BUCCANEERS renew their recent rivalry with Queen’s University when the sides clash in the All-Ireland semi-final of the Bateman Cup at Dubarry Park on Saturday when the action kicks-off at the earlier than usual time of 12.30 p.m.

The Athlone club pipped Queen’s for promotion from 2A last season with a dramatic one point victory at The Dub. The Belfast outfit are again pacesetters in their division and will surely go up this season. Meanwhile, the Pirates are the surprise packets in 1B (even to themselves, I’d wager) as they too top their division. Buccs got back to winning ways last weekend with an at times impressive showing against St. Mary’s College while Queen’s came acropper at home to Nenagh Ormonde, who recorded a double over the Students.

This semi-final is hard to call as both teams will be much-changed from their last meeting. The Ulster side have lost some of their key players with James Humphreys now at Banbridge and George Saunderson at Ballynahinch but they still have quality with Lorcan McLoughlin and skipper David Whitten in their ranks.

Bewilderingly to this scribe, it seems that Buccaneers will go in to an All-Ireland semi-final without any of their Connacht Academy representatives who are apparently on ‘time out’! But the Pirates must deal with that and it will give a real opportunity to fringe players to stake their claims for future selection. Martin Staunton will lead a pack backboned by Danny Qualter, Ruairi Byrne and Steveni Lombard with James Kelly, Oisin Dolan, Ryan O’Meara and Fionn McDonnell possible starters. Sean O’Connell, Fergus Galvin and Darren Browne may be ruled out through injury. There are fitness concerns in the backline too where Frankie Hopkins and Orrin Burgess will be facing a race against time. Otherwise, Stephen Mannion, Michael Hanley and Saul O’Carroll will be key operatives with Eoin O’Reilly likely to get a call-up.

Buccaneers will be hopeful of a big turnout to support their quest for an All-Ireland final slot. The match kicks-off early due to the commencement of the Six Nations championship with Ireland taking on Wales in Cardiff. You can catch all the action there in the Bounty after the Buccs game (which hopefully will not require extra time!).


BUCCANEERS U-20’s play University College Dublin in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster League Premier 2 in Dubarry Park on the new bank holiday Monday. This will be a stiff college test for Buccs as they strive to maintain their top four berth while the Students will be bidding to get closer to the Pirates on the league table. Buccs will be hoping that home support will help them prevail in a game that kicks off at 3 p.m.

BUCCANEERS SECONDS hit the road to the north-west to take on Westport in the Connacht Junior 1A League. Both teams are in the wrong half of the league table at present with Buccs two points above the Bulls who have a game in hand. Player availability will be crucial here for the Athlonians in this vital tie. Kick-off 2.30 p.m.

BUCCANEERS THIRDS are home to leaders Corinthians Thirds in their Connacht Junior 2A League fixture. This Buccs outfit were frustrated not to have a match last weekend but will be fired up for this contest which will be a key one towards the destination of league honours. Could be an interesting duel kicking off at 2.30 p.m.