Buccaneers Heading Up to Down

Buccaneers lost for the first time this season when going down 36-13 to Naas in the opening round of the All-Ireland League Division 1B played at Dubarry Park, Athlone, last Saturday.

Report compiled by Michael Silke

The Athlone side now have a first ever meeting with Banbridge when the teams duel at Rifle Park in the Co. Down town on Saturday next. This All-Ireland League Division 1B game kicks off in the northern venue at 2.30 p.m.

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Banbridge were 2A champions in 2016/17 and almost made it a second successive promotion last season before losing out narrowly to UCC for the final promotion spot. They lost 42-28 away to Old Belvedere last weekend. They are backboned by the Cromies, with Peter and Michael formidable operators in their front row. Stuart and Josh could also feature for the side coached by Daniel Soper. Ireland U-20 back James Hume has recently made his first senior appearance with Ulster. Three Ulster forwards Eric O’Sullivan, Caleb Montgomery and Greg Jones have featured for the Co. Down club so their pack will pose a formidable challenge for the midlanders. Adam Ervine and Adam Doherty are two backs who will need minding.

Buccaneers will be understrength again for this encounter although Ruairi Byrne’s return will improve options in the pack while Aidan Wynne is likely to be called upon again in the three-quarters line. However, if Buccs are spirited and disciplined, they can be counted on to contest for the duration of what is likely to be a tough test.