BUCCANEERS U-21s made the most of lesser possession when putting in a huge effort that was rewarded with the narrowest of victories when they defeated a formidable Highfield side 12-11 in their South-West Conference clash at Model Farm Road, Cork, on Saturday.
Highfield fielded a massive pack that dominated the setpieces and generally bullied the slighter Buccs forwards throughout. However, the Pirates refused to wilt and stuck manfully to the task on hand, capitalising on a good start that gave them their winning platform. They opened the scoring with a splendid Aidan Connaughton try after 12 minutes, the flanker breaking from just inside the home half to display pace that any back would be proud of as he hared all the way to the home line to ground the ball in the corner for a try which was not converted.
Despite losing scrumhalf Barry Digby through injury, Buccs stretched their advantage early in the second quarter. They made telling use of possession as they worked their way into the home 22 where Jim Clifford showed great vision to spot Luke Satchwell out wide. The outhalf punted a pinpoint crossfield kick to his No.8 who surged over for a try which Stuart Flynn converted for a 12-0 lead.
Highfield reduced the arrears with a penalty before halftime and, in the second period, their ginormous pack biffed and bashed the midlanders. They reduced the arrears with a pushover try and then made it a one-point game with a second successful penalty. Yet, although Buccs were regularly under awful pressure, they never relented in their endeavours and time and again a mighty back row trio of Satchwell, Connaughton and Brendan Fagan lifted their comrades with a sterling defensive effort as well as making regular breaks that kept Highfield on their toes.
Skipper Barry Stewart led by example in the forwards battle for a Buccs squad without any ‘Senior’ U-21s in their ranks. Centre Flynn and wing Conal Gormley were to the fore in a lot of the midlanders’ good work while Corkonian Clifford, making his competitive debut for the Pirates, managed the game well and worked the corners to good effect.
BUCCANEERS:-  R.McMickan; C.Gormley, A.Douglas, S.Flynn, C.FitzGibbon; J.Clifford, B.Digby; J.Donohue, C.Hanniffy, E.O’Brien; B.Stewart (captain), E.Keena; B.Fagan, A.Connaughton and L.Satchwell. Replacements used:- R.Corcoran (for Digby, inj.) and D.Higgins.   

BUCCANEERS DEVELOPMENT SQUAD scored a fine bonus point victory when accounting for Corrib on a 24-0 scoreline in their Connacht Junior 1B League match at sodden Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday.
Played in atrocious windy and wet conditions, Buccs were generally well in control from an early stage but took some time to make the breakthrough on the scoreboard. Conor Lavelle opened their account coming up to the interval when he broke through a number of tackles for a try which Ger Fallon converted for a 7-0 halftime lead.
The forwards continued to put in the hard graft, mauling terrifically throughout, and their industry was rewarded with a Padraig de Burca try following a wonderful drive. Another fine drive led to a Sean Stapleton try near the posts which was converted by rookie outhalf Fallon. The backline showed that, despite the dreadful conditions, that they could move the ball smartly and some superb handling by Terry Hynes, Brian Walsh, Dec Byrne and Conor FitzGibbon set up a spectacular second try by fullback Lavelle to earn the bonus point and complete the 24-0 scoreline.
Buccs forwards overcame both the conditions and the opposition with some impressive driving allayed to excelling in the loose with de Burca, Adrian Hughes and James Tormey all putting in eye-catching performances. The backs covered well throughout and also showed some wonderful handling in really testing conditions with Lavelle, Hynes and Brian Walsh to the fore.
BUCCANEERS:-  C.Lavelle; G.Walsh, B.Walsh, D.Byrne, C.FitzGibbon; T.Hynes, G.Fallon; M.Staunton, S.Stapleton, B.Gilligan (captain); J.Tormey, R.Byrne; P. de Burca, H.Reilly and Adrian Hughes. Replacements used:- Anthony Hughes, Gerry Glynn and Liam Doran.
Buccaneers host successful U-7’s Blitz
Buccaneers had a fantastic turnout for the U-7’s home blitz against Ballinasloe and Monivea and were able to field two strong teams to contest the visitors’ challenge.
In the opening match Buccaneers, wearing the team kit, won well against the mixed boys and girls of Monivea and the three pass rule didn’t prevent Buccaneers’ hungry runners from scoring five excellent tries to win 5-2. In the second match the second Buccaneers team, clad in mixed jerseys and tagged as The Pirates, came up against a big and strong looking Ballinasloe, but their own strength shone through with a 3-2 win setting up an all Buccs’ final.
In the third place playoff, Ballinasloe proved too dominant for Monivea finishing up 4-2 winners with some great handling and running on both sides. The final saw Bucc’s tackle the Pirates in a very competitive affair that fittingly ended in a draw 3-3 with some strong tries scored by both teams bringing promise of great things to come.

