Buccaneers got back to winning ways in the u 20 South – Western Conference  as they once again travelled to Cork to face a highly fancied and undefeated Cork Constitution side. Buccs made a few changes to the team that lost narrowly to UCC last time out, Jacob Walshe returned in the pack replacing the injured Saba Meunargia with Robert Ashe and Thomas Finucane replacing Ricky Dixon and Harry Hughes in the backline.

A strong cross field breeze and a firm pitch aided the visiting side in the opening half. Buccs pack was well up to the challenge posed by the Con forwards as they regularly challenged the visiting defence in the opening minutes. It took The Pirates front row trio of Walshe and the two Conors — McGrath and Morrissey – a few scrums to come to terms with the power of the Con pack, as the half wore on Buccs started to dominate the front row exchanges regularly driving the Con pack backwards.

The opening quarter was a tense affair with both sides testing each other out, the opening score of the contest came in 20th minute when Buccs won a penalty on touchline just outside the Con 22, Ben Carty dually kicked a penalty to give Buccs a 3-0 advantage. The pirates began to control the game from this point, continually putting the Con defence under pressure and should have been further ahead only for two penalty attempts to sail wide of the uprights. Con got themselves back in the game, when a promising move by the Buccs backline broke down in midfield with a miss communication ended with the ball been spilled when it looked like Buccs were going in for a score, Con scrum half Ryan Foley scooped up the loose ball and sprinted the length of the pitch to score just left of the posts, Tomas Quinlan missed the very kickable conversion, this put the home side 5-3 ahead after 28 minutes. Buccs responded well and just before half time they were awarded a penalty in front of the post which Carty converted to put the pirates ahead at the interval.

Cork Constitution began the second period with an intense vigour, confining Buccs inside the own 22, the visiting defence held up well and after eight minutes of constant pressure Con got there rewards, a penalty to the right of the posts which Quinlan converted bringing the score to 8-6 in favour of the home side after 48 minutes. Quinlan also missed two other penalty attempts in this period of dominance for the Cork side. Buccs found a renewed vigour after this score and began to reassert their physical dominance, a 55th minute penalty was kicked to corner and the ensuing lineout was driven over with Sam McCormack getting the touch down, Carty converted moving the pirates into a 13-8 lead.

Buccs  were beginning  to play the style of rugby that has seen them excel to date, Con earned a penalty in the 55th minute as the visiting side was playing  an expansive game in the own half and got isolated, Quinlan converted bringing it back to a two point game. Buccs were never in trouble from this point on continually dominating the physical encounters and with too much skill and pace in the backline the Con defence could not withstand the pressure, after a period of sustained pressure Buccs got over for a score under the posts, a well executed team try where everyone was involved and 20 phases later, Eoghan O’Reilly found a gap in the home defence, Carty converted moving the visiting side into a 20-11 lead with 12 minutes remaining. This score seemed to rally Con as they produced their best passage of play in the dying moments moving the ball from their own 22 to inside Buccs 22, where they earned a penalty, quick thinking by Ryan Foley put Aidan Slattery through for a try in the corner, Quinlan missed the conversion.  Buccs will not be happy with their defence as it was the only time in the game that it was not organised. Buccs closed the game out in the remaining minutes, a well deserved 20-16 victory.  This all round team performance will give this youthful side confidence going into the All Ireland series and if they can stay injury free and training levels improve they should have a good chance at progressing, the front row trio of Walshe, Morrissey, McGrath excelled throughout. Evan Galvin, at 8, was another forward to do well while Carty was marshaled the backline in which Eoghan O’Reilly excelled.

Cork Con Team:

C.Cunningham; C.McAuliffe, S.Keating, L.O’Connell, A.Dorgan; T.Quinlan, R.Foley; M.McTighe, A.Slattery, M.O’Sullivan; M.Coughlan, J.Murphy; D.Huley, S.Dwyer, B.Moore. Replacements: S.Galvin, R.Flanagan, J.Murray, R.O’Halloran, M.O’Callaghan, D.O’Sullivan, K.Clancy.

Buccaneers Team:

E.O’Reilly; B.Gilligan, S.Doyle, S.Dempsey, T.Finucane; B.Carty, R.Ashe; C.McGrath, C.Morrissey, J.Walsh; J.O’Rourke, C.Romaine; R.Mooney, S. McCormack, E.Galvin. Replacements: T.Hynes, P.McLoughlin, D.Kiely, R.Dixon, B.Goode, C.Langan, H.Hughes

Referee:B.Brunt MAR.


BUCCANEERS SECONDS were also involved in a top of table clash away to old rivals Galwegians in the Connacht Junior 1B League at Crowley Park on Sunday.   This was a deciding match in Buccs promotion to the Junior 1 League.  Unfortunately Buccs came away defeated.


BUCCANEERS 25 Claremorris 10

Buccaneers and Claremorris finally squared off in their Connacht Junior U-13 Cup, preliminary round, previous attempts falling victim to the weather. Played in near perfect conditions at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday, Buccaneers got their cup campaign off to a winning start.

Starting with a slight breeze at their backs, Buccs set about their task with great gusto and urgency. Showing great improvements in the set piece play the Athlone outfit were able to maintain possession and territory which led to a try for Julian Devaney after 5 minutes. Putting some good phases, Buccs work the opposition from touchline to touchline, Devaney spotted an opportunity to pick form the base of a ruck and powered over out wide to the left corner, Michael Lynch unlucky not to convert.

Buccs continued in this fashion and were unlucky not to add to their tally sooner but for some poor decision making with overlaps going a begging on both flanks. On 15 minutes Michael Byrne pick from the back of a scrum and ghosted in from 20 metre out, scoring wide on the left, Lynch’s conversion attempt falling short. Just before half Time Darragh Murray hared in for a try this time on the far flank after some great ground made by Martin Fallon. This left the sides 15-0 on the change of ends.

