TOUGH OPENER FOR BUCCS IN BELFAST

 

RUGBY with MICHAEL SILKE

 

 

BUCCANEERS commence this season’s Ulster Bank League with a tough opener away to Belfast Harlequins in Deramore Park, Belfast, on Saturday when this Division 1B tie has a 2.30 p.m. kick off.  Harlequins have been something of a sleeping giant in recent seasons but seem to have retained most of their key personnel for the forthcoming campaign. They will prove a hard nut to crack on their own compact grounds so it is imperative that Buccs hit the ground running on Saturday.

Quins, captained by front rower Neil Simpson this term, are mid-table in the Ulster League. They have played half a dozen fixtures to date with a 50/50 success ratio, including a friendly win away to Ballynahinch last Saturday. Young backs Michael Allen, Michael Heaney and Stuart Olding have seen action with Ulster’s first XV as have forwards Ricky Lutton, Niall Annett and Neil McComb. Quite how many of these, if any, will be available to the northerners on Saturday is not certain but the towering McComb is a formidable force at lock.

Buccs form has been inconsistent too but their side has been hampered by enforced changes to date. Hopefully, a more settled squad will feature at Deramore Park where captain Alex Hayman will look to Garreth Halligan, Billy Henshaw, Jack Carty and Daniel Qualter for leadership. Luke Satchwell, Martin Staunton, James Tormey and Conor Kindregan will be keen to make impacts in the forwards tussles. Here Peter Reilly, Shane Casey, David Heffernan, Diarmuid Higgins and Brian Teape will be keen to nail down regular berths in a pack that will be missing last season’s skipper Kolo Kiripati through injury. Injuries also rule out exciting backs Conor Finn and Shane Layden but Callum Boland and Mark Dolan are fit again while newcomers Mark Abraham, Steve Macauley and Ger O’Connor could feature in the backline.

If Buccs are close to full strength and play with cohesion and consistency, then they can make a positive start to this season’s league campaign. It’s never easy away to Quins but, if Buccs are alert, disciplined and enterprising, then the Pirates can make a successful raid up north.

BUCCANEERS WOMENS team faces Co. Carlow / I.T.Carlow in the third series of fixtures in the All-Ireland League which takes place in Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday afternoon, kick off 1 p.m. Carlow will provide formidable and experienced opposition but the Buccs girls will be greatly boosted by their fine win at Cill Dara. Hopefully, they will have some more regulars available for consideration on Sunday but, whether they are or not, one can count on this team to give it their all to the very end.

BUCCANEERS SECONDS, who also tasted victory last weekend, travel west to Dunmore on Sunday where the action gets under way at The Fairgreen at 2.30 p.m. This Buccs squad is youthful but has much potential. If they play to their collective strengths, they can forge an away win.        

 

MALONE PRE-MATCH DINNER

BUCCANEERS first home game in the Ulster Bank League takes place on Saturday week, October 5th, when Malone visit Dubarry Park for a floodlit match. This Division 1B match kicks off at 7.30 p.m. and will be preceded by a pre-match function in The Bounty. 3-course dinner including wine, seat in the stand and complimentary matchday programme are all included for just €30 per head. Tables of 8 persons (or indeed larger or smaller groups) can be catered for. Please contact Geraldine at 086-1732711 to book. Four pre-match events including this fixture are planned for the AIL with dinners also taking place for the visit of Shannon on Saturday, November 2nd, Corinthians on Friday, March 14th (floodlit game) and U.L. Bohemian on Saturday, April 12th

 

LANDMARK WIN FOR BUCCS WOMENS TEAM

CILL DARA 13  BUCCANEERS 36

A good start put Buccaneers on their way to securing a first ever victory in the Womens All-Ireland League when they defeated Cill Dara 36-13 at Dunmurray, Kildare, on Sunday. Niamh Ni Dhroma blazed through for the opening try after just 42 seconds to settle the Pirates on a sun scorched afternoon at the impressive Cill Dara venue that boasts four fine pitches. This Division 2 Central fixture took place on a perfect surface with the mainly diagonal breeze favouring the hosts in the opening period.

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Ni Dhroma returned from camp with the Ireland Elite Sevens in place of the injured Colette McSpadden at outhalf with Blaithnaid Casserly and Emma O’Neill making promising debuts in the pack.  Aislinn Kelleher returned to her more familiar position in the three-quarter line where she partnered Anne Marie Sleator at centre as Buccs travelled with just one substitute. Cill Dara were having their first outing in this year’s AIL and, like the visitors, were missing some regulars.

Ni Dhroma’s lightning quick try from deep, which she also converted, helped settle the Athlone side and they generally looked the more likely to score in the first half. The standoff scored a near replica try after 18 minutes, carving through the home defence following a scrum on halfway. Her conversion attempt on this occasion rebounded wide off an upright but Buccs were worthy of their 12-0 lead at the end of the opening quarter.

