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published:May  15   2017


JORDAN CONROY and TOM CONLON were the main winners at Buccaneers Rugby Football Club’s Annual Awards event held at the Sheraton Athlone Hotel on Saturday night. Conroy, in his debutant season with the club, won the Senior Player of the Year accolade while the Senior team manager Conlon was awarded the Buccaneers Club Person of the Year accolade.


Welcoming the attendance, club President Eddie Walsh reflected on a very successful season that culminated in winning the Ulster Bank League Division 1B and also completing a Connacht Senior League and Cup double whilst a number of underage teams also enjoyed memorable campaigns. “The club has come a long way since I joined, when we had just a solitary international Leo Galvin. This season Buccs had no less than nine international players”. He thanked the Sheraton Hotel and the event’s organisers particularly Lorna Stuart-Trainor and Geraldine Kenny. Eddie duly acknowledged our benefactors, especially the Moore family at AUDI ATHLONE and also DUBARRY of IRELAND.


Head Coach Brett Wilkinson was also highly grateful to our sponsors. He particularly thanked “all the club’s volunteers, from underage up, and the committee who freely give so much time to the club”. The support of the Seconds and U-20’s sides “was greatly appreciated” as was the backroom team where he mentioned a couple of “unique characters” in Pat Hynes and Martin Webster. He thanked “the players and also their wives/partners/families for the sacrifices they made.  It was a hell of a year, making history”. To loud cheers he concluded his eloquent speech that “an exciting season lies ahead…..can’t wait!” Eddie complimented Brett on his endeavours to date, noting that he “has installed an ethos and respect for club and jersey”. 


The Awards  


In his breakthrough season, Athlone Institute of Technology student Conroy made a massive impact. He scored 18 tries, a key factor in the Pirates sailing to the Division 1B league title and promotion to the top flight. The young Tullamore speedster also caught the attention at provincial and national levels, playing for Connacht Eagles and being a regular on the Ireland Sevens squad. Whilst a lethal finisher, a task he does without any show-boating, young Conroy’s all-round play particularly in defence improved noticeably as Buccs winning streak built momentum. Jordan was recently honoured as Connacht Senior Club Player of the Year.


Buccaneers U-20’s enjoyed a vastly improved campaign this season, finishing very comfortably in second place in the Leinster Premier League 2 whilst also reaching the semi-final of the Purcell Cup. Ross Cooper skippered this particular Pirates crew and his leadership and on-field exploits in the pack were rewarded when he was named U-20’s Player of the Year. Dean McMahon was named most improved U-20’s player of the year.


The Seconds squad struggled at times in an inconsistent crusade but came up trumps at the crucial end of a sometimes tough season. Through the ups and downs, captain Rory Grenham knuckled down to the challenges, week in week out, leading by example in the front row battles. “A true clubman” he was also part of the Senior matchday squad for virtually every fixture this year and he was a most worthy recipient of the Buccaneers Seconds Player of the Year award. James O’Connell was another who provided unstinting service to the Seconds in a variety of positions and ‘Jimmy Boots’ efforts were noted by being named most improved Seconds player of the year.


Buccaneers Womens squad are a spirited and committed group and competition here was also very keen for the major laurel before Lorna Stuart-Trainor was named Buccaneers Womens Player of the Year. Lorna has been a dedicated and able member of this squad since a Womens team was formed in the club. Not one shy to voice her opinion, she has been a bellwether for the team, on and off the field, and she was duly crowned a highly deserving Buccaneers Womens Player of the Year winner. This completed a super weekend for the local lady whose family have had a long involvement in the club as Lorna’s ‘A Room In Bloom’ took two major awards the previous night at the Westmeath Style Awards and club president Walsh noted that she may need a bigger mantelpiece shortly! Meanwhile ‘newbie’ Aileen Hayes gathered the most improved Womens Player of the year accolade.



