BUCCANEERS 14 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 30 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Oct  26   2017

BUCCANEERS suffered their fifth successive defeat when losing 30-14 to Dublin University in their Ulster Bank League encounter at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday. The midlanders are finding life in Division 1A extremely unrelenting and their cause is not being helped by a growing list of injuries particularly to experienced and stronger personnel.

Cian Romaine and Jordan Conroy were two other influential absentees for this match (and both are ruled out for next week’s game also) with the former suspended following a citing by Clontarf and the latter on duty with the Ireland Sevens squad. With the Pirates resources severely stretched, two great club stalwarts were called upon for this tie with Alex Hayman coming in to shore up the centre and Kolo Kiripati on the bench as were forced to make further changes to their side, Paul Boyle being their latest in the treatment bay. Trinity made five changes from the side that surprised Young Munster last time out. German international Seb Fromm returned in the centre with Evan Dixon and Hugh Connor starting on the wings. Jack Dunne resumed at lock while Patrick Finlay, who impressed immensely at Greenfields when introduced as a substitute, was preferred at hooker.

The Students had first advantage of the breeze and Buccs had to defend resolutely early on. However, they weathered the early flurries before gaining a foothold inside the visitors 22 but could not breach Trinity’s cover. Luke Carty opened the scoring with a 14th minute penalty for the homesters and Rory O’Connor just could not hold on to possession following a chip and chase that looked like rewarding him with his fourth try of the campaign. Conor Kenny’s injury blighted ill luck continued when the prop was forced off after only 23 minutes, being replaced by Conan O’Donnell. Tommy Whittle levelled the scores with a 31st minute penalty and Dublin University edged ahead three minutes before the break when careless defending caught the hosts offside and Whittle duly converted this soft placekick to leave Buccs trailing 6-3 at the interval.

Kiripati replaced Ronan Farrell, who had put in a huge effort, after the break and the Pirates scrum was much more solid thereafter. Buccs dominated the third quarter and regained the lead following Carty penalties after 45 and 48 minutes, both conceded on virtually the same spot on the pitch. A loose pass caused some disarray to Buccs two minutes later and the stretching Peter Claffey’s tackle was high and earned him a yellow card. Nevertheless, the Athlone side continued to press forward and the penalty count against the Students began to mount with Whittle’s offside earned the displeasure of the referee and a 56th minute sin-binning which also gave Buccs a straight-forward penalty in front of the posts. Bewilderingly the homesters opted to punt to touch on the right where, at the second time of asking, the homester could not capitalise and a gilt-edged opportunity to edge further ahead was squandered.

Buccaneers had a let off on the hour mark when O’Connor did extremely well to bring Connors break to a halt while, shortly afterwards, O’Connor was again unlucky when chasing his own clearance as Trinity were caught out. The pivotal point of the game arrived on 68 minutes when referee Mark Patton deemed Shane Layden’s attempt to intercept as a deliberate knock on. A penalty would probably have been an equitable outcome, yet the match official ruled it worthy of a yellow card to the home skipper and, adding further insult to injury, he incredibly awarded a penalty try to the visitors. The ball had still reached a College player but Buccs had defenders in numbers so a try was far from certain in this controversial incident!

This flummoxed Buccaneers and, before they could recover, Michael Silvester fastened onto to James Fennelly’s pinpoint chip to race in for a try which substitute Fennelly converted. Suddenly the momentum had swung decisively in favour of Trinity, now 20-9 ahead, but Buccs responded swiftly as the game produced a third try in six minutes. Following a penalty kicked to touch on the right, the Athlone side got their lineout and maul working effectively and patiently with the formidable Claffey applying the finishing touch for an unconverted try to raise home hopes.

Four minutes later the impressive Fennelly made it a two-score game with a Dublin University penalty. Alan Gaughan and Evan Galvin both had half chances for the midlanders as they battled to the bitter end but Ireland U-20 Silvester’s second try in the closing moments ensured that Buccs again got no reward for their endeavours. Fennelly’s conversion completed the 30-14 scoreline in favour of the visitors for whom hooker Finlay was the outstanding performer and flyhalf Fennelly made a significant impact following his introduction at the three-quarters stage.

On a grey afternoon, matters did not brighten for Buccaneers despite the sterling efforts of Claffey, Carty and Audi Athlone Man of the Match Galvin. The Pirates remain anchored at the foot of the league table, the only pointless team in all five divisions. Injuries and other player unavailability have impacted heavily and frustratingly on the squad with a lack of leadership not helping their cause. Their luck needs to improve quickly but Dublin University have shown that it can be done as they have ignited their season following a brace of away victories.