This apparently comfortable margin allowed Buccs make a number of substitutions, however 5 mins into the second period Claremorris powered in for an unconverted try. Buoyed by this Claremorris grew in confidence and a number of their strong runners were eating up the yards before being hauled to ground. Claremorris were also creating turnover at the breakdown by some excellent counterrucking a recurring issue for this Buccs team. Just as Claremorris were in the midst of their purple patch Buccs hit back with a sucker punch try expertly finished by substitute winger Daniel Westman. This allowed Buccs the breathing space to empty their bench. However Calremorris were far from done and scored a fine try on 50 minutes, Buccs guilty of missing too many first up tackles. Buccs weren’t done yet either and the score of the match was a fantastic solo effort by outhalf Darragh Murray who waltz in for a try from deep within in his own half leaving a trail of would be tacklers in his wake, to cap off an excellent display by the young Brideswell man. His scored completed the winning margin of 25-10.

The forwards worked exceptionally hard throughout and laid the foundation for this fine win. Fallon is back to his barnstorming best with two back to back top notch performances and was a constant menace at the breakdown. He was ably assisted by captain Lynch, Evan Gallagher, Billy Dalton and Devaney, who’s pick and goes are becoming a trademark. In the backs Byrne and Murray are a formidable half back pairing who have a great eye for a gap and huge work rate. It was particularly pleasing to note the positive contributions of all substitutions when they joined the fray, in particular Jessie Middleton, Westman and new man Jack Buckley.

Buccs reward for this victory is an away first round match against Ballina, surely Buccs toughest test to date. However if Buccs can increase their aggression at the breakdown, stop the big baller carriers and exploit the space they are well capable of pushing Ballina all the way. Claremorris to their credit battle right to the bitter end and having travelled with the bare minimum deserve huge praise. It was particularly satisfying that the young Mayo men had an opportunity to play on the main pitch at Dubarry Park, the hallowed ground that has seen many a current Irish international grace it’s turf. Claremorris relished the experience taking team photos with the stand in the background. They headed back to the gaelic stronghold with hopes of emulating their heroes in the future. A good advertisement for rugby out west.

Eabhan Slattery, Jack Martin, Conor Larkin, Leo MacFarlane, Diarmuid McLoughlin,  Darragh Murray,Michael Byrne, Ethan Connolly, Dean Buckley, Evan Gallagher, Billy Dalton, Martin Fallon, Julian Devaney, Jack Scouler and Michael Lynch(captain), Replacements:-, Shane Green,  Fergus O’Sullivan, Vicente Gaetani, Scott Ward, Fergus O’Sullivan, Jack Buckley, Jesse Middleton, Daniel Westman





BUCCANEERS take on Shannon in a much-anticipated Ulster Bank League Division 1B match at Coonagh on Saturday, kick off 2.30 p.m. After flirting with relegation for a couple of seasons, Shannon the all-time kingpins of All-Ireland League rugby lost a relegation/promotion playoff to UCD that consigned them to Division 1B this season. They struggled early on in their new surroundings but steadied their form on the back of three successive victories pre-Christmas. They lie twelve points and two places behind Buccaneers but, remarkably, have had no AIL match in the New Year and so have three games in hand!


Tadhg Bennett’s influence for the Limerick side must be curbed and Tadhg Leader and Richie Mullane are other backs with decent pedigree while Luke O’Dea, if fit, can be a match-winner. Keith White and John Shine are hardy forwards in a useful pack that will test the Pirates’ resolve.

In the first half of the current season, Buccaneers recorded a first ever AIL victory over Shannon, winning 25-22 in an exciting contest at Dubarry Park. Exchanges and scores ebbed and flowed and Buccs showed tremendous character and belief to twice come from behind to fashion a famous win. The midlanders were in more flamboyant mood and form then but their recent win over Dublin University, in which they again battled to the very end, will have restored confidence and desire. This is a key game for the Athlone outfit but if all the players are focussed and committed, then they can claim another notable win — but they will have to roll up their collective sleeves from start to finish and be pragmatic and disciplined throughout.

At time of writing, Buccaneers Seconds fixture is not confirmed but the Monivea game could be rescheduled for Athlone or possibly a trip away to Loughrea in the Connacht Junior 1B League on Sunday. The Thirds are on the road west on Sunday all the way to Clifden to tackle Connemara in the Connacht J2 League. 2.30 p.m. kick offs for both matches.


IRELAND U-20s should return to winning ways at Dubarry Park on Friday week, March 7th, when they square up to Italy in the RBS Junior Six Nations championship. This ELECTRIC IRELAND match has a 7 p.m. start. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Buccaneers RFC or in The Bounty. Bookings can also be made via our Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711 or by email to [email protected]

Pre-match tables can be booked for this fixture too by contacting Geraldine as above. Cost is only €40 per person for a three-course dinner plus wine and a reserved seat in the Stand. Small or large groups catered for. It’s really good value so come along early and savour the atmosphere and enjoy the pyrotechnics!


BUCCANEERS host second-placed Corinthians in the Ulster Bank League Division 1B at Dubarry Park on the Friday, March 14th. This Connacht derby should prove a cracking start to St. Patrick’s weekend. A pre-match function also takes place for this greatly anticipated match. Cost is just €30 per head for three-course dinner and seat in the Stand. For further information/booking, please contact Geraldine at 0861732711.


Deepest sympathy is extended to the Pat McManus and family on the passing of  his mother Mary. 


Connacht Emerging Talent squad named for game against Leinster North Midlands