Buccaneers complete the first half of this season’s Energia All-Ireland League away to Naas on Saturday when they will be striving to remain on top of the league table as Division 1B takes its festive break.
Kick-off at Forenaughts outside the Co. Kildare town is 2:30pm.
Naas have lost their three most recent games and lie in seventh place but coach Johne Murphy has a decent squad to work with and they have been close to coming out on top in a number of their defeats.
Sadly injury rules out the ‘Tullow Tank’ Sean O’Brien for the season but Paul Monahan, Adam Coyle and Will O’Brien are all able operators in the Cobras pack where young Koronato Kiripati could feature.
Winger Andrew Osborne and fullback Fionn Higgins will pose a threat with ball in hand while Bryan Croke is likely to be entrusted with place-kicking duties.
Buccs are on a great roll at the moment, confidence and self-belief flourishing in their ranks. They are playing some wonderful rugby but can buckle down to the gritty stuff too when necessary.
Frankie Hopkins and Harry West are injury doubts but there is depth in the squad. If the Pirates remain focussed and disciplined, their pace and skillset should enable them to remain on top of the league into the New Year although you can be sure Naas will put it up to them.
Three matches at Dubarry Park on Sunday
Dubarry park looks like being extremely busy on Sunday with three matches taking place. First up and top of the bill is Buccaneers contest against University College Dublin in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster U-20 Premier League 2 at 2pm.
UCD are currently in sixth place, ten points behind the midlanders who will be keen to quickly get back to winning ways. On home soil, they should have enough to account for the College second string.
Buccaneers seconds have a vital Connacht Junior 1A League game against Monivea. Both sides are struggling this season, with just a single victory each, and the Pirates must make home advantage pay to begin moving up the league table.
The Shannonsiders have potential aplenty but just have not regained the swagger of last season. Hopefully they can manage that as they bid to put their Cawley Cup disappointment behind them when the action kicks off at 2:30pm.
Buccaneers thirds square up to their Galwegians counterparts in a Connacht Junior 2A joust that commences at 2:30pm.
Both teams sported 100% win records in their respective pool fixtures, each winning all three games, so this looks a very finely balanced duel to predict.