O’Sullivan, E.Greene, M.O’Donnell-Fitzgerald, B.Sibiya and S.Tynan
BUCCANEERS 13 LOUGHREA 10
BUCCANEERS SECONDS returned to winning ways when overcoming Loughrea 13-10 in their Connacht Junior 1B League tie at Dubarry Park on Sunday. This hard-earned victory over the bottom club on a damp, overcast afternoon moves the Pirates up to fourth place in the league table.
However, this Buccs squad should be capable of winning games more comfortably and they toiled somewhat again here. On this occasion, they can thank the endeavours of their backline for earning the spoils, particularly young outhalf Glen Costello who scored all the homesters’ points. The versatile and willing youngster kicked three penalties and capped a fine contribution with a neatly-taken try. David Fagan impressed at fullback while Dominic Griffiths, Paul Harte and Ray O’Reilly also enjoyed good moments.
BUCCANEERS:- D.Fagan; D.Byrne, P.Harte, D.Griffiths (captain), P.Hennessy; G.Costello, R.O’Reilly; L.Doran, R.Grenham, C.O’Shea; R.Byrne, S.Byrne; N.Flynn, L.Walsh and B.Fagan. Replacement used:- T.Thompson.
BUCCANEERS 14 CORINTHIANS 31
Champions Corinthians Thirds signalled their intent on retaining their Connacht J2 League title with an impressive 31-14 victory over main rivals Buccaneers Thirds when the sides met at Dubarry Park on Sunday. In testing conditions, the visitors maintained their grip at the top of the leaderboard while Buccs remain in third place.
Buccs were an unusually disjointed lot for this key fixture against a well-organised western outfit. With too many below par showings on the day, the Pirates failed to perform as anticipated and had to give second best to the visitors. Darren Costello kicked three penalties while Conor Galvin grabbed a try for Buccs for whom Robert Reid and Mark Tormey made the most impression.
BUCCANEERS:- M.Tormey; K.Kennedy, B.Walsh, M.Lyons, J.Lopez; D.Costello (captain), N.Purcell; A.Daly, K.Grehan, P.Rikadze; V.McGrath, G.Kenny; G.Glynn, R.Reid and C.Galvin. Replacement used:- L.Didebashvili.
Following a long trip to Cork last weekend, BUCCANEERS U-20s face their lengthiest journey of the season when they head south-east to Waterford to tackle Waterpark in the South-West Conference League Division One on Saturday, kick off 2.30 p.m. Waterpark currently lie second from bottom with a draw their only positive result to date. Buccs should continue their promising start but must guard against complacency as the home side is in dire need of ekeing out a first victory. However, the midlanders should be able to field a reasonably strong squad and, if they come close to repeating last Saturday’s performance, they should prove too strong for Waterpark.
BUCCANEERS WOMEN are on the road too travelling to Co. Wicklow to face Rathdrum in the Womens All-Ireland League Division 2 Central on Sunday, kick off 1 p.m. Rathdrum pipped the Pirate ladies by a solitary point in Buccs AIL debut, a game the Athlone girls lost due to a late, late try in a prolonged period of added time. Buccs have struggled for consistency due to a lengthy list of absentees for one reason or another. But, if they could muster a settled side, they are capable to turning their bad luck around.
Meanwhile, Connacht entertain Leinster in a Womens Interpro at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Wednesday night. Kick off for this friendly is 8 p.m.
MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTIONS DUE
All players and mentors are reminded that Membership Subscriptions should have been paid by the end of October. Some subs are still outstanding and should be paid forthwith. Meanwhile, all players should ensure that they have their own additional Insurance cover as appropriate for each individual. The club does not cover medical costs or loss of wages, etc.
YOUR CLUB YOUR COUNTRY
The “Your Club, Your Country” draw organised by the IRFU takes place shortly. There is a terrific array of prizes on offer in this draw, including a trip for two to Argentina next summer to support the Ireland rugby team. Tickets cost just €10 each and the proceeds of all tickets sold by the club are retained in the club. So all players, committee members and others who have been allocated tickets are urged to return ALL tickets, ideally all sold, by next Tuesday, November 19th.
Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Mary (Maureen) Worley who died recently in Dublin. Ar dheis De a anam.
