Tuam too strong in Womens Cup final but super Seconds retain 1A status | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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Tuam too strong in Womens Cup final but super Seconds retain 1A status

published:Apr  03   2017



Despite putting in a battling and sustained effort Buccaneers came up short against Tuam in the Connacht Womens Cup final played at The Sportsground, Galway, on Sunday. A final move try put an extra gloss to Tuam’s 16-5 victory but right up to that late, late score, Buccs were still very much in contention in a tremendously competitive decider played on a firm sod and fine weather.


Tuam settled the quicker to the task on hand but missed a 6th minute penalty but outhalf Emma Keane found the range from in front of the posts six minutes later. It took the Pirates the bulk of the opening quarter to get into their stride and into the opposition half. With Sabina Egan and Susan Seery breaks now testing the Tuam rearguard, the Athlone girls began to make inroads. They forced a number of penalties which they tapped and gradually edged close to the Co. Galway side’s line where patient and persistent attacking was finished off wide on the left for an unconverted 23rd minute try by Gohar Kostanyan. Nine minutes later, Keane restored the lead for Tuam with a penalty that left them 6-5 ahead at halftime.


The diagonal breeze had freshened noticeably during the first half and it was to prove of real benefit to Tuam in the second period. Eight minutes after the change of ends, a smart crossfield kick weighted nicely in the wind and Nicola Kilgarriff won the race between the two fullbacks to pounce for an unconverted try wide on the right. This gave Tuam an 11-5 lead which they worked doggedly to protect.


With Sarah Kelly thundering into the contest and Lorna Stuart-Trainor, Antoinette Kemmy, Niamh Gough and Kostanyan probing and tackling, Buccs were still very much in the hunt. However, despite a number of promising breaks, they just could not fashion the final pass or offload necessary to unlock Tuam’s no-nonsense defending. In the final move, Amanda Kelly made it over the Buccaneers line for an unconverted try that sealed the 16-5 victory. Tuam, that bit smarter and a lot more physical, were deserving winners albeit the margin flattered them.


The Buccaneers girls gave it their all but lacked a vital cutting edge that would surely have been provided by Anna McGann (not released) or Niamh Ni Dhroma (abroad). They can justifiably hold their heads up after a season in which quite a number of ‘newbies’ joined their squad. They will have gained crucial experience and displayed wonderful commitment and promise, so the future looks really bright for Buccs and their mentors.


BUCCANEERS:- S.Seery; S.Hennessy, S.Egan, H.Kilduff, A.Hayes; E.O’Brien, N.Gough (captain); L.Flynn, T.Finnerty, S.Kelly; G.Kostanyan, A.Antonissen; L.Stuart-Trainor, A.Kemmy and A.Hennessy. Replacements:- D.Cromar (for Antonissen, h/t), C.Malone (for Finnerty, 50 mins), K.Ryan (for A.Hennessy, 50 mins), A.Antonissen (for S.Hennessy, inj. 66 mins), A.Hennessy (for Ryan, 66 mins), J.Dowling (for Egan, inj. 75 mins) and D.West (for Hayes, 75 mins).


Referee:- John Martin (Connacht).         




BUCCANEERS SECONDS finally found their mojo when it was most needed as they demolished their Corinthians counterparts 62-26 in this Connacht Junior 1 promotion/relegation play-off at Corinthian Park, Clounacauneen, on Sunday. The Pirates backline ran riot with Rory O’Connor putting in a five-star performance scoring half of Buccs ten tries in by far the side’s most comprehensive display of the season.


Conditions were near ideal for the brand of rugby favoured by the midlanders and they swiftly stamped their intent on the proceedings with O’Connor opening the scoring with a 4th minute try and Harry Hughes adding the second just five minutes later. Following a yellow card to Tristan Couper, Corinthians got on the scoreboard with a Douglas Whiteman try to reduce their arrears to 12-7 after 17 minutes.


