BUCCANEERS SECONDS returned to winning ways in the Connacht Junior 1B League when overcoming their Monivea counterparts 18-11 at the Castle Grounds, Monivea, on Sunday.  In a game played in very good conditions, Buccs (boosted by the welcome returns after long absences of Kolo Kiripati and Paul Harte) were worthy winners over the second-placed hosts.  

Overall, the Athlone club’s lineup had a better balance while the pack again did very well to hold the upper hand. The wily Kiripati made some strong surges, the Byrne brothers fared well in the second row while Niall Flynn continues to blossom in the back row where Lorcan Walsh made a notable contribution following his introduction. Sean Doyle did very well in the pivotal standoff berth with Dominic Griffiths also putting in a solid shift in the centre but the backline should be capable of more on the back of a decent supply of ball from the pack. Some of the referee’s interpretations of the laws frustrated both sides while David Fagan unwisely incurred the official’s wrath and thus spent ten minutes in the sin bin.

Buccs led 13-6 at half-time, primarily due to Sean Byrne’s 22nd minute try when he broke through from the back of a lineout. Kiripati rumbled through for the second try 14 minutes into the second half. Doyle compiled the Pirates other points from a brace of penalties but Buccs should be putting more points on the board if they made better use of possession.

BUCCANEERS:-  D.Fagan; R.Reilly, D.Griffiths (captain), P.Harte, G.Fallon; S.Doyle, N.Purcell; L.Doran, R.Grenham, T.Thompson; R.Byrne, S.Byrne; N.Flynn, A.Hughes and K.Kiripati. Replacements:- L.Walshe, K.O’Shea, J.Lopez and N.Hyland.




BUCCANEERS suffered a 40-17 defeat at the hands and feet of Navan when the sides met in the Womens All-Ireland League Division 2 Central at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday. Apart from a diagonal breeze and a couple of light showers, conditions were nigh on perfect for this game in which Buccs were again forced to rejig their stretched resources.

Navan had first use of the elements and an early try by Nour Khairy settled the visitors. The Meath girls also had an ace in Jennie Finlay who scored no less than five tries while Lisa Keenan was a top notch place-kicker, missing just one conversion as she contributed ten points. Missing a spine of some of their better players from last season, Buccs’ cause was not helped by further absentees through injury to Elaine Conlon and Aislinn Kelleher. Neccessity thus means some players operating out of position to accommodate less experienced girls and it is a tough learning curve playing at a higher level than in Connacht in the team’s first two seasons.

Nevertheless, some things you can be sure of from this squad include spirit and never giving up. Although trailing 0-40 at the three-quarters stage, they finally gathered some momentum and regained pride with a splendid final quarter in which they scored three tries without reply. A smartly-tapped penalty led to Tina Kiernan notching their opening try. This rejuvenated the homesters and, after Emer Phelan and Natasha Egan both made strong carries, Michelle Reynolds was up in support to grab a try which Colette McSpadden converted. The match was now transformed at this stage and Buccs came forward in waves with Egan again and Kiernan making solid ground before rookie Reynolds pounced for her second and Buccs third try in the left corner.

Unfortunately, it was too little too late other than to restore pride and confidence. Yet, with more self-belief and improved handling from Buccs this could have been a much closer affair, the class of Finlay (who now joins Buccs Niamh Ni Dhroma in the Ireland Sevens panel) being the main difference between the sides. The defiant Lorna Stuart-Trainor, Phelan and substitute Katie Bradley fared best in the home pack while Sandra Griffin, Reynolds and McSpadden made the most impact in the backs unit.

BUCCANEERS:-  M.Reynolds; A.Corry, T.Kiernan, A.M.Sleator, N.Gough; C.McSpadden, S.Griffin; T.Finnerty, C.Mannion, B.Casserly; N.Egan, L.Stuart-Trainor; E.O’Neill, A.Kemmy and E.Phelan. Replacements used:- H.Hannatt, K.Bradley, A.Taaffe, E.Finn and A.Kelleher.   


REFEREE:-  D.Connolly (Connacht).




