Buccaneers continue to be strong at the start of the season – Club ratings

They then welcome the table at the head of Queens University at Dubarry Park.


The Buccaneers overcame a potentially tricky hurdle for the Connacht Senior Cup when they recorded a clear 31-7 victory over Galway Corinthians at Corinthian Park on Saturday. The Tribesmen had been on a scoreless winning streak recently in the All-Ireland League and the Pirates were wary of their raid west. But Buccs dominated from the start, building a 24-0 halftime lead, then showing resilience and pragmatism to protect his advantage after the change of sides.

Both teams were exhausted for various reasons but, nonetheless, the Midlanders will be quite pleased with their team’s performance on a freezing and windy afternoon. The visitors had the sun and the diagonal breeze on their backs in the first half and took advantage of the elements on a big clod in front of a scattered audience for this quarter-final match. Buccs had 25 points to lose on the hosts when the sides met in the Connacht League earlier this season, but it was felt to be a close game. However, Athlone’s team signaled their intention from the kick-off and scored an excellent try in 3 minutes. After a penalty hit to the left, Buccs cleverly spun the ball left to right and Ruaidhri Fallon’s pass sent Ross Murphy-Sweeney scampering for an unconverted try to the right corner.

The Pirates pack then pushed the Corinthians out of their own set-up in a scrum near the ten-yard line at home and some enterprising manipulation saw the ball move left to right again before Shane Layden change direction and walk serious yards before being pulled down. His forwards were quickly backed and Evan Galvin put the finishing touches on a try converted by Stephen Mannion for a 12-0 lead in the first 17 minutes.

Buccs scored his third try 9 minutes later. A clever alignment move was followed by a strong reach from Darren Browne who brought the midlanders closer to the starting line where his fellow attackers arrived quickly and, after some patient research, Fergus Galvin dived for another no try. converted in the right corner. A crafty diagonal kick from Fallon in the half hour put pressure on the Corinthians and Ross Doogan’s deliberate kick took the local center ten minutes into the basket. The Buccaneers went for a scrimmage in front of the posts and, following a nudge, the ball spread to the left where Layden delivered a test pass to Harry Hughes.

Mannion added a great conversion on the sideline to that try in the 33rd minute for a 24-0 lead. A fifth try seemed likely just before the break, but Cian Breathnach made a vital steal and followed with a nice break that gave the Corinthians a rare position near the visitors line where Buccs held them.

With the slope and the breeze strengthening behind them, the Corinthians made a promising start to the second half. A series of penalties gave them a foothold inside Buccs 22, but the Pirates’ defense, despite losing the influential Mannion to injury after 42 minutes, remained steadfast. When the Buccaneers lost the ball as the advantage was played, the Corinthians scored a 53rd-minute try converted by David Keane. It would have been questionable if the game had been closer. A lesson to be learned here by Buccs, however, in that it is always necessary to play the whistle!

Much of the last quarter was played in midfield as the Corinthians were rarely able to threaten a disciplined and well-organized defensive change from the Buccaneers before any hope of a home return was ruled out after 67 minutes. The Buccaneers took a penalty for a touchdown on the clubhouse side and, after a good lineup, the Pirates put in a winning yard maul. Good ball retention ensued as they looked for a gap in the Corinthians’ rear guard, which was found by Layden and he pounced for a try which Michael Hanley converted to complete the score 31- 7.

It was a nice full demo of Buccaneers with the bottom line, where Layden, Fallon and Mannion shone, showing a lot of company and an eager pack of work.

The scrum was solid and there was a nice variation in the lineups. The eternal Martin Staunton led by example with notably Evan Galvin, Danny Qualter and Browne. The Buccaneers will now advance to an away semi-final next month against titular winners Sligo against Galwegians with league champions Ballina awaiting the winners in the deciding game in March.

CORINTHIANS: – E.McMahon; M. O’Connell, C. Stapleton, R. Doogan, C. MacDonald; D. Keane, J. Whyte; J. Noone, J. Xavier Gaspar, M. Conneely; G.Kilkelly, A.Broderick (captain); C. Breathnach, C. Joyce, and C. Huxford.

Replacements: – G. Noone (for J. Noone), J. O’Connell (for Whyte), H. Woodhennessy (for Kilkelly), A.Nash (for Savier Gaspar), G. O’Connell (for Conneely), C. Kilkelly (for Breathnach) and L. Gardner.

