Buccaneers RFC have unveiled a strong management trio for their U-20 Academy for the coming season. Darin Claasen will be head coach assisted by Niall Moran for the squad managed by Tommy Conlon.

Darin Claasen is vastly experienced and highly qualified coach. He played for Buccs, where he is a Rugby Development Officer, following spells with Castlebar and Corinthians. He served as assistant coach to Brett Wilkinson for the Pirates All-Ireland League squad and succeeded his fellow South African as Head Coach to the Athlone club. During this period, Buccs enjoyed notable success including promotion to AIL 1A as well as gathering Connacht titles. Claasen coached the Tullamore senior squad in the interim and was most recently assistant coach to the Connacht Junior squad. A classy and versatile back, Darin’s influence on the club’s U-20s will be key to their development and achievements.

Niall Moran has a lifetime’s association beginning as an Athlone RFC Minis player. He has played at all levels with his hometown club, winning a Connacht Senior Cup in 1995, Junior Cup two seasons later and was part of the playing squad that won consecutive promotions into Division 1A of the AIL. Niall captained the Seconds to a Connacht Junior League title in 1999 (a rare achievement for the second string of a Senior club) and he was duly accoladed as Junior Player of the Year that season. He coached the Seconds to a Connacht Junior Cup triumphs in 2003, 2004 & 2007. Moran has served in various other capacities including Seniors Assistant Manager and Fixtures Secretary at the club as well as coaching spells at Longford, Newbridge and Athy. He was part of the Marist College coaching ticket that won successive Schools Senior Cups in 2012 & 2013 and in the past two seasons has helped coach Buccaneers U-15 & U-16 teams to League and Cup doubles.

Moate native Tommy Conlon has had a passionate and generous involvement since the 1980’s at the club whom he captained in 1987 to a Connacht Senior League title which they retained the following season. He played in a number of Junior and Senior Cup finals winning the latter in 1991. Tommy proudly has the unique distinction of scoring the first ever try by any player in the then new All-Ireland League in 1990! Conlon has served as Chairman of Football, was elected club President in 2002 and honoured as Club Person of the Year 2017/18. Tommy renews a managerial role that he also had with Claasen for the First team. He can be counted on to leave no stone unturned in his quest to get the best out of this squad.

This trio have a collective wealth of experience and skills and we wish them well with Buccaneers RFC’s U-20’s for the coming season.