However, two quickfire tries by O’Connor on 20 and 26 minutes completed the fullback’s hat-trick before Rory Grenham notched try number five on the half hour mark. Pat Long replied with a Corinthians try just before half-time but O’Connor still had time to scoot over for his fourth touchdown before the interval at which stage Buccaneers led 38-14, Ger Fallon having landed four conversions.


Skipper Grenham stretched Buccs advantage with a 44th minute try but Corinthians kept in touch with a brace of touchdowns by substitute Long and Alan Coughlan to narrow the arrears to 45-26. However, the Athlone side finished strongly with substitute Graham Lynch helping himself to a pair of tries before who else but O’Connor completed the rout with a last minute try. Callum Boland, on place-kicking duty for the second half, landed two conversions in the 62-26 victory that ensures Buccaneers retain their Connacht Junior 1A status. Simon Keller was on target with two Corinthians’ conversions.


This was a splendid all-round effort by Buccs with O’Connor being outstanding particularly in his finishing. Grenham led the squad by example and the Pirates were not deflected by an injury to the luckless Dom Griffiths in the warm-up. At the end of a difficult and testing campaign, Buccs finally clicked and flourished as they demonstrated the potential that will surely be bolstered by a string of players from the U-20’s squad that did so well this term.


BUCCANEERS:- R.O’Connor; B.Walsh, A.Hayman, S.Flynn, H.Hughes; C.Boland, G.Fallon; K.Grehan, R.Grenham (captain), R.O’Meara; R.Byrne, T.Couper; J.O’Connell, N.Flynn and E.Galvin. Replacements:- G.Halligan, J.Tormey, G.Lynch, J.Lopez, N.Purcell (all used) and D.Griffiths.




BUCCANEERS U-20’s felt more than a little aggrieved when losing 29-28 to St. Mary’s College in the semi-final of the Purcell Cup played at Templeville Road, Dublin, on Sunday. In a cracking contest, Buccs were arguably the better outfit but a pair of debatable yellow cards in the closing minutes cost the Pirates dearly as St. Mary’s pilfered a match-winning try when the midlanders were reduced to 13 players.


This was a most unsatisfactory end to a super season by these young Buccs in only their second year campaigning in Leinster. Following a woeful first year there, the Athlone outfit finished a very comfortable second in Premier League Division 2 this term and have acquitted themselves well in the Cup too. They got off to a perfect start in this Cup tie, Thomas McGann fielding possession on the wing and taking play into the home 22 to set up Frankie Hopkins for a 2nd minute converted try under the posts.


St. Mary’s replied with a 4th minute penalty and they grabbed a soft converted try twelve minutes later. Following a lineout, they spread the ball wide and a number of Buccs players missed their tackles, helping the hosts to a 10-7 lead. Buccs then put some good phases together and Luke Carty made a fine line break. However, a yellow card to Ross Cooper for a high tackle gave the initiative back to St. Mary’s and they added a converted try while the Pirates skipper was in the sin bin. The metropolitan outfit now enjoyed a good spell but Buccs held firm before the midlanders regained their momentum to apply sustained pressure that yielded a Brian Collins converted try just before halftime that narrowed the arrears to 14-17.


Missed tackles again contributed to St. Mary’s third converted try just two minutes into the second half but the city side then had a player yellow carded. Buccs capitalised on this with McGann touching down on 50 minutes to leave his side trailing 24-19. A brace of Carty penalties edged the Athlone side 25-24 ahead after 65 minutes and the outhalf added another three minutes later for a four points lead to the visitors who were now the dominant force.


But Collins was deemed to go off his feet on 77 minutes and Sam Hastings followed him to the sin bin two minutes later, his attempted blockdown being adjudged to be deliberate by referee Paul O’Connor. These harsh decisions gave St. Mary’s a vital two player advantage and they made it pay with a fortuitous last ditch winning try to advance to the final on a 29-28 margin.


