CLAASEN AND McCARTHY TEAM UP TO COACH BUCCANEERS | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Jul  01   2017

Darin Claasen and Mike McCarthy have been unveiled as the coaching duo in charge of Buccaneers as the Athlone club gears up for life in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League.


Claasen was assistant to Brett Wilkinson for the past two seasons and he replaces his fellow South African, who has departed to Hong Kong, as head coach of the Pirates whilst retaining his role as backs coach. In the first of those two seasons, Buccaneers reached the AIL play-offs and also won the Connacht Senior League title. Last season the midlanders proved even more impressive, capturing a Connacht Senior League and Cup double whilst romping away to the Division 1B title and thus promotion to the top flight of Irish club rugby. The slick backs work overseen by Claasen was a key factor to Buccs progress, being leaders in AIL try scoring last season.


A talented and versatile back, Claasen’s first foray into club rugby in Ireland was with Castlebar and then spent a lengthy period with Galway Corinthians before joining Buccaneers. He has SARFU levels 1 and 2 coaching and is also a personal trainer at Unique Fitness & Health in Athlone. He is married to a Clonown lady Carol and they have three daughters.


McCarthy is another former Buccaneers player having played in 2003 whilst with Connacht whom he joined from Wasps. He departed to Newcastle Falcons the following season before returning to Connacht in 2007. The imposing lock played for England U-21’s but was Irish qualified. A late bloomer he made his Ireland debut in 2011 winning 19 Senior caps. He switched to Leinster two seasons ago and was due to move to top French club Narbonne this summer but injury brought his playing career to a premature end.


This is the 35-year-old’s first taste of coaching. He will be forwards coach at Dubarry Park where he will bring a wealth of experience and pedigree to his latest calling in rugby.


Buccaneers begin training for the forthcoming season on Tuesday, July 18th ahead of the league kick-off in early September. All players should be ready to go on the training paddock by 7 p.m. on the night and, of course, new players are always welcome.


RTE’s ‘GAME ON’ at Buccaneers this Thursday


RTE Radio’s ‘GAME ON’ programme, which is transmitted on 2FM, will be broadcast live from Dubarry Park this Thursday evening between 7 & 8 p.m. A limited audience is welcome and those wishing to attend should check availability by Wednesday (today) with our Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711. Those who ‘make the cut’ should be seated in The Bounty by 6.45 p.m. Robbie Irwin hosts this popular radio programme and the Lions tour will be strongly featured in this edition.




Speaking of the Lions, remember The Bounty will be open from 8 a.m. on this Saturday morning when breakfast will be available for the final test against New Zealand. The tourists finally got a win over the mighty All Blacks, thus ending the hosts magnificent long winning sequence in New Zealand. They did it the hard way even despite Sonny Bill Williams early sending off and the Lions were surely thankful that Beauden Barrett had an off day with his place-kicking! Nevertheless, it sets the series up nicely for a final day battle not to be missed. Incidentally, an interesting feature on Kevin ‘Smiley’ Barrett (formerly of this parish) and his family was published in last Saturday’s ‘Irish Times’. Which reminds me, is there anyone out there in the club who has by chance photo(s) of Beauden Barrett from one of the club’s Saturday morning kids coaching sessions during season 2000/1?




There is already a terrific number of teams entered for BUCCANEERS ANNUAL GOLF CLASSIC which takes place on Wednesday fortnight, July 19th, at Glasson Country House Hotel & Golf Club. A limited number of tee times are available at time of writing. Contact our Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711 or Eddie Walsh or Paul Connellan to secure one of these slots.




BUCCANEERS TAG RUGBY SUMMER LEAGUE enters the final straight over the coming weeks with the league continuing on Thursday nights at Dubarry Park. The finals are scheduled for Friday, July 21st.




Also fast approaching on the horizon is ‘ATHLONE SEVENS IN THE CITY’ which takes place on Saturday week, July 15th. Mele Kiripati at 0838452563 is the contact for this event which will feature Womens, Mens and Youth Sevens on the day (subject to sufficient entries in each tournament).




Congratulations to Ted Carty on his election as Junior Vice-President of Connacht Branch IRFU. Meanwhile, Claire Wyper and Michael Cleary have returned to active service on Buccaneers RFC’s Executive Committee as Treasurer and Secretary respectively. Apologies to Ray Fagan whose re-election as the club’s Senior Representative to the Connacht Branch was omitted from the recent AGM report.


Congrats to Tiernan O’Halloran who notched up his sixth senior cap in Ireland’s second win in Japan. Well done too to Buccs duo Jordan Conroy and debutant Josh Rowland who were in the Ireland Sevens squad at the weekend.