Buccaneers Touch Rugby travelled west for round one of the four-team Connacht Cup Series which took place in Renmore playing fields.
This is the inaugural competition of its kind and it came into being due to the IRFU Covid-19 guideline that prohibits matches between teams from different provinces.
Normally, Buccaneers’ touch rugby and all the other touch rugby clubs from Connacht would be taking part in the All-Ireland Touch Series but that competition has been put on ice in favour of smaller provincial competitions. This means shorter distances for teams to travel and fewer teams in the same venue at the same time, reducing the risk of virus transmission.
Round one served up two cracking encounters on the night.
In game one, the hosts Racoon West Flyers took on Galway Galaxy. Galaxy edged out the Flyers 6-5 with a superb touchdown in the final minute by George Muller.
In game two, Buccaneers took on local side Racoon West Raiders. Buccaneers had a very young squad with no fewer than seven of their squad of 15 players under 18 of age. Buccs’ got off to a flying start with a cracking try after 10 seconds. Paul Gavin, Leah Downes, and Zara Kurt-Elli drove upfield right from the kick-off with Merisa Kiripati taking a long pass to score with her first touch in a competitive match.
Unfortunately for Buccs, this was not an indication of things to come as Raiders soon got on top with the pace and scooping ability of Ed Brennan and David Newell giving the visitors real difficulties. The home side led 8-5 at the break. Buccs came back strongly in the second half but the game finished 10-8 to the home side.
MVP for Buccaneers was once again Paul Gavin with two tries. His pace was a constant threat to the Raiders. Merisa Kiripati got two tries in a stellar debut and Nyoleme Agbanobi also got on the scoresheet while captain Rory Silke consistently drove the team forward.
In defence, Andy Moran was making a welcome return to action and he put in a massive shift as did Brendan Wilkins and Ivana Kiripati.
Round two is scheduled for next Wednesday September 2 in Athlone with two more exciting games in prospect. With home advantage, Buccaneers will be looking to get their first win of the competition against Racoon West Flyers from Galway.
Buccaneers: Rory Silke (captain ); Nigel So; Andy Moran; Zara Kurt-Elli; Ivana Kiripati; Paul Gavin; Kieran Abrook; Brendan Wilkins; Nyoleme Agbanobi; Leah Downes; Eloise Clarke; Eva Henshaw; Niamh Gough; Molly Wilkins; and Merisa Kiripati.