Buccaneers welcome Cashel to Dubarry Park for the first time when the teams battle for Energia All-Ireland League points on Saturday. Kick off for this Division 2A encounter is 2.30 p.m. Cashel are riding high in the league table, currently in third place, having lost just two matches to date. The Reds will be formidable opponents but Buccs impetus is growing following four wins in their most recent five matches so a cracking contest is anticipated.
Cashel have been coached by Denis Leamy but the former Ireland international’s move from Munster Academy to the Leinster counterparts may impact on his role at the Co. Tipperary club. The Munster side are captained by James Ryan while scrumhalf Josh Pickering is the player who makes the side tick. Richard Moran and teenager Conor Ryan are exciting forwards while Alan McMahon, Conor Cashman and Aidan McDonald are backs who will need curbing. Its likely that a couple of Leamys will also feature for Cashel, who will be celebrating their centenary later this month.
Buccaneers have been gathering momentum following a shaky start to the AIL and now lie in sixth position. The backline is settled at present although Corey Reid and Callum Boland could be included on Saturday with Colm Reilly adding a considerable option at scrumhalf where Frankie Hopkins has been playing very consistently. Home fans will be hoping that Christian Maulaulau will have recovered from illness for the visit of the Reds and Conor Kenny could finally be available for front row duty while Oisin Kiernan made an impressive return from injury with our U-20’s last Sunday. Locks Ruairi Byrne and Max Kennedy both went off injured at Dolphin so Niall Murray could switch to the second row while Fergus Galvin and Sam Kroupa are other youngsters well capable of filling in there. Overall, Peter O’Donnell’s selection options are steadily improving giving the head coach the problems that coaches relish.
A ding-dong battle looks likely and, with this being Buccaneers final home game of 2019, lets see a big turnout in Athlone on Saturday.