BUCCANEERS drew a blank in Connacht Youths Cup finals played at Galway Sportsground on May Day Sunday. The Athlone club contested all four finals on the day but came away empty-handed despite the best endeavours of their young players. However, the club can be rightly proud of their representatives as all bar one of the club’s Youths teams contested Connacht Cup deciders with the U-14’s capturing silverware the previous weekend. So well done to the players and their respective coaches and management as the future looks bright for the Pirates.


First game of a long day’s rugby was the Connacht U-16 Cup replay between Buccaneers and Corinthians. These two teams played a splendid 22-22 draw the previous Sunday and are very well matched. It took both sides some time to settle in this latest duel between them and Buccs struck first. Otega Awhinawhi snaffled possession to set the scoring move in motion and, following smart handling from right to left, Dylan Bruton finished it off for a 10th minute try on the left. Charlie O’Carroll was unable to add the conversion against the elements.
Corinthians replied within three minutes when centre Sean Walsh chipped over the cover and Donagh Kilcommins applied the finishing touch. Walsh’s conversion gave the city side a 7-5 lead. Following a 27th minute scrum on halfway, Buccs made a snappy counter-attack and Thomas Cotton won the race to gather his kick ahead to romp in for a try which O’Carroll converted. The Pirates scrumhalf then put in a try-saving tackle on Ben Cooke just before half-time at which stage Buccs led 12-7.

Corinthians were swiftly on the attack following the change of ends and prop Kilcommins notched his second try just a minute into this half to level the scores. The contest was a bit of a slow burner until O’Carroll’s penalty edged the Athlone boys back into the lead. Shortly afterwards Cian Heavy gathered a long Buccs clearance deep in his own half but was allowed break forward through some half-hearted covering to halfway where he kicked ahead. Bruton had oodles of time to deal with it but flailed at gathering the ball and then lost his footing, enabling his opposite number who had continued his run to fasten on to the loose ball for a gift-wrapped try which the elegant Walsh converted. This replay was not free-flowing like the drawn game and Buccaneers will be most disappointed to have allowed the spoils slip from their grasp as Corinthians completed a League and Cup double.

BUCCANEERS:- D.Bruton; T.Sheehan, N.Derwin, T.Cotton, C.Dowling; C.Naughton, C.O’Carroll; N.Downes, E.Naughton (captain), L.Clayburn; J.Heaslip, R.Claffey; T.Bourke, O.Awhinawhi and C.Kelly. Replacements:- E.McMickan, S.Slevin, J.Bourdon, B.Conroy, C.Dolan, S.O’Donoghue, P.Begley, P.Emilo, C.Duffy, A.Mitchell, S.Noone, S.Radebe, S.Walsh and A.McAteer.

Referee:- Siobhan Daly (Connacht).


Corinthians also came out on top in the Connacht U-13 Cup final and their first half display against the elements paved the way for this victory. Following a couple of tapped penalties they scored an early try to settle into the contest. They added a second try 19 minutes into the game, some weak Buccs defending helping them while the Athlone boys were decidedly unlucky just before halftime when a smart training ground move did not gain its deserved reward and so the city side led 12-0 at halftime. Buccs upped the tempo in the second half and Jack McDonnell scored a try wide of the left following a tapped penalty. Darragh Murray landed a super conversion to narrow the arrears to 12-7. But Corinthians, who posed the greater threat with ball in hand, added a third try following some sustained pressure for a merited 17-7 victory.

BUCCANEERS:- D.O’Dwyer; R.Tynan, J.Finnan, C.Flynn, P.O’Neill; D.Murray, H.Loftus; B.Rourke, C.McCormack, P.Daniel Sunny; M.Fallon, M.Dolan; P.Finneran, H.Lowe and J.McDonnell. Replacements:- C.Doran, A.Costello, P.McKiernan, E.Carr, C.Donohoe, M.Doolan, A.Delaney, S.Lowe, C.Sylla, O.Donoghue, J.Morris, R.O’Connor and R.Wheatley.

Referee:-Joe Gleeson (Connacht).


Two late tries gave Sligo a somewhat flattering 21-8 winning margin in the Connacht U-15 Cup final. It was nip and tuck for much of this decider before the more physical north westerners sealed the issue. Sligo opened the scoring with 14th minute try while Andrew Henson replied for Buccs with a penalty ten minutes later to leave the midlanders trailing 5-3 at halftime. Sligo eased further ahead with an early second half penalty but Buccs responded with a splendid attack initiated by impressive fullback Henson and carried on by Kailin Blessing and Stephen O’Connor enabling Diarmuid Lyons to dot down for an unconverted try that left the teams tied 8-8.

Sligo escaped censure with a couple of late hits in the first half but drew the ire of the referee in the closing stages who sinbinned two Sligo players, tighthead prop and right winger, for infringements. They regained the lead with a penalty and then spread the ball from flank to flank to notch a late try before nabbing an intercept touchdown in the final move of the contest to win 21-8.

BUCCANEERS:- A.Henson; M.Turner, E.McCormack, K.Mahon, D.Burke; B.Doyle, D.Lyons; E.Rooney-Digan, S.O’Connor, I.Jocher; T.Mason, D.Ryan; K.Blessing, C.McCormack and K.Byrne (captain). Replacements:- J.O’Reilly, A.McCormack, D.Del Rosario, T.Stuart-Trainor, A.Quinn, M.O’Connor, P.O’Sullivan, S.Duffy, N.Chapel, C.Copeland, C.Hudson, D.O’Leochain, R.Heaslip and P.Villarta.

Referee:- David Andrieu (Connacht).


The cold wind of the earlier matches had abated somewhat for the U-17 final with Sligo emerging victors in this duel too. Buccs found it very difficult to get out of their own half and it was little surprise that Sligo opened the scoring with a 15th minute converted try. They added an unconverted try seven minutes later and landed a penalty just before halftime to lead 15-0 at the break. Buccs did not help their cause through handling and kicking errors but an Andrew Quinn penalty early in the second half gave them hope and they were unlucky moments later when a forward pass denied them a try. They continued to battle and were rewarded with a Sean Doyle try and Quinn’s conversion tightened the scores to 15-10 before Sligo sealed the final with a late penalty.

BUCCANEERS:- D.Connolly; J.Donnelly, L.Cassidy, E.Joyce-Whyte, J.Clarke; A.Quinn, F.Lyons; S.Doyle, J.Pollard, P.Brazil; J.McCormack, C.Sheehan; G.Murphy, P.Egan and N.Tallon (captain). Replacements:- P.Dolan, A.Oates, A.Saka, M.Fallon, J.Prieto, S.Drummond, D.Reid, J.Antoine, B.Mulvihill, O.Byrne, M.Connor, S.Joyce, H.Hilliard, J.Duffy, S.McCarthy, D.Lally, M.Jurginas, M.Kenny, A.Warde, L.Gossy, P.Marquez and R.Gahan.

Referee:- Gerry Geraghty (Connacht).