BUCCS TO CLINCH SENIOR LEAGUE TITLE

RUGBY with MICHAEL SILKE

BUCCANEERS  57  CORINTHIANS  5

BUCCANEERS made a winning start to their competitive season when they demolished Corinthians 57-5 in their rearranged Connacht Senior League game under floodlights at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Tuesday.

Frustrated by postponements of scheduled fixtures, Buccs were champing at the bit and tore into the opposition from the kick off with Paul Harte signalling their intent inside three minutes with a well-taken try. Thereafter, it was virtually all one way traffic against an understrength but nevertheless disappointing visiting outfit who managed just a solitary try for their endeavours.

Buccs reaped a haul of no less than ten tries with man of the match Harte helping himself to two and Billy Henshaw showing top class finishing to score a hat-trick. This pair were the standout backs on view while Martin Staunton was the pick of the pack. The homesters were clinical when chances presented themselves in the Corinthians red zone, as they inevitably did such was the pressure that Buccs applied. There was impressive continuity play throughout as well as strong ball retention.

Domhnall Corbett grabbed the try of the game finishing off a brilliant run while prop Staunton, Sean Stapleton, Colin Watters and Eoin Rooney also got in on the try-scoring act. However, the return from place-kicks was poor with only two tries converted, both by Jarrod Bennett who also landed one penalty, and this is one area that will need to be addressed.  

BUCCANEERS:- D.Corbett; B.Henshaw, P.Harte, A.Hayman, S.Stapleton; J.Bennett, A.Kennedy; C.Higgins, G.Halligan (captain), M.Staunton; P. de Burca, J.Tormey; E.Rooney, C.Watters and K.Kiripati.   

BUCCANEERS  20  GALWEGIANS  6

BUCCANEERS took a major step towards regaining the Connacht Senior League title when they overcame Galwegians 20-6 in a well-contested joust at wet and windy Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday afternoon.

Like the Cork footballers, Buccaneers were below par in the opening half in a match between the province’s top two sides, both of whom fielded fairly strong squads. Wegians had the assistance of the elements in that opening period with their bigger pack dominating against an indifferent showing by the home standard bearers. However, Buccs gradually found their feet and they restricted the visitors to a pair of John Paul Cleary penalties to trail by just 0-6 at half-time.

Adam Kennedy opened the home account with a penalty soon after the restart before Garreth Halligan finished off a maul for a Buccs try out wide to edge ahead. Buccaneers made better use of the elements than Galwegians had, with fine tactical kicking constantly penning the light blues back and the midlanders eventually converted territory into scores. Another decent drive by the home pack resulted in a Kolo Kiripati try which Kennedy converted for 15-6 lead. Debutant Shane Monahan completed the scoring with a brilliantly taken try after he leaped over a ruck.

Skipper Halligan was outstanding, leading by example throughout, and he got best support in the pack from prop Conor Higgins and substitute Eoin Rooney while towering winger Monahan shone in the backline. Now silverware is within Buccaneers’ grasp with Connemara providing the final hurdle on Wednesday night.

BUCCANEERS:-  P.Harte; S.Monahan, A.Wynne, A.Hayman, S.Stapleton; J.Bennett, A.Kennedy; C.Higgins, G.Halligan (captain), M.Staunton; P. de Burca, J.Tormey; S.Burke, C.Watters and K.Kiripati. Replacements used:- B.Gilligan (for Staunton), Anthony Hughes (for Tormey), E.Rooney (for Burke) and E.Brady (for Higgins).

BUCCANEERS  51  GALWEGIANS  0

BUCCANEERS THIRDS made it a miserable afternoon for Galwegians when they dished out a 51-0 defeat to the visitors in a friendly also at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday. The exchanges were relatively even in the opening quarter before a Karl Turley try opened the floodgates.

Buccs were very much the dominant force thereafter with substitute Adrian Hughes enjoying his romp with a tally of four tries, half of his side’s haul. Although not featuring on the scoresheet, wing Rory Silke rolled back the years in a man of the match contribution. Giovanni Bianco, just like his brother Simone a fortnight earlier, marked his debut with a try. Enda Haughey and Stephen Woods were the other try scorers. Michael Donohoe converted three tries and kicked one penalty while Karl Turley also landed a conversion.

