United once again, after parting temporarily last year under the new age groups, this squad celebrated in blitz style overcoming the noticeably weaker Ballina visitors to Dubarry Park on the day by 52-6 in this Connacht U-19 League opener. Under captain Jack Carty and vice-captain James Donoghue Buccs played wonderfully creative and well-patterned intelligent rugby.
In the first half, enjoying delightful ball provided by quick rucks and set pieces, Buccaneers scored by stretching the Ballina defence notably to left winger Conor FitzGibbon who collected an impressive hat trick of tries where he exploited the visitors enterprising defences with his speed and footballing ability. Centre Robert Henshaw was unstoppable for his powering try as was the ever-active and reliable Barry Digby for his opportunist touchdown. Ballina responded with one fine penalty. Buccs out half Carty converting three of these tries left Buccaneers half time lead of 31-3 gave the good attendance plenty to shout about.
In the second half, Buccs, sitting on such a huge lead, their concentration was understandably off the boil. Nevertheless, Ballina only scored another 3 points from the boot while Buccs enjoyed tries from recovered centre Mel Corbett, flying winger Cian O’Reilly who made it in from 30 yards. The latter was converted by Henshaw from the right hand touchline and Carty slotted over the former for added points. Wing forward Christy Haughian singled himself out for note with his impact at ruck time where several times he achieved turn-over of ball and secured many penalties for Buccs by his pressure on the opposition. Half time substitutes used were Robert Corcoran who played well at scrum half, Conor Hanniffy at hooker and O’Reilly on the right wing.
This follows on the back of a precious 38 points to 8 win over Edenderry the previous week when Buccs scored no less than six tries by FitzGibbon, Claffey, Corbett, Seery and a brace by full back Maguire. Conversions were made by Qualter and Henshaw.
At full time Buccaneers President Pat Hynes said he was proud that this year the club includes two under-19 squads, the other one unfortunately missing a match this weekend owing to a cancellation. He emphasised that next Sunday’s league clash in Glenina could almost decide the whole league and support will make a big difference.
This 2010/11 league is home and away basis for five teams and it is a straight league, without the familiar format of semi-final and final. In other words the first past the post wins this prestigious Connaught U-19 League. A full turnout for training will be necessary to prepare well.
BUCCANEERS squad:- Bryan Teaper, Lee McLoughlin, Robbie Henshaw, Conor Seery, John Maguire,  Tadhg Hennessy, Damien Hyland, Christy Haughian, Paul Hewitt, Cian Bradley, Robert Corcoran, Aidan Conaughton, Barry Digby, Jack Carty, Mel Corbett, Glen Carey, James Donoghue, John Dooley, Eoin Casey, Cian O’Reilly, Daniel McNeill, Conor FitzGibbon, Jack Donoghue, Anthony Cassidy, Eoghan Kelly, Dylan Lynch, Liam Claffey, Callum Boland and Danny Qualter.



