BUCCANEERS U-20s put in a wonderfully sustained effort to overcome Shannon 34-21 in a lively South-West Conference League Division One contest at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday.  This was an invigorating performance by the young Pirates who were short some key players notably front rowers Jacob Walshe (injured) and Saba Meunargia (Connacht A duty) as well as Harry Hughes (Caulry GAA) and Rory Moloney (injured). Nevertheless, Buccs rose to the challenge as their spirited and enterprising endeavour was rewarded with a bonus point victory.


The Limerick lads had first advantage of the breeze in otherwise perfect playing conditions and the exchanges were nip and tuck for the opening half-hour. Ben Carty and Eoghan O’Reilly made early raids, portents of what was to follow later, and Carty opened the scoring with a 5th minute penalty. Shannon were level three minutes later when Ronan McKenna dropped a neat goal. Sean Doyle then led a good home charge that was finished off by Sam McCormack for the opening try after 15 minutes. Carty converted but Shannon replied instantly when Buccs did not deal with the restart and McKenna was on target with a penalty.

The homesters began to concede penalties, some of them needless, and McKenna reduced the arrears to the minimum with a 34th minute placekick. Just before the interval, McCormack did well to field a Shannon clearance and he off-loaded to O’Reilly and the pocket-sized fullback took off from halfway like a scalded cat to outstrip the Munster side’s defence for a magnificent try in the right corner. Carty added a superb conversion from the touchline to put Buccaneers 17-9 ahead at half-time.

Within three minutes of the restart, Shannon tamely lost possession deep in the home half and O’Reilly swooped on the loose ball to angle through a bewildered rearguard for a stunning try, this time in the left corner. Carty was again up to the task of adding the conversion and Buccs had their tails up. However, Shannon’s tradition is such that they were sure to respond. Their bigger pack now began to make inroads and Buccs conceded a series of penalties as they desperately defended their line. Evan Galvin was yellow-carded on 49 minutes and the southerners quickly made their numerical superiority pay dividends when Rob Whyte got in for an unconverted try on the left. Conor Morrissey, playing in an unfamiliar hooker role, joined his teammate in the sin bin (a very debateable yellow card) eight minutes later as Shannon strove to retrieve the situation. Substitute Paul Obande drove over near the posts for a try which McKenna converted to put the game in the melting pot, 24-21 in favour of the Pirates.

But Buccs showed their battling qualities now and they turned over possession from the restart, and Cian Romaine thundered through three attempted tackles for a 63rd minute unconverted bonus point try that reignited the midlanders. With Buccs back to full complement, they regained their momentum but Carty missed a 68th minute penalty. Nevertheless, Buccaneers continued to flood forward and were rewarded for smart thinking and quick support play two minutes from time. They caught Shannon napping with a swift throw-in that led to a penalty that was promptly tapped. Slick Buccs play left the visitors defence in tatters and, when the ball was moved from right to left, Cormac Langan drew the cover before off-loading to Rob Ashe who darted in for a try on the left. Carty’s conversion rebounded off an upright but Buccs proved very worthy 34-21 winners.

This was a tremendous all-round effort by Buccs. Their forwards squared up to a more physical unit and the much-changed front row trio acquitted themselves with distinction. Locks Romaine and Josh O’Rourke gave as good as they got and an energetic back row unit, in which McCormack was especially prominent, made life constantly difficult for Shannon. In the backline, Carty had an excellent opening hour until he sustained an injury, Ricky Dixon made a notable contribution following his introduction at scrumhalf while fullback O’Reilly oozed pure class as his pace and balance constantly tormented the opposition.

BUCCANEERS:-   E.O’Reilly; B.Goode, S.Doyle, S.Dempsey, C.Langan; B.Carty (captain), R.Ashe; K.Williams, C.Morrissey, C.McGrath; J.O’Rourke, C.Romaine; E.Galvin, R.Enraght-Moony and S.McCormack. Replacements used:- R.Dixon (for Ashe, 27 mins), R.Ashe (for Goode, 57 mins) and T.Hynes.


SHANNON:-  C.O’Donnell; R.Joyce, C.Leahy, R.Hunt, R.Whyte; R.McKenna, R.Tsang; S.McGee, L.Cronin, T.Cusack; F.Bradshaw-Ryan, P.Kearns; L.Nicholas, C.Power and A.Butler. Replacements used:- E.Kelly (for O’Donnell, inj.), and P.Obande.      




BUCCANEERS SECONDS came a cropper at home to Creggs with the visitors, bottom of the table prior to this fixture, winning this Connacht Junior 1B game on a 31-10 margin. Buccs can only blame themselves for this setback with too many missed tackles contributing to the visitors’ scoreline in this Saturday night outing at Dubarry Park.


Buccs fielded a decent squad but failed to jell overall despite a fine effort by the pack, who fared well in the lineouts and scrums. The Pirates did not really click, yet were very much in the game at half-time despite trailing 10-17. Ruairi Byrne and Rory Grenham were their try-scorers but they did not add to their tally after the interval whilst leaking further scores, some of the very soft variety. They also failed to find touch at crucial stages, encouraging a Creggs outfit who were fired up and focussed for this contest.

