Buccaneers face University College Dublin (UCD ) in the Ulster Bank League at Dubarry Park on Saturday afternoon with the action getting under way at 2.30pm.
Buccs are still chasing their first win in Division 1A. They have been unfortunate in a number of matches so far in what has been a steep learning curve for the squad. Injuries and absentees have not helped their cause, but the players have continued to play with massive pluck and will take heart from losing bonus points in their two most recent outings away to Terenure College and at home to dual champions, Cork Constitution.
UCD, backboned by many of the Ireland U20 and Sevens squads, will prove a difficult hurdle to overcome. The Students won last time out at Terenure, where a quartet of Ireland Sevens players – Billy Dardis, Jimmy O’Brien, Hugo Keenan and Will O’Connors – made significant contributions. Jordan Conroy was not available to Buccs on the same weekend.
Much local interest will feature on whether