Buccs away to Barnhall

BUCCANEERS are away to MU/Barnhall in the Energia All-Ireland League on Saturday when this Division 2A game kicks off at 2.30 p.m. in Parsonstown, Leixlip. This will be an acid test for the developing Buccs squad as the Leinster side are on a serious winning streak and currently top the league table.

MU/Barnhall won the Division 2B title last season, winning every match of their campaign enroute to promotion. Their head coach Adrian Flavin was named AIL coach of the year on the back of their achievements and they have continued their winning ways so far this season. They won 27-12 at Old Crescent last week but had to work hard to overcome Nenagh Ormond at Parsonstown in their previous fixture, despite the Tipperary side incurring a red card.

They have a blend of youth and experience and are a well-drilled outfit. No.8 Tom McKeown leads by example and has a decent pairing at lock in Dan Murphy and Brendan McSorley. Prop Darragh Bellanova and centre Mathias Gianetti are first year students at Maynooth University while William Reilly and Adam Chester form a competent halfback partnership.

Its some years since the sides met in the AIL and Martin Staunton may be the only surviving Pirate since that encounter. He is still providing sterling service for Buccs who will be hoping that Rory Moloney may be fit to return to action this weekend. Sean Masterson limped off against Nenagh and his fitness will also be monitored carefully. Elsewhere the Pirates pack has been improving steadily and if they maintain that progress, then the Shannonsiders have backs who can test their opponents. Confidence and cohesion are growing hand in hand in the Buccs squad and, if they jell on Saturday, they can cause an upset.