BUCCS AWAY TO HIGHFIELD
Buccaneers travel south to Cork on Saturday to face high-flying Highfield in the third round of the Energia All-Ireland League. This Division 1B encounter takes place at Woodleigh Park in the western suburbs of the real capital. Buccs have made a disappointing start to their campaign and lie pointless at the basement of the league table so this will be a massive test for their youthful squad.
Meanwhile the southerners have made a perfect start with victories over promoted Blackrock College and relegated Garryowen. Highfield trailed in both matches at half-time but turned matters around in both fixtures to move to second place on the leaderboard. No.8 Miah Cronin captains the Munster outfit who have a settled pack where last season’s skipper Dave O’Connell can play at lock or wing forward while Cillian Buckley and Darragh Fitzgerald are a pair of formidable props. Their backline is much changed this term where flyhalf Shane O’Riordan is a capable placekicker. Centre David O’Sullivan has an eye for a try and Ben Murphy’s influence will also need to be curbed.
This is a huge test even at this early stage of the season for the midlanders who have many changes from last season’s squad. They will need to eliminate errors and improve discipline if they are to repeat last year’s win at this compact venue. Their performances should begin to improve now that their mainly young panel are getting more familiar with the requirements in this competitive division. Kick-off is 2.30 p.m.
It is a busy weekend of fixtures for Buccaneers with all adult teams in action. There are two enticing fixtures at Dubarry Park on Sunday. The Pirates U-20’s (whose game against UCD was deferred last weekend) take on St. Mary’s College in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster Premier League 2 with a 3 p.m. kick-off. Half-an-hour earlier Buccs Seconds have a derby clash against Ballinasloe in the Connacht Junior 1B League. It should be worth keeping an eye on both encounters at the Athlone venue. Meanwhile, the Thirds finally get to taste action when they commence the defence of their Connacht Junior 1C League title away to Our Lady’s Boys Club. This game has a 2.30 p.m. start on the side pitch at Galway Sportsground.