VIXENS TRIUMPH IN ‘7s in the City’
A star-studded Vixens squad triumphed in the ‘Supervalu 7s in the City’ all female Sevens tournament hosted by Buccaneers RFC at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday. After a most entertaining afternoon of competitive sevens, Vixens overcame an also impressive Railway Union side in the decider. Last year’s winners Blackrock captured ‘The Piano Bar Plate’ trophy, defeating a spirited Shirt The Ducks in that final. In the U-18 competition, Portlaoise proved too strong for neighbours Tullamore. National Breast Cancer Research Ireland was the designated charity of this Sevens event.
Vixens and Railway Union both progressed with 100% win records through their group sections, both conceding just two tries enroute to the knockout stage. Here Vixens overcame Old Belvedere 36-0 in their semi-final while Railway Union accounted for hosts Buccaneers 29-5. In the final, Vixens with Jeanette Feighery snatching a brace of tries scampered away to a 19-0 halftime advantage that was stretched to 26-0 early in the second period. Siobhan Barrett and Ailsa Hughes shared the latter two tries and Jeamie Deacon added a hat-trick of conversions.
Cajoled by Tania Rosser, capped 50 times by Ireland, they were sharper and more clinical when chances appeared, yet this margin flattered them as Railway Union too had opportunities. However, their support play was not as swift or cohesive as it needed to be but they refused to throw in the towel and a strong finish in which they reduced the arrears to 26-14 was a fairer reflection on their endeavours. Eimear Murphy and Nicole Fowley finished off enterprising work for their touchdowns. Union gained some consolation with Kim Flood taking the ‘R8 Player of the Tournament’ accolade.
Blackrock were unable to retain the Open title won in last summer’s inaugural ‘7s in the City’ but they battled all afternoon and were rewarded with a hard-earned 33-22 success over Shirt The Ducks in the Plate final. The Galwegians representatives really got in the spirit of the occasion as they also celebrated their captain Marian Doolan’s birthday! Rock dominated for the majority of this decider but, despite looking comfortably ahead on a number of occasions, they found the westerners challenging to the very end before prevailing 33-22.
In the U-18 grade, Portlaoise looked much more organised and experienced than a younger looking Tullamore outfit in this midlands derby. The impressive Eimear Corri scored the first try of the afternoon and also looked the most exciting prospective talent on view. Meanwhile, St. Mary’s may not have enjoyed much reward on the field of play but they were worthy winners of the ‘Fair Play’ award.
Overall, it was a solid tournament although the unseasonably cool and showery weather was a bit of a spoilsport in the early proceedings. Key event organisers Mele Kiripati, Sandra Griffin and Niamh Ni Dhroma are to be complimented on their endeavours and there is a worthwhile platform to build for the future. Ireland players Laura Lee Walsh and Shannon Houston attended and the RBS Womens Six Nations championship trophy also put in an appearance. The generosity of all the sponsors is greatly appreciated with Athlone Towncentre supporting the free Family Day fun attractions such as bouncy castle, tug-of-war and face-painting that proved so popular with children and parents alike. In a well-structured event, the contribution of referees, physios and Order of Malta are gratefully acknowledged as was the input of scorekeeper Alex Hayman and announcer Diarmuid Sloane. Roll on next year!
Meanwhile Buccaneers can also be pleased with their on-field performance where busy duo Sandra and Niamh also contributed notably. They opened with a fine 24-5 win over St. Mary’s through tries by Emer Phelan, Siobhan Tierney, Sandra Griffin and Niamh Ni Dhroma. Hazel Kilduff kicked a brace of conversions before scoring a try in the 26-5 loss to Vixens. Trailing 0-7 at halftime to Shirt The Ducks, Buccs put in an impressive rally to overhaul the Wegians girls 17-7 in this Connacht derby through tries by Ni Dhroma, Phelan and Roisin Feighery who converted her own touchdown. This set-up a Cup semi-final joust with Railway Union who proved much too strong on a 29-5 margin, Siobhan Tierney getting Buccs try.
TAG ON THURSDAYS
The Tag Rugby Summer League continues on Thursdays and the main contenders in both the Open and Social sections are beginning to shape up for the finals night which is now rescheduled for Friday, July 24th. The various awards presentations will take place in The Bounty on the night so all participants are reminded make a note of the date.
FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
A new ‘Facilities Development Programme’ was launched by the club at the recent A.G.M. The current facilities, opened in 2003, cost €2.5m and were the best club facility in the country and has hosted Ireland U-20 Six Nations internationals, All-Ireland League and Cup finals and an Ireland pre-World Cup training camp as well as Connacht fixtures.
The club has now prepared a five year plan that includes pitch and dressing-room upgrades as well as the possibility of the provision of extra pitch(es) to cater for the burgeoning growth in player numbers and also to maintain Dubarry Park as one of the premier club grounds in the country. The club is endeavouring to build up a fund, including Sports Capital Grant support, to drive this project on. Members and supporters are invited to sign up for a Standing Order scheme to build up the necessary funds, which will be ring-fenced for facilities developments. Our retired trustee Patrick Cooney has agreed to chair the development committee. Brochures (including Standing Order form) can be obtained from Committee members or from our Administrator Geraldine at Dubarry Park where she may be contacted at 0861732711 or
The club thanks you for your valued and continued support.
Buccaneers RFC annual GOLF CLASSIC takes place at Glasson Golf Club on Friday, July 17th. Entries from teams of four players are welcome for this popular event and, of course, the earlier you enter the better the tee-off time available to you. Contact Geraldine at 0861732711 for time-sheet details.