BUCCANEERS:- A.Gaughan; T.McGann, S.Layden (captain), A.Hayman, R.O’Connor; L.Carty, F.Hopkins; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, C.Kenny; P.Claffey, R.Byrne; R.Farrell, E.Galvin and S.Meagher. Replacements:- C.O’Donnell (for Kenny, inj. 23 mins), K.Kiripati (for Farrell, h/t), E.Maher (for Sutton, 46 mins), C.Seery (for McGann, 77 mins) and G.Lynch.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY:- M.Silverster; E.Dixon, M.Courtney (captain), S.Fromm, H.Connor; T.Whittle, A.Lloyd; J.Bollard, P.Finlay, J.Byrne; J.Burke, J.Dunne; S.Pimm, R.Dunne and D.St.Ledger. Replacements:- J.Fennelly (for St. Ledger, 60/66 mins, temp.), J.Fennelly (for Whittle, 66 mins), N.O’Riordan (for St. Ledger, 66 mins), D.Sheehan (for Bollard, 65 mins), D.Higgins (for Finlay, 72 mins), D.St. Ledger (for Dunne, 77 mins) and R.Osborne.

Referee:- Mark Patton (IRFU).


It’s not getting any easier for Buccaneers as they travel to second placed Terenure College for Saturday’s Ulster Bank League Division 1A joust at Lakelands, kick off 2.30 p.m. Terenure have made a very impressive start to the season, last Friday night’s floodlit defeat at Clontarf being their first setback of the season. That loss also knocked the Dubliners off the top of the league table now headed by Lansdowne.

James Blaney’s side regrouped after struggling somewhat last season and appear to have recruited astutely. They look very strong in the front row where captain Robbie Smyth is propped by Oisin Heffernan and South African Schalk Jooste with Georgian Giorgi Turabelidze another option there. There is a cosmopolitan flavour to the metropolitans with New Zealander Tim Schmidt (son of Ireland coach Joe) and American Kalei Konrad challenging for places in their backline where outhalf Mark O’Neill is their key performer. As well as being a topclass placekicker, O’Neill is well capable of scoring tries in addition to directing operations for Nure. Winger Sam Coghlan-Murray is another threat in the backline while lock Alex Thompson and flanker Niall Lalor will ask questions of Buccs in the forwards exchanges.

This match will mark the completion of the first third of the league and Buccaneers will be looking for a swift change of fortunes for the better. However, with their lengthy list of absentees this looks a really difficult assignment for what is a relatively inexperienced and lightweight Pirates crew.

Other Fixtures

BUCCANEERS U-20’s are the only side with a home fixture when they entertain Old Belvedere in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster League at Dubarry Park on Sunday. This Premier 2 fixture has a 2.30 p.m. start and these young Buccs will be hoping to get their league campaign back on track.

BUCCANEERS SECONDS are on the road to the northwest where they square up to champions Ballina in the Connacht Junior 1A League on Sunday. The action gets under way at 2.30 p.m. in Heffernan Park, always a challenging venue for visiting outfits.

BUCCANEERS WOMENS team resume Connacht Womens League fare when they travel to Crowley Park, Glenina, to tackle their Galwegians counterparts in a match that kicks off at 1 p.m.

Pre-match function for visit of Cork Constitution

Buccaneers host All-Ireland League and Cup champions Cork Constitution on Saturday, November 11th. That highly attractive fixture will be preceded by a pre-match function when you can enjoy lunch with complimentary wine in The Bounty as well as free admission to the big match. Guest speaker will be flying winger Ted Robinson who played for Buccs, Connacht and Ireland A with great élan. Cover charge is only €30 per person and groups or individuals can be catered for. Contact our Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711 to book.

‘Your Club, Your Country’ Draw

Tickets for the IRFU sponsored ‘Your Club, Your Country’ Draw are now available and can be purchased from committee members or in the clubhouse bar or office. Tickets cost just €10 each and every euro from tickets sold in the club stays within the club. There are ten tickets per book so if you can sell a book or two it would be greatly appreciated. Ten superb prizes including a trip for two to Australia are on offer. We look forward to your generous support of this draw.

Membership Subscriptions

Membership Subscriptions are due to be paid in full by the end of October. The various rates are listed on our website where there is also a facility to make payment. You can also pop in to our busy Administrator to make your payment.

Coaching event at Dubarry Park tonight (Wednesday)

The Connacht Rugby Coach Development department have organised a presentation on Continuity Skills by former Ulster Coach Brian McLaughlin at Dubarry Park on this Wednesday evening at 7.30 p.m.


Deepest sympathy is extended to Tom Higgins and family on the death of his wife Mary. Ar dheis De a anam.