BUCCS AWAY TO UCC
When Buccaneers entertained University College Cork at Dubarry Park last November it was first versus second, the Pirates Energia league leaders due to scoring difference. Buccs taught the Students a lesson or two in a 29-0 victory, one of the midlanders best performances this season. Despite a couple of hiccups in the interim, they travel to The Mardyke, Cork, on Saturday still on top of Division 1B, again due to scoring difference with City of Armagh now hot on the heels of the Shannonsiders.
Meanwhile, UCC have slipped to 8th on the league table following five defeats in a row. Some of those losses where hefty ones but College regrouped last time out to win 19-18 away to Old Wesley. They are a better side than their league position suggests and they will be smarting from the trimming they got in Athlone. The sideline contest between two former international coaches Eddie O’Sullivan and Michael Bradley adds an extra and intriguing dimension to this match.
UCC were relegated from 1A last season and looked on track to make a strong bid for a swift return to the top flight but somehow lost their way mid-season. They have decent players in their ranks capable of undoing any other team in 1B and, consequently, Buccaneers will need to be on guard, committed and ruthless once the action kicks off at 2.30 p.m. on Saturday. But, if the Pirates are close to full strength, they have the wherewithal to continue being the surprise packets in this division.
Meanwhile, Buccaneers next home AIL game on Saturday week against Malone has a 5.30 p.m. kick-off due to the Italy v Ireland Six Nations fixture the same afternoon.
U-20’s AWAY TO TRINITY
BUCCANEERS U-20’s will be very disappointed with the majority of their latest display against Wanderers and should be keen to atone when they square up to another city club, Dublin University, on Sunday. Buccs came out on top 21-13 when the sides met earlier this season but they are likely to find the going tougher at College Park where Trinity will be eager to forge a win that would elevate them above the Pirates on the league rankings. The Athlone club currently lie in third place on 31 points, three points more and one place better than the Students. Buccaneers would benefit if Adam O’Carroll and Luke Balsiger were fit to resume although they may have to operate without Cian McCann if he is required by the Senior squad.
CRUNCH SECONDS FIXTURE
At time of writing Buccaneers Seconds fixture cannot be confirmed. They are due to play Westport away in a rescheduled fixture this Wednesday night and the outcome of that game will dictate what crunch play-off fixture they may face at the weekend. A further factor is the club’s appeal against Connacht’s severe six points deduction for being unable to field on the original date.