BUCCANEERS AGM BASKS ON SENIORS TRIPLE SUCCESS | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:May  29   2017

Outgoing President Eddie Walsh opened proceedings at Buccaneers Rugby Football Club’s Annual General Meeting held at the club’s premises in The Bounty by welcoming the attendance which was on a par with recent AGM’s. “Life had changed” for him since coming on to the club’s Executive Committee as he reflected on his term of office which proved a “highly successful season”.


Buccaneers senior squad had completed a magnificent treble, claiming a Connacht League and Cup double and then winning Division 1B of the Ulster Bank League in convincing fashion and with it promotion to “the top table, which will be challenging”. He complimented head coach Brett Wilkinson and his backroom team for their endeavours and singled out Tom Conlon “as epitomising everything positive in the club”. A “spirited Seconds” squad was commended while “a better structured U-20’s finished second in their league”. At underage level, Eddie gave special mentions to the club’s U-17 and U-18.5 sides. He praised all the voluntary work put in at Minis and Youths levels and added that the Womens section is “the fastest growing” in the club. Eddie noted the honour and pride brought to Buccs through the number of the club’s players who had represented country and province ….. and we now had our first Lion in Robbie Henshaw!


He thanked the club’s sponsors and the crew at The Bounty. “Every President is only as good as his team” and he thanked all on the Executive for their support and industry. One achievement he was proud of was to bring in a Club Chairman which “brought some order to our finances” but he added that this was “a constant battle” as the treasurer’s report would highlight. Eddie particularly thanked our “unbelievable” Administrator Geraldine Kenny and presented her with a truly well deserved bouquet of flowers. He concluded by stating that we are “one club, all Buccs” and he wished incoming President Tom Meagher and committee continued success.


Honorary Secretary Padraig Ryan’s relatively brief report commenced by recognising the support of our sponsors, especially Audi Athlone and Dubarry of Ireland. He too thanked all aboard The Bounty. ‘Lip Sync Buccs Fizz Style’ and the ‘mock wedding’ were social highlights of the year while the club was honoured to host the Womens All-Ireland finals. He acknowledged the time and efforts put in “by all the volunteers in many spheres of the club” and also noted the key contribution made by referees. He wished Ted Carty all the best with his impending election to higher office at the Connacht Branch and he looked forward with pride to Robbie Henshaw playing for the Lions. Padraig was not seeking re-election but “enjoyed his two years on the club’s Executive Committee”.


For the second year in a row, the Treasurer’s report recorded a “worrying deficit that is unsustainable if it continues”. This grave warning will require action from all strands of the club with a more co-ordinated approach to fund-raising while costs will continue to be monitored closely. Again the patronage of our sponsors and supporters was gratefully acknowledged.


Chairperson of Football Billy McMickan proudly reflected on the treble success of the Senior squad who lost just two AIL matches in an enterprising and entertaining campaign. He was pleased to confirm that the coaching team has been retained for the coming season when Buccaneers will play in Division 1A. Nine players were capped by Ireland:- Robbie Henshaw, Tiernan O’Halloran, Finlay Bealham, Shane Layden, Jordan Conroy, Corey Reid, Niall Murray, Anna McGann and Thomas McGann. This was a magnificent feat for a rural club. Anna has now been called up to the Ireland Womens Sevens squad and, of course, everyone in the club was proudly looking forward to seeing Robbie perform with the Lions in New Zealand. Meanwhile, Jordan was named Division 1B Player of the Year the previous night and he was also winner of the Senior Club Player of the Year accolade at the recent Connacht Rugby awards gala where Brett Wilkinson was named top coach of the year. Conor McKeon, Niall Murray and Tiernan O’Halloran also won awards at the Connacht event. 


Continuing in a positive vein, Billy noted that the Seconds retained their league status and reached the Connacht Junior Cup semi-final. The U-20’s enjoyed “a vastly improved campaign” and here too he was pleased to note that the coaching team were staying on. The Womens team fielded quite a number of ‘newbies’ and acquitted themselves well, reaching the Connacht Cup final.


Tom O’Neill reported on Youth teams. As a relatively recent addition to the Executive Committee, the Corkonian “now looks at the committee’s work in a different light!” Pride of place at Youths went to the U-17’s who recorded a Connacht League and Cup double. This was the fourth successive season that these young players have taken league honours in the province! The U-18.5 side won the Plate in their grade while the U-16’s and U-14’s were both unlucky in their Cup campaigns. Playing numbers are healthy at U-14, U-16 and U-17 but U-15 and U-18.5 were struggling while U-13’s were uncompetitive. Progress is being made at underage girls’ teams. Overall, the win ratio at Youths level is disappointingly poor and the club needs “to benefit from Connacht coaching courses. More investment in coaching is essential”. A number of teams enjoyed trips away with the U-15’s going to Ennis and taking in a Munster match at Thomond Park, the U-16’s bonded by climbing Croagh Patrick and later playing at the Aviva Stadium, while the U-17’s toured to Grenoble in France.


Wesley Hudson’s report on Minis rugby recorded strong numbers playing and good participation at blitzes in Connacht and the midlands. The U-11’s played at The Aviva Stadium while training sessions involving Ireland internationals Robbie Henshaw and Sean O’Brien were highlights for some of these youngsters.


Only one motion was presented on the night and, following some debate, it was referred to the incoming committee to attend to.


The following officers of Buccaneers RFC were elected for season 2017-18:-


President                                Thomas Meagher

Senior Vice-President            Gordon Ballantyne

Junior Vice-President             Patrick O’Meara

Chairperson of Football        Billy McMickan

Media Officer                         Michael Silke

Facilities Officer                    Patrick Hynes

Youth Secretary                    Eamonn Collins

Minis Secretary                     Wesley Hudson

Immediate Past President     Eddie Walsh

Senior Representative to

the Connacht Branch IRFU    Ted Carty


TOM MEAGHER new club President


Incoming President Dr. Tom Meagher stated that it was a great honour for him and his family to be elected as the club’s 46th president. His ethos is “respect for club, jersey and each other” which should be “brought on by all coaches”. The club “depends on its members and everybody must pull together”. He looked forward to the continued patronage of our sponsors, supporters and Pirates, and particularly that of the parents “whose kids are the Buccs of the future”.  He thanked his predecessor and “lucky general” Eddie and wished him “all the best for the future”. He commended Tom and Paschal at The Bounty for “their courtesy and efficiency” and he hoped our Administrator Geraldine “will hold his hand” in his challenging role! He concluded that Buccs were “back in their rightful place in Division 1A”.


Hailing from Callan in Co. Kilkenny, Tom is married to Bridie. They have three adult children…..Justin, Stewart and Benita. Both sons were able and loyal players in Buccaneers colours. A medical doctor in the town, Tom has supported the club for many a year during which he has also served as an honorary medical officer.