COVID-19 public health crisis halts Buccaneers rugby season

Buccaneers Head Coach, Peter O’Donnell, who departs his role following the conclusion of his two year contract

Buccaneers Head Coach, Peter O’Donnell, who departs his role following the conclusion of his two year contract

Irish rugby’s domestic season has concluded prematurely due to ongoing concerns over Coronavirus.

Government action in combating the virus looks set to continue for quite some time beyond the end of March. Accordingly, the IRFU issued a directive that applies to all incomplete national and provincial competitions.

Cups will be shared by finalists where Cup competitions have reached the final fixture. There will be no promotion or relegation in any of the five divisions of the Energia All-Ireland League and the round robin qualifiers will not take place. There will be no League or Cup winners in any competition at a national level. The IRFU decision leaves clubs in a position to now make plans for the coming season.

While it is frustrating that the playing season has ended ahead of schedule, the reality is that this was for the best due to the onset of Covid-19. Health and safety must override sport and we trust all our members and their families come safely through this pandemic.

Buccaneers were safe in Division 2A of the All-Ireland League but their J1 team will benefit from this decree as they retain their berth in the Connacht Junior 1A League. Connemara had already won this league and they also share the Cup with Castlebar. With many of the province’s competitions incomplete, Buccaneers ‘Blacks’ were the club’s only provincial winners, capturing the U-14 Division One title. Elsewhere Buccs U-20’s can be well pleased with their JP Fanagan Leinster Premier League 2 campaign. At schools level, Athlone Community College had a splendid season, winning both the U-14B League and Junior B League titles. They also share the Junior B Cup trophy.

Buccaneers seeking new head coach

Chief among Buccaneers plans for the coming season will be the appointment of a new Head Coach as Peter O’Donnell’s contract expired at the conclusion of this season. The club acknowledges the massive work put in by Peter over the past two seasons with a relatively small squad when his best efforts were often stymied by injuries or other unavailability of players. We thank Peter sincerely and wish him, a young and ambitious coach, the very best in the future. Meanwhile, applications for the role of Head Coach at the club should be forwarded to the Administrator, Buccaneers RFC., Dubarry Park, Athlone, or by email to [email protected].

Other club events

Matters off the playing fields have also been affected with Buccaneers Fashion Show now rescheduled to take place on October 22 in the Radisson Blu Hotel. May dates for the three A’s (AGM, Awards Gala and Auction ) all now look optimistic at time of writing.

 

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