HISTORIC VICTORY FOR BUCCS
RUGBY with MICHAEL SILKE
BUCCANEERS 25 SHANNON 22
BUCCANEERS maintained their 100% winning start to the Ulster Bank League when they recorded a dramatic and thrilling victory over Shannon, winning this Division 1B clash 25-22 at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday. Weather conditions did their utmost to impact negatively on this match with showers and, more crucially, a strong blustery breeze disrupting the proceedings. However, Buccs will not care one whit as they earned a historic first ever AIL victory over the nine times champions with a blistering finish that keeps the Athlone club in second place in the league table.
The Athlone side welcomed Shane Layden and Conor Finn back to action after prolonged injury absences while Ben Carty again deputised ably for elder brother Jack, who was called up to the Connacht squad. Diarmuid Higgins was preferred to Peter Reilly on this occasion and the flame-haired tighthead prop put in a storming effort to be a worthy winner of the ‘AUDI ATHLONE Man of the Match’ accolade. Shannon too had changes with Luke O’Dea ruled out through injury and hooker Duncan Casey included in the Munster panel.
Shannon skipper for the day Tadhg Bennett opened the scoring with a fifth minute penalty after Buccs were guilty of not binding at scrum-time. Carty made a wonderful snipe within two minutes that outwitted the visitors and he set up Martin Staunton for a try which the teenage outhalf converted. Bennett then missed a 10th minute penalty after the homesters were caught offside while the Pirates dithered too long with a promising close-in lineout shortly afterwards and Shannon cleared the danger with the free kick. Bennett curled over a penalty at the end of the opening quarter after a handling infringement by the midlanders, whose penalty count was a growing concern.
Shannon had a decent slice of good fortune in their opening try when a fairly clearcut knock-on was not spotted by the match officials and the Munster outfit made good ground down the right where Alex Hayman had little choice but to punt into touch. From the lineout the visitors moved the ball right to left and Richie Mullane provided the overlap after 23 minutes to get in for an unconverted try that put the Limerick side 11-7 ahead. Layden, who saw little possession on the left flank due to the breeze, was unlucky not to hold on to the ball as he endeavoured to intercept on 28 minutes but a Carty penalty five minutes later after Niall Horan was yellow-carded for slowing possession left the minimum between the sides. Shannon, despite their temporary numerical discrepancy, finished the half stronger but Staunton put in a try-saving tackle on David O’Donovan to leave the game finely balanced with Buccs trailing by the minimum 10-11 at the interval.
Buccaneers, unusually, headed for the dressing-rooms at the break and they returned in more urgent humour. Layden and Rory Moloney soon threatened along the left flank but the latter’s attempted chip was blocked down by fullback Mullane. Eoghan O’Reilly replaced the injured Callum Boland with Layden switching to fullback just before Carty nosed the Pirates back into the lead with a 50th minute penalty after home pressure forced Shannon to ‘kill’ the ball. Kolo Kiripati entered the fray on 53 minutes following an injury to Danny Qualter while Billy Henshaw replaced Steve Macauley.
Luke Satchwell made a splendid 57th minute break from the ten-metre line that caused mayhem in the Shannon defence but he lacked swift support to offload the scoring pass. Macauley was soon back in the fray, coming in at fullback for the injured Layden while Reilly joined the front row in place of Higgins. Following a quick throw-in, Macauley ran into trouble and was caught in possession with Bennett just squeezing over the resultant penalty to edge Shannon ahead again as the game entered the final quarter. Reilly incurred the wrath of inconsistent referee Shane Kierans five minutes later but Bennett was off-target with the resultant penalty. At the next scrum, Higgins was brought on with Kiripati withdrawn. The rain had now passed but the diagonal wind was more influential in favour of the visitors and Buccs looked in dire trouble when Bennett landed his fourth penalty for a 17-13 advantage to Shannon with just 12 minutes remaining.
Yet the indomitable midlanders continued to take the game to Shannon and fervent pressure was rewarded when Higgins powered through for a try five minutes from time after several assaults on the visitors’ line. Three minutes later, Macauley made a magnificent angled raid from his own half and Henshaw was up in support to receive a deft offload to surge in for a try on the right which Carty converted to finally put Buccs in command, 25-17 to the good. There was still time in a thrilling finale for Shannon to rescue a losing bonus point when Keith White rumbled in for his side’s second try but Buccs were in celebratory mood following this fourth straight win and a first ever league victory over Shannon on a 25-22 scoreline.