A blistering opening spell in which they scored 17 points in the first six minutes sent Buccaneers on their merry way when demolishing Sundays Well 65-15 in their South-West Conference U-21 National League match at sun-soaked Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday.
The visitors were shell-shocked by this opening salvo and, thereafter, never really made a contest of this game in which Buccs more expansive approach always threatened further damage to the Cork outfit. Buccs were comprehensively ahead 39-3 by halftime, scoring one point per minute. Sundays Well fared better in the second half when Buccs, who introduced their quota of replacements, got dragged into a forwards battle more often than they needed to.
The outcome, however, was secured in those crucial opening six minutes. Jack Carty landed a 2nd minute penalty and, almost from the restart, he was thumping over the first of many excellent conversions when tacking on the points after Ethan Keena had sallied down the left from midfield for a home try. Within moments Buccs were through again for a second try, John Hayes beginning the move which was finished off by Brendan Fagan. Carty’s conversion made it 17-0 and a landslide win was distinctly likely.
Dave O’Gorman gave Sundays Well a brief flurry of hope when converting a 15th minute penalty before Buccs stepped on the gas again nine minutes later. The homesters initially made good progress through Joe Kenny and Barry Stewart down the left before the ball was moved acrossfield where David Fagan finished off with aplomb for a try which Carty converted from near the touchline. He added a penalty shortly afterwards when perhaps Buccs should have worked the line in search of a bonus try but that was not long in following. Then the midlanders opted for a scrum in a kickable position on the visitors’ 22 and Philip Butler broke smartly to set up David Fagan for his second try on 33 minutes wide on the right, Carty adding yet another conversion.  Kenny completed the first half scoring when he finished off a length of field move for a 37th minute try, Carty’s conversion attempt on this occasion being his only miss from seven placekicks.
Kenny extended the lead to 44-3 soon after the restart when he touched down for a pushover try but fullback Neil O’Connell responded with a well taken try on the right for Sundays Well. The only unsavoury incidents in a sporting contest followed in quick succession, David Fagan being yellow carded on 55 minutes while a late tackle on Callum Boland went unnoticed. Buccs made light of their temporary numerical deficiency, Stewart powering in for a 62nd minute try with Brendan Fagan rampaging down the left just two minutes later for his side’s eight try. Boland converted both tries before adding the spoils after David Henshaw had crashed over near the posts on 74 minutes. Sundays Well had the final score, a try in the final move of the match converted by flanker O’Gorman to put some respectability on the scoreboard which read 65-15 in favour of the rampant Buccaneers.
Carty was superb, not merely for his excellent kicking, in the opening period and Conal Gormley and David Fagan were other exciting backs and Buccs looked at their best when they moved the ball quickly and smartly. The pack had it all to do when they occasionally got involved in the trenches where Sundays Well were most comfortable but Hayes, Brendan Fagan, Stewart and Henshaw enjoyed the exchanges.
BUCCANEERS:-  D.Fagan; C.Greene, C.Boland, C.Gormley, E.Keena; J.Carty, P.Butler; D.Henshaw, T.Thompson, L.Doran; R.Byrne, B.Stewart; B.Fagan, J.Hayes (captain) and J.Kenny.  Replacements used:- E.Doolan (for Carty), C.Worley (for Keena), E. de Burca (for Doran), N.Quigley (for Byrne) and R.Reid (for Kenny).
SUNDAYS WELL:-  N.O’Connell; D.Bowles, I.Ryan, M.Meehan, D.Ring; G.Roche, P.Arigho; J.Sheehan, C.Skeehan, G.Flavin; B.Dineen, S.O’Sullivan; D.O’Gorman, K.Byrne and A.Mason.
REFEREE:-  Joe Doyne (Connacht). 


