Buccaneers Touch Rugby members recently reflected upon a successful pandemic effected playing season during which management selected a number of accolades afforded to players for their club contributions in 2020.
U18 Male Player of the Year - Koronato Kiripati
Nato is one of the multi-talented, rugby-loving Kiripati family who have made such a valuable contribution to Buccs Touch since they all started playing in 2019. He took part in the successful post-lockdown touch tournament held in Buccaneers in July as well as the Connacht Series, putting in strong performances in both. Nato also made his senior rugby debut for Buccaneers RFC this year so it was a very good year for him overall.
U18 Female Player of the Year - Leah Downes
Leah is one of a group of U18 girls who have taken up the game in the last 18 months or so and have added some youth to the set-up. She was part of the Ireland U18 Girls squad in the 2019 Junior Euros in Paris where she acquitted herself very well. Leah is a clever team player and her speciality is the intercept, frequently picking off opposition passes. Honourable mentions also go to Zara Kurt-Elli and Merisa and Ivana Kiripati.
Best Newcomer - Rob Healy
Limerick man Rob is a tag rugby enthusiast who moved to Athlone for work and decided to give touch rugby a go in 2020. The club are certainly glad that he did as his footwork and passing ability are a great asset to the team. Rob has yet to make his full competitive debut for Buccs Touch but the club are looking forward to him making a serious impact when he does.
Spirit of Touch Award - Stuart Fynes
Scotsman Stuart has conducted excellent work in 2020 promoting club activity through his photos and entertaining videos of matches and training. He set up our new YouTube channel and has also helped out with the U15 Touch, recruiting several young players from his home village of Ballyforan. Honourable mentions must also go to Brendan Wilkins, Adil Kurt-Elli and Mele Kiripati for all their unseen work and support in the background throughout the year.
Male Player of the Year - Rory Silke
Rory is one of Buccs Touch’s most dedicated and longest serving players having started playing in August 2017. He distinguished himself for the Ireland Mens 40s team in the 2019 Touch World Cup and this year he was made club captain for the Connacht Touch Series where his commitment was duly noted. Honourable mentions also go to our other high performers this year, Paul Gavin and Manuel Aymerich.
Female Player of the Year - Eloise Clarke
Eloise is one of our new post-lockdown players, having taken up touch in July 2020. She has become one of our most dedicated players since then and has also joined the Ireland U18 Girls squad where she has impressed with her attitude and skills. Eloise’s speciality is chasing back to make a last gasp touch which she has done in quite a few games this year.