BUCCS FACE DUBLIN UNIVERSITY IN CRUNCH MATCH | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Oct  29   2017

BUCCANEERS take on Dublin University on this bank holiday Saturday in what is, even at this early stage of the season, a crunch Ulster Bank League Division 1A match at Dubarry Park, Athlone. Fireworks can be anticipated in this encounter as the sides go in search of priceless league points with the action getting under way at 2.30 p.m.


Pointless Buccs prop up the league table and have had absolutely no luck in their four fixtures to date. The loss to Clontarf last time out was the only game that they did not look like securing anything but in their three opening fixtures the Pirates were in contention for large swathes of these games. Two of these matches were winnable in which Buccs did not hang on from leading positions, yet the midlanders did not even salvage losing bonus points from any of them. Injuries have not helped their cause and a lack of sheer bulk in the pack has been another factor while silly yellow cards contributed to the defeats by Lansdowne and Garryowen. Nevertheless, Buccs have not been that far off the pace to date so if the players and mentors keep working and believing they will surely kickstart their campaign sooner rather than later.


Dublin University showed it can be done last time out when, following three heavy defeats, they reeled in Young Munster from a 0-14 position to narrowly take the spoils at Tom Clifford Park. They lost quite a number of players from last season’s squad and coach Tony Smeeth has been endeavouring to find the right balance and blend this term. Raef Tyrell returned last time out to renew his second row partnership with Jack Burke and that helped their cause. James Bollard has been consistent at loosehead while Joe Byrne improved matters at tighthead. Centre Michael Courtney captains the Students who have lively backs in winger Jack Fitzpatrick, Ireland U-20 fullback Michael Silvester and the experienced Angus Lloyd at scrumhalf. Tom Whittle and James Fennelly have rotated at flyhalf and both are reliable place-kickers.


Much will depend on the influence of the home pack in this contest and Buccaneers will be hopeful that Conor Kenny will get a clean run in the front row trenches where he can count on Martin Staunton and John Sutton battling from start to finish. Second row is less certain as Cian Romaine is ruled out through suspension following a citing by Clontarf. Peter Claffey’s availability would be a decided help in the engine room where Ruairi Byrne is likely to start. Leaving Cert student Niall Murray has featured, surprisingly for such a youngster, in Connacht Eagles two recent B&I Cup matches and the teenager could make his Buccs debut at lock from the bench. Two other young guns Paul Boyle and Simon Meagher have done well in the Pirates backrow and home followers will be hoping that Dan Law might be fit to return here following his recent injury. Evan Galvin and Ronan Farrell will be able and willing operators in this sector if called on as are Conan O’Donnell and Rory Grenham in the front row.


Last season’s leading try scorer Jordan Conroy made a welcome return after injury in the game at Clontarf and he will have benefited from that outing even if he did not see as much ball as he (and Buccs supporters) would have liked. Frankie Hopkins sustained an injury in that match but should be fit to resume at scrumhalf where he is likely to link up with Luke Carty. Alan Gaughan, following his GAA distractions, can now hopefully return to the rich form of last season, albeit in the centre alongside skipper Shane Layden. Rory O’Connor is another who saw too little possession at Castle Avenue and if he gets decent supply he is a consistent try-scorer while Callum Boland is another hoping to return after injury. Thomas McGann, Eoin O’Reilly and Sean Dempsey are other very promising backs who could be involved in what is really a quite youthful Pirates squad.


Buccaneers must be ruthless against the Students and not allow Trinity to move the ball the way they would like. Effort and workrate has not been lacking by Buccs but concentration, patience and nous has not always been up to the necessary standards. The midlanders really need to get all components dovetailing on Saturday and, if they do, they can earn the elusive win that will eliminate the frustrations to date and restore confidence and belief. A decent attendance on this bank holiday weekend would help the homesters so lets see a big turnout on Saturday getting behind the Buccs!




OLD WESLEY avenged their recent J.P.Fanagan Leinster League defeat in Athlone when they overcame Buccaneers 43-7 on the G4 surface at Donnybrook on Sunday. For a variety of reasons Buccs were greatly depleted for this outing and indeed travelled with just 15 players. Only seven of the starting XV of a month ago were available on this occasion.


Whilst Old Wesley deserved their victory which followed on a good win by them over Old Belvedere, the final winning margin flattered the Dublin side. The stretched but spirited Buccs squad enjoyed the greater territory and possession in the second half but left tries behind them primarily through handling errors. Thus the scoreline was not truly reflective of the proceedings and the gallant young Buccs can be proud of their sustained endeavours. Sean O’Connell was again to the fore in the forwards battle and he was rewarded with the midlanders’ solitary try which Ryan Convey converted. Colm Reilly was another standout performer at scrumhalf and fellow debutant Aaron O’Donnell did very well at lock.


BUCCANEERS:- T.McGann; K.Foxe, R.Murphy-Sweeney, E.O’Reilly, K.Wheatley-Byrne; R.Convey, C.Reilly; J.Kelly, R.Keighery-Farley, E.Cooney; B.Collins (captain), A.O’Donnell; S.O’Connell, R.Enraght-Moony and J.Delahunt.




Buccaneers will hold pre-match functions for the forthcoming games at home to Cork Constitution on Saturday, November 11th and to St. Mary’s College on Saturday, December 9th. The visit of dual champions Cork Con should warrant a large attendance while the St. Mary’s fixture could prove an ideal pre-Christmas event to attend. Guests can enjoy pre-match lunch in The Bounty with complimentary wine, free admission to the stand and souvenir matchday programme. Groups or individuals can be catered for. Cover charge is only €30 per person. Contact our Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711 to book or for further information. 




Heartfelt condolences are extended to last season’s club president Eddie Walsh and Margaret Duffy on the tragic death of their daughter Dairina, mother of Cillene to whom deepest sympathy is also extended. May she rest in eternal peace.