BUCCANEERS came down to earth with a resounding crash when they were unceremoniously dumped out of the Connacht Senior Cup by a far more focussed and organised Corinthians who were full value for their 38-9 victory at Corinthian Park on Saturday. Buccs, already fielding a weakend squad, had to make a number of late changes prior to the start but, nevertheless, this performance fell far short of requirements and was a huge disappointment to and by the midlanders.
Corinthians took the game by the scruff of the neck from the start, being much more urgent and cohesive in their endeavours. They bashed the Pirates about in the forwards exchanges and led 21-9 at halftime courtesy of three converted tries. A hat-trick of Adam Kennedy penalties kept Buccs in touch at the break but the Athlone outfit failed to add to their tally in the second half while Corinthians drove on with two more tries, one converted plus one penalty for a clearcut and merited winning margin of 38-9.
Buccaneers, admittedly, were using mainly a development squad for this contest (in which revolving substitutions could be made) with only three starters from last week’s winning side at Bruff. Yet there was the nucleus of a decent looking side on the paddock but they failed to deliver. The outcome reflects a 80 point turnaround from when the sides met in the Connacht Senior League little over a month ago when Buccs romped home against a depleted Corinthians squad! Thus the first defeat for coach Hendre Marnitz who will have gleaned key information on some of his potential players from this outing in which only John O’Brien, John Connellan, Marcus Madden and Simone Bianco will have enhanced their reputations.
BUCCANEERS:-  J.O’Brien; B.Henshaw, S.Monahan, L.Mitchell, C.Draper; J.Connellan, A.Kennedy; G.Bianco, E.Brady, M.Diffley; J.Tormey, M.Coleman; H.Reilly, S.Bianco and S.Burke. Replacements used:- M.Madden, C.Higgins, C.Molloy, K.Kiripati and C.Molloy.      
Buccaneers stole away victorious 17-6 from Glenina on Sunday from this much anticipated Connaught U-19 League encounter and with precious away points that places Buccs in pole position in the race for the prestigious trophy, knowing as well that consistency is needed to secure outright victory.
As the game went from end to end, both excellent teams served up attack moves with great continuity and then wholeheartedly contesting, and heroically defending their territories. Not a yard or an inch was conceded. In recent years the clash between the Connaught Titans of Buccaneers and Galwegians in this particular age group has become somewhat more than a territorial and points battle. The unexpected can be expected. For example, as expected, just before the teams left the dressing rooms an unexpected switch was presented that meant the pitch for the contest, instead of the main pitch was switched onto the side pitch. Present there on the sideline were past generations of players, now supporters, perceived this as a psychological side-step, as well as humorously remembered incidents like echoes and déjà vu like “sure we wouldn’t expect any less from each other!”
Meantime on the pitch, both Buccs and Wegians players served up some of the most spirited and skilful rugby seen for some time. The few dropped passes that were missed by both sides was understandable given the pace and rate of moving the ball through hands but forgiven when you consider the uneven ground that seemed like quite an uphill paddock in each half. Even the wind favoured the home team in the first half and unexpectedly dropped to no advantage at all for Buccs in the second!
It was on the occasion of Buccs’ third visit to the ‘Wegians half of the pitch before the first score of the game came. After many excellent phases of work, stout Buccs’ attack sucking in the excellent ‘Wegians defences, an overlap appeared out wide. It took all the skill of deft handling and fast running to put the ball into Conor Seery’s hands and he doesn’t miss a chance like that and sped sure-footed to score out wide in the corner. From this difficult angle, Buccs captain out half Jack Carty, was rightfully delighted to put his stamp on the match by adding the conversion kick to make it 7-0 for the Buccs. Following an exchange of penalties and yet another for ‘Wegians, the half-time score stood at ten points to six in favour of Buccs’. It could even have been a one point game, or worse, because ‘Wegians missed two kickable penalties in the second quarter.
Both packs were capable and contested keenly, yet each won all of their own share of ball. The smooth half back pairing of Barry Digby and Carty dictated play and proved to be a key difference between the sides. Carty’s creativity and execution was sublime on occasion when he memorably relieved pressure using the accuracy of his trusty boot to turn ‘Wegians deep defence inside out with unstoppable spinning kicks and gain huge ground for Buccs. The Wegians half backs seemed to run out of ideas, maybe because the Buccs tackling by centre pairing of Robbie Henshaw and Mel Corbett in the midfield proved vital in the battle for dominance. It augured well for Buccs’ increasing grip of control of the game to see ‘Wegians, even when they were moving the ball well, shied away from challenging the dominance of these Buccs centres and decided to kick more and more often. But this was to the waiting faultless handling and to the delight of ‘grateful’ Buccs back three of full back Callum Boland who had a terrific game, Seery and Conor FitzGibbon all of whom carried the ball back into contact and turned defence into attack that surely wore down the morale of the home team. Nevertheless, for fifty minutes Buccs were put to the pin of their collar to squeeze a win and overcome a very well-drilled, very big and determined and mobile home team.
Buccs’ number 8 Aidan Connaughton tackled relentlessly as did Conor Hannify, Bryan Teaper, Eoin Casey, Christy Haughian and James Donoghue. Eoin Casey was exceptional in the line-out with his jumping while his second-row power-house partner John Dooley from Belmount excelled in the short lineouts. Fresh legs were used when an effective Lee McLaughlin substituted for Glen Carey who also played well and Cian O’Reilly came in for Boland and enjoyed a fruitful twenty minutes getting the better of his opposite number on the wing. Hooker Hanniffy’s throws into the line out proved faultless especially in the last quarter.
