Top of the bill this weekend for Buccaneers supporters is the Saturday night Ulster Bank League division 1B clash at home to Dungannon. This floodlit game kicks off in Dubarry Park, Athlone at 7pm.
Dungannon were ambushed by UCD in their final fixture last season and thus missed out on promotion. Consequently, it is surprising that they have lost their two opening AIL games this year, albeit both to promoted clubs Malone and Dublin University. Paddy Johns, who has a long association with the northerners, is their new coach and he will be demanding improvement on Saturday. Dungannon have some classy players in their ranks with Chris Farrell, Chris Cochrane, Peter Nelson, Craig Gilroy, and Stuart McCloskey all exciting young backs. Paul Magee anchors this sector in the centre while ex-Bucc Jaryd Bennett mans the pivotal outhalf berth when Patrick Jackson is not available from Ulster. Ali Birch and Mark Jenkinson are key figures in the pack where Glen Sinnamon and Phil Whyte are part of a formidable front row that could include Nigel Brady or Declan Fitzpatrick as Ulster play on Friday night.
The Tyrone men (who defeated Ards last Saturday ) did the double over Buccs last season, despite the fact that the Pirates fielded an extremely weak squad at Stevenson Park. Buccs had no fixture last weekend but half a dozen players (Shane Layden, Jack Carty, Daniel Qualter, Eoghan Grace, Michael Kearney, and Peter Reilly ) featured for Connacht Eagles in Athlone. The midlanders will need to be focussed, committed and cohesive for this bank holiday clash and there is bags of talent and potential too in the Athlone club’s squad. Consequently, a thoroughly entertaining and compelling encounter is in prospect with some Hallowe’en fireworks anticipated on Saturday night.
A pre-match meal is available prior to the Dungannon game. Tables per eight persons cost just €240 which is excellent value covering a three-course meal, some wine, 100-page programme, and seat in the stand. That’s real value at only €30 per person. Bookings from groups or indeed individuals are welcome. Please contact administrator Geraldine on (086 ) 1732711 to book.
Buccaneers Development Squad are also at home this weekend, taking on Ballyhaunis in the Connacht junior 1B league at Dubarry Park on Sunday, kick off 2.30pm.