Buccs Squad 960



BUCCANEERS defeated Galwegians 28-14 in a lively Connacht Senior Cup final played at Galway Sportsground on Sunday. Buccs led from start to finish and were full value for their double score victory played on a cool but mainly bright afternoon in front of a modest attendance. Both squads did not have the use of ‘contracted’ players but, nevertheless, the teams put in a committed, absorbing and entertaining battle for the coveted trophy that makes a long overdue return to the midlands.


Buccs had first benefit of the elements of slope and the primarily crossfield breeze, yet it was the holders who went on the offensive from the kick off. Wegians forced the early pace and territory until Callum Boland struck a magnificent penalty from his own 22 to deep into the Tribesmens’ 22. From the lineout, Buccs got their maul going and, with the referee playing advantage, Stephen McVeigh crashed over for a 5th minute try which Boland converted.

Galwegians got a quick opportunity to reply but a penalty kick for the corner did not find touch and soon Buccs were back on the offensive and Boland landed a fine 11th minute penalty after the westerners infringed at a lineout. Wegians response to this score was much more effective, Jerome Harimate and John Cleary countering at pace on the right before the ball was switched acrossfield where Doran McHugh powered over for a 15th minute unconverted try. 10-5 to the challengers.

Just before the end of the opening quarter, Rory O’Connor made a mazy run before off-loading to McVeigh who knocked on in the left corner. However, Wegians respite was brief as the Pirates forced a penalty at the ensuing scrum. Boland tapped into touch and, after clean lineout possession was secured, the Buccs pack again mauled impressively over the holders’ line where Scott Flanagan applied the finishing touch for a try. Boland was unable to convert from wide on the left, his only miss of the final.

The game was ebbing and flowing at a good old rattle and Cleary found a promising touch in the left corner after 25 minutes. Buccs knocked on at the lineout and then had to withstand a series of five-metre scrums before a thumping Billy Henshaw tackle stemmed the tide. Eight minutes later, David Butler turned over possession from his former teammates and sent Eoghan O’Reilly scurrying forward before kicking ahead. The Wegians defence won the chase to avert danger but then, in attempting a swift restart, they knocked on, gifting possession back to Buccs who got the ball away smartly from the resultant scrum. Mark Dolan, Alex Hayman and Butler all combined slickly to send O’Connor haring in for a 33rd minute try which Boland converted for a 22-5 half-time lead.

Conor Lowndes dropped a neat goal for Galwegians three minutes after the restart and then prop Martin Staunton was sin-binned on 46 minutes as Buccs struggled at a scrum following a very debatable knock-on decision. Lowndes slotted over the penalty and Ross Shaughnessy dropped a tidy 53rd minute goal to reduce the holders’ arrears to 22-14. When James Tormey was yellow-carded two minutes later for obstruction, fears of a Buccs slump from a similar half-time lead in the Ulster Bank League meeting between these rivals were rising.

Buccs Try 500Butler made good ground on the hour mark and Wegians infringed on the ground with Boland landing a decent 61st minute penalty against the elements. This rejuvenated the Athlone standard bearers and Henshaw was alert to a Cleary grubber kick. Buccs took control in the final quarter and Galwegians were a shade fortunate that their efforts to deny the Pirates quick ball did not incur a yellow card until the 72nd minute when substitute Ronan Moore was binned (just two minutes after his introduction). Buccs continued to attack with intent with Kolo Kiripati and Paul Gallogly driving forward and Butler and Hayman willing to take on ball while O’Connor was deemed to knock on in the tackle as he sought his second try. Boland sealed the issue with a late penalty, a lovely strike from the 22, to complete the 28-14 winning margin.

This was a splendid all-round team effort by Buccs with the backline looking eager and sharp. Here Boland had a terrific contribution although playing out of position at stand-off. His half-back partner Dolan too had a notable influence and centre Butler surely relished the occasion. The pack, although having on/off difficulties at scrumtime, stuck manfully to the task on hand and looked the more mobile and purposeful unit. Blindside flanker McVeigh put in a man of the match performance and another youngster hooker Flanagan acquitted himself well. Long-time stalwart Keith Grehan also savoured this contest, the prop coming on as a second half replacement for his first Senior appearance! Harimate and Cleary were Galwegians’ main threat but their forwards did not win sufficient clean possession to capitalise on this.   