With ten minutes remaining, a Connaughton and Buccs’ touch-down was just reward for total team concentration and pressure. This significant try changed the game from the tight nerve-wracking four points that separated the sides to a more comfortable eleven point gap. As expected, Buccs heroically defended this to the finish. More than any individual’s brilliant effort, the ability of this panel to train hard, to focus consistently and stick together when the chips are down leaves the strongest impression on the many Buccs supporters and should hopefully stand them in good stead for the remainder of the campaign.
Man-of-the Match is Corbett in the centre for his huge, telling tackles throughout the match, on everything that moved in midfield and put the ball carriers back on their tracks without tiring at all. The Munchins man gave a lesson in putting his man down. The back room team led by Ronan Bushell, Martin Cahill and managed by Ted Carty, are delighted with this result, a just reward for their hard work. Next match will be in three weeks time on 7th November in Dubarry Park.
BUCCANEERS squad:- Bryan Teaper, Lee McLoughlin, Robbie Henshaw, Conor Seery, John Maguire, Conor Seerey, Damien Hyland, Christy Haughian, Paul Hewitt, Cian Bradley, Robert Corcoran, Aidan Conaughton, Barry Digby, Jack Carty, Mel Corbett, Glen Carey, James Donoghue, John Dooley, Eoin Casey, Cian O’Reilly, Daniel McNeill, Conor FitzGibbon, Jack Donoghue, Anthony Cassidy, Eoghan Kelly, Dylan Lynch, Liam Claffey, Callum Boland and Danny Qualter.
BUCCANEERS THIRDS defeated Tuam 17-7 in a friendly at Dubarry Park last Wednesday night. Tuam made the better start and took the lead with a converted try. However, Buccs responded and were much the better for the middle third of this useful workout to forge a 10-7 lead courtesy of a brace of Karl Turley tries. Tuam rallied strongly in the final stages but Buccs defensive work improved steadily as the game progressed and they had the final say when Turley completed his hat-trick of tries after good work by his forwards with Michael Donohoe adding the conversion to seal the 17-7 victory.
Sean Byrne and Darragh Lennon were most prominent in a gritty home pack while Turley, apart from his try scoring exploits, moved his backline in which Conor Keogh caught the eye reasonably well. Another key factor in this Buccs win was their greatly improved discipline which is vital to the well-being of this side. Good attendance at training is also crucial, now that the League fixtures have finally been released! Buccs open their campaign at home to Ballina.
BUCCANEERS:-  K.O’Neill; R.Silke, G.Walsh, C.Molloy, C.Keogh; M.Donohoe, K.Turley; E.Bracken, K.Grehan, D.Lennon; M.Coleman, M.O’Regan; S.Bianco, T.Couper and S.Byrne. Replacements used:- A.Roche, R.O’Brien, P.Hynes, J.Crompton and G.O’Loughlin.
BUCCANEERS face a real test of their mettle and potential when they head for battle away to Clontarf in the third series of All Ireland League matches in a top of the table Division 1B clash at Castle Avenue on Saturday, kick off 2.30 p.m.
Surprisingly after just two rounds of fixtures, only two teams have 100% records so something has to give on Dublin’s northside on Saturday. Clontarf opened their campaign with a comfortable home win over Bruff, who Buccs accounted for away last time out when Tarf were disposing of Galwegians rather easily to accumulate the bonus point that leaves them top of the division, just one point ahead of Buccs.
A tough encounter is surely on the cards with Clontarf always a formidable foe especially in the tight. Their imposing pack features the towering Ben Gissing, teak tough prop Neil Treston and the abrasive Barry O’Mahony in their backrow. New recruits from Cork Evan Ryan (who skippered Cork Constitution to their double triumphs at Dubarry Park last season) and UCC’s Sam Cronin now parade their talents in Clontarf’s colours and the Dubliners seem spoiled for choice at scrumhalf where Leinster’s Paul O’Donohoe is their alternative. Young outhalf Noel Reid and fullback Darragh O’Shea are two decent place-kickers so discipline must be a priority for the midlanders.
Buccs win over Bruff was competent if patchy but they showed terrific heart, composure and self belief when upstaging Lansdowne on opening day. Buccs will need to repeat the guile, workrate and sheer doggedness of that win as well as showing a clinical edge to overcome Clontarf. Coach Hendre Marnitz will undoubtedly have them switched on, fired up and highly organised for combat. He has a couple of niggly injury worries to contend with before finalising selection but is hopeful of a full muster to select from.
Buccaneers will need to play to their full potential, both collectively and individually, in what could be – even at this early stage – a season defining clash. But Buccs have plenty of leaders now in their midst and skipper Garreth Halligan, Alex Hayman, Kolo Kiripati and Colin Watters are the type of player that others respect and value as comrades in arms. They can set the tempo, commitment and steer their younger teammates through what will be a searching test at Castle Avenue. James Tormey is another who won’t shirk when the going gets tough while Martin Staunton, Conor Higgins and Padraig de Burca are young forwards with bags of talent and ambition. The latter, however, is an injury doubt but his likely replacement Stephen Burke is precisely the kind of player who thrives in the heat of battle while a lot will be learned about Eoin Rooney in a game such as this. Callum Boland, who belied his youth and lack of senior experience with a classy showing at Bruff, is absent due to an Ireland squad session that Daniel Qualter will also be attending but Paul Harte, John O’Brien, Adam Kennedy, Jarrod Bennett and David Connellan are hugely exciting and talented backs who can blossom further at Clontarf.
A torrid cruncher is in prospect but, if Buccs front up as they did when turning the tide against Lansdowne, the midlanders can upset the odds in this latest battle of Clontarf.