The sometimes near-tempest weather ensured that this much-anticipated encounter was not going to be a game for the purists but, nevertheless, both teams put in huge industry, albeit the application did not always match the intention in the testing conditions. Buccs coughed up too many penalties for their own good but their indefatigable spirit meant that Shannon, despite the strong wind, never managed to quell the home desire. Bennett was the visitors’ main threat with Mullane looking dangerous on occasion. Higgins was Buccaneers standout performer, carrying and tackling like a man possessed. Satchwell continues to blossom at No.8 and teenage flanker Moloney was prominent throughout. Hayman steered the Pirates backline from the centre with the consistent Mark Dolan making a key contribution at scrumhalf.
BUCCANEERS:- C.Boland; S.Macauley, C.Finn, A.Hayman (captain), S.Layden; B.Carty, M.Dolan; M.Staunton, G.Halligan, D.Higgins; J.Tormey, D.Qualter; C.Kindregan, R.Moloney and L.Satchwell. Replacements:- E.O’Reilly (for Boland, inj. 49 mins), K.Kiripati (for Qualter, inj. 54 mins), B.Henshaw (for Macauley, 54 mins), P.Reilly (for Higgins, 58 mins), S.Macauley (for Layden, inj. 58 mins), D.Higgins (for Kiripati, 66 mins), P.Reilly (for Higgins, 76 mins), K.Kiripati (for Moloney, 76 mins) and R.Grenham.
SHANNON:- R.Mullane; G.O’Shea, T.Leader, T.Bennett (captain), D.O’Donovan; G.Lyons, R.Guerin; N.Horan, J.Cronin, G.McNamara; K.White, P.Kerins; E.McLoughlin, J.Murphy and J.Shine. Replacements:- A.O’Brien (for Murphy, 35 mins), N.Horan (for G.McNamara, 47 mins), L.Nicholas (for McLoughlin, 47 mins), W.O’Connor (for Guerin, 62 mins) and G.McNamara (for Horan, 73 mins).
Referee:- Shane Kierans (IRFU).
BUCCANEERS 13 GALWEGIANS 20
Galwegians Reserves took top spot in the Connacht Junior 1B League when they defeated Buccaneers Seconds 20-13 at bright and calm Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday. However, despite a raft of experienced players on both sides, this match did not quite live up to expectations. Wegians were more cohesive and workmanlike, and just about merited their win over a Buccs squad that promised much but again did not jell as a unit.
Both sides took time to settle and missed an early penalty apiece before Peter O’Neill opened the scoring for Buccs with a penalty to which Wegians soon levelled when Dave Clark was on target. It remained 3-3 until the final move of the half when indiscipline cost the homesters’ dearly. The light blues opted for touch in the left corner and, winning lineout possession, the ball found it’s way to Dave Symes and the wing scythed in for a try which Eoin O’Mahony converted to give Galwegians some breathing space at halftime, 10-3 ahead.
O’Neill reduced the arrears shortly after the restart but a needless tackle off the ball soon gave Wegians the chance to restore their seven points advantage with O’Mahony slotting over the penalty. O’Neill then missed a straight-forward penalty before Conor O’Rourke notched an opportunist try for the westerners when he caught the home defence off-guard following a lineout. O’Mahony added a fine conversion to stretch the lead to 20-6. Buccs were stung by this setback and finally got some urgency in their play. An impressive maul was brought down by Wegians, resulting in a yellow card for their prop Paul Griffin. The Pirates punted the penalty to touch in the left corner and, following the lineout, the homesters drove over the line for Kolo Kiripati to touch down. Sean Doyle, now entrusted with the place-kicking duties, added a splendid conversion to set up the prospect of a gripping finale but Galwegians managed to control the closing exchanges for a 20-13 victory.
Buccaneers promised more than they delivered and, on this occasion, it was their pack that too often looked listless, with the lineouts going awry far too often in the opening period. It was a frustrating performance by Buccs who are certainly capable of better but just have not clicked in a consistent manner to date.
BUCCANEERS:- S.Doyle; K.Naughton, P.Harte, D.Griffiths (captain), D.Fagan; P.O’Neill, R.O’Reilly; L.Doran, R.Grenham, T.Thompson; R.Byrne, S.Byrne; N.Flynn, L.Walsh and K.Kiripati. Replacements:- R.Enraght-Moony (for Walsh, inj.), S.Flynn (for Griffiths), C.O’Shea (for Thompson) and G.Fallon (for Fagan).