In the words of Eddie Walsh, Derek Ryan “does so much work around the club” in coaching and his endeavours fully justified his being honoured as Youths Volunteer of the Year. The contribution of ladies at underage rugby is vital and this was acknowledged in the unselfish work of Emily Duffy being rewarded when she was named Minis Volunteer of the Year.


All the winners receive specially commissioned pieces of Athlone Crystal as do the club’s players who represented Ireland during the season. Buccaneers can take great pride in that the following 9 players played for their country:-

Senior:- Robbie Henshaw, Tiernan O’Halloran and Finlay Bealham.

Sevens:- Shane Layden and Jordan Conroy.

U-19’s:- Corey Reid

U-18’s:- Niall Murray

U-18’s Sevens:- Thomas McGann

U-18’s Womens Sevens:- Anna McGann


A presentation was also made to Nino Magliocco, overall winner of the recent ‘Lip Sync Buccs Fizz’ event.


Club Person of the year


The final presentation at the Buccaneers Awards event was, in the club president’s view “the most prestigious award”, the Buccaneers Club Person of the Year accolade. This year’s winner was “a magnificent and passionate contributor who put in a huge amount of work” over many seasons. He captained Athlone to a Connacht Senior League title in 1987 and was President of Buccaneers in 2002 and also has the unique distinction of scoring the first ever try by any player in the All-Ireland League! The winner also served as Chairman of Football and is the current Senior team manager. Tommy Conlon was thus unveiled as this year’s Club Person of the year. Not normally known as a shirking violet, he was stunned and speechless by the announcement which was greeted with a standing ovation!


The Michael Hanley Memorial Perpetual Cup was presented to Tommy by Eileen Hanley, whose late husband Michael is commemorated by this magnificent trophy.


When he regained his composure, Tommy noted the magnificent facilities in the club but stated that “good people are our main asset. The kindness and help shown to him by Christy Reid will never be forgotten” when he first joined the club. There were “great times in the old clubhouse”. Buccaneers have “climbed the club rankings into the Top Ten. Kolo Kiripati was an extraordinary leader, an inspiration. The team players stood up” with the First squad “being exceptional”. He complimented all the backroom team and acknowledged our generous patrons especially Audi Athlone. He concluded his heartfelt words by proclaiming that the club has “a bright future……Buccs are going places!” 


The enjoyable night continued into the small hours of the morning to the music of DJ Ray O’Reilly.  




BUCCANEERS SUMMER TAG LEAGUE commences next week on Thursday, May 25th. This tournament has reverted to its more popular Thursday slot this year and is also linked up to the IRFU TAG leagues. Entry fee is also more favourable at €495 per squad which can consist of up to 15 players. Squads are made up of male and female players and matches are played in seven-a-side format when all 15 players can be utilised through rolling substitutions. However the maximum number of male players allowed on field at any one time is four while higher points are awarded for scores by the ladies! No prior experience of rugby is necessary. Entries from social teams are especially welcome. Log on to or to to register. Contact Billy McMickan at 0878196476 for further information.





The ‘Athlone Sevens in the City’ is scheduled for Dubarry Park this Saturday, May 20th. Registration is from 11 a.m. Contact Mele Kiripati at 0838452563 for info or to enter.




The AGM of Buccaneers RFC takes place on the last Friday of this month May 26th in the function room in The Bounty from 8 p.m.




Deepest sympathy is extended to Sean Og Hurley and family on the passing last week at much too early an age of his daughter Michelle Doran, Ballinasloe. Heartfelt condolences are also extended to Michael and Adrian Hanley on the death of their mother and grandmother Alice respectively.




Congrats to Lorna Stuart-Trainor on the double success of ‘A Room In Bloom’ at the Westmeath Style Awards event where another Buccaneers player Tina Kiernan’s ‘Love My Hair’ won the ‘Best in new business’ award. Lorna took the ‘Best in Bridal’ gong and also the overall top award. Well done, ladies.