BUCCANEERS resume All-Ireland League action when they travel to Limerick on Saturday to tackle UL Bohemian at Annacotty. This Ulster Bank League Division 1B encounter kicks off at 2.30 p.m. (Referee Eanna O’Dowd).
Buccs enjoyed a memorable performance on their visit here last season coming away with a clearcut win after a tight opening half. However, they can expect matters to remain close for the duration of this clash against UL Bohs who lie in fifth spot in the league table, three points adrift of the second placed Pirates. UL Bohs went down narrowly 14-12 in their opening game away to Belfast Harlequins but then scored a notable 12-5 home win over fancied Dungannon which they followed up with a fine 19-9 defeat of UCC in Cork. They are hugely dependant on the boot of J.J.Hanrahan for their scores and, if Buccs’ discipline is good, then they will reduce the opportunities for the Ireland U-20 player to add to his tally.
UL Bohs have more or less the same squad as last season with Martin McPhail being a key operator in their backline where fullback Ed Torrie and scrumhalf Cathal Sheridan are vital components. Their pack is hard-working and honest with prop David Kilcoyne in excellent form at present. Locks Ed Kelly and Dave Foley are solid with Sean Rennison, Sean Rossiter and young Connacht player Conor Kindregan dangerous on the break.
A much changed and youthful Buccaneers squad has made a hugely promising start to the campaign, winning their three opening fixtures. Victories over Bruff at home and away to Ballymena were solid returns from decent team performances. The final scoreline in the most recent home win over UCD was much closer than it should have been but, hopefully, Buccs will have learned from that close call. The Athlone side excelled in the opening half and will need to reproduce that form more consistently. If they do, then John O’Brien, Paul Harte and Shane Layden will poach scores while Jack Carty and Adam Kennedy can pin back the opposition. The pack is youthful too, yet competitive and mobile with Eoghan Grace and David Heffernan impressing and Daniel Qualter and Michael Kearney forming a formidable pairing in the second row. Young props Denis Buckley and James Robinson are being nursed along nicely by Garreth Halligan while Buccs will be hopeful that influential captain Kolo Kiripati will be fit to resume at No.8.
It looks like being a keenly contested tussle with, perhaps, underfoot conditions being a contributing factor on a pitch that can hold water. Buccs must make their tackles count and be more clinical, but if they can maintain their workrate, cohesion and discipline from start to finish, then they can eke out a crucial away win.
Buccaneers Development Squad are also on the road this Bank holiday weekend when they make the short hop to Galway to play N.U.I.G. in the Connacht Junior 1B League at Dangan on Sunday, kick off 3 p.m. On paper, Buccs should prevail but they should note that they survived more than a Halloween scare or two when these sides met in last season’s Junior Cup, the midlanders squeezing through after a replay. However, if this squad is near full strength and plays to its collective strengths, then they should have too much guile and power for the Students.

Congratulations to Paschal Dillon and his bride Brid on their recent marriage. Congrats too to Garrycastle and St. Brigid’s on their respective county title triumphs in Westmeath and Roscommon. Well done too to New Zealand on finally winning another Rugby World Cup. They have generally been the best team in the world since their inaugural triumph and are fully deserving of their win, despite France’s gallant effort that made it such a compelling final. Meanwhile, Ireland will surely have mixed reflections on their 2011 RWC campaign and will rue those soft tries conceded to Wales who, to me, were the team of this particular tournament. 

Deepest sympathy is extended to Colin Evans and family on the sudden death in Leeds of his wife Tess at the young age of 54. Colin coached Buccaneers teams in the 1980’s when Tess was also very involved in our Ladies Committee. May she rest in eternal peace.

LOTTO tickets are now coming in steadily but many tickets have not yet been returned. Please forward all sold tickets in to the club as soon as possible to facilitate the smooth start to our club Lotto, which is scheduled for early November. Tickets are €100 annually which can be paid by yearly or quarterly Bankers Standing Order or, indeed, by cash or cheque. Prize fund starts with a €2,000 Jackpot and will be increased by €200 each week that the Jackpot is not won. This is a vital fund-raiser for the club and, if sufficiently successful, it would greatly reduce the number of fund-raising events that the club has to hold each year to cover the costs of fielding 19 teams. (Yes, Buccaneers field no less than 19 teams from Minis to Senior this year, including a Womens squad). So, hopefully, every member will support the Lotto by purchasing a ticket and maybe selling one also. Thanking you in anticipation of your support.  


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