GALWEGIANS:- E.O’Mahony; R.Burke, S.Madden, D.Clark, D.Symes; G.Tynan, C.O’Rourke; S.McGrath, R.Brennan, P.Griffin; D.Deegan, J.Healy; N.Dillon, M.Towey and S.Perkins. Replacements:- P.O’Donnell, D.Foley and D.Butler.
REFEREE:- James Langan (Connacht).
SOUTH SLIGO 5 BUCCANEERS 44
Buccaneers maintained their winning start to their season with an outstanding Connacht U-13 League performance, overcoming a fledgling South Sligo team 44-5, in a lively and entertaining if somewhat one-sided affair. While it would be unfair to say that the scoreline flattered Buccs, South Sligo certainly made life tough for large tracks of the game. On a bright and slightly breezy day in Ballymote, Buccs began where they left off the week previous taking the game to the opposition with purpose and structure.
Conor Larkin continued his tremendous start to the season, getting Buccs off to a tonic start with a try wide on the left after five minutes. This was the result of relentless pressure from Buccs, moving the ball smartly and recycling effectively. This was followed in quick succession by a fine try by outhalf Darragh Murray who backed up last week’s display with another splendid performance. Evan Gallagher proved to be a wrecking ball of fury throughout, the hooker’s direct and aggressive running doing untold damage to the Sligo’s defensive line. Gallagher’s hard work laid the platform for a number of the scores that followed. The quiet assassin Martin Fallon got just reward for his toil and effort, the powerful No. 8 blasting his way for a barnstorming try. Fallon formed part of a hugely impressive backrow trio, all of whom scored. Openside Michael Lynch was the personification of perpetual motion, tackling like a man possessed and clearing rucks like his life depended on it, capping off a fine display with a wonderfully taken try and chipping in with two conversions. Blindside Jack Scouler went one better dotting down for tries either side of the half. Scouler is revelling in his new position in the back row, allowing this powerful and strong running flanker the opportunity to rampage around the park. Billy Dalton, Julian Devaney, Vinny Gaetani and Chaz Alozie did the grunt work in the tight five, allowing their loose forwards to roam with impunity.
The backline sparkled thanks to the excellent service from scrumhalf Michael Byrne who showed his class in skipping in for a superb try. He demonstrated an uncanny ability to make the right decision to either have a go himself or release this pedigree backline. Murray, Shane Cunnane and Larkin were in top form, ably assisted by Dean Buckley, the latter giving a master class in winning turnover ruck ball. Jack Martin ran beautiful from fullback and Dairmuid McLoughlin was relishing the challenge until injury forced his early retirement which allowed Daniel Westman to join the fray. He rounded off a great performance with a super solo try running through the heart of Sligo’s defence to score by the posts to round off matters.
Yet again this was a terrific all-round effort by Buccs. Every player played their part in this satisfying victory, all substitutes made decent contributions on their introductions and ultimately this was a highly promising display by these young Pirates.
BUCCANEERS:- Jack Martin, Conor Larkin, Dean Buckley Dairmuid McLoughlin, , Shane Cunnane, Darragh Murray, Michael Byrne, Chiazokam Alozie, Evan Gallagher, Vicente Gaetani, Billy Dalton, Julian Devaney, Jack Scouler, Michael Lynch (captain) and Martin Fallon. Replacements used:- Shane Greene, Kevin Horan, Jesse Middleton, Eabhan Sleatory, Daniel Westman, Fergus O’Sullivan and Ruaidhri Campion.
FRIDAY NIGHT SHOWDOWN FOR BUCCS AT CORINTHIANS
BUCCANEERS go head to head with Corinthians in the Ulster Bank League at Corinthian Park, Galway, on Friday night, kick off 7.30 p.m. This Division 1B battle between the Connacht rivals, both of whom have won their opening four matches, should be a right cracker and the Tuam Road venue will surely be bursting at the seams.
Corinthians have made a splendid start following promotion to Division 1B, winning their opening four games, three of which were away from home. They boast the best scoring record to date and will be razor keen to get bragging rights in the province. They accounted for Buccs 36-20 when the sides met in the Connacht League early in the season, but both teams will be greatly changed from that outing. The Pirates were particularly depleted on that occasion so Friday night’s outcome can hardly be judged on that result.
