BUCCS TO SEAL SENIOR LEAGUE TITLE

RUGBY with MICHAEL SILKE

At time of writing, the fixtures list is somewhat up in the air with many of the postponed games over recent weeks yet to be rescheduled so best advice is to check on the club’s website at www.buccaneersrfc.com later in the week for confirmation of whatever matches are lined up.

Buccaneers All-Ireland League game away to Dungannon was cancelled for the second time on Saturday last with Stevenson Park not thawing out sufficiently for this much anticipated Division 1B game to go ahead. A midday inspection deemed the pitch not playable which was particularly disappointing for the midlanders as Buccs had travelled the previous night. However, player safety is paramount and the inconvenience not to mention expense is something that has to be dealt with. Buccs have no free weekend before their next AIL fixture on January 29th home to Bruff which starts a key series of five AIL matches on consecutive weeks so it seems likely that the Dungannon refixture may now not be slotted in until perhaps just before the Tyrone club is due in Dubarry Park!

Meanwhile, Buccaneers will hopefully taste action next weekend when they face Connemara in the final fixture of this season’s Connacht Senior League. This game too has been aborted on a number of occasions, hence it is being played in Galway on Saturday at the Sportsground (most likely on the side pitch although Connacht are away in France) with a 2.30 pm kick off. The title is all but Buccs with a win or draw ensuring that the coveted trophy returns to the midlands after a gap of two seasons.

Connemara are enduring a torrid time in the AIL where they lie rock bottom of Division 3 with just a solitary losing bonus point to their credit. However, despite very limited resources the Blacks have hitherto competed reasonably well in the AIL and it is to their eternal credit that they are still there despite the difficulties they undoubtedly have in mustering a squad that has to travel costly and lengthy journeys to participate nationally. They are to be lauded for their endeavours and will surely play with typical pride and passion against Buccs. However, the Pirates must focus on their own agendas with the club seeking a seventh Senior League crown while the players will be keen to nail down starting positions for the upcoming vital sequence of AIL matches. Consequently, provided they guard against complacency and put in a focussed and sustained effort, Buccaneers should have far too much armoury for the westerners and should capture their first silverware under coach Hendre Marnitz.

Buccaneers U-21B squad are scheduled to face Kilfeacle in the South-West Conference League at Dubarry Park on Saturday, kick off 2.30 pm while the Development squad tackle neighbours Creggs at The Green on Sunday in what is a top of the table clash in the Connacht Junior 1B League. This should be a cracking contest when something has to give. Buccs have a superb scoring ratio to date, accumulating no less than 265 points in their five victories in which they also gathered a bonus point in each round. Creggs, meanwhile, although not scoring at quite the same rate, have suffered just one defeat and will be particularly eager to be the first team to inflict a reversal on this Buccs outfit. A decent crowd is anticipated for this derby which gets under way at 2.30 pm.

Buccs U-21’s were due to host Waterpark last Saturday but the frost put paid to that fixture which could now be rescheduled for this Saturday. Similarly, the Thirds Connacht Junior 2A League game away to Carrick-on-Shannon fell victim to the woeful weather and this match could be pencilled in for the coming weekend at the Co. Leitrim venue.

IRELAND U-20’s in Athlone

Ireland U-20’s squad have a training camp in Dubarry Park shortly with a three-day sojourn in Athlone from Tuesday, January 25th to Thursday 27th as they gear up their preparations to defend their Six Nations Championship crown. They play both home games in Dubarry Park when the “big two” France and England visit the midlands on February 11th and March 18th respectively. Buccaneers supporters will be rooting that Daniel Qualter makes the match squad. Tickets will be on sale at the club in the very near future with a limited number of Stand tickets available, so early purchase of Stand tickets is recommended. Full price details shortly. 

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