BUCCANEERS:- E.O’Reilly; B.Henshaw, D.Butler, A.Hayman (captain), R.O’Connor; C.Boland, M.Dolan; M.Staunton, S.Flanagan, B.Campbell; J.O’Rourke, J.Tormey; S.McVeigh, P.Gallogly and K.Kiripati. Replacements:- K.Grehan (for Gallogly, temp. 48/55 mins), S.McCormack (for O’Rourke, 65 mins), N.Purcell (for Dolan, inj. 73 mins), K.Grehan (for Campbell, 77 mins), C.McGrath (for Flanagan, 77 mins) and D.Fagan (for O’Connor, 77 mins) and R.Farrell.


GALWEGIANS:- J.Cleary; C.Lowndes, J.Harimate, D.A.Moynihan, S.Madden; R.Shaughnessy, B.Lee; C.Kyne, C.Gavin, D.McHugh; M.Cummins, P.Claffey; P.Hackett, J.Pimm and E.Tarmey. Replacements:- M.Fox (for Kyne, 55 mins), G.Armstrong (for Moynihan, 68 mins), R.Moore (for Hackett, 70 mins), C.Dunne (for Gavin, 70 mins) and M.Connolly.


REFEREE:- Karol Collins (Connacht).




BUCCANEERS THIRDS also came out on top against their Galwegians counterparts when winning their Connacht Junior 1B basement battle 26-0 at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday. Both teams endeavoured to move the ball in a fairly entertaining contest but the Pirates possessed a more clinical edge as they forged a vital bonus point victory.  


Buccs had the better of the first half exchanges, yet managed just a solitary score to lead 5-0 at the break. Ricky Dixon put John Shaughnessy away and the winger powered through his opposite number before side-stepping the full-back for a try.

Buccs finishing was much better in the second half with scrumhalf Dixon and Glen Costello notching tries. The homesters secured the bonus point try through the quick thinking of Charlie McMickan who dinked a penalty inside his own 22 across the paddock to Costello and the substitute galloped away for a try at the posts. McMickan converted all three second half tries to complete the 26-0 scoreline.

U-20s Dixon and McMickan pulled the strings at halfback, Michael O’Daly was solid at fullback and Shaughnessy was pick of the backs. James Foley impressed in the second row, Karl Turley was lively until injured and Martin Lyons was industrious in a hard-working forwards unit.

BUCCANEERS:- M.O’Daly; J.O’Shaughnessy, S.Chitsatso, G.Walsh, B.Gilligan; C.McMickan, R.Dixon; C.Galvin, C.Hennessy, K.Langdon; J.Foley, Adrian Hughes; J.O’Connor, K.Turley and M.Lyons. Replacements used:- G.Costello, L.Didebashvili and T.Ward.



BUCCANEERS commence the second half of the Ulster Bank League fixtures with a home Division 1B game against Malone at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday night. This Sheraton Hotel sponsored festive floodlit match kicks off at 7.30 p.m.

Buccs were disjointed and below par when losing 29-11at Gibson Park when the sides met in the opening AIL fixture of the season. This has been the Pirates only away defeat. Malone surrendered a 10-0 lead to Ballynahinch in the Ulster Cup final last week, going down 17-10. Meanwhile, Buccs should have their tails up following a long overdue Connacht Cup triumph when beating Galwegians last Sunday.

Malone have decent backs in fullback Andy Bryans, fly-half Josh Pentland, wing Michael Barker and scrumhalf Jack McMurtry. The fiercely competitive Connor Joyce is their key forward and he can count on support from John Burns, Cory Tipping and Darryl Maxwell. But without any of their ‘contracted’ front-liners the midlanders put in a commendable shift when capturing the Cup crown. The squad could be bolstered by returns of Diarmuid Higgins, Garreth Halligan, Conor FitzGibbons and Ross Keller, increasing the options of coaching duo Tony Dolan and Paul Flanagan.

A decent crowd is anticipated, particularly as floodlit matches seem to be more appealing. With the onus on Buccs to rebuild momentum at home, a competitive joust should unfold. If the Pirates hit the form they are well capable of, then they can enter the brief Christmas break in positive shape.



A selection of replica Buccaneers jerseys as well as T-shirts, training tops and track suit bottoms are available at the club. (Hoodies and hats are sold out). These could make handy Christmas gifts as would Buccaneers ‘nearly bare’ 2015 Calendar which is on sale at many outlets including The Bounty or online from www.buccaneersrfc.com  At only €10, it makes a welcome stocking filler as well as benefiting the most worthwhile CONSOLE charity which is getting a share of the profits.




The Jes reach last four with last minute winner