BUCCS HOME TO BALLYNAHINCH IN KOLO'S FINAL FIXTUREpublished:Apr 09 2017
BUCCANEERS final fixture of the season takes place at Dubarry Park on this Easter Saturday when Ballynahinch come to Athlone. This Ganlys of Athlone sponsored match kicks off at 2.30 p.m. and the Ulster Bank League Division 1B trophy and medals will be presented to champions Buccs after the game. There will be an ‘egg-citing’ kids tip rugby match at half-time.
Buccs have the most clearcut lead at the top of all five AIL divisions but they will be eager to finish the season on a high in front of their own supporters. Of course, Ballynahinch are one of only two teams to have defeated the Pirates this season and the Athlone side will be keen to make amends for that 35-13 loss which occurred on the opening day of the league. It was a disappointing start to what has been a magnificent campaign and, on reflection, errors and a late fadeout cost the Pirates dearly. Buccs are now on 67 points, 30 ahead of the sixth placed Ulster club.
Bolstered by Ulster duo Peter Nelson and Justin Rea, Hinch secured a crucial 16-14 last ditch win at Naas two weeks ago when David McGuigan scored an end to end try in the final move of the game. The flanker is one Buccs will need to curb on Saturday as is another Ireland Sevens player Aaron Cairns on the wing. David Busby and Blane McIlroy are other tidy backs while prop Craig Trenier and lock John Donnan are powerful forwards. Ulster experienced trio Connor Joyce, Sam Windsor and Lorcan Dow all played against Buccs last September but have not featured of late nor has former Pirate Steve McCauley. The northerners lost 13-8 at home to second placed UL Bohemian last Saturday but the losing bonus point ensures they have no relegation fears now.
Buccaneers played with admirable pride and commitment at Shannon in a sound all-round team effort. Their penchant for yellow cards has been a problem throughout but, otherwise, Buccs have generally been a joy to watch. Attitude and application will surely be spot on for this encounter, particularly as it is likely to be the final match for the one and only Koronato (Kolo) Kiripati. The Pirates inspiring skipper and No.8 has had a massive influence and been an exemplary servant since coming to the club almost a decade ago and he has really rolled back the years, week in week out, this season. Buccaneers must send him off on a winning note and all involved with the squad will surely do their utmost to ensure this outcome. Then the trophy presentation and title celebrations can begin in earnest at ‘the pig on the spit’!
PRE-MATCH FUNCTION THIS SATURDAY
There will be a pre-match function for Saturday’s match against Ballynahinch when champions Buccaneers success will be celebrated. For €30 you can enjoy a fine 3-course meal with wine, guest speaker, souvenir programme and free admission to the match. Groups or individuals can be catered for. To book, contact Geraldine 0861732711 or Pat Hynes 0876883833.
EASTER RUGBY CAMP
Buccaneers Easter Rugby Camp, for boys and girls aged 6 to 13 years old, takes place at Dubarry Park for three days next week from Wednesday, April 19th to Friday 21st. The camp will be run by Buccs qualified coaches from 9.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. daily. Cost is €40 (with discount for additional family members). Participants will need to bring a packed lunch, drinks, gum shield and wet gear. To book contact Geraldine at 0861732711 or email email@example.com
Congratulations to young Buccaneers duo Niall Murray and Corey Reid on their selection on the Ireland U-18 Schools and U-19 squads respectively. Congrats too to Tiernan O’Halloran on his 100th senior Connacht cap and to Alan Gaughan and the Westmeath Senior Football squad on winning the Division 4 League title. Good wishes too to Mick Stapleton who celebrated a landmark birthday recently!
Deepest sympathy is extended to Pat Hynes on the death of his aunt Maureen Deeley. Sincere condolences are also extended to Darren Costello and family on the death of his grandfather Sean Dempsey.
Thank you to all who supported the Cookery Demonstration by Catherine Fulvio last Wednesday, be it by attending or sponsoring. A special word of gratitude goes to Damien Phelan who put huge time and effort into this project.