Buccaneers entertain St Mary’s College in round five of the Ulster Bank League when Division 1B action resumes at Dubarry Park on Saturday (October 17 ).
With both teams in joint third place on the league table and ringing up healthy scores, an exciting and fast-flowing encounter is in prospect in Athlone following the 2.30pm kick-off.
Buccs have started very brightly so far, the only blemish being their ‘non appearance’ for the second half away to Old Wesley, when they nevertheless secured two bonus points. In the interim, Buccs have scored an impressive victory over Blackrock College at home, followed by an away success at Belfast Harlequins, with seven different players contributing tries in those two matches.
St Mary’s, relegated from the top flight last season, have ambitions of making a prompt return, but after overcoming Blackrock College away they then slipped up against Dublin University last time out. Leinster regular Darragh Fanning was an absentee from that encounter, although Ivan Dineen was in their squad. Robert Sweeney, Ciaran Ruddock, Conor Gilsenan, Kevin Sheahan, and David O’Connor are key forwards for the Metropolitans who boast a strong pack.
Centre Mark Sexton has impressed in the backline where young outhalf Sean Kearns is highly promising, while Terry Kennedy’s pace and attacking instinct on the wing will need to be curbed by the hosts.
However, Buccaneers look the more settled outfit despite the long-term injury to Shane Layden with Conor McKeon adroitly directing operations at standoff. Alan Gaughan, Rory O’Connor, Callum Boland, and Ben Carty are other potent backs, while Martin Staunton, Jacob Walshe, Danny Qualter, and Rory Moloney can dictate the forwards battle. On home ground, the Pirates must deliver.