Buccaneers away to St Mary’s in another major test

Oisin McCormack is presented with the Audi Athlone Man of the Match award by club president Billy McMickan following Buccaneers’ recent win over UCC.

It’s another top of the table Energia All-Ireland League clash for Buccaneers tomorrow when they travel to Dublin where they square up to second placed St Mary’s College at Templeville Road on Saturday. Kick-off for this mouth-watering duel is at 2.30pm.

This showdown away from home will provide a real health check of the Buccaneers’ progress and prospects. St Mary’s are the leading scorers in Division 1B but that includes 66 points they scored against a hapless on the day Banbridge. St Mary’s full-back Conor Hickey and wing Hugo Conway lead the way for them with five tries apiece, Steven Kilgallen rowing in with four on the other flank and center Mick O’Gara is the leading marksman in this division.

Their forwards are aggressive at the breakdown, as one would expect under coach Sean Cronin, who won many of his Ireland caps while affiliated to Buccaneers. Skipper Ronan Watters leads the pack by example and Ronan Foley is another key backrower in a settled forwards unit.

But Buccs will note that St Mary’s leak points aplenty too, having conceded twice as many as the Pirates to date. The midlanders have the meanest defense by some distance and will be keen to keep it that way on Saturday. There is a wonderful work ethic in their squad and that will be crucial against St Mary’s. The Athlone side have finished strongly in every match this season and will be prepared to go to the wire again on this occasion.

St Mary’s have suffered two defeats so far, to Old Belvedere and UCC, both of whom the Pirates have overcome. If they maintain the energy and enterprise shown to date, Buccs have the potential to prevail in what looks like being a cracking contest with scores and entertainment aplenty.

A supporters bus is being organized for this trip to the capital, depending on confirmed bookings by Wednesday. Adult fare is €15 and the bus is scheduled to depart Dubarry Park at 10.30am. There is also an extra option to book for the pre-match function at St Mary’s and the cost for this is €40 for a four-course meal, complimentary wine and free admission to the match. Contact Geraldine at 086 1732711 to book either or both. The players and mentors will be grateful for as much support as possible for Buccaneers at the game so let’s fill the bus.

U-20s home to Trinity

Buccaneers U-20s are home to Dublin University in the JP Fanagan Leinster League Premier 2 at Dubarry Park on Sunday afternoon. Buccs sit two places above the Students in third place and, on form to date, should be too strong for Trinity. But underestimate a college side at your peril. However, this Buccaneers crew looks too formidable and should come out on top. Kick-off is 2.30pm.

Seconds away to Tuam

Buccaneers Seconds will endeavor to kick-start their Connacht Junior 1A League when they travel to Tuam on Saturday night. This Buccs squad has not yet consistently shown the vigor and verve displayed last season but, with Joe Browne back assisting this squad, they are likely to be more organized from hereon.

Tuam are a hardy outfit who will be doughty opponents so Buccs must not get dragged into a dogfight but use their pace and handling to outmaneuver the Galway club. Kick-off at Garraun Park is 8pm.

Third away to

Westport again

Having topped their qualifying Pool, Buccaneers Thirds reward is an awkward trip away to play Westport Seconds in the next stage of the Connacht Junior 2 League on Sunday. The teams met just a couple of weeks ago at the Mayo club’s ground where they were evenly matched and the Pirates required a late, late try to maintain their 100 per cent success rate. It is unlikely to be any easier on Sunday and Buccs will need to be at their best, be focused and disciplined as well, to overcome the Bulls. Kick-off at Carrowholly is at 2.30pm.

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