Buccaneers travel to Limerick on Saturday where they take on UL Bohemian (kick off 2.30pm ) on the 4G surface at University of Limerick as both sides prepare to do battle for crucial Energia All-Ireland League Division 2A points.
This is a joust between two sides closely locked on the league table with UL Bohs two places above the midlanders in sixth position but just a solitary point better off so a win for the Pirates could lift them up a notch or two on the leaderboard.
It is difficult to guess the outcome of this joust as both teams have been guilty of inconsistency with Buccs going off the boil somewhat in recent outings. Yet they have won one game more than the Munster outfit but the Red Robins have a much superior collection of bonus points, an area the Pirates have been weak. UL Bohs lost at home last weekend to MU Barnhall who are marching on to the division’s title. That defeat could, however, be of benefit to the Limerick side as they had a competitive outing while Buccs fixture against Dolphin fell victim just before kick-off to the foul weather.
Buccs came out on top 20-15 when the sides met at Dubarry Park in November. Typical of the Pirates campaign to date they built up a promising lead, 20-5 on this occasion, but did not kill off the visitors’ challenge and thus had to battle to the very end to secure victory. Max Kennedy was man of the match on that occasion when Luke Carty was influential and Declan Adamson was prominent. Hopefully all three will be to the fore again come Saturday when Shane Layden and Christian Maulaulau remain ruled out through injury.
This is a match likely to be contested feverishly as both teams will be razor keen to improve their distance from those below them at the wrong end of the league table. The 4G surface, although not very familiar for the Athlone players, could yet benefit their preferred open style of play. If that occurs, then Buccs can pilfer precious points.
Weekend league fixture postponement
Buccaneers AIL game at home to Dolphin last Saturday was called off before kick-off by referee Shane Kierans. Dubarry Park had been passed fit at an 8am inspection but, following a deluge from about midday until near 2pm, the match official decided against playing the game in the interests of player welfare. Frustratingly for those who had turned up and particularly the Dolphin team and supporters who had travelled from Cork, the pitch looked playable at the scheduled kick off time.
J1s host Sligo in Connacht clash
Buccaneers J1s are also in search of precious points as they square up to fellow strugglers Sligo in their Connacht Junior 1A clash that takes place under the Dubarry Park floodlights on Saturday night, with a kick off time of 7.30pm.
Buccs trail Sligo by four points with just three rounds of fixtures remaining. As third from bottom Monivea are out of reach, one of these clubs will be relegated while the other will go into a promotion/relegation play-off. Consequently, no quarter will be asked or given on Saturday night.
Sligo thumped Buccs very early in the season but the Pirates gained some redress for that when they overcame the north-westerners in the Junior Cup. Buccs needs are that bit greater and it may galvanise them sufficiently to eke out an invaluable win. If they can achieve that and also send Sligo home empty-handed, then the midlanders will have thrown themselves a lifeline.