BUCCANEERS 50              SLIGO 23


Buccs scorers:- T.Hynes, J.Tormey, C.Lavelle, D.Heffernan, J.O’Brien, G.Halligan, R.O’Connor & M.Staunton (try each) & A.Kennedy (5 cons).

Sligo scorers:- M.Fifita (2 tries) & M.Butler (2 cons & 3 pens).


BUCCANEERS improved their momentum in the Connacht Senior League when they defeated Sligo 50-23 at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday evening. Buccs were full value for this victory between two sides still some way short of fielding full strength squads.


Heavy showers prior to kick off cleared the humidity which was replaced by a breeze which generally favoured the homesters in the opening half. Home supporters got a first chance to see Michael Kearney, David Heffernan, Rory O’Connor, Denis Buckley, Michael Ward and John Lowe in competitive action. Sligo fielded many new names too from recent Junior lineups but neither ex-Bucc Niall O’Hara or highly rated Kiwi Daniel Hawkins featured in their match squad.


On a perfect sod, Buccs made the early running and were rewarded with a Terry Hynes try after just 7 minutes. This stemmed from a tapped penalty on the left with good hands moving the ball smartly to the right flank where Hynes dotted down. 12 minutes later the Pirates opted to tap another penalty straight in front of the posts and Sligo’s defence was again found wanting when, after Sean Stapleton made the initial burst, James Tormey surged over on the right for a try. Adam Kennedy must have felt that the gods were not with him when his second conversion rebounded wide off the left upright after his first attempt went wide off the right post! Nevertheless, Buccs were now 10-0 ahead and already looking comfortable.


Matters improved further on 25 minutes when Conor Lavelle intercepted close to his own 22 line and he just had the legs to hold off the chasing David Gerrity before touching down at the posts, making Kennedy’s conversion very straight-forward. Young No. 8 Heffernan stormed through for Buccs fourth try, earning his side a bonus point, on 34 minutes. John O’Brien, captain in the absence of injured skipper Kolo Kiripati, scored the try of the match just before the halftime whistle as the centre waltzed and weaved in typical fashion to mesmerise the Sligo defence for a superb solo try. Standoff Kennedy converted these two tries to put Buccaneers firmly ahead 31-0 at halftime.


Mark Butler finally got the north-westerners off the mark with a 50th minute penalty and then Maetele Fifita instilled confidence in the visitors’ ranks when he got through much too easily for a try just three minutes later. Butler converted to make it 31-10. With the wind freshening in Sligo’s favour, their fullback was willing to attempt penalties from distance but missed three long range efforts before being successful on the hour mark. He was instrumental in Sligo’s second try when his chip ahead was being chased by Alex Hayman and Gerrity but centre Fifita came strongly on their blindside to grap an opportunist 65th minute try. He duly converted and then added a penalty from halfway after the referee awarded a placekick to the visitors at the restart having despatched a player from each side – prop Buckley and flanker Rory Kerins — to the sin bin. This narrowed their arrears to 31-23 and it was really game on, especially as the breeze was now firmly in favour of Sligo while Buccaneers’ discipline had nosedived in the third quarter.


However, the midlanders rolled up their collective sleeves and responded positively to the challenge now on hand. A loose Sligo clearance was fastened onto by winger O’Connor who coolly sized up his options just outside his own 22 before stepping on the accelerator as he weaved and bobbed his way through a bewildered Sligo cover to link up with the busy Heffernan who off-loaded to Garreth Halligan for an excellent try. Five minutes later, O’Connor got on the score sheet himself when, after diminutive fullback Lavelle claimed a high ball that he had no right to lay his hands on near his own ten-metre line to start another smart counter attack carried on by scrumhalf Dolan and finished by O’Connor. Kennedy converted both tries to put the contest well and truly beyond Sligo and, in the final move of a lively encounter, Martin Staunton ploughed through for Buccs eight try, all scored by different players.


Buccs performance was a bit like the curate’s egg, good in spots, while the frequent substitutions may have disrupted their flow on occasion. But their young outfit is a work in progress and, when they clicked, they were very good at times. Handling will improve further with matches but lack of hardness may yet be a concern. Indiscipline must be curbed; it mainly stemmed from a small number of players particularly in the third quarter, helping Sligo back into the contest.     


BUCCANEERS:- C.Lavelle; T.Hynes, J.O’Brien (captain), A.Hayman, R.O’Connor; A.Kennedy, M.Dolan; D.Buckley, S.Stapleton, M.Diffley; J.Tormey, M.Kearney; E.Rooney, M.Ward & D.Heffernan. Replacements used:- G.Halligan, J.Rowe, M.Staunton, B.Fagan & G.Fallon.


SLIGO:- M.Butler; H.Laffitte, G.Foley, M.Fifita, D.Gerrity; P.Pearson (captain), B.Leahy; W.Maxwell, R.Mannion, S.McGuinness; J.Wilson, J.Bowes; P.Conlon, R.Kerins & A.McNulty. Replacements used:- F.Feeney, C.Culhane, J.Healy, B.Keane & C.Langley.