BUCCANEERS:- D.McMahon; T.McGann, S.Hastings, D.Keane, E.O’Reilly; L.Carty, F.Hopkins; N.Farrelly, E.Maher, D.Buckley; B.Collins, H.Ronaldson; R.Cooper (captain), S.Meagher and J.Foley. Replacements:- J.Kelly, C.Cleary, R.Flanagan, J.Delahunt, O.Rowe, K.Jocher and P.Browne.


Referee:- Paul O’Connor (Leinster).




The end of a long season is fast approaching and Buccaneers now have just two Ulster Bank League fixtures remaining. First up is a Division 1B trip to Limerick to take on nine times champions Shannon on Saturday, kick off 2.30 p.m. on the back pitch at Thomond Park. A competitive joust is anticipated as Shannon are not quite out of the relegation mire yet while Buccs will be keen to maintain the winning ways of their drive to the title.


Hopefully the Pirates will not have over-indulged having secured promotion! Shannon is one of those clubs Buccs need to measure up to. Last season in the corresponding fixture, the Athlone outfit suffered a defeat that did not help their play-off bid the following weekend away to Ballynahinch. They should be keen to atone for that, but will need to be focussed and accurate in the execution of their play against the Limerick side.


Shannon have won five of their seven matches since Tom Hayes took over as coach and have got some momentum in their bid to retain their Division 1B status. However, they still lie third from bottom, seven points ahead of Galwegians and nine above Dolphin. So you can bet your last euro that they will come out fighting for the points on offer to make life a lot easier for them in their final outing away to Ballymena. They have a terrific front row where experienced Munster duo John Andress and Duncan Casey will join the lively Conor Glynn. Australian lock Riley Winter, skipper Lee Nicholas and upcoming No.8 John Foley add to a fine pack. Hayes has exciting young talent in his backline, especially the Fitzgeralds (Stephen at fullback and Conor at flyhalf), where Luke O’Dea and Greg O’Shea have had game time with Munster. 


But Buccaneers have some depth to their squad too as proven by their march to the title where they lost just two matches despite having regular changes to their matchday squad. Kolo Kiripati has proven a wonderful skipper in his last voyage as leader of the Pirates and Danny Qualter, Martin Staunton, Stephen McVeigh and John Sutton have been impressively consistent. Rory Moloney, Simon Meagher, Evan Galvin and Jamie Dever can mix it at this level too. Shane Layden, Mata Fifita and Eoin Griffin are strong players in the backline where Jordan Conroy has really caught the eye. The tight confines of Thomond Park’s back pitch may not suit the flying winger as he bids to add to his 17 try haul. Alan Gaughan has come on in leaps and bounds at outhalf. Conor McKeon, Luke Carty and Frankie Hopkins are young players on the up while Rory O’Connor displayed he too has a cutting edge with his five tries salvo last weekend. Eoghan O’Reilly, Shane O’Leary and Callum Boland are also keen and able to start.


With pride at stake for both sides, this looks like being a corker. Shannon may have more to really play for but Buccs will wish to prove their mettle as they prepare for life in Division 1A. Don’t miss it!   




BUCCANEERS EASTER RUGBY CAMP for boys and girls aged 6 to 13 years old takes place at Dubarry Park from Wednesday, April 19th to Friday 21st.  Qualified coaches will oversee the camp in which rugby skills will be coached in a fun and friendly environment. Contact Geraldine at 0861732711 to book.




The club is hosting a COOKERY DEMONSTRATION by popular TV chef and food writer CATHERINE FULVIO in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone, on this Wednesday April 5th. It should to be a very enjoyable evening and the event gets under way with a Cheese & Wine Reception from 7.30 p.m. Tickets €20 each at the hotel reception. All attending will receive a complimentary recipes booklet.




CHAMPIONS BUCCANEERS host Ballynahinch in their final AIL fixture of the season sponsored by Ganlys of Athlone at Dubarry Park on Easter Saturday when the Division 1B trophy will be presented. To mark the occasion, there will be a pre-match function of 3-course dinner with wine, guest speaker and free admission to the match. Cover charge is only €30 per person. Groups or individuals can be catered for. To book, contact our Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711.