BUCCS TAKE ON UCD AT BELFIELD | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Jan  22   2018

The stop-start Ulster Bank League Division 1A resumes on Saturday when Buccaneers head to the capital to tackle University College Dublin at Belfield where the action gets under way at 2.30 p.m. Buccs first AIL win this season came at home to the Students on a 19-13 margin when a passionate and sustained effort gained due reward for the Pirates. They will have to be equally committed and disciplined if they are to stretch their winning sequence against UCD to four victories in a row, the Athlone side having completed a double over College in 1B five seasons ago when the clubs were last in the same division.


Although the midlanders had precious little good fortune in the first half of the season, the players remained resilient and continued to play with commendable effort and willingness. They could not be faulted for endeavour although a lack of cunning and nous that cost them dearly in a number of matches. Despite the sequence of early defeats, Buccs played poorly in only one match to date. That was their last home outing when they underperformed against St. Mary’s College, even allowing for a weakened squad on that occasion. Hopefully, Paul Boyle, Conor Kenny and the particularly consistent Peter Claffey will be available at Belfield. Conan O’Donnell could be an absentee but Daniel Law should be raring to go following his Christmas trip home to New Zealand. Conor McKeon and Graham Lynch are likely to vie for the scrumhalf role while Luke Carty, Shane Layden, Alan Gaughan and Rory O’Connor will be key figures in the Athlone side’s backline where injury is likely to rule out Callum Boland and Jordan Conroy. Conroy has played just once this term and his try-scoring exploits (he notched 18 in 14 appearances last season) has been sorely missed. Despite a lengthy absence Ben Carty showed at Cork Con that he has much to offer in the backline. Martin Staunton, Cian Romaine, John Sutton and Evan Galvin can be counted on to put it up to the Students pack and U-20’s Simon Meagher and Eoghan Maher will be eager to have an influence on the proceedings.


UCD have been frustratingly inconsistent for their mentors this season, winning just three matches to lie fourth from bottom in the league table. They have a sizeable quota of players involved with both the Ireland U-20 and Sevens squads and, when these players are available to them, they look a different proposition. Billy Dardis, Hugo Keenan, Will Connors and Jimmy O’Brien are regulars on the Sevens circuit while flanker Josh Murphy has made a number of appearances for Leinster. Harry Byrne and Jack Ringrose, younger brothers of Leinster duo Ross and Gary respectively, are promising backs while forwards Jeremy Loughman and Glasson’s Stephen McVeigh could add a bit of oomph to a College outfit skippered by Jamie Glynn.


The Belfield Bowl, provided the weather dries up, is conducive to fast flowing rugby so a lively tussle with scores aplenty is anticipated. Buccs are capable of coming out on top provided they are sharp and focussed, organised and relentless in their endeavours. With victory so vital for the visitors, expect Buccaneers to give it their all.


Seconds away to Westport


BUCCANEERS SECONDS make the long trip to scenic Carrowholly where they square up to Westport in the Connacht Junior League Division 1A on Sunday when kick off is scheduled for 2.30 p.m. There was little between the teams when they met at Dubarry Park in mid November. On a damp dreary afternoon, a committed display by Buccs earned them a crucial 17-12 victory. It is likely to be another dogged encounter in Co. Mayo and the Athlone side will need to be resilient and disciplined to edge the verdict. However, if Buccaneers can field a settled side similar to last week against Galwegians, and are well organised, they are capable of forging another away win.


Buccaneers Womens and U-20’s fixtures both fell victim to the torrential downpours last weekend. At time of writing it is not known if they are rearranged for this coming weekend.




BUCCANEERS SECONDS earned a vital 10-3 Connacht Junior League Division 1A victory over their Galwegians counterparts at wet and windy Crowley Park, Glenina, on Saturday. In the difficult weather and underfoot conditions scores were at a premium and indeed the first half proved scoreless. However tries at either end of the second half ensured victory for the visitors.


Buccs made seven changes from the side that exited the Junior Cup the previous week. Six of these were in the pack where loosehead prop Niall Farrelly was the only forward to start in the same position. Ryan O’Meara reverted to his more familiar berth on the other side of the front row. Experienced trio Rory Grenham, Ruairi Byrne and Sean Byrne returned to active service while James Foley, Trevor Phillips and Rossa Dooley formed a new backrow line-up. These changes considerably strengthened the power and guile of the pack from the previous outing and, on another testing afternoon, were vital in this contest. However, the solitary change to the backline was perhaps the key alteration with Graham Lynch’s at scrumhalf ultimately proving the difference between the teams.


In the opening half with few significant incidents when rain fell in spades, a straight-forward penalty miss by Gerard Fallon was the Pirates best scoring opportunity. However, the Athlone side made a positive start to the second period with the busy Lynch speeding away from his own ten metre line to outstrip the home defence for a superb individual try that Fallon was unable to convert. Weather conditions improved at this stage and Wegians responded with a penalty to leave the outcome still in the balance with Buccs 5-3 ahead. However, the midlanders’ pack proved their merit when driving over the home line where the alert Lynch pounced for his second try. Although Alex Hayman took on kicking duties for this conversion, he too was off-target but Buccaneers had done enough to take the hard-earned spoils on a 10-3 scoreline.


Lynch was the Pirates man of the match and skipper Sean Flynn made a number of telling carries from the backline. O’Meara and Ruairi Byrne were pick of the pack where Rossa Dooley and Trevor Phillips also had good moments. This victory moves Buccs up to fourth in the league table, just above Westport to whom they travel on Sunday next.


BUCCANEERS:- C.Seery; G.Fallon, A.Hayman, S.Flynn (captain), C.Forde; D.McMahon, G.Lynch; N.Farrelly, R.Grenham, R.O’Meara; R.Byrne, S.Byrne; J.Foley, T.Phillips and R.Dooley. Replacements:- T.Thompson (for O’Meara), N.Flynn and N.Harney.   




Congratulations to Kolo Kiripati who will be among the recipients of the ‘Westmeath Independent’ Sportstar Award winners at this Friday’s presentation ceremony in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel.




Deepest condolences are extended to former Junior captain Michael Comerton and family on the death of his mother Maureen and to Natasha Dolan and family on the untimely passing of her sister Edel Buggy