Buccaneers U-21’s have a free bank holiday weekend now, having disposed of Sundays Well last Saturday. The Development XV follow up their dogfight at Ballyhaunis with a game at home to Gort in the Connacht Junior League on Sunday when they should continue their winning sequence. The Thirds have no fixture at time of writing but their league fixtures have finally been announced so they have something concrete now to look forward to.
This season’s launch takes place on this Thursday night, October 21st at the Athlone Springs Hotel from 9.15 p.m. All are welcome.

Tickets for Ireland v Samoa and Ireland v Argentina are available from the club at €55 and €95 each respectively.  Membership subscription must be paid by anyone seeking tickets for the South Africa and New Zealand fixtures but NOT for the Samoa and/or Argentina matches. Contact our Administrator Geraldine at 086-1732711.

Geraldine is also the busy lady to go to for tickets for the club’s forthcoming very special FASHION SHOW taking place at the Athlone Springs Hotel on THURSDAY, November 4th. I had erroneously put it down as Wednesday last week, so note correct night! Tickets are €20 each which includes Champagne Reception at 8 p.m. on arrival at the hotel. Discounts will be available to anyone who purchases some of the exclusive styles on the night while the top attraction for many of the ladies attending this event could be to witness some of the Buccaneers players on the catwalk! That’s surely worth the admission price alone? Tickets are also on sale at the Athlone Springs Hotel and The Bounty.

A Halloween Fancy Dress Social Night takes place in The Bounty on Saturday week, October 30th. Regina Bushell, Kathy Conlon and Colin Watters are among the driving forces behind this club social occasion. Tickets are a steal at only €10 each (or even better value at €15 for a couple!). There will be prizes for the best fancy dress including a special prize for the best dressed group! DJ and finger food all included for that little tenner. This event has an early 8 p.m. start so make a right night of it!

Good Luck is extended to no less than FOUR young Buccaneers U-19 players who have been selected on various Ireland squads. As mentioned last week, Conor FitzGibbon has been included in the Ireland Schoolboys panel. His cousin Robert Henshaw is now in the Ireland Youths panel while both Callum Boland and Jack Carty are named in the Ireland U-19 listing. Here’s wishing all four players best wishes in their respective trials which take place at Enfield over this bank holiday weekend. It would be a quite magnificent achievement for all four to make the final squads.

Deepest sympathy is extended Ray O’Loughlin and family on the death of his mother Rita on her 90th birthday. She took a keen interest in Buccaneers matches especially when broadcast on Midlands 103! Condolences too to the extended Henshaw clan on the sudden death in England of Patrice Henshaw (sister-in-law to Nick Linnane and first cousin to David, Tony and Billy, among others involved in the club). Also sincere sympathy to the Dooley family on the death of Paul’s sister Mary McGlone.


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