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D. F. McCarthy P. Scanlon A. C. Rynehart J. Burrell W. R. Williams D. Davis R. P. Hennessy (Touch Judge)
J. P. Barrington J. G. O'Connor J. E. Cornish (Capt.) D. Murtagh J. Mullen
W. R. Amos P. Quinn F. N. McDonald P. Condron

BUCCANEERS RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB

The Story To-date

Established as recently as 1994 Buccaneers Rugby Football Club is one of Ireland's youngest rugby Clubs. During the 1993-1994 season Athlone and Ballinasloe RFC's tested the amalgamation waters by playing as a joint team in Division Three of the All-Ireland League under the cumbersome title of Athlone/Ballinasloe RFC. The following year the relationship was consolidated and formalised. The result is Buccaneers R.FC.

The name Buccaneers derives from the original Shannon Buccaneers who were founded in the early 1930's by Athlone man Diarmuid Murtagh. Shannon Buccaneers were a formidable Leinster Rugby Club in their day who fielded players of the caliber of Walter Amos and Sammy Walker, a British and Irish Lion. Despite winning a pair of Towns Cups in this period, Murtagh’s dream of building a strong midlands based rugby club were, however, brought to a sudden halt by the onset of the Second World War which effectively ended the short life of the Shannon Buccaneers.

Some sixty years later the dream is alive again when, driven by Leo Galvin, Athlone and Ballinasloe joined forces to participate in the recently formed All-Ireland League and, indeed, played under that lengthy moniker ‘Athlone-Ballinasloe’ for the first season before taking the name Buccaneers thereafter. At the same time, both clubs ran their underage sections independently although the adult teams and U-20’s gradually came under the Buccs title.

The success the Club has enjoyed would have been difficult to envisage during the initial 1993/94 Season which was a sharp wake-up call. The Club were lucky to escape relegation to Division Four. The following season Buccaneers began to acclimatise themselves with the realities of the competition finishing in mid-table, an achievement which was helped greatly by the return to his native heath of former Ireland No.8 Noel Mannion.

The following season, 1995/96 witnessed the arrival of the Rigney brothers, Brian and Des, from Portlaoise. Donal was already playing with Buccaneers. That year Buccaneers left a scorch mark through Division Three winning the title outright, being undefeated in the process, culminating with a fine away victory at Portadown. The final whistle in that game also marked the first pitch invasion by the now legendary Buccaneers supporters who later evolved into the Pirates Supporters Club - the Pirates are the Official Supporters Club of Buccaneers with up to 400 registered members. It is these legendary followers who first sang “The Fields of Athenry” (most memorably in Dungannon in 1998), the Pete St. John song that has been taken up far and wide since.

The 1997/98 season heralded the arrival in the Club of one the best tactical coaches in the northern hemisphere, Eddie O'Sullivan. The onslaught that had begun in Division Three continued in Division Two. That season saw them lose just one game, against Galwegians, and they qualified for a two-leg home and away promotion battle with Dungannon. Buccaneers lost their first leg at home (their first home setback in a number of seasons) by 17 points to 7. But the away game proved to be one of the biggest upsets in Irish club rugby history with the home side going down by 27 points to 10 leaving Buccaneers the outright victors with an aggregate score of 34-27. It was a defining moment in the short history of the Club and one which propelled them into the promised land -- Division 1.

In their first year in Division 1 Buccaneers neglected to read the rugby writers’ scripts which made them hot favourites for one of the two relegation spots. The 98/99 season was a remarkable joyful journey for the team, the club and the supporters. The big names came and fell on the playing fields of Ballinasloe and Athlone and a number of away victories helped them into a third place finish in the League and a play-off spot away to Cork Constitution which they failed to win. The remarkable 3-2-1 run had come to an end.

The 1999/2000 season witnessed the departure of Eddie O'Sullivan to the IRFU and Brian Rigney took over as Director of Rugby and did a very creditable job, finishing in eight position. John McKee succeeded the former Ireland international and guided the midlanders to two Top Four finishes in three seasons. Geoff Moylan took up the mantle of Senior Coach for two seasons in 2005/6 but Buccs struggled in his first season at the helm and were relegated to Division Two after the following campaign.

An “in-house” duo Tony Dolan and Jude Lennon were appointed coaches for the current season 2007/8 as Buccaneers regroup and rebuild in a bid to regain their Division One status.

The 1999/2000 was also the inaugural year of the IRFU All Ireland U20's league. Buccaneers took up the offer to participate. They performed extremely well and have maintained their berth among the top U-20 sides in the country in the interim.

Ballinasloe withdrew from the amalgamation at the end of season 2005/6 and returned to the junior ranks in Connacht, winning the J2 league title at the first attempt. Meanwhile, all Buccaneers teams are now based in Athlone with the underage teams also playing as Buccaneers since season 2006/7 following the AGM of Athlone RFC which voted to change the name of the club to Buccaneers RFC.


Principal Honours
1995 Connaught Senior Cup, Ard Na Cregg Cup (3rd XV)
1996 Connaught U20's League Heineken Floodlit Cup (2nd XV)
1997 All Ireland League Division 3 Champions
Connaught Junior Cup (2nd XV)
Heineken Floodlit Cup (2nd XV)   
1998 All Ireland League Division 2 Runners-up
Promotion to Division 1
Connaught Senior League
1999 All Ireland League Division 1 Play-offs; third
Connaught Senior League
Connaught Senior Cup
2000

Connacht Senior League
Connacht Senior Cup
Connacht U-20 League
Connacht U-20 Cup

2001

Connacht U-20 League
Connacht U-20 Cup

2002

Connacht Junior League
Connacht U-20 League
Connacht U-20 Cup
Oval Cup

2003 Connacht Junior League
Ard-Na-Cregg Cup
2004 Connacht Senior League
Connacht Senior Cup
Connacht U-20 Cup
2005  
2006 Connacht Senior League
Connacht Senior Cup
2007 Connacht Senior League
Connacht Junior Cup
2008 Connacht Senior Cup
AIB League Division 2 winners


 

Audi Athlone