The Buccs senior men’s will be looking to close on promotion this weekend as they face bottom side Dolphin at Dubarry Park, however they aren’t the only team in the club with a big game coming up.
Buccaneers women’s team also have a vital match this weekend when they tackle Tuam in the final of the Connacht Women’s Cup at the Sportsground on Sunday. This decider kicks off at 2 p.m. in Galway. There is a wonderful spirit and work ethic in this Buccs Women’s squad and they can be counted to give their all on the field of play until the final whistle. They have trained diligently under coaches Sean Byrne and Ger Fallon all season and are raring to reverse a recent narrow loss to Tuam.
The experienced Niamh Gough captains the team and she will look to her pack to dominate this decider. Here Ciara Malone, Sarah Kelly, Lorna Stuart-Trainor and Heather Sheridan are abrasive and competitive players who won’t shirk hard work. Alex Hennessy, Gohar Kostanyan and Anto Kemmy could revel in the wide open spaces at the Sportsground as could backs Hazel Kilduff, Shannon Hennessy and especially Anna McGann. But first the pack will have to provide the necessary service of quality ball. Emma O’Brien, Katy Ryan, Judy Dowling and Lizzie Flynn are other strong contenders for starting berths. While Tuam are another team that won’t shy away from effort and commitment, Buccs have the potential to prevail provided they are smart and patient. They would also benefit from big numbers supporting them so let’s see hordes of Pirates at the Sportsground on Sunday!
Buccaneers U-20’s are home to Naas in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster League Premier 2 division on Sunday. Buccs are doing very well in a healthy second place on the league table while Naas are somewhat inconsistent. There could be a number of these young Buccs involved with the Senior squad, yet with Corey Reid, Thomas McGann, Ryan Convey, Niall Farrelly, Brian Collins and Jack Delahunt on board they should prove too strong for the visitors at Dubarry Park where kick off is 3 p.m.
Buccaneers seconds are on the road again this Sunday when they face the lengthy trip to the western seaboard to square up to Connemara in their penultimate Connacht Junior 1A League fixture of the season. Kick off is 2.30 p.m. at the Monastery Ground, Clifden, where the Blacks are formidable opposition. But this band of Buccs have shown great resolve and endeavor in recent outings and will give it their all in search of the coveted league points on offer.
PRE-MATCH FOR DOLPHIN GAME
Buccaneers are hosting a pre-match function in The Bounty prior to Saturday’s joust with Dolphin. Cover charge is €30 per person which includes 3-course dinner with wine, souvenir match day programme, and free admission to the big match in which Buccs could clinch promotion. Groups and individuals can be catered for. Contact our Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711 or Pat Hynes 0876883833 to book.
SUTTONIANS 14 BUCCANEERS 22
A blusterous day saw two very compelling teams battle it out when Suttonians hosted Buccaneers at the J.J.McDowell Memorial Grounds, Sutton, in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster League Premier 2 on Sunday. Weather conditions, a prevailing wind that blew up the pitch, including rain and a small period of hailstones made the game incredibly difficult for both sides. It tightened the game for the team playing against the wind as kicking was not an option.
The Athlone side commenced playing into the wind and there was a slow start for both teams as they attempted to adjust to the weather conditions. The majority of the first half was played in the Buccaneers half but the ball was mainly controlled by the Athlone side. The first mental battle was won by Buccs as they turned over a scrum in their 22. The dominant scrum by Buccaneers continued throughout the game with props Niall Farrelly and Conor Cleary putting in a huge effort at scrum time. The opening 20 minutes resembled a pattern of Buccs carrying hard ball off phase play but, without a kicking option on a small field, Suttonians were tough to break through. The first break in the score-line came on the 23rd minute as a long looping pass from the Suttonians backline was not gathered and Buccaneers centre Corey Reid picked it up and ran the field to place it under the posts. A reward for their dominance. Ryan Convey converted the try to put the score at 7-0.
