BUCCS AWAY TO TRINITY IN CRUNCH MATCH | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Feb  12   2018

BUCCANEERS travel to College Park, Dublin, where they square up to Dublin University in an Ulster Bank League match in which both clubs will be desperately seeking victory on Saturday. This basement battle kicks off at 2.30 p.m. and total commitment will be anticipated from start to finish as the teams scrap for the win that could prove so vital to their survival prospects in Division 1A.


At present, Buccs prop up the league table while Trinity are just one place above them, albeit seven points better off. College came out on top by 30-14 when the teams met in Dubarry Park at Halloween when a shocking refereeing decision tilted that contest in favour of the visitors. With the game finely balanced as it entered the final quarter, Dublin University were awarded a highly contentious penalty try and Buccs skipper Shane Layden was also yellow carded in the same incident. As it turned out, the match official got it wrong in that crucial episode but the Students took advantage to kick on for a much needed win as the wind was taken out of the Pirates sails.


Buccaneers cannot turn back that particular clock but they can gain retribution if they put Trinity to the sword on Saturday. The midlanders have enjoyed (although enjoyed is not be the most apt description) precious little good fortune this season but, hopefully, they can make their own luck on the hallowed grounds at College Park. Dublin University will have doubts following their 52-20 drubbing last weekend at Garryowen in a rescheduled fixture. That match was postponed on the day Buccs played at UCD, enabling Trinity’s long term coach Tony Smeeth to keenly observe.


He may not have witnessed one of the Athlone side’s better performances but Buccs stepped up considerably when going down narrowly to Terenure College last time out. If the Pirates can maintain the endeavour and effort that they are capable of for the full eighty minutes, they can eke out a precious and priceless victory. Ben Carty has slotted in almost seamlessly in the centre following his lengthy absence and Rory O’Connor, who was absent against Nure, will be available for duty on the wing. Simon Meagher should be fit to resume active service but injury rules Peter Claffey out of the pack where Ruairi Byrne has fared well in recent outings.


Trinity could have Ireland U-20 duo, lock Jack Dunne and fullback Michael Silvester, in their ranks and are likely to look to hooker Paddy Finlay, German centre Sebastian Fromm, and back five forwards Jack Burke and American Alex McDonald for leadership. Scrumhalf Angus Lloyd, who has represented Munster and Ulster, could be a key influence for the hosts, a factor that could be counter balanced if Conor McKeon available for Buccs.


If Buccaneers eradicate errors and play with improved guile and ruthlessness to the final whistle, they can give themselves a massive lifeline. It should prove a compelling contest.






BUCCANEERS edged out Creggs 8-7 in a compelling Connacht U-18.5 League final played at Moher Road, Ballinasloe, on Saturday night when weather and underfoot conditions tested both sets of players to the limit. Creggs really put it up to this wonderful Buccs squad who have now won five successive league titles since they first won honours when playing at U-14 level. An early Nathan Horan penalty followed quickly by a John Tumelty try gave Buccs an early 8-0 lead that proved decisive despite a sustained Creggs effort, their converted try coming in the dying embers of a gripping and hugely committed decider.  (See separate report)




BUCCANEERS WOMENS team are also on the road with a trip to Castlebar in the semi-final of the Connacht Womens League on Sunday. The Buccs girls surprised the previously unbeaten Mayo ladies when the sides met recently at Dubarry Park. Castlebar have been the form team at this level for the past number of seasons and will be formidable opponents on their own ground at Cloondeash outside the town. However, Buccs can take encouragement from their recent win and, if they play collectively to their potential with passion and discipline, they are well capable of again upsetting the odds. Kick off is at 1 p.m.


BUCCANEERS U-18.5 squad don’t have much time to rest on their laurels. Having won the Connacht League title last weekend, they now square up to Corrib in the opening round of the Cup. Although Corrib play in the Development League, they will provide hardy and capable opponents. Like the Pirates they have to put aside winning that league title last weekend and get swiftly down to business in the Cup. However, Buccs have been favoured with home advantage and they will be looking for sizeable support at Dubarry Park on Sunday for this noon showdown. This is an experienced Athlone squad who, if they play with composure to their strengths, should prevail.