Buccaneers are away to leaders Old Belvedere in their refixed AIB League division 1B game at Anglesea Road, Dublin, on Sunday January 31. The original scheduled match fell victim to the bad weather a couple of weeks ago and has been slotted in for Sunday as Buccaneers host the AIB Cup finals on Saturday.
This will, undoubtedly, be a tough test for Buccs as Old Belvedere were the best team encountered to date. On home soil, they will be keen to keep their promotion drive very much alive, being just ahead of Young Munster on scoring difference as we enter the business end of the league. Halfbacks Andy Dunne and ex-Bucc Chris Keane are their key playmakers and Buccs simply cannot afford them or free-scoring wing Dave Mongan too much time or space on the ball. Their backrow trio of Richie Leyden, Jason Risdon and Leo Auva’a is the strongest unit in their pack and their influence too must be curbed.
Buccs were decidedly unlucky at Galwegians but will be encouraged greatly by a spirited and sustained all-round effort that really merited victory. Nevertheless, the team showing will have lifted confidence and if the players can step up another bit on Sunday, then Buccs are well capable of causing an upset. However, they absolutely must not concede an early score or two particularly to a side like Old Belvedere who would thrive on a good start. So focus and application must be spot on from the very start. Here the wily warhorses like Colm Rigney, Garrett Halligan, Alex Hayman, and Kolo Kiripati must set the tone and tempo. The Midlanders squad should be along similar lines to last weekend with Billy Henshaw’s injury looking like ruling him out for some time yet but Paul Harte and Stephen Burke will be bidding to be fit enough to be involved.
Buccaneers Reserves take on their Corinthians counterparts in a Connacht Junior League match at Dubarry Park on Sunday, kickoff 2.30pm. This should be a lively affair if Buccs can muster a reasonable match squad. Buccs Thirds are scheduled to play Galwegians away in the Connacht J2 League on Sunday, again at 2.30pm, and this could be a fairly even contest. The U21s (whose National League game against Galwegians was called off due to the combined effects of a frozen pitch and poor visibility due to fog ) have no fixture at time of writing.