BOUCANIERS: – R.Fallon; H. Hughes, S. Layden, S. Mannion, R. Murphy-Sweeney; M.Hanley, E.O’Reilly; J. Kelly, D. Browne, M. Staunton; R.Byrne, D.Qualter; C. McCann, E.Galvin (captain) and F.Galvin. Substitutions: – T. Shine (for Mannion, inj. 42 min), K. Kiripati (for Browne, 50 min), S. O’Connell (for Kelly, 50 min), A.Flanagan (for O’Reilly, 60 min) and J. Kelly (for McCann, 72min).

Referee: – Andrew Fogarty (Connacht).


The BUCCANEERS face what could be a defining event for the season when they welcome leaders from Queen’s University to Dubarry Park as the Energia All-Ireland League resumes after the festive break.

High-scoring Queen’s have been the leader since the start of the campaign, having lost just one game so far to Cashel. On their last outing in 2021, the Ulster side beat the Buccs 32-15 in Belfast, but the Pirates were very present in that game until two late scores ensured the students victory. College No.8 Gary Dillon was the star performer on the occasion and the Buccaneers must curb his influence on Saturday. David Whitten is another key operator in the Queen’s peloton while Michael Orr, Robbie Johnston and Richie McMaster are a threat in their rear unit. The victory opened a nine-point gap to the top of the standings as the loss dropped Athlone’s team to fourth place.

A number of mistakes cost the Buccaneers dearly at Dub Lane, but otherwise the midlanders kept pace, caused Queen a lot of trouble and could have avoided a quick encounter had they taken the risks they created. , especially at the beginning.

It is encouraging to see that Buccs had a good practice in his victory over the Corinthians last Saturday. There their main concern was an injury sustained by Stephen Mannion. His availability and that of Tabo Maree, who made a late appearance in Belfast, could be crucial for the Pirates. Hopefully Buccs will have some of his Academy players available from Connacht; the province would surely appreciate a club participating in Division 1?

If the Buccaneers are nearly at their peak, harnessing their potential and abilities, they can reverse the outcome of last month’s meeting. A home win would benefit not only the Shannonsiders but the other Division 2A contenders as well. An exciting and lively competition is ahead in which great home support could prove crucial, so let’s see a big crowd at Dubarry Park on Saturday for what could be the game of the season.

Kick-off at 2:30 p.m.

Other devices

The AIL game may be the flagship game, but the Buccaneers have a busy game list this weekend, although IRFU may still postpone games due to the ongoing pandemic, so check the club’s website www.buccaneersrfc.com later in the week for any changes. Buccaneers Seconds, whose Connacht League game at Creggs was one of those canceled games last weekend, is set to resume operations on Sunday when Dunmore visits Dubarry Park for the final 16 games of the Connacht Junior Cup. Dunmore is currently fourth in Junior 1B and will be a tenacious opponent, but Buccs should have enough quality and courage to win. Kick-off is at 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, an hour earlier, the Buccaneers Women are entertaining Our Lady’s Boys Club in the Connacht Womens League at Dubarry Park. OLBC are at the top of the table and are having a very successful season, so this seems like a tough test for a relatively inexperienced Buccs side. Kick-off at 1 p.m.

Finally, the U-20 Buccaneers resume their JPFanagan Leinster League Premier 3 campaign with a trip to Lansdowne Road where they face off against Lansdowne. The unbeaten Buccs dominate this division while the Metropolitan club, which has lost just one game, occupy fourth place. The Midlanders’ resources could be strained this weekend, but if the Young Pirates can call on most of their frontliners, they have the wherewithal to maintain their winning run. Kick-off in Dublin at 2:30 p.m.

50/50 DRAFT

The winners of the Buccaneers RFC Christmas 50/50 draw were Frank Sheeran who won € 362, Lisa Galvin who won a € 100 basket and Kevin Griffith who won 2 bottles of wine. The first weekly winner of 2022 was Padraig Donohoe who took home 148 €. Thank you to everyone who supported this key fundraiser in 2021. Registration is only € 2 per week and you can set up a bank transfer or direct debit to join for 3 months, 6 months or a full year . Contact our administrator Geraldine on 0861732711

for all the details.


Our deepest condolences to Graham Ross and his family on the passing of his father Edward.