REFEREE:- Daniel Collins. (Connacht).




BUCCANEERS will surely face a much tougher test on next Saturday afternoon when arch rivals Galwegians come to Dubarry Park, Athlone, for a greatly anticipated Connacht Senior League clash kicking off at 3 p.m.


Wegians will look to the guile of John Cleary, Dave Clarke and Brian Murphy in their backline where Ronan Burke, Pat Finn, Gary O’Brien and Barry Lee are challenging strongly for AIL starting berths. A formidable front row in Jason East, Conor Muldoon and Jamie Stephens anchors their pack along with lock Brian McClearn and exciting young No.8 Eoin McKeon. Liam Scahill, Ivan Muldoon and Dave O’Hara are other forwards who will endeavour to make life difficult for Buccs. They arrive in Athlone on the back of three straight wins in the CSL.


However, while the midlanders squad is youthful in the main, there is tons of experience among the players. Leaders like Alex Hayman, Garreth Halligan, James Tormey and Michael Diffley will surely step up to the challenge posed by the light blues. If they do, then the exhuberance and skills of John O’Brien, Adam Kennedy, Mark Dolan, Denis Buckley and Sean Stapleton may just be enough to edge what is likely to be a finely balanced contest in favour of Buccaneers. Kolo Kiripati and Michael Kearney are doubtful due to injury as are Paul Harte and Padraig de Burca.




BUCCANEERS DEVELOPMENT SQUAD get their season under way at last when they travel to Loughrea for the opening round of the Connacht Junior 1B League on Sunday. Kick off is 3 p.m. (although that may well be changed due to it’s clash with the All-Ireland Football final). Buccs will head into this encounter at a disadvantage, not having had a friendly match in preparation. They enjoyed a 100% success rate last term and new captain Benny Gilligan would love to continue in that vein.


He will look to Terry Hynes, Ger Fallon, Adrian Hughes, Rory Walshe, Rory Byrne and Conor Molloy to set the tempo. John Hayes, Decie Byrne, Liam Doran, Rory Grenham, Conal Gormley and Jack O’Carroll are other young players with loads of talent and potential who, if properly harnessed, can give a right good account of themselves in this tricky encounter.



BUCCANEERS WOMENS team are training hard as they prepare for their anticipated participation in the forthcoming league. Numbers at training have been growing, which is hugely encouraging considering the recent foul weather which may not be conducive to the fairer gender togging out and getting wet and mucky.


Yvonne O’Shea has been named captain of the Womens squad and at a symbolic presentation at halftime in the Buccaneers v Sligo league match last Saturday, club president Ted Carty presented jerseys to Yvonne, vice-captain Emma Pillion, pack leader Catherine Moore and manager Claire Wyper. Tom Reilly, with assistance from Rory Grenham, is coaching this panel and is eager for further ladies/girls to join with them at training. This takes place primarily on Monday nights in Dubarry Park at 7.30 p.m. and no previous playing experience is necessary. Tom can be contacted at 087-4185165 or just come along and join in the training. First match is scheduled for October 25th.  




BUCCANEERS will team up with a new Title Sponsor for the coming season. All will be revealed at the sponsorship launch in The Bounty on this Thursday evening at 6 p.m.




BUCCANEERS Registration Day takes place this Friday evening, September 16th.   All Minis and Youths players are asked to come along and register between 6.30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Please note that ALL players must register to be eligible to play for Buccaneers in the coming season. New players are also welcome to come along.


These young players and their parents/guardians are welcome to hot dogs or burgers “on the house” afterwards. This should give you all an opportunity to chat and get to know one another better in a social situation, and the club hopes that there will be a big turnout on Friday at The Bounty.


Membership Subscription rates for the coming season are as follows:-

Family €150 (parent & spouse/partner plus school-going children);

Minis up to U-12:- €60;        Youths/Adult €80.




CONNACHT will tackle Munster in what could be the U-20 Interprovincial series decider at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Friday week, September 23rd. This championship clash, featuring the stars of the future, kicks off at 4 p.m.


Connacht got their U-20 campaign off to a terrific start with a rousing 21-19 victory away to Ulster. They face Leinster this weekend. Seven young Buccaneers starlets featured for Connacht in that wonderful win away to Ulster at Ravenhill:- Daniel Qualter, Jack Carty, Diarmuid Higgins, Callum Boland, Robert Henshaw, Conor Finn and Shane Layden.


The Connacht U-18 Schools team made it a double over Ulster. Buccs were very well represented here too with Scott Flanagan, Sabu Meunargia, Ross Enraght-Mooney, Ben Carty and Cormac Langan all involved in Dungannon.


A battling Connacht U-19 team also recorded a tremendous result, recording a 13-13 draw against Munster at Thomond Park. Brian Teape, Aidan Connaughton, Barry Digby and Conor Seery were the young Buccs in the U-19 squad.


Mini-Rugby between Ballina RFC and Loughrea RFC