BUCCS HOME TO ST. MARY’S
BUCCANEERS have a busy fixtures list this weekend with a number of key matches of which their Energia All-Ireland League Division 1B tie at home to St. Mary’s College on Saturday is top of the bill. Buccs will be eager to quickly get back to winning ways in this Russell Brennan Keane sponsored game whilst maintaining their good home record. Meanwhile St. Mary’s have won just one match since the Pirates made a successful 23-9 raid to Templeville Road in late November.
The Shannonsiders were off-colour against Banbridge, lacking their usual attacking sharpness while their lineout malfunctioned and the defence lacked its normal solidity. Absentees could explain some of the shortcomings but not all while Banbridge have to be given due credit too. Eddie O’Sullivan and his backroom team will have had much to ponder and work on this week.
St. Mary’s currently lie in sixth position in the league, still within touching distance of a play-off berth. The two Ronans – Watters and Foley – are competitive backrowers while young Dan Leane is another promising forward in a pack coached by Sean Cronin. Penalties must not be conceded cheaply as Mick O’Gara is a highly reliable placekicker while Hugo Conway, Conor Hickey and Steven Kilgallen are backs who will pose a threat with ball in hand.
Buccs must regain the fizz and enterprise shown in the first half of the league and also tighten up defensively. These are areas that can be improved with some fine-tuning and application. The midlanders won’t shirk hard work so can be expected to step up to the mark on Saturday. Kick-off is 2.30 p.m.
SECONDS v CREGGS NOW ON SATURDAY NIGHT
BUCCANEERS SECONDS return to action with a meaty Connacht Junior 1A clash against leaders Creggs at Dubarry Park that has been brought forward to Saturday night. This Buccs side has been inconsistent this season, not helped by a steady swing of changes for various reasons. Creggs will be strong favourites to prevail but the young Pirates showed against Monivea the potential that is in their ranks. An open and entertaining contest looks likely when this game gets under way under floodlights at 7 p.m.
BUCCANEERS THIRDS are also at home on Sunday when they entertain Ballinrobe Seconds in the Connacht J2A League, kick-off 2.30 p.m. This motley Buccs crew are sailing along nicely and really enjoying their return to on-field action. They should have enough to see off the visitors’ challenge.
BUCCANEERS U-20’s are the only adult team on the road this weekend with a trip to Dublin where they face Seapoint at Kilbogget Park, Killiney, on Sunday. Having lost two in a row for the first time, the midlanders should be focussed on regaining momentum although, with so many other teams fielding, they could be missing some valuable personnel. However, Seapoint are bottom of the table and should present a winnable opportunity for the Athlone club.
PRE-MATCH & U-20’s REUNION ON SATURDAY
In 2003 Buccaneers U-20’s reached the All-Ireland final after a memorable league campaign that saw them forge a series of impressive away victories including at Belfast Harlequins and Cork Constitution enroute to the decider. Unfortunately, Buccs came up short in the final, injuries hampering their ambitions, when a Jamie Heaslip inspired Dublin University came out on top 22-13.
Several of that Buccaneers squad including Conor O’Loughlin, David Connellan and David Kelly went on to wear the green of Ireland while many of them represented Connacht at various levels. The players and mentors are holding a 20th reunion function in conjunction with Buccs next home All-Ireland League match against St. Mary’s College on Saturday. It looks like most squad members will be attending and all others are welcome to come along too for this pre-match meal with complimentary wine in The Bounty. Groups or individuals can be catered for. Contact our club Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711 to book.