The Italian Biancos both impressed in the forwards exchanges as did Gary Duffy while Silke, Donohoe and John O’Shaughnessy were pick of the backline.

BUCCANEERS:-  G.Walsh; R.Silke, A.Roche, J.O’Shaughnessy, T.Couper; M.Donohoe, K.Turley; K.Grehan, E.Haughey, G.Bianco; G.Duffy, G.O’Loughlin; S.Bianco, D.Dunning and G.Glynn (captain).
Replacements used:- D.Costello, T.Turley, S.Coyle, Adrian Hughes and S.Woods.

BUCCS TO CLINCH SENIOR LEAGUE ON WEDNESDAY

BUCCANEERS face Connemara in their final Connacht Senior League fixture when the sides meet on Wednesday night at the Castle Grounds, Monivea, kick off 7.30 p.m. (at time of writing).

On paper, Buccs should be much too strong for the Blacks but supporters will recall a recent Senior Cup semi-final surprise at the hands of the same doughty opposition so the midlanders will need to be focussed and resilient. Some of the fringe players may get their opportunities to stake claims for inclusion in the All-Ireland League match squad. Nevertheless, Buccs should have sufficient guile and potential to overcome what could well be a searching test by the men from Clifden. However, if Buccaneers drop their guard, no better men than the crafty Connemara performers to take advantage.

Domhnall Corbett, Eoin Rooney (on his home ground), Anthony Hughes, Eddie Brady and Lachlann Mitchell may start as should the available again Michael Diffley. The Bianco brothers may also be involved so Buccs will still have a more than useful squad on duty. With a league title within grasp, Buccs should have enough in hand to prevail. (Supporters are urged to check club’s website before travelling in case venue is changed).

Buccaneers U-21’s entertain their Coolmine counterparts in a friendly at Dubarry Park on Saturday afternoon. 

Meanwhile the All-Ireland League gets underway on Saturday week with Buccaneers home to Lansdowne. Bookings are now being taken for the pre-match tables at a very competitive rate of just €240 per table of eight, which includes a three-course meal with wine, seat in the stand and complimentary match programme. That represents decent value of a mere €30 per head and indeed individuals or smaller groups can get avail of this special rate. Contact Geraldine at 086-1732711 to book.

INTERNATIONAL TICKETS

Members are reminded to write their ticket requirements for Ireland’s four Autumn International matches at the new Aviva Stadium in November. Tickets, as always, are on a ‘supply and demand’ basis while applicants are reminded to ensure that their Membership Subscription is paid up to date!
The relevant fixtures are as follows:-
v World champions South Africa, Sat. Nov 6th
v Samoa, Sat. Nov 13
v New Zealand, Sat. Nov 20
v Argentina, Sun. Nov 28 

UNDERAGE REGISTRATION NIGHT

Youths and Minis Registration takes place in The Bounty on Thursday week, September 30th from 7 p.m. All underage players from U-19 downwards and their parents should attend. Training has now started for all teams with the younger players sessions taking place on Saturday mornings from 11 a.m.

FASHION SHOW

A FASHION SHOW takes place in the Athlone Springs Hotel on Wednesday, October 6th.  Tickets at €20 each are now on sale at the hotel and also at The Bounty. Wine reception, spot prizes, great fashions and good fun — and maybe some Buccaneers players on the ramp! Sounds like a right good night out for the ladies. 

HAIL THE REBELS!

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again – and in relation to Cork footballers, make that six years in a row before their holy grail of the Sam Maguire Cup is achieved. After enduring the hardship of the past five years, victory over Down was the all the sweeter, even if it was a lot tighter than it should really have been. Yours truly is thrilled, particularly for Nicholas Murphy and fellow stalwarts such as captain Graham Canty, coach Conor Counihan and Anthony Lynch (the latter not named in the match programme but out there on the Croke Park sward wearing No. 32). Congratulations to all involved on your overdue seventh “Sam”.                            

Related

Club & Community statement following the conclusion of domestic rugby season