Ruairi Byrne was best of a hard-working Buccs pack whose possession should have been better capitalised on but the backline underperformed. Here Glen Costello was pick of the bunch, albeit his contribution was blotted by a silly yellow card. There is decent potential in the squad but a better collective effort and enterprise is needed.

BUCCANEERS:-  G.Costello; N.Purcell, D.Byrne, S.Flynn, G.Fallon; D.Fagan, D.Griffiths (captain); L.Doran, R.Grenham, T.Thompson; R.Byrne, S.Byrne; N.Flynn, D.Coffey and A.Hughes. Replacements:- K.O’Shea, L.Walsh, K.Grehan, J.Lopez and N.Hyland.




BUCCANEERS THIRDS, even at this early stage, look like being key contenders again in the Connacht J2 League this season as they defeated Ballinasloe Seconds 19-3 at Moher Road on Sunday. After the early exchanges, Buccs took a grip on the proceedings with Darren Costello orchestrating matters for the Pirates.


This was a solid, all-round effort by Buccs thriving on the dominance of a superior forwards unit where the front row trio of Adam Daly, Keith Grehan and Paata Rikadze laid down a match-winning platform and Conor Galvin directed the back five. Juan Lopez looks an exciting prospect on the wing while outhalf Costello, clearly capable of playing at a higher level, was the standout performer on view. He kicked four penalties in addition to converting Brian Walsh’s try, a finely created score when Buccs moved the ball wide.

BUCCANEERS:-  M.Duddy; C.Claffey, J.Shaughnessy, B.Walsh, J.Lopez; D.Costello (captain), N.Hyland; A.Daly, K.Grehan, P.Rikadze; R.Reid, N.Carr; M.Lyons, L.Walsh and C.Galvin. Replacements:- L.Didebashvili, R.Mahon, K.Langdon and C.Milling.



BUCCANEERS GIRLS U-15 team fielded for their first ever time last Saturday when they participated in the Connacht Underage Girls Blitz, hosted at Dubarry Park, Athlone. Teams from six clubs played in the U-15 Blitz while three clubs also fielded in an U-18 event, with ten players a side.

Buccaneers made a victorious start, defeating Dingle 25-0. They lost narrowly to Creggs 10-5 in their second outing but overcame Ballina 10-5 in their final match. The team put in a great effort and showed wonderful enthusiasm. Their endeavours augur well for a great first season. Their coaches and mentors were highly impressed with the girls’ handling skills and evasive running for such an inexperienced young side, which is a credit to Tag Rugby currently being played in some schools. Special thanks goes to Antoinette Kemmy, Aoife Corry, Christine Mannion and Annmarie Sleator for their help on the day at this blitz.  



BUCCANEERS U-20s make the first of four trips to Cork in this season’s South-West Conference League Division One when they travel to take on Highfield on Saturday. Highfield’s ground is at Woodleigh Park, Model Farm Road, on the city’s Westside. Kick off is scheduled at 2.30 p.m. Buccs have a compact but tidy squad at this grade and they will travel with some confidence following fine wins over Shannon and N.U.I.G/Corinthians. It will be tougher down south but, if these young Pirates can repeat their will to work and positive attitude, they can maintain their promising start to this league.

BUCCANEERS WOMEN, following a chastening trip to Railway Union, have had a chance to regroup in the interim for the visit of Navan to Dubarry Park on Sunday afternoon when their All-Ireland League Division 2 Central game has a 1 p.m. start. Hopefully, the Buccs girls (who were missing quite a number of their experienced players in Dublin) will have ‘recuperated’ and will have a stronger panel to select from. If that is so, they can make home advantage pay.

BUCCANEERS SECONDS travel to the Castle Grounds to tackle their Monivea counterparts in the Connacht Junior 1B League on Sunday, kick off 2.30 p.m. It is never easy in Monivea’s stronghold but this Buccs squad has more potential than they have collectively displayed to date. With better organisation and improved guile, they could get back to winning ways.


Tickets are now on sale for the IRFU-sponsored “Your Club, Your Country” Grand Draw. An enticing array of primarily rugby-orientated prizes are on offer at just €10 per ticket. The star prize is a trip for two to Argentina in June 2014 to support the Ireland rugby team. Now that’s certainly a bargain for a tenner! Various club members and mentors have tickets to sell. Tickets must be returned to the club by mid-November. All proceeds of ticket sales are retained by the club, so here’s looking for your generous support.



Deepest sympathy is extended to Declan Byrne on the death of his grandmother Mary (mother of Liam, FAS).


A TABLE QUIZ in aid of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul takes place in The Bounty on this Thursday night, October 17th at 8.30 p.m. All support is sought for this most worthy of causes.




Connacht Emerging Talent squad named for game against Leinster North Midlands