BUCCS AWAY TO UCCpublished:Mar 06 2017
BUCCANEERS continue their quest for promotion when they head south to The Mardyke
in Cork where they take on University College Cork as the Ulster Bank League enters
the final straight. This Division 1B game kicks off at 2.30 p.m. and it should prove a lively
affair. The Students have not quite secured their 1B status yet so will be battling for
points while victory would virtually assure promotion for the Athlone side.
The teams served up an 85 point thriller in Dubarry Park last October with Buccs coming out on top 49-36.
The Pirates were firmly in the driving seat for long spells in that encounter but the Students kept coming
back from the dead to set up a nervy finish. Weather conditions permitting, scores could be plentiful again
on Saturday although it is unlikely that eleven tries will again be scored. UCC lie in seventh place in the table, having won six but lost eight matches. Many of those defeats have been by close margins which means, that typical of College sides, they battle to the very end. They have a potent backline that includes a pair from the famed Kiernan clan in Paul and James. Tom Kiersey and Charlie O’Regan are lively options at half back and Kevin Slater is strong in the three quarters line. Wing Kevin O’Keeffe is one of the division’s leading points scorers so discipline could be vital. Indeed both teams incurred a brace of yellow cards at Dubarry Park so this is an area where they will be striving to improve on. The UCC forwards features another surname synonymous with rugby in the real capital with Paul Derham a key in the College pack where Richie Moran, Daire Feeney and Rob O’Donovan can trouble the midlanders.
However, Buccs have their eyes firmly on the prize of promotion now and destiny is very much in their
own hands. They showed both sides of their capabilities when defeating nearest challengers UL Bohemian
in a fast-moving contest and then accounting for basement strugglers Dolphin in a real arm-wrestle in
atrocious conditions. Buccs will be hoping that Alan Gaughan, who sustained an injury at training last
week, will be fit for this test while good ground at “the Dyke” could enable Jordan Conroy to add to his
try tally. In the pack, Jamie Dever improved considerably on his debut against Ballymena while Buccs
don’t yet know Rory Moloney’s fate following his red card against Dolphin. However, there is some
strength in depth in the Pirates’ crew with Evan Galvin a ready made replacement in the back row.
With Buccaneers now within touching distance of their holy grail, they can forge a vital win provided
they continue to maintain the impressive work ethic and flair that they have shown throughout the
BUCCANEERS U-20’s are away to leaders Maynooth University/Barnhall in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster League
Premier 2 division on Sunday. Both teams were inactive last weekend as their fixtures fell victim to the
weather. MU/Barnhall top the league table on 53 points, eight ahead of second placed Buccs. The Athlone
team has lost just twice while the combination side have tasted defeat only once. However, they have
picked up 11 bonus points in their 12 matches to date and that has been crucial to putting them in the
driving seat in this division. Nevertheless, Buccs have acquitted themselves excellently despite often
losing influential players to the Senior squad and the Pirates defeated Sunday’s opponents 36-31 when
the sides met in Athlone. Sunday’s joust could be another cracker.
BUCCANEERS SECONDS travel to Clifden for the second week in succession to tackle Connemara in the
Connacht Junior 1A League. Kick off at the Monastery Field for this final league game of the season is
2.30 p.m. Despite winning last weekend, the Blacks cannot now deprive Ballina the league title and
Buccs will be hoping that Connemara may not be as interested on this occasion. That may be wishful
thinking as the proud Blacks have always been competitive but, with Galwegians securing a bonus
point win over Ballinasloe last weekend, the Tribesmen are now just three points adrift of the Pirates.
Wegians play already relegated NUIG and will be expected to win that game so Buccs absolutely must
pull something out of the hat for this match as defeat will mean they face a relegation play-off. It was
hugely disappointing that they could only muster 16 players last Sunday but hopefully they will rally
sufficient troops for this crunch tie.
BUCCANEERS WOMENS Connacht Cup final was postponed last Sunday as the Sportsground was deemed
unplayable. At time of writing there is no information to hand as to when this decider will now be played.
NEW DATE FOR CATHERINE FULVIO!
The Cookery Demonstration by noted TV chef and food writer CATHERINE FULVIO has a new date and will
now take place in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel on Wednesday, April 5th at 8 p.m. Tickets are €20 for this
event which includes a Cheese and Wine Reception from 7.30 p.m. so come along early to get the occasion
off to a good start. Tickets can be purchased at the hotel, The Bounty or from our Administrator Geraldine
at 0861732711. Ms. Fulvio puts on an entertaining display and all support will be greatly appreciated.
Congrats to Buccaneers Womens player Tina Kiernan on winning the title of best Midlands Hair & Make-up
Salon of the year 2017 at the recent Irish Wedding Awards. Tina operates the ‘Love My Hair’ salon on
T.P.O’Connor Street near the Poppy Fields Restaurant in Athlone.
Deepest sympathy is extended to our Director of Rugby Billy McMickan and family on the death of his
mother Peggy. Peggy was quite a character and her encouragement to our players and advice to
referees will be greatly missed on match days! May she rest in eternal peace.