BUCCS HOME TO UCC ON SATURDAY
Buccaneers welcome University College Cork to Dubarry Park for their first home fixture of the new Energia All-Ireland League Division 1B season.
The Pirates recorded a double over College last season, winning impressively in Athlone but securing a costly victory at The Mardyke where 3 players incurred season-ending injuries that contributed to Buccs fade-out towards the end of the campaign. But, overall, the midlanders surpassed expectations last term and, under a new in-house coaching team of Paul Byrne, Benny Gilligan and David Henshaw plus manager Craig Milling, consolidation is again the priority this season.
Buccaneers have lost some of their more seasoned operators and the current squad is less experienced featuring many local players, with a new captain Frank Hopkins leading his mainly young teammates. The midlanders should be bolstered by the returns from RWC duty of Shane Layden, Michael Hanley and Ryan O’Meara who all missed last week’s game away to St. Mary’s College. Buccs did not enjoy much luck at Templeville Road but will be eager to bounce back with a positive result againt UCC. The Students are naturally youthful too so a lively, open style of rugby is anticipated in this contest between Pirates and the Skull & Crossbones!