Both squads will draw greatly from Connacht Academy players with Corinthians looking to back-rowers Aaron Conneely, James Connolly and Eoghan Masterson with lock Ultan Dillane and prop Finlay Bealham also likely to feature. Fullback David Panther and scrumhalf Marcus Walsh will surely start in the backline but here it is their U-18 starlet Sean O’Hagan who has really caught the eye. The vastly-promising outhalf is a splendid place-kicker who also has an eye for an opening as is evidenced by a batch of tries scored to date. His influence on the proceedings must simply be curtailed while the South African wings Darin Claasen and Ivan Venter too must be curbed. Denis Buckley could start in the front row against his former club while Aurelien Casanova adds another cosmopolitan option in the home pack. A third Springbok Phil Pretorious coaches Corinthians and his ethos is to spread the ball so an expansive encounter is anticipated.
This would suit Buccaneers too for they have a young and adventurous squad also. Backs Jack Carty, Shane Layden, Conor Finn and Steve Macauley are all involved with Connacht as are young forwards Danny Qualter, David Heffernan, Conor Kindregan, Peter Reilly and Rory Moloney. Add Martin Staunton, Luke Satchwell, Mark Dolan, Callum Boland, Diarmuid Higgins, Billy Henshaw, Shane Casey and Eoghan O’Reilly into the mix and Buccs have a hugely promising and mobile outfit that can capitalise on the leadership of Alex Hayman, Garreth Halligan, James Tormey and Kolo Kiripati.
It should be a fast-moving and competitive affair. Hopefully, weather conditions will be kind for two teams that love to play attacking rugby. With a bumper crowd urging the combatants on, the supporters and occasion should draw the best from both sides. Scores aplenty are in prospect. Buccs to prevail ….. just!
There is a plethora of fixtures this weekend with Buccaneers U-20s making the long haul south to Cork where they face Highfield in the U-20 South-West Conference League Division 1 on Saturday. This refixed match kicks off at 2.30 p.m. at Woodleigh Park, Model Farm Road. (Supporters should go via the Jack Lynch tunnel and head west on the motorway, taking the roundabout exit off for Cork University Hospital, which is close to the club). Buccs have made a bright start to this league and, if all players are available to them and fit, then they can give it a right good shot in real capital.
Buccaneers Seconds are home to Loughrea in the Connacht Junior 1B League on Sunday, kick off 2.30 p.m. On paper, this is a fairly decent squad that with a little fine tuning can make a good impression in this league. With home advantage, they can account for Loughrea but they will need to put in a sustained and disciplined effort to kick start the title challenge they are capable of.
Making it a double-header at Dubarry Park on Sunday, Buccaneers Thirds tackle their Corinthians counterparts in the Connacht J2 League. Buccs have made a strong start to their campaign and have a score or two to settle with the visitors, who defeated them with the last kick of the match in last year’s league final! This sterling bunch have the wherewithal to avenge that setback.
Meanwhile, Buccaneers Womens team travel to Co. Wicklow where they face Rathdrum in the first game of the second half of their Womens All-Ireland League on Sunday afternoon, kick off 1 p.m. Rathdrum were fortunate to win in Buccs’ very first AIL match when the visitors scored a late, late try after a somewhat extended second half. Defections have not helped Buccs cause to date but, if they can muster close to full strength, they can atone for their opening day defeat.
Finally, Connacht play Leinster in a Womens friendly at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Wednesday next, November 13th. Kick off is 8 p.m.
Congratulations to Athlone on a memorable Westmeath U-21 Football Championship triumph when Conal Sheeran’s last gasp goal proved decisive. Conal, son of Buccaneers President Frank, saw red in last year’s final but he made a telling impact when introduced as a late substitute to down St. Loman’s. Glen Costello, Ray Connellan, Charlie McMickan and Dylan Lynch are some of this youthful Athlone squad who have also played with Buccaneers. Well done, guys.
THIRD WIN ON TROT FOR BUCCS
RUGBY with MICHAEL SILKE
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 7 BUCCANEERS 15
BUCCANEERS remain joint leaders of the Ulster Bank League Division 1B following a 15-7 victory over Dublin University at Sydney Parade, Dublin, on Saturday. This was Buccs third successive win and, while it was merited, it was hard-earned against a battling Students outfit who were a mite unlucky to end up empty-handed after a brave showing.