BUCCANEERS will be hoping to build on the momentum of their two opening round victories when the Ulster Bank League returns to action following the past couple of Heineken Cup weekends. The midlanders face Dublin University in a Division 1B contest that will be played at Sydney Parade, Dublin, on Saturday, kick off 2.30 p.m.

Dublin University have lost their two opening fixtures, at home to Corinthians and away to Dungannon. They also lost against Oxford University last weekend but, by all accounts, should have won this friendly which will have added to their sharpness. As College teams do, they have lost some players from last season including their half-back duo but can still call on centres Paddy Lavelle and Ariel Robles as well as flying wing Niyi Adeolukan in their backline. A competitive and mobile back row trio of Brian du Toit, Pierce Dargan and Jack Dilger remain from last year as do the Kellys, Martin at lock and Jack in the front row. Consequently, Trinity will prove dangerous adversaries especially as, after just missing out on a promotion play-off berth last year, they will be keen to get away from their current position at the bottom of the Division 1B table.

Meanwhile, Buccs have made a promising start to their campaign with victories over two Belfast clubs, Harlequins away and then home to Malone.  There has been some bright play by the Pirates but spells when focus and application dropped in both those wins. That must be eliminated on Saturday, otherwise the Students could make hay. The exciting Paul Harte has returned after a sojourn in Australia while last season’s skipper Kolo Kiripati made a comeback with the Seconds last weekend after a lengthy injury lay-off. These two quality players will certainly add to coach Tony Dolan’s options for the trip to the capital.

However, wholesale changes are unlikely and Danny Qualter, Martin Staunton and Luke Satchwell could be the key men in the pack. Billy Henshaw and Mark Dolan have been very consistent to date while Eoghan O’Reilly brings an effervescence to the backline where either Carty (Jack or Ben) can be counted on at outhalf. If Buccs reproduce the form of the opening rounds, they can take the spoils.

Buccaneers supporters going to this match are reminded that College Park is undergoing major work at present and thus is not available to Dublin University, who are using Monkstown Rugby Club’s pitch at Sydney Parade this season.     


BUCCANEERS THIRDS travel to Tuam on Sunday when they will be bidding to maintain their winning start to this season’s Connacht J2 League. This bank holiday fixture has a 2.30 p.m. kick off. Their backroom team is being bolstered and, with improved organisation, they are capable of taking the spoils, especially if new captain Darren Costello displays the form and leadership he is capable of. Paata Rikadze, Keith Grehan and Niall Carr are decent forwards who can forge a match-winning supply of possession for Nick Purcell, Sean Flynn, Brian Walsh and company.



BUCCANEERS WOMENS TEAM may have no fixture this bank holiday weekend but, nonetheless, they will be busy hosting a HALLOWEEN FANCY DRESS event in The Bounty on this Sunday night, October 27th. The theme for the occasion is SUPERHEROES & VILLAINS and there will be a prize for the best costume as well as spot prizes on the night. The entertainment, including DJ Aidan Higgins, gets under way at 8 p.m. and cover charge is a mere €10. The Womens team play with passion on the pitch and, undoubtedly, they will put their collective shoulders to ensure the enjoyment and success of this Halloween event! So, folks, let’s see a big turnout for this social occasion in the club.


BUCCANEERS LOTTO JACKPOT is now a substantial €6,200. The next draw takes place in The Bounty on Saturday night so here’s looking for your continued support.


The IRFU will subsidise a bus to the forthcoming Ireland v Samoa autumn international at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, November 9th, provided at least 45 persons (who are going to the match!) travel on the bus. Ticket holders wishing to avail of this bus should contact our Administrator Geraldine at 086-1732711 (during the club’s office hours Monday/Friday 9.30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) by next Tuesday.  


Congratulations to Cian and Leigh Moran on the birth of a baby girl Robyn. Congrats too to Cian’s sister Elena and husband Eddie on the arrival of their first child.


Deepest sympathy is extended to Marcus Madden and family on the recent death of his grandmother Brenda Madden.


Connacht Emerging Talent squad named for game against Leinster North Midlands