BUCCS AWAY TO CASHEL IN AIL PROMOTION PLAY-OFF
BUCCANEERS will bid to rock Cashel on Saturday when they make another trip to Tipp to face the Munster side in the Energia All-Ireland League Division 2A promotion semi-final at Spafield where this highly anticipated clash will kick off at 2.30 p.m. Buccs will travel with high hopes having defeated the Reds home and away in the league campaign. For their part, Cashel will be confident too that they can progress for they finished five points above the Athlone side and overcame runaway leaders Queen’s University home and away. So an intriguing tie is in prospect, one that is truly hard to call, but it should be an absorbing contest between two teams who play in contrasting styles.
The homesters have a fairly settled starting XV and their pack will bring a physical intensity to the exchanges. Here Brendan Ryan, Niall Fitzgerald and captain Cathal Ryan are durable and cute front row operators. Recent Ireland U-20 Fearghaill O’Donoghue (son of club president Pat) is dynamic in their back five where Mikey Wilson, Brendan Crosse, Richard Moran, Aidan Butler and yet another Ryan, Ciaran, will be vying for starting berths. Josh Pickering is a busy scrumhalf and Dan O’Neill is settling into his role at fly-half while Alan McMahon and Conor Cashman form a strong pairing in the centre. Cian Mullane is doing well following his switch to fullback while Adam Dunne and Richard Kingston will need curbing out wide.
Buccaneers squad may be younger and inconsistency can be a problem at times but the Pirates have oodles of potential, pace and power in their crew. They are well capable of beating any team in this division on the day but must front up from start to finish on Saturday. Their likely front row trio of Martin Staunton, Declan Adamson and Sam Illo can hold their own in the tight and are lively around the paddock too. Danny Qualter and Darragh Murray bring size and athleticism in the second row. Skipper Evan Galvin will lead by example and can be counted on to be in the thick of the action along with Ciaran Booth and Tabo Maree or Oisin McCormack from start to finish. It will be crucial for the Shannonsiders that their pack matches the home side’s aggression. Ruairi Byrne, Charlie Ward, James Kelly, Darren Browne, Ryan O’Meara and Cian McCann are other forwards who can be trusted to deliver if called upon.
If the midlanders forwards do that, then their backs have the panache and capacity to tot up the scores. Michael Hanley and Will Reilly are a neat halfback combination who can give smart service to an eager backline where Shane Layden and Stephen Mannion are a formidable duo in the centre. The unrelated O’Connor’s Rory and Josh will be the likely raiders on the flanks and the team’s youngster Ruaidhri Fallon is a gem at fullback. Graham Lynch, Frank Hopkins, Eoin O’Reilly, Saul O’Carroll and Harry Balsiger are others with strong claims to start in the backs unit.
Buccs will take confidence from their recent win at Cashel, albeit both teams were keeping their powder relatively dry in that encounter, and also that the Reds came a cropper away to Rainey Old Boys. Buccaneers must profit from any vulnerability in the home ranks and if the Pirates play to their collective potential then they have the ability to return home with the spoils.
SUPPORTERS BUS TO CASHEL
A Supporters Bus is being organised for Saturday’s Energia All-Ireland League Division 2A promotion play-off away to Cashel at Spafield. Return fare is only €10 per adult and just €5 for children. Bus departs from The Bounty at 11 a.m. Pre-booking this week is advised and advance payment can be made by credit/debit card or Revolut. Contact our Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711 to book. For those driving to the game the pitch is located on the southside of the Co. Tipperary town and can be very easily accessed off the Dublin to Cork M8 motorway at exit 9. All support for the team will be greatly appreciated by the Buccaneers players, coaches and management so let’s see hordes of Pirates rock Cashel on Saturday!