Aine Donnelly opened Cill Dara’s account with a 22nd minute penalty but, just three minutes later, Kelleher finished off good interplay for a try on the left. Buccs led 17-3 at halftime but Cill Dara had the better of the exchanges in the third quarter, outhalf Donnelly further reducing their arrears with a 52nd minute penalty. The next score would prove crucial and it was Buccaneers who grabbed it five minutes later. The referee allowed advantage after the busy Kelleher was obstructed and Niamh Gough calmly played the whistle to dart down the left flank for a coolly taken try. Ni Dhroma’s conversion didn’t curl sufficiently.

bucswomens3350Cill Dara’s improved second half showing finally reaped reward when, after Aoife Corry had held out Donnelly, Michelle Miley breached the Buccs rearguard for a 66th minute try. Donnelly, whose line and place-kicking was impressive, duly converted to narrow the margin to 22-13. Seven minutes later, Ni Dhroma completed a hat-trick when, after the nifty Michelle Reynolds had made decent ground down the right to stretch the home cover, the ball was moved infield where the pacey skipper skinned Cill Dara for a try she was unable to convert.

She was then impeded late in the game after chipping over the cover and, following this penalty, Buccs kept play alive before Ni Dhroma scooted through for her fourth try. She also converted to bring her points tally to 26. She was undoubtedly the star performer despite a tendancy to sometimes take on too much. Regular hooker Sleator looked comfortable in the centre while Reynolds and Sandra Griffin also did well in the backline. Natasha Egan put in a serious shift in the forwards battle where rookies Casserly and substitute Sharon Walsh were not found wanting. Donnelly was Cill Dara’s standout contributor.

CILL DARA:-  N.Carroll; L.Byrne, S.Pickford, S.Duignan, A.Quill; A.Donnelly, K.Scully; C.O’Toole, M.Miley, T.Harrington; A.Dempsey, K.Mahony; A.Dooley, M.O’Reilly and M.Walsh. Replacements used:- S.Nolan, E.Kelly and C.Dowling.

BUCCANEERS:-  M.Reynolds; N. Gough, A.Kelleher, A.M.Sleator, A.Corry; N.Ni Dhroma (captain), S.Griffin; B.Casserly, C.Mannion. E.Conlon; L.Stuart-Trainor, N.Egan; E.O’Neill, A.Kemmy and E.Phelan. Replacements:- S.Kelly (for O’Neill), O’Neill (for Stuart-Trainor) and O’Neill (for Griffin, temporary).             

 

BUCCANEERS 25  CORRIB 5

BUCCANEERS SECONDS recorded a decent 25-5 Connacht Junior 1B League victory over Corrib at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday night.

This match proved a lively affair in which Buccs scored three tries and, possibly, should have secured a bonus point try too. Sean Byrne, Mark Tormey and Glen Costello grabbed the tries, two of which David Fagan converted. The outhalf, who effectively steered a fairly youthful side including three sets of brothers, also landed a pair of penalties. There is plenty of promise in this squad that, with application on the training paddock and on matchday, can be fulfilled.

BUCCANEERS:-  G.Costello; D.Byrne, P.Maxwell, S.Flynn, M.Tormey; D.Fagan, D.Griffiths (captain); L.Doran, R.Grenham, T.Thompson; S.Byrne, R.Byrne; N.Flynn, B.Fagan and A.Hughes. Replacements used:- K.Naughton, G.Fallon, K.Grehan and G.Walsh.  

 

BUCCANEERS 33  NAAS 24

BUCCANEERS U-20s had their first run out of the season when they overcame Naas 33-24 in a friendly at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday. Buccs have a young squad at this grade but they looked the better outfit for long spells in this encounter played in unseasonably warm sunshine.

Buccs endeavoured to put width on the ball in a game of contrasting styles. They did this effectively until they tired in the latter stages of the game, when Naas (who preferred to play a tighter brand of rugby) capitalised to snatch two late tries. All in all, it was a promising showing with Eoghan O’Reilly and Harry Hughes the most prominent contributors. Hughes showed his customary finishing qualities in notching a brace of tries with Sean Doyle and Sean Dempsey also touching down.

With the South-West Conference League kicking off on Saturday week, the U-20s have special training sessions on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m. when all players including the Connacht representatives will be expected to attend.

BUCCANEERS:-  E.O’Reilly; B.Gilligan, C.Langan, T.Finucane, H.Hughes; S.Dempsey, S.McBrearty; P.McLoughlin, C.McGrath, S.Gallagher; C.Hennessy, C.Morrissey; D.Kiely, D.Small and P.Hewitt. Replacements used:- P.Connaughton, T.Hynes, R.Ashe, S.Doyle and C.McMickan.

 

UNDERAGE & GIRLS COACHING

Underage Coaching for Youths and Minis takes place on Saturday mornings from 11 a.m. For those unable to attend the recent Family Day, Registration Forms can be completed and Membership Subscriptions paid on Saturday mornings.

Promising numbers have been attending training for U-15 and U-18 girls on Wednesdays and these sessions continue at 7 p.m. New players welcome in both Girls and Underage sections.

 

CONDOLENCES

Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of the late Terence Hynes, Coosan

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Applications open for IRFU Club Continuity Fund