BUCCS HOME TO UCD IN TOP FOUR CLASH

 

RUGBY with MICHAEL SILKE

 

THIRD PLACED BUCCANEERS square up to UCD, who are just two points further back in fourth place, in a game that should provide a post-Christmas feast of expansive and entertaining rugby when Ulster Bank League action resumes at Dubarry Park on Saturday. This first Division 1B game of the New Year is sponsored by Ganly’s of Athlone and kicks off at 2.30 p.m.

 

Both teams have a plethora of underage internationals, particularly in their backlines, so it promises to be a very lively affair, despite the somewhat fractured nature of the fixture list at this stage. Hopefully, the lengthy break from matches since the first weekend of December will not dampen the momentum of either side. UCD came flying out of the blocks following promotion and indeed piled up 90 points on the scoreboard in their first two matches. Meanwhile, Buccs stuttered a bit losing their opening brace of home fixtures before settling into a fine and improving run of performances and results.

Alex Kelly, Andrew Boyle, Luke McGrath, Sam Coghlan-Murray and the flying Barry Daly are Ireland U-20s in the College backs unit. Meanwhile, the Pirates can also boast five Ireland U-20s — Jack Carty, Mark Dolan, Shane Layden, Callum Boland and Conor Finn — in their backline too. Risteard Byrne, Jordan Coghlan and Eoin Joyce are three exciting forwards in the Students pack but Buccs have more experience in this sector through Kolo Kiripati, Eoghan Grace and Garreth Halligan which could give the hosts a vital edge.

It should be a pacey and enterprising contest and surely is a game that will see a bigger crowd turn up at Dubarry Park. The last home game against Trinity was a cracker but the attendance was paltry. Here’s hoping for both a splendid battle and a large, passionate crowd getting behind Buccaneers on Saturday. Incidentally, a pre-match lunch is organised for this match. Cost is only €30 per person for a 3-course meal with wine, complimentary match programme and a seat in the stand. Contact any Executive Committee member or phone our Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711 to book.

JUNIOR CUP ON SUNDAY

BUCCANEERS DEVELOPMENT SQUAD commence their Heineken Connacht Junior Cup campaign with home advantage against Ballinrobe at Dubarry Park on Sunday, kick off 2.30 p.m. This Buccs squad has been developing steadily after another poor start to the league to currently lie in second spot. On form and at home, Buccs should prevail but Ballinrobe will be desperately keen and very motivated to get a decent Cup run. Consequently, the Pirates will need to put in a sustained and disciplined stint. Hopefully, they won’t have over-indulged too much over the festive season!

Rory Walshe, Dominic Griffith, Decie Byrne and Darragh Lennon are decent performers and, if Rory Byrne, Diarmuid Higgins and Barry Digby are involved, then the Athlone club should advance to meet Our Lady’s Boys Club in the next round. But if they underestimate Ballinrobe, then they could well come acropper!

 

EXILES RETAIN CUP

BUCCANEERS PRESIDENT’S XV 5   EXILES SELECTION 17

 

The Exiles side retained the James Moran Perpetual Challenge Cup with a hard-earned 17-5 victory in the annual St. Stephen’s Day fixture at Dubarry Park. Conditions were testing to say the least with prolonged heavy rain prior to kick-off making the pitch very heavy underfoot amid pools of water while a strengthening downfield breeze also added to the players’ difficulties.

 

The President’s men, comprised from Buccs Thirds squad, had first advantage of the wind and sun and they deservedly took the lead through a Glen Costello try. But the beefier Exiles, featuring eight players with AIL experience, edged ahead before half-time when Adrian Hanley powered through for a try which Marcus Madden converted to give them a 7-5 lead at the break.

The physically stronger Exiles enjoyed much the greater possession and territory in the second half but a gritty President’s XV battled manfully to the bitter end. Although outgunned for long spells, they curtailed the holders to two unconverted tries in the second period. Michael Donohoe finished off decent pressure for a try on the right while Darragh Lennon sealed the issue when he slalomed in for the third try late in the game.

It was a sporting affair, well controlled by referee Richard English, and the President’s XV displayed some hitherto unseen lineout moves! The trophy was presented by Keavey Moran to victorious captain Hanley, who operated in the centre on this occasion. Gerry Glynn skippered the President’s XV and their rookie fullback Costello was a worthy winner of the man of the match award.

ATHLONE PRESIDENT’S XV:-  G.Costello; J.Bonnar, D.Kelly, S.Flynn, M.Tormey; J.Keegan, D.Griffith; K.Grehan, N.Flynn, B.Kelly; G.Kenny, V.McGrath; D.Dunning, G.Glynn (captain) & S.Byrne. Replacements used:- K.O’Neill, L.Doran, R.Reid, L.Aadic & C.Galvin.

 

EXILES SELECTION:-  T.Gilligan; D.Fagan, A.Hanley (captain), M.Madden, G.Ross; N.So, M.Donohoe; M.Jackson, D.Lennon, B.Gilligan; O.Naughton, E.Brady; Adrian Hughes, D.Maguire & Anthony Hughes.

 

REFEREE:-  Richard English.

 

HENSHAW CONNACHT PLAYER OF THE MONTH

Robbie Henshaw, whose sensational breakthrough form has seen the Buccaneers teenager play in every Connacht Senior fixture to date this season, has been named the ‘Connacht Player of the Month’ for November. This seals a wonderful year for this exciting prospect who signed an improved two-year contract with the province recently. Incredibly, in the press release issued by Connacht accompanying the extension of his contract, every sportsclub/team Henshaw played for was mentioned bar Buccaneers!

 

LOTTO

The numbers drawn in the Buccaneers Lotto pre-Christmas were 6, 10, 14 & 22.

 

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