BUCCS HOME TO BALLYMENA IN FINAL AIL HOME FIXTURE
BUCCANEERS square up to fellow top four contenders Ballymena in their final Energia All-Ireland League home fixture of the season on Saturday which gets under way in Dubarry Park at 2.30 p.m. Both teams are striving to clinch the remaining two play-off berths with the Pirates currently in third place on 47 points. Ballymena are presently in fourth place on 41 points but have lost their last four matches including defeats to Old Crescent and MU Barnhall who are now hot on their heels on 40 and 39 points respectively. With their final fixture being a home tie against leaders Queen’s University, Ballymena will be desperately striving not to miss out at this late stage. Their young side, particularly in the pack, has seemingly struggled of late. MU Barnhall have the kindest remaining fixtures and could well reach the top four by the end of next week.
For their part, qualification is tantalisingly close now for Buccs but destiny is in their own hands. Victory on Saturday would ensure an away top four semi-final against Cashel, whom they also meet next week. But for now they must focus on the Braidmen. They must not allow the Northerners to gallop into a 20 points lead as they did at Eaton Park. Consequently, the Pirates must hit the ground running and keep their momentum from start to finish. They are well capable of doing that, especially if they have a relatively full squad to select from, and play to their potential.
Meanwhile, Naas have conceded a walkover to Buccs U-20’s in their scheduled Harry Gale Cup fixture. The Pirates now face Boyne in the next round at Dubarry Park on Sunday week.