Buccs made three changes from their last outing against Malone with Jack Carty returning at outhalf for younger brother Ben. In the pack, Garreth Halligan replaced hooker David Heffernan (called up by Connacht) while Rory Moloney came in at wing forward for the injured Shane Casey. College’s main absentee was Jack Dilger with Nick McCarthy deputising at No.8.
While the surface at Monkstown’s grounds was good, rain and a blustery breeze contrived to spoil this game as a spectacle. Both sides would surely have preferred a more open encounter but the weather dictated otherwise, making it difficult for playing and note-taking!
Trinity had the first scoring opportunity when Buccs were caught in possession but Conor Kearns 4th minute penalty drifted wide. Carty had Buccs first chance but his drop goal attempt four minutes later was also off-target. The Pirates had several snipes at the home line before it was breached on 18 minutes. Callum Boland made a couple of promising breaks while Alex Hayman was unlucky when a tackle on the Buccs fullback caused the Pirates skipper to lose his footing in a decent position before Luke Satchwell got the scoring move in motion in midfield. Halligan then off-loaded excellently in the tackle to Eoghan O’Reilly and the young wing scampered in for his first AIL try in the left corner with Carty adding a super touchline conversion.
Buccs generally had the better of the exchanges but lacked patience and composure on occasion as they failed to add to their tally until the half-hour mark. They lost a scrum against the head deep in their own half but the Students did not secure possession and Conor Kindregan rampaged down the centre. This time the ball was moved to the right where Steve Macauley slid in at the corner despite the efforts of Jack Fitzpatrick for a try that Carty could not convert. Buccs were worthy of their 12-0 advantage and looked set to add to it in the dying moments of the opening half when they went through the phases inside the home 22. However, they conceded a needless penalty when coming in from the side, and Kearns thumped a relieving kick into touch inside the visitors’ half. From the lineout, Pierce Dargan’s break caught Buccs napping as he found a gap for a try which Kearns converted with the final kick of the half to narrow Dublin University’s arrears to 12-7 at halftime.
The game was now up for grabs but testing conditions ensured that errors by both sides continued after the change of ends. Diarmuid Higgins replaced Peter Reilly at halftime with Kolo Kiripati making a welcome return early in the second half for James Tormey. This meant a reshuffle in the midlanders’ pack but, otherwise, the Athlone side kept changes to the minimum. Chances and incidents of note were at a premium too despite a huge amount of effort by both sides and, with the Students rolling up their collective sleeves, the second period was much more even.
However, disciplined Buccaneers were not found wanting in their defensive duties in this half with Danny Qualter, Billy Henshaw, Kindregan and substitute Higgins making notable hits to take some steam out of Trinity’s challenge which was led by Brian du Toit, Dargan and Kearns. Buccs tackling was generally tenacious and crisp and, overall, they were the cuter outfit. Carty, who was wide with an ambitious 65th minute penalty and failed to find touch a shade too often in the first half, still had the resolve and ability to seal the outcome with the only score of the second half, a 61st minute penalty that denied luckless Trinity a losing bonus point.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY:- J.Fitzpatrick; C.Carriaga, C.Kearns, P.Lavelle, N.Adeolukan; M.Nicholson, J.Sullivan; D.Crosbie, A.Brady, M.Kelly; W.Scott, J.Kelly (captain); P.Dargan, B. du Toit and N.McCarthy. Replacements:- J.Costigan (for McCarthy, inj. 9 mins), C.Goode (for Crosbie, 24 mins), A.MacLellan and C.Joyce.
BUCCANEERS:- C.Boland; S.Macauley, B.Henshaw, A.Hayman (captain), E.O’Reilly; J.Carty, M.Dolan; M.Staunton, G.Halligan, P.Reilly; J.Tormey, D.Qualter; C.Kindregan, R.Moloney and L.Satchwell. Replacements:- D.Higgins (for Reilly, h/t), K.Kiripati (for Tormey, 48 mins), R.Grenham, B.Carty and M.Abraham.
REFEREE:- Stuart Douglas (IRFU).
BUCCS TACKLE SHANNON ON SATURDAY
BUCCANEERS face an acid test of their Ulster Bank League potential when they square up to Shannon in a hugely-anticipated Division 1B clash at Dubarry Park on Saturday afternoon. Kick off in Athlone is 2.30 p.m.
