MARTIN STAUNTON was an immensely worthy and popular winner when named ‘Buccaneers Senior Player of the Year’ at the club’s Annual Awards event which took place in The Bounty on Friday night. Staunton, who was also nominated last year, was wonderfully consistent and committed again this season and the announcement received a raucous round of applause at the well-attended event.

BUCCANEERS AWARDS PHOTO ALBUM HERE

The Laurencetown native learned his rugby at Ballinasloe RFC before switching to Shannon for three seasons, the first two with their U-20 Academy. He also switched position from No.8 to prop when he was elevated to their senior squad and the following year he transferred to Buccaneers where he has proved a key addition to the Pirates’ front-row. The 26-year-old, who also played with Connacht U-20s, has now enjoyed five seasons with the midlands club. A software design student at Athlone Institute of Technology, he was their ‘Player of the Year’ in 2011 and this season captained them to an All-Ireland Colleges Senior Cup triumph from the No.8 berth. The whole-hearted and effervescent forward is a very popular member of the Buccaneers squad and he is hoping that the Athlone club will go one better next season in their quest for promotion.

The Buccaneers Player of the Year Awards Night returned “home” to The Bounty this year and the big turnout was served up a topclass dinner prior to the formalities which commenced with the presentation of medals to Buccaneers U-20 Cup-winning players. An impressive array of provincial trophies was on view, including the U-20 Cup, Junior Two League, U-19 Plate, U-14 League, U-17 Cup and U-17B League.

Seven Buccaneers players were selected on eight Ireland teams during the season, continuing a very impressive and proud sequence of caps for club players in recent seasons. Chairman of Football Ray Fagan presented specially commissioned pieces of Athlone Crystal glassware, as follows:-

Ireland Senior                                     ROBBIE HENSHAW

Ireland U-20 & U-19                         RORY MOLONEY

Ireland U-20                                        JACOB WALSHE

Ireland Womens Elite Sevens         NIAMH Ni DHROMA

Ireland U-19                                        CIAN ROMAINE

Ireland U-18 Clubs                            COLIN KENNY

Ireland U-18 Schools                         CONOR KENNY

The Buccaneers Player of the Year Awards from U-19 up to Senior then followed. The winner was selected from three worthy nominees in each team grade and Athlone Crystal trophies were presented by club President Frank Sheeran and Richie Hickey, representing AUDI ATHLONE, Buccaneers title sponsors. The winners were:-

Senior                                    MARTIN STAUNTON

U-20                                       CONOR McGRATH

Womens                                AISLINN KELLEHER

Seconds                                 NIALL FLYNN

Thirds                                   MARTIN LYONS

U-19                                       CONOR MORRISSEY

JOINT WINNERS OF BUCCANEERS CLUBPERSON OF THE YEAR

The final presentation of the night was The Michael Hanley Memorial Perpetual Cup to the Buccaneers Clubperson of the Year. Club President Frank Sheeran, in making the announcement, stated that the club was “breaking with tradition in that we have joint winners this year”    ..…

Barry Reid and Senan Downes.

Barry has been involved in the rugby club since the late 1970’s being “part of a group of people who gave so generously of their time in the old clubhouse”. He was “part of the committee who set up and ran youth discos in conjunction with Athlone Gardai and the Athlone Drugs Awareness Group” for a decade or thereabouts.” In 2006 Reid was part of the organising group that brought U-20 International rugby to Athlone” and has been a key component in running these prestigious fixtures since then.

Senan’s first involvement with the club was as a player in 1966. A noted Gaelic footballer with Clare who was also a regular with the Kerry/Cork dominated Munster team at a time when the Railway Cup was an important competition, Downes played with Athlone RFC for nigh on 20 seasons. He was on the Senior XV that won the Connacht Cup and League double in 1977 and also tasted success with the Thirds when winning the 1987 Ard-Na-Cregg Cup. He was Fixtures Secretary for some years and Chairman of Football and was part of the Pitches Sub-Committee that developed the impressive grounds here today. Senan was also “part of the organising committee that brought regular International rugby to Dubarry Park. The fact that the IRFU has asked Buccaneers RFC to run this series on their behalf is testament to the forward planning, preparation and logistical skills” of Senan and his team of volunteers in which Barry is a vital cog.

“On  behalf of the club” Frank thanked “Senan and Barry for their dedication and commitment over many decades” and they were well deserving of being joint winners of the ‘Buccaneers Clubperson of the Year’ accolade. The magnificent trophy was then presented by Michael Hanley Junior and his mother Eileen to Senan and Barry, who duly received a merited and sustained standing ovation.

A.G.M.

The Annual General Meeting of Buccaneers Rugby Football Club takes place in The Bounty on this Friday, May 23rd, beginning at 8 p.m. Please attend punctually.

TAG RUGBY SUMMER LEAGUE KICKS OFF

The annual TAG RUGBY SUMMER LEAGUE gets under way on this Thursday evening, May 22nd, with induction and registration at Dubarry Park from 7 p.m. This fast-growing fun sport is suitable for all ages and abilities, and will run on Thursdays for ten weeks. Mixed teams participate in this 7-a-side tournament and 3 female players from the squad of  up to 13 players must be on the pitch at any one time. Rolling substitutions are allowed — and will be needed during matches which are 40 minutes’ duration! No rugby playing experience is necessary and only 2 AIL male players permitted per team.

There will be two leagues, one competitive and the other for the more social teams. Entry fee is €300 per squad which equates to less than €2 per squad member per match. And, please note, the fun and action does not stop at the final whistle as there will be social events on match nights while The Bounty crew have an enticing ‘Burger & Beer offer’ for only €5.

So come along, have fun, keep fit and get to know more about Buccs. Contact Yvonne 0860488090, Lorna 0868794465 or Billy 0878196476 to enter or for further information. You can also check out the club’s website www.buccaneersrfc.com 

7s in the city  — Womens Sevens

Ireland’s first Womens only Sevens tournament “7s in the city” takes place at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday week May 31st with the action getting under way at 1 p.m. Smith’s Supervalu and Michael Moore Car Sales are the main sponsors. The Womens Open event has €2,000 prize-fund with €1,000 up for grabs in the Womens Junior competition. All players will receive a ‘goody bag’ and lunch is included in the registration fee. A U-18’s Sevens is also planned, subject to sufficient entries. For further information or to book, contact Claire 0879401336, Mele 0863462449 or Sandra 0870925504 or email [email protected].  Details are also on www.buccaneersrfc.com      

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