ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE CANCELLED
The Irish Rugby Football Union has cancelled this season’s Energia All-Ireland League due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic. While this decision is hardly unexpected, it is nevertheless disappointing for all players, coaches, mentors and supporters at clubs such as Buccaneers. Domestic rugby has been hard hit by the nationwide government lockdowns enforced to slow the spread of the virus.
Last season’s AIL ground to a halt in March with a blanket suspension of matches. Club games resumed during the autumn with the Energia Community Series, which was basically provincial leagues, but that proved a short-lived exercise as new restrictions were introduced again by the government last November. IRFU officials are hopeful of resuming some form of club rugby ‘when cleared to do so by government guidelines’ and ‘a huge amount of work is on-going. Commitment to players and the clubs remains clear’.
It may be possible that the Community Series league can be completed but much will depend on government decisions re lockdown circa March 5th. If restrictions are lifted, then this series could take place but time is limited as rugby traditionally finishes in May. With time needed for training and preparation, the schedule would be very tight to get the remaining fixtures completed.
With no promotion or relegation in the now aborted AIL this season, it would have been an ideal opportunity for Buccaneers new coaching triumvirate of Kolo Kiripati, Henry Bryce and Adrian Hanley to give a lot of game time to the many young promising players and experiment with formations and playing style at the Athlone club, captained by Evan Galvin. But, for now, it’s a case of fingers crossed and wait and see for the time being.