GALWEGIANS took a major step in their bid to retain the Connacht Senior League title when they outpointed Buccaneers 32-27 at Crowley Park, Galway, on Saturday. The Glenina pitch, although very firm, was in the super condition on a fine, dry afternoon with a light crossfield breeze. Wegians were playing their first game of the campaign while Buccs had four changes, three enforced, from their opening win over Corinthians. Backs Alan Gaughan was injured and Callum Boland had GAA commitments while prop Saba Meunargia too was on the treatment bench as the midlanders gave first starts to winger Rory O’Connor and flanker Paul Gallogly.

Wegians got a tonic start when Ross Shaughnessy’s dummy was bought by a couple of Buccs players and the home outhalf waltzed in unchallenged for a fourth minute try which he also converted. As last week, Buccs were slow to get going but Jacob Walshe set a move in motion that was carried on by Eoghan O’Reilly who sucked in the cover before off-loading to Rory O’Connor who scooted in for a 12th minute try on the left. Ger O’Connor converted to level as promising Jack Feeney was injured in this move with David Fagan coming in at standoff.

Buccs had regular problems in the scrum and Shaughnessy punished an indiscretion here with a 17th minute penalty. Shane Delahunt debuted at hooker after the opening quarter as a Ger O’Connor penalty tied the scores at 10-10. But two minutes later, a dummy and hand-off by J.P. Jeffers unlocked the Pirates defence for a try converted by Shaughnessy. Delahunt made an impact on the half-hour that set up a spell of fierce pressure by Buccaneers but all they came away with was a 31st minute Ger O’Connor penalty that reduced the half-time arrears to 17-13.

Fagan moved to fullback for the second period with Ger O’Connor continuing to play out of position, this time at outhalf. A Buccs lineout near halfway went awry early in the second half and the midlanders stood off too much as Wegians countered, enabling Doran McHugh to bulldoze over for a 43rd minute try. Four minutes later, the Tribesmen had sealed the issue with their best move of the game that, allayed by more poor tackling, allowed John Cleary to show that he still has the try-scoring touch. Just after the hour mark, Buccs again coughed up cheap possession and Cleary scampered in for his second try that stretched the homesters’ advantage to 32-13.

Following a penalty to the right corner, possession was transferred to Conor Morrissey and the teenage substitute raced in on the right for a 69th minute try which Ger O’Connor did well to convert. Three minutes from time, Buccs put some fine sustained play together and Gallogly capped his debut with a well-worked try. Ger O’Connor’s conversion made for a nervous finish for the home supporters and Buccaneers looked like fashioning an unlikely win in the final move but a thumping tackle forced a knock on with the home line beckoning and thus Galwegians held on for a deserved victory.

Buccs were like the curate’s egg in spots, from good to bad. There were resonances of Cork’s flat display against Tipperary a week earlier but the Pirates battled on with spirit and pride to tighten the final margin to 32-27. There were too many errors in handling and tackling, the scrum was hard going and the lineout did not function smoothly. However, with injuries and absentees, a mainly young side battled gamely with a number of players forced to play out of their regular positions. With improved consistency, these are problems that can be ironed out, especially if the players replicate their gritty nature and fitness improves further.

BUCCANEERS:-  G.O’Connor; H.Hughes, E.O’Reilly, A.Hayman (captain), R.O’Connor; J.Feeney, M.Dolan; J.Walshe, R.Grenham, M.Staunton; R.Byrne, J.Tormey; P.Gallogly, J.O’Rourke and L.Satchwell. Replacements:- D.Fagan (for Feeney, inj. 12 mins), S.Delahunt (for Grenham, 20 mins), S.McCormack (for O’Rourke, 51 mins), B.Teape (for Staunton, 51 mins), C.Morrissey (for Gallogly, 59 mins), P.Gallogly (for Hughes, 65 mins), H.Hughes (for Dolan, inj. 74 mins) and M.Staunton (for Satchwell, 76mins).

GALWEGIANS:- J.P.Jeffers; J.Harimate, B.Murphy, G.O’Brien, J.Carroll; R.Shaughnessy, M.Connolly; J.East, R.Fitzgerald, D.McHugh; A.Ryan, B.McClearn; M.Towey, P.Hackett and M.Cummins. Replacements:- R.Moore (for Harimate, inj. 16 mins), J.Cleary (for Carroll, inj. 39 mins), E.Tarmey (for Towey, 48 mins), P.Griffin (for East, 48 mins), J.Dinneen (for Fitzgerald, 54 mins), R.Fitzgerald (for Hackett, inj. 62 mins), J.East (for McHugh, 68 mins) and M.Towey (for Cleary, 76 mins).   

REFEREE:- Karol Collins (Connacht)


BUCCANEERS complete their Connacht Senior League fixtures when they host Sligo in Dubarry Park on (at time of writing) Saturday, kicking off at 2.30 p.m. Sligo were unable to field for their scheduled opening game against Galwegians and, consequently, lose home advantage for this joust with the Pirates.  Sligo lost 55-15 to Corinthians so the Athlone side will need to pile on the points against the north-westerners to have a chance of capturing this title. Meanwhile, the Seconds have their first outing on Friday night, a friendly away to neighbours Ballinasloe at 8 p.m.


With the Ireland Womens team winning a Six Nations Championship and reaching the World Cup semi-finals, interest in Womens rugby has never been higher. Buccaneers Womens team was formed just three year ago and will be playing in the Connacht League this season. Buccs Women are holding a WOMENS RUGBYOPEN NIGHT at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on this Thursday, August 28th from 6.30 p.m. New players are welcome to come along as indeed are recent players who may have taken a break from the sport. No previous playing experience is necessary. Registration will take place on the night, so why not come along and “Give Rugby a Try!” Meanwhile, womens training, where numbers have been promising, continues on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. sharp.


A start-of-season club BBQ takes place at The Bounty on Saturday, September 6th. This is an ideal opportunity for all members and their spouses/partners/families to renew acquaintance or make new friends pre-season. Cover charge is only  €10 which covers the renowned Bounty BBQ plus a complimentary glass of wine. Live music by ‘The Shakes’ will follow. You could not beat that value for a mere tenner so let’s see you all there! Tickets are now on sale at The Bounty or from our Administrator Geraldine 0861732711.


REGISTRATION DAY for all underage (Youths and Minis) will take place in Dubarry Park on Saturday, September 20th from 11 a.m.  FREE Buccs shorts and socks to every Youth or Minis player who pay their Membership Subscription on the day!

Registration will be followed by Buccaneers first home Ulster Bank League game against Garryowen. You are invited to stay on and watch the match; remember, children U-16 accompanied by an adult are admitted FREE to all Buccaneers home fixtures!


Minis and Youths training commences on Saturday next August 30th at 11 a.m. All players including beginners welcome. Parents are urged to drive carefully in the car park when leaving in and collecting their children.


Deepest sympathy is extended to David Curley (gym manager at A.I.T.) and family on the death of his mother Sadie.


Congrats to Brian Campbell and his bride Maree Dillon on their recent wedding.



Gallery: HT minis – Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis, Corinthians and Dunmore