On the 29th minute, Buccaneers capitalised on their dominance again, as good defence from the Athlone side resulted in a turnover around the half way line. The ball was kicked downfield quickly as the Pirates centre Reid spotted an absence behind the Suttonians initial defence line. He chased down the ball, kicking it along the ground and placing it down for his and Buccs second try. The resulting conversion was missed leaving the score-line at 12-0 in favour of the visitors.
Halftime was fast approaching and on the 35th minute, following a knock on by Buccaneers, Suttonians took full advantage of the penalty. They kicked to the corner and from the resulting lineout began to punch up the middle through big ball carriers, gaining yards every time. As they approached the 22, pick-and-goes came to the form of their attack. Eventually they broke through as their scrum half Sean Cribben dummied the pass and placed the ball down, with a converted try leaving the midlanders 12-7 ahead at half time.
The second half got straight back into action and on the 41st minute, as Buccaneers took the ball into contact off the kick off, it was robbed by the Suttonians No. 8 Cian Buckley and their out-half James McCourt spotted and exploited a gap to score under the posts. This try was also converted to put Suttonians two points up, 14-12.
However, the rest of the game remained in the Suttonians half as every time Buccaneers had the ball, their out-half Daniel Keane kicked the ball long, using the wind intelligently to his team’s benefit. The second half was primarily dominated by scrums and penalties. The Athlonians were attacking furiously to attain the points to place them back on top of the score board. Hard carries by Ross Cooper (the Athlone side’s captain) and Brian Collins, the second row, left Buccaneers in a promising position near the opposition’s 22. An over-eager Suttonians backline, offside at the ruck, gave Athlone a chance to once again take the lead. This penalty opportunity was grasped by Convey to edge the Pirates back in front 15-14.
Following sustained pressure by Buccaneers, on the 65th minute the deadlock was once again broken, where an excellent line by scrum-half Dean McMahon was fed by Niall Murray to place Suttonians out of contention as the try once again was converted by Convey. Prior to the try the build-up play by Buccs was excellent, with the Shannonsiders side hitting hard lines, picking and going and the accuracy of the pass all resulted in McMahon’s try.
The last fifteen minutes of the game followed the pattern of tight play from both sides. The game ended 22-14 with Buccaneers taking home the spoils. A well fought and deserved bonus point win, Buccaneers retain second place in this division ahead of Sunday’s visit to Dubarry Park by Naas.
WESTPORT 5 BUCCANEERS 5
A valiant and sustained effort by Buccaneers Seconds earned them a share of the points when they drew 5-5 against Westport in their Connacht Junior 1A League match played in dreadful conditions at Carrowholly, Westport, on Sunday. This was a vital and precious outcome for Buccs as they strive earnestly to keep above the relegation mire. They put in a tremendous effort from start to finish on a stodgy surface in appalling weather and indeed the game was halted temporarily due to a hailstones deluge.
Buccaneers made three changes for this test with Eoin O’Reilly starting on the wing, Dean McMahon at scrum-half and team coach Garreth Halligan making a now rare start at No.8. The Pirates had first benefit of the elements and got their noses in front after just four minutes when Harry Hughes joined a well crafted backs move to score a smashing unconverted try. In a real dogfight due to the prevailing pitch and weather Buccs spurned a glorious opportunity to add to their lead when Ger Fallon was wayward with a very straight-forward penalty. When half-time arrived with the Athlone side a mere 5-0 to the good, the portents did not look overly promising. However, the midlanders dug deep into their reserves of commitment, discipline and workrate and held Westport out until the 76th minute when the Bulls scored an unconverted try. But a magnificent showing by the Buccaneers pack in particular ensured they got some merited reward for their sterling endeavours. Ryan O’Meara was outstanding and Evan Galvin, Rory Grenham and Ruairi Byrne all put in a massive amount of work in the forwards trenches. Jimmy O’Connell was a warrior once again in the backline where McMahon did very well linking backs and forwards.
Buccaneers:- H.Hughes; E.O’Reilly, S.Flynn, J.O’Connell, B.Walsh; G.Fallon, D.McMahon; K.Grehan, R.Grenham (captain), R.O’Meara; R.Byrne, T.Couper; N.Flynn, E.Galvin and G.Halligan. Replacements:- M.Lyons, C.Cleary and J.Lopez