Shannon was the top club in AIL competition for many, many seasons as they accumulated 9 championships including a possibly never to be repeated 4 titles in succession. However, in recent seasons they have struggled to maintain their exceptional standards and they failed to stave off the sceptre of relegation when UCD humiliated them in Coonagh in a play-off at the end of the most recent campaign.
Surprisingly, they lost their two opening fixtures in Division 1B but forged their first win when accounting for Dungannon last weekend. They will now travel to Athlone with renewed confidence and vigour so a pulsating contest is very likely. They have a big, physical pack led by hooker Duncan Casey. John Shine is a highly versatile back rower while prop Niall Horan and lock Keith White are two other key anchors. The backline has a potent mix of talent and experience with Tadhg Bennett their main scoring threat. He is a topclass placekicker and could be joined in the centre by another Tadhg --- Leader. Rob Guerin is a snappy scrumhalf and Luke O’Dea is hugely exciting at fullback or wing while David O’Donovan adds guile to this unit.
However, Buccaneers have guile, potential and craft aplenty this term too. Arguably, their squad is more balanced than in recent seasons and, if they can be more consistent and clinical, then they should fear no one on their own patch. The pack is very settled with Danny Qualter being the standout performer so far, with Luke Satchwell also showing strongly. Conor Kindregan and Shane Casey have added mobility and bulk to the backrow where Kolo Kiripati’s availability further improves options there. Martin Staunton has been impressively consistent in the front row where Peter Reilly and Diarmuid Higgins are having their own private contest for the tighthead berth. Garreth Halligan is a wily and skilled hooker who still covers an impressive amount of ground in every match while David Heffernan’s burgeoning promise was confirmed with a fine contribution against Leinster last weekend. Vastly experienced James Tormey is often the unsung hero of the side while Rory Moloney is a hugely busy flanker at the other arc of his rugby career. Ruairi Byrne is a versatile forward who will surely be in consideration for this test.
Buccs backline may generally be very youthful but, nevertheless, possesses experience aplenty. Jack Carty and Mark Dolan are eminently capable of controlling matters at halfback with guidance from skipper Alex Hayman, whose pairing with Billy Henshaw is working well in the centre. The back three of Callum Boland, Steve Macauley and Eoghan O’Reilly can take scores without shirking defensive duties. Ben Carty, Mark Abraham, Paul Harte and Harry Hughes are viable options in this sector.
While proud Shannon will be keen to go straight back up to Division 1A, if Buccaneers perform to their collective potential with consistency and discipline, then a home win is well within their grasp.
BUCCANEERS WOMEN make the relatively short hop to Edenderry on Sunday where their Womens All-Ireland League Division 2 Central match kicks off at 1 p.m. The Buccs girls have been greatly hampered by absentees for various reasons but, hopefully, will have some of their “walking wounded” available for this midlands derby. If that is the case, then their adventurous spirit could well be rewarded.
BUCCANEERS SECONDS will be hoping to build on their promising win at Monivea last time out when they tackle Galwegians Seconds at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday afternoon. This Connacht Junior 1B League encounter kicks off at 2.30 p.m. On paper, this Buccs outfit has a decent pedigree that somehow has not quite jelled. The pack, in which the Byrne brothers, Rory Grenham, Liam Doran and Adrian Hughes have generally foraged a decent supply of possession, is capable of dictating matters. Yet, despite the potential of David Fagan, Dominic Griffiths, Declan Byrne and Ger Fallon, the backline has not always transferred dominance into scores. However, the sky blue jerseys on the opposing side could well focus minds and endeavour in this joust!
BUCCANEERS Ulster Bank League game at home to Terenure College has been brought forward to the Saturday before Christmas, December 21st. Meanwhile, Buccs U-20s match against Highfield, which was postponed due to a water-logged pitch in Cork, is now rescheduled for Saturday week, November 9th, at Model Farm Road.
As previewed in this column last week, the Womens team were not found wanting with their efforts in hosting a ‘HALLOWEEN FANCY DRESS’ over the bank holiday weekend. The time and enterprise put in was clearly on view for all to see at an immensely sociable event. The Spice Girls reunited for the occasion, although Posh has clearly put on a bit of weight since moving to Beckingham Palace! “The Grim Reaper” (aka Dominic Griffiths) won the main prize for best costume. Big “thank you” goes to Aoife Taaffe, Emma O’Neill, Sarah Kelly and Christine Mannion who organised this fun event.