350-BuccsBUCCANEERS SECONDS enjoyed a comprehensive 39-0 win over Dunmore in their Connacht Junior 1B encounter at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday. Difficult weather and underfoot conditions did not undermine Buccs ambitions as they hit the ground running and were 12-0 to the good inside the opening ten minutes. Thereafter, they kept the scoreboard ticking over on a regular basis as they helped themselves to seven tries in a victory that consolidates their grip on third place in this league.

Buccs had five changes from last week’s Cup exit with Paul Harte and Sean Flynn returning in the centre, Ray O’Reilly at scrumhalf and Kolo Kiripati and Trevor Thompson in the pack. A scorching break by Harte after just two minutes stretched the Dunmore cover and Cian O’Reilly, operating on the left wing, was on hand to take the offload for the opening try. A second try followed quickly with decent interplay in the build-up and Brian Walsh finished off in style for a 10th minute score which David Fagan converted.

At the end of the opening quarter, Buccs mauled impressively following a lineout on the right and, when the ball was moved across the paddock, Harte demonstrated his scoring prowess with a well-taken try which David Fagan converted for a 19-0 advantage. With some help from the elements, the Pirates continued to dominate territory as well as possession but the scoreline remained unchanged at halftime.

Buccaneers were quickly on the offensive again following the change of ends and David Fagan got through for their bonus point try just five minutes into the second period. In an otherwise impressive contribution, the outhalf had no joy with his place-kicking in this half as Buccs notched a quartet of tries. A splendid maul from the visitors’ 22 yielded a try by Sean Byrne after 52 minutes. Conor FitzGibbon made a welcome first appearance of the season five minutes later and made an immediate impact in the lead-up to Rory Grenham’s touchdown. Further sustained pressure by the homesters earned Harte a second try to complete the 39-0 tally.

The conditions turned more foul in the closing stages, particularly when the wind changed direction, and Dunmore battled on grimly to take the bare look off the scoreboard but found the home defence in uncompromising mood. This Buccs outfit is somewhat akin to Connacht in being inconsistent. However, they demonstrated many of their better factors in testing conditions here. Ray O’Reilly was impressively efficient at scrumhalf and Harte always threatened in possession and Walsh also did well in the backline while Liam Doran, Brendan Fagan and Kiripati did an amount of damage in the forwards exchanges.

BUCCANEERS:-  D.Byrne; B.Walsh, P.Harte, S.Flynn, C.O’Reilly; D.Fagan, R.O’Reilly; L.Doran, R.Grenham, T.Thompson; R.Byrne, S.Byrne; N.Flynn, B.Fagan (captain) and K. Kiripati. Replacements:- L.Walsh (for S.Flynn, inj. 39 mins), C.FitzGibbon (for S.Byrne, 57 mins) and J.Lopez (for C.O’Reilly, 70 mins).

Referee:- M.Forrestal (Connacht).       

BUCCANEERS 27 N.U.I.G. 17

BUCCANEERS THIRDS overcame N.U.I.G. 27-17 after a searching Connacht Junior 2 League test at wet and windy Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday. Buccs proved worthy winners but they did not have it all their own way against College but, nevertheless, the Athlone side move up to second place in the league table with a game in hand on leaders Corinthians.

Darren Costello opened the scoring with a home penalty but N.U.I.G. struck back for a try. However, the Pirates finished the half stronger with Mark Tormey winning the chase to a kick ahead to grab Buccs first try which Costello converted. Nicky Hyland then angled in for an excellent try just before the break for a 15-5 advantage at the interval.

Buccs kept the momentum going following the turnaround when Karl Turley created and finished their third try. The Students continued to graft and nabbed a second try before John Shaughnessy finished off a break from inside his own half for a well-taken bonus point try. Costello’s conversion stretched Buccs lead to 27-10 but the hosts dropped their guard and concentration before the final whistle and College got in for a very soft converted try with the final move of the match.

With a number of other games already played on this pitch over the weekend, conditions may not have best suited a light and youthful Buccaneers side. But they stuck manfully to the task on hand and an inexperienced back row trio of Rob Reid, Hyland and Kyle Kennedy can be pleased with their endeavours while halfbacks Costello and Purcell had the nous to direct operations.

BUCCANEERS:-  M.Tormey; G.Fallon, J.Shaughnessy, K.Turley, R.Sweeney; D.Costello, N.Purcell; K.Langdon, M.Lyons, P.Rikadze; V.McGrath, G.Kenny; N.Hyland, R.Reid and K.Kennedy. Replacements:- C.Galvin, O.Flaherty, L.Didebashvili, C.Shanley and B.Donnellan.

Referee:- O.Lydon (Connacht).

FIXTURES

BUCCANEERS U-20s, whose scheduled game away to Sundays Well last weekend was again called off at short notice, have two home games in succession against a pair of their main contenders in the South-West Conference Division 1 League. First up is Garryowen who visit Dubarry Park on Saturday next for what should be an informative contest kicking off at 2.30 p.m. Second placed U.L.Bohemian also travel from Limerick on the following Saturday so Buccs will need to be firing on all cylinders for these two key fixtures.

The Sundays Well saga is frustrating for the midlanders who were going very smoothly pre-Christmas but have had no action for a number of weeks. However, their endeavours to date have been very promising and they currently lie in second place with a game in hand on Cork Constitution. Buccs may not be the biggest squad around but they are a well-balanced and focussed side. Ben Carty, Sean Doyle, Ricky Dixon and Eoghan O’Reilly are talented and precocious backs while Saba Meunargia, Jacob Walshe, Cian Romaine, Sam McCormack and Josh O’Rourke form the backbone of an able and competitive pack. If Buccs are not affected by some ring-rustiness, then they can overcome Garryowen who will surely pose their stiffest test of the season to date.

BUCCANEERS SECONDS are away to Creggs in the Connacht Junior 1B League on Sunday, kick off 2.30 p.m. Creggs embarrassed the Pirates when the sides met early in the season at Dubarry Park and they are just behind third-placed Buccs in the league table with two games in hand so will fancy their chances at The Green. Inconsistency and player availability have again been the Athlone club’s main problems this season but, if they can reproduce the better parts of last week’s fine home win, then they have the ability to record a crucial victory although you can count on Creggs being a tough nut to crack on their own terrain.

BUCCANEERS THIRDS are away to Oughterard in the Connacht Junior 2 League on Sunday, kick off 2.30 p.m. The new club from Co. Galway has already made considerable progress in their brief history. They reached the final of the Ard-Na-Cregg Cup last season but found Buccs in imperious form on that occasion. However, this will give the westerners added incentive to put a dent in the midlanders’ ambitions so a competitive and sustained joust is in prospect here.       

350-JackCartyCONGRATS

Congrats to Jack Carty on an impressive Heineken Cup debut in Connacht’s victory over Zebre. Well done too to Robbie Henshaw who capped his significant contribution to that win with his first Heineken Cup try. Best of luck, guys, away to Saracens in London next weekend. 

CONDOLENCES

Deepest sympathy is extended to Emer Phelan and family on the death of her father Shay. Sincere condolences also to the Worley family on the death of James Worley, Dublin.

IRELAND U-20s RETURN TO ATHLONE THIS MONTH

IRELAND U-20s return to Dubarry Park before the end of this month when they commence a trio of ELECTRIC IRELAND home Six Nations Championship fixtures on Friday, January 31st  when Scotland will be the visitors to Athlone. The game against Wales follows on Friday, February 7th with Italy completing the series on Friday, March 7th.  

Pre-match 3-course dinner with wine can be booked now for each of these highly attractive matches. Cost is €320 per table of 8 persons. This includes reserved seat in the Stand which, at just €40 per head, is excellent value for these prestigious events. Smaller or indeed larger groups can be catered for. Contact our Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711 or [email protected] to book.

Match tickets can be ordered from above also or purchased at The Bounty. Demand is already high for Stand tickets, which are limited.

LOTTO AT €7,000

BUCCANEERS LOTTO JACKPOT stands at €7,000 and the club thanks all who are supporting this weekly draw.

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