It was a significant day for Buccaneers touch rugby in recent times as for the inaugural occasion two teams from the club participated in the Ireland Touch Series (ITS ) round two at Portlaoise RFC.
The Buccaneers Bulls were composed of adult players while the Buccaneers Stars were made up of under 18 players.
On top of that, another achievement was that club stalwart Brendan Wilkins received his Level 1 refereeing qualification on the day from ITA Referees Coach Aoife McCarthy.
Of course, inevitably both sides came up against each other in the pool stages. The Buccaneers Bulls started off with a 6-4 defeat against the home side Portlaoise before taking on their younger clubmates in game two. The youths sprung a surprise beating the Bulls 3-1 with scores from Philip Finnan (2 ) and Feidhlim Byrne while Ben Porter replied for the Bulls.
In game three, the Bulls got off the mark with a hard fought 2–1 win over the Tipsters with Jack Gordon and Lucky Ekene getting the crucial scores. Game four proved to a real cracker with the Bulls taking on old rivals Belfast Cooke Warriors. It ended in a 3-3 draw with Lucky and Jack again getting on the score sheet before the evergreen Brendan Wilkins secured the draw. Game five was against round one winners, DSC Wanderers, and the Bulls struggled with the athleticism of the Dublin side before going down 7-1.
As fate would have it, the Bulls and the Stars met again in the fifth placed playoff and the Bulls got their revenge, using their experience to take a 6-3 win with Ben (2 ), Jack (3 ) and Lucky getting the scores for the Bulls while Philip, Aoibhin Tynan and Niamh Purtill replied. For the Stars meanwhile, the day started with an 8-1 defeat against Belfast Cooke Warriors, the eventual tournament winners. After their shock win against the Bulls in game two, they contested a highly entertaining shootout against Portlaoise, going down 7-5 after a great fightback. Katie Rowan (2 ), Sofia Rizza (2 ) and Feidhlim Byrne got the scores. The Stars were defeated by the Marley Park Tipsters and DSC Wanderers in their final two pool games.
Overall, it was a step forward for the club to have two teams taking part in the ITS for the first time ever.
Buccaneers Bulls had three newcomers on the day with former Ireland Mixed Open international Ben Porter making his first appearance for Buccs as was Niamh Kelly who was part of the Ireland Womens’ 35s team who won bronze in the recent Euros. Lucky Ekene also impressed in his first outing with his pace.
This bodes well for a strong performance in ITS round 3 which will take place at home in Buccaneers RFC on Sunday, October 2.