BUCCS square up to Banbridge in “must win” match | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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BUCCS square up to Banbridge in “must win” match

published:Apr  04   2019

Buccaneers square up to Banbridge in an All-Ireland League duel at Dubarry Park on Saturday when the outcome of this ‘must win’ contest is absolutely vital for both clubs. Buccs currently lie in the relegation play-off berth, just two points adrift of the Ulster side, so no quarter is likely to be asked or given in this battle as both sides strive to maintain their Division 1B status. This penultimate round fixture, sponsored by the Prince of Wales Hotel, also heralds the first visit by Banbridge to Athlone. Kick off is 2.30 p.m.


The only certainty in this congested division is that former AIL title winners Ballymena are already relegated. Mathematically it is possible that both Banbridge and Buccs could yet qualify for the promotion play-offs, such is the tightness of this division in which all teams have been capable of beating each other! But the dreaded drop is what the Pirates and their first-time visitors will be bidding to avoid. Consequently, the ‘mother of all battles’ could unfold at Dubarry Park as the homesters strive to avenge their early season 24-0 loss in a deluge at Rifle Park. On that occasion the midlanders fielded a very youthful and inexperienced squad that battled gamely and commendably against much bigger opponents. The northerners scored two late tries while Buccs rued a number of missed opportunities.

Buccaneers are, arguably, the team most affected by the provinces sending squads to USA for recent fixtures during which the Pirates suffered two defeats. All other clubs had just a single game absence of any contracted players. Hopefully, Buccs will be bolstered by the availability of a number of these on Saturday when the likes of Peter Claffey, Conan O’Donnell, Luke Carty, Corey Reid and Kieran Joyce would significantly boost the Athlone team’s options and chances. Darragh Corbett and Simon Meagher should both be fit for selection following recent injuries further increasing head coach Peter O’Donnell’s permutations despite Conor Kenny’s absence due to injury.


But regardless of who is or is not available, Buccaneers must put in a sustained, committed and disciplined effort from start to finish against a doughty Banbridge who are also battling for their Division 1B lives. They will not roll over lightly so Buccs must perform individually and collectively on the day if they are to prevail. There are no ifs, buts, maybes, whatevers about this match. Buccaneers simply must win. Victory would move them above Banbridge and put destiny in their own hands when they travel to Naas on Saturday week.


There are numerous potential outcomes with just two rounds of fixtures remaining. Old Belvedere (just above Banbridge) are home to derby rivals and table toppers Old Wesley on Saturday. They then face Banbridge at Rifle Park in their final game, another match that will surely be contested ferociously. St. Mary’ College got a real boost last time out when thrashing Ballymena but face two stiff tests against Malone (H) and Ballynahinch (A) so they are not out of trouble yet. But Buccaneers cannot worry about these permutations. Two wins in their remaining two matches and all is well with victory at home to Banbridge being crucial. With so much at stake, expect Buccaneers to deliver this Saturday and let’s see a big crowd supporting the Pirates!


Division 1B league table:-

Old Wesley                 48

Ballynahinch               48

Malone                        43

Naas                            43

City of Armagh          42

St. Mary’s College     40

Old Belvedere             39

Banbridge                   37

Buccaneers                 35

Ballymena                   21


Banbridge pre-match function


Buccaneers play their final All-Ireland League home fixture of the season on Saturday when Banbridge make their first visit to Dubarry Park on April 6th. This crunch game will be preceded by a pre-match function of lunch with wine, complimentary matchday programme and free admission to the stand. Cost is only €30 per person. Groups and individuals can be catered for. Contact Pat Hynes 0876883833 or Geraldine 0861732711 to book.


U-20’s away to Old Wesley


BUCCANEERS U-20’s complete their J.P.Fanagan Leinster U-20 Premier League 2 fixtures list with a trip to Energia Park where they will tackle new champions Old Wesley. This game at Donnybrook has a 1.30 p.m. kick off for the young Pirates who have secured a highly creditable third place in this competitive league. Buccs will be looking to a good performance ahead of their Purcell Cup game at home to NUIG on Sunday week.