CUP FINALS GALORE
BUCCANEERS teams contest three Cup finals this weekend (and a further three the following Sunday!) plus a Connacht Plate decider on Sunday. That is a fantastic achievement for the Athlone club and augurs so promisingly for the future.
All the finals are in Connacht bar one so let’s start with the ‘outsider’ first! Buccaneers U-20’s will be bidding to add the Harry Gale Cup to their J.P.Fanagan Leinster League Premier 3 title when they go head-to-head against Lansdowne at MU-Barnhall’s grounds in Parsonstown near Leixlip on Sunday. This final has a 3 p.m. kick-off. Buccs recorded a 100% success rate enroute to their league title while Lansdowne finished in fourth place in that division. On that basis, the Pirates will start as favourites and are well capable of capturing the silverware. But Cup ties are notorious and can take on a life of their own. The city side will be just as keen to take the honours so a finely balanced duel is anticipated. It should also be lively and entertaining fare and a decent turnout is expected at the Co. Kildare venue.
On the same afternoon, Buccaneers U-14’s and U-16’s will be bidding for Connacht Cup glory at Galway Sportsground. The U-14’s face a high noon showdown against Carrick-On-Shannon. The Leitrim lads accounted for both Galwegians and Corinthians on their way to the decider so must be respected. But this Buccs outfit recorded notable away wins over Sligo and Galway Bay enroute to the final so will believe in their own collective ability. Lots of scores are likely in this game which kicks off at 12 noon.
That final will be followed at 2 p.m. by the clash of underage rivals Buccs and Corinthians at U-16 level. Both teams impressed on their journeys to this decider with Corinthians defeating city rivals Galwegians in their semi-final. Buccs also had to overcome a derby duel when coming back to win at Ballinasloe. This contest will likely go down to the wire with whichever team is not affected by the occasion possibly having the edge.
The only Buccaneers Youths team not to reach a Cup final is the club’s U-18.5 side who were unlucky to be pipped away to Ballina in their quarter-final. They now entertain neighbours Creggs in the Plate final so have the opportunity to savour victory on their final outing of the season. Creggs will prove doughty opponents who will also want to complete their campaign on a winning note so a tough battle is in prospect. Buccs won the toss to host this decider and it will kick-off in Dubarry Park at 11 a.m. on Sunday.