BUCCANEERS and Creggs played a pre-season junior friendly at Dubarry Park, Athlone, last Saturday evening when the hosts prevailed 36-0. It’s debatable how much was learned by either side from this outing. Buccs fielded a handful of players who would anticipate being involved in the senior XV while Creggs, already missing some players, suffered further injury setbacks.

Yet it was the visitors who dominated the opening quarter but they lacked a cutting edge to make inroads once at the home 22. Buccs, for their part, were disappointing and disjointed in those early flurrys apart from one excellent break by evergreen wing Rory Silke. But this led to good territory for the homesters and, shortly afterwards, Gavin Kelly powered in for a 26th try to open the scoring. Five minutes later, Michael Donohoe’s pressure forced a Creggs back to kick to touch in their danger zone and, from the resultant lineout, Buccaneers pack was cohesive and strong as they drove over for a try by Simone Bianco. Donohoe converted both tries for a 14-0 half-time advantage.

Five minutes after the restart, Kelly won the chase to a kick ahead for an opportunist try while his partner in the centre Henry Reilly touched down on 55 minutes, Donohoe’s conversion stretching the lead to 26-0. Creggs were now struggling for numbers and it was no surprise that Buccs added further tries. Adrian Hughes burst in after 63 minutes before Kelly completed his hat-trick before the end for a comfortable 36-0 victory.

Buccaneers used 23 players in total. Italian Bianco may not be the biggest wing forward in the world but he put in a promising shift with good tackling and a try on his debut. Another young player Colin Draper showed fine hands and alertness in a new role for him at scrumhalf. Overall, it was an opportunity to look at additional players and others not in their usual positions, but there is room for more hard work and improvement before the relevant leagues kick off.

BUCCANEERS:-  G.Walsh; M.Donohoe, H.Reilly, G.Kelly, R.Silke; D.Fagan, C.Draper; B.Gilligan, D.Egan, B.Moore (captain); J.Tormey, Anthony Hughes; T.Couper, S.Bianco and Adrian Hughes. Replacements used:- K.O’Neill, G.Glynn, M.Coleman, D.Byrne, E.Brady, G.Duffy, S.Byrne and D.Dunning.

REFEREE:-  T.Horkan. (Ballinasloe).


BUCCANEERS are home to Corinthians this Wednesday in a Connacht Senior League game that kicks off at 7.30 p.m. Buccs should have commenced their Senior League campaign last Wednesday against Connemara but the Blacks were unable to muster a squad. Whilst appreciating the Clifden club’s difficulties in fielding, the Connacht Senior League is not much use to clubs if fixtures fall by the wayside year in, year out. This leaves the western province’s clubs under-prepared and at a disadvantage for the more serious and, with due respect, more important business of the All-Ireland League. At time of writing, I understand that the Connemara game might be rescheduled for this coming Saturday, most likely at a neutral venue in Galway. Check our website later in the week for any update www.buccaneersrfc.com

Meanwhile, back to the business on hand. Corinthians put a spanner in Buccs ambitions last season when they shared a 5-5 draw in Athlone. As the low scoreline suggests, this was a most disappointing and below par contest with both sides culpable in the poor fare on show. However, both clubs have been working harder with their preparations this season and focus and application is likely to be much better on Wednesday. New Senior Coach Hendre Marnitz’s approaches at training have been going down well and turnout is vastly improved. There is a desire among the squad and the game against Corinthians will give mentors a better guide to how much progress has been achieved. Buccs squad is generally youthful but most players have a decent level of experience so, on home ground, they should come out on top if they play with purpose and focus.

Buccaneers have a U-21 friendly against Coolmine in Dubarry Park on Saturday. They had a Probables v Possibles style friendly among themselves on Sunday when the two panels shared eight tries. John Hayes scored twice while Brendan Fagan, Tom Nolan, Rory Byrne, Conor Greene, Liam Doran and Colin Gormley were the other try scorers. Meanwhile the Seconds (known this season as the Development squad) have a friendly away to Edenderry on Sunday.


An “Amesty” is on offer at the moment around Dubarry Park!
At the end of each season, team jerseys inevitably “go missing” and team managers and coaches would like to have these returned. No questions will be asked of those who may have “borrowed” the jerseys, but in common with virtually every other club in the country, finances are tight and thus new jerseys will be few and far between, so players are urged to return their “souvenir” jerseys at their next training sessions. Incidentally, the same applies for match footballs. With no AIB to sponsor the AIL this season, footballs will have to be paid for this year and, again, there are surely match balls lying around in car boots and kit bags, etc., so guys please return them to the club so they can be put to proper use.


Membership Subscriptions are now due and should be paid forthwith to the club’s honorary Treasurer. Players may make their payments through their team managers. No player is eligible for selection unless he has paid his annual membership subscription. The club automatically insures all adult players through the designated IRFU scheme. However, players are reminded that this insurance is really only of value for the most serious of injuries and, accordingly, all players are urged to review their own particular circumstances, getting relevant advice, and ideally taking out their own appropriate private insurance.  

Meanwhile, there will be a Registration Night for all underage players, from U-19’s down to Minis, at the end of this month, most likely on Thursday, September 30th, from 7 p.m. at The Bounty. Subscriptions for these youth players can be made on this night.


Deepest sympathy is extended to Marla Stuart-Trainor and family on the recent death of her mother Kathleen Ryan. Condolences also to Matt Vaughan on the death of his sister Rose.


The Youth Disco, traditionally held to coincide with Inter Cert results, takes place in the Lower Deck at The Bounty on next Wednesday, September 15th with music by a top DJ from 9 p.m. till midnight. This non-alcohol Disco is again being organised by Barry Reid 086-8710735 with the assistance of Athlone Gardai and the Athlone Drugs Awareness Group. Tickets for this Junior Cert Disco are on sale only through the schools. Admission will be strictly reserved to Junior Cert students only.       


Energia All-Ireland League Round-Up: Buccaneers stay atop Division 1B, Sligo & Corinthians win