Buccaneers take on Connacht rivals Corinthians in a floodlit encounter at Dubarry Park, Athlone, when the Ulster Bank League resumes on Friday night, October 31, 7.30pm kick off.
Both clubs were among the pacesetters in Division 1B last season, virtually permanent features in the top three before Buccs lasted the pace that bit better to claim the runners-up berth. Surprisingly, Buccs and Corinthians have struggled somewhat in the current campaign with the Pirates in fifth position and the Galway club lying in eighth place, just one point above the bottom two clubs.
Corinthians have managed just one victory to date and have suffered a couple of heavy defeats including a 30-7 reversal at home to Shannon last time out. James Buckley and Darin Classen are their two most consistent backs while Miah Nikora has been a regular at outhalf. Mickey Murphy is a busy link at scrumhalf while Finlay Bealham, Joey Merrigan, and Jamie Dever provide a competitive front row foundation. Number eight, Eoghan Masterson, is their most influential forward and James Connolly will take watching while veteran lock Garry Warde will battle to the very end.
Since losing on the opening day, Buccs have turned matters around quickly with fine victories over Garryowen and Shannon. A tremendous first-half display against Galwegians then followed before the Athlone side somehow contrived to throw that game away. A worrying trend has been second half fadeouts, but Buccs must be more ruthless when on top. Boosted by the return of Alex Hayman following injury, they will surely be better organised and efficient. Luke Satchwell is the only doubt while Garreth Halligan could also feature in this Ganlys of Athlone sponsored match.