CORINTHIANS proved too strong for a young, inexperienced Buccaneers squad who were defeated 36-20 after a lively opening round of the Connacht Senior League at Corinthian Park, Clounacauneen, on Saturday. Buccs started with only a handful of regulars in this their first game of the season and, whilst Corinthians were missing some personnel too, the hosts possessed superior strength, bulk and teamwork for a game Pirates outfit.


The first half was a relatively even affair with Buccs twice leading before Corinthians held a slim 10-6 advantage at the break. Mark Abraham, on his debut for the midlanders, opened the scoring with a penalty after just 4 minutes while Ivan Venter was off-target with a home penalty six minutes later. A solid Corinthians maul down the left on 19 minutes gained decent territory before the ball was moved crossfield where Darin Classens powered through for a home try. Garrett Halligan intercepted seven minutes later to make inroads but lacked support. However, Buccs forced a penalty which Abraham slotted over to regain the lead. But just after the half-hour mark, a Buccs lineout on the left inside their own 22 went awry and Corinthians punished the visitors when Greg Flaherty scampered in on the opposite flank for a try and the winger knocked on shortly afterwards when again  threatening the Buccs goal line.

The decisive spell of this contest was the ten minutes period after the change of ends when both home wingers doubled their try tally. In between Luke Satchwell made a very promising break before the hosts regained possession close to their line. Corinthians hit the visitors with a sucker punch when Venter read Alex Hayman’s intentions and intercepted his pass to race clear for a gift try at the three-quarters stage. David Panther, now entrusted with the kicking duties, converted the latter two tries to stretch Corinthians advantage to 29-6.

Buccaneers continued to battle and new captain Hayman made a typical surging break that caused the homesters to infringe on 67 minutes. Reuben Pepper-Hobbs promptly tapped the penalty to squeeze in for a try. Six minutes later, Paul Maxwell ignored an overlap and was then held up just short of the home line when a try should have accrued. But the flanker soon made amends as Buccs now applied increasing pressure that resulted in James Donnelly being sin-binned for persistent infringing and Maxwell smartly tapped the penalty to set up a try by Martin Staunton. Abraham, operating out of position at standoff, converted both Buccs tries to tighten the arrears to 29-20.

However, Corinthians had the final say when Donnacha Phelan finished off a counter attack for a try on the left and Panther added a fine conversion with the last kick of the match to complete the bonus point 36-20 victory for Corinthians.

CORINTHIANS:- D.Panther; D.Classens, C.Murphy, P.Noone, G.Flaherty; I.Venter, D.Keogh; M.Byrne, A.Walsh, T.Tolan; G.Warde, D.Phelan; C.Rafferty, S.Gerrity (captain) and J.Donnelly. Replacements:- M.Murphy (for Keogh, inj. 36 mins), T.Stapleton (for Walsh, 50 mins), A.Glynn (for Tolan, 54 mins), C.Hegarty (for Classens, 54 mins) and F.Moyles.

BUCCANEERS:- R.Pepper-Hobbs; M.Tormey, D.Fagan, A.Hayman (captain), H.Hughes; M.Abraham, D.Griffith; B.Teape, G.Halligan, L.Doran; J.Tormey, S.Byrne; R.Enraght-Moony, P.Maxwell and S.Casey. Replacements:- M.Staunton (for Doran, 28 mins), D.Byrne (for M.Tormey, 28 mins), L.Satchwell (for Maxwell, 28 mins), E.O’Brien (for Halligan, h/t), P.Maxwell (for Enraght-Moony, 53 mins), M.Tormey (for Fagan, 57 mins) and M.Dolan.




Alex Hayman08-13 350Current Buccaneers Senior Player of the Year Alex Hayman has been appointed club captain this season. A solid centre with a keen eye for an opening, Hayman was also the club’s  Senior Player of the Year winner in 2007/8. Although a Scot, he has represented England at two levels — Students and Universities! “Haggy” has, arguably, been Buccs most consistent player since he joined in 2006 and he enjoyed a particularly prolific campaign last year. Off the field, Alex contributes to the club too, notably his involvement in organising the Athlone Rugby Sevens (AR7s). Well respected by his teammates and popular with supporters, Hayman is a worthy choice as captain. Best of luck on your new role, Alex. 



BUCCANEERS have their first home match of the season when they square up to Galwegians in round two of the Connacht Senior League at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday; kick off 2.30 p.m. Like the Pirates, Wegians had many new faces in their squad that travelled to Sligo last weekend where they forged a bonus point 27-5 victory. Their pack, including seasoned campaigners Jarlath Naughton, Conor Muldoon, Brian MacLearn and Eoin Rooney, dominated throughout. This gave outhalf Ross Shaughnessy a decent platform to control the play with further impressive contributions from centre Jerome Harrimate and winger Paul Power.

Buccs will be hopeful of having some of their more experienced players available for this contest while Martin Staunton and Luke Satchwell will have benefited from last week’s outing as they, among others, have only just resumed training. Mark Dolan should be recovered from injury and it’s hoped that Ruairi Byrne and Billy Henshaw will return too for this key clash.   



The numbers drawn in Buccaneers Lotto week ending August 10th were 4, 10, 23 & 28. Numbers drawn weekend August 17th were 9, 11, 22 & 28. The Jackpot was not won so now stands at €5,600.



Well done to Bealnamulla Ladies Soccer squad, particularly Emma Treanor, Sinead Taylor and Claire Raftery, on completing a splendid Galway League and Cup double.






Gallery: University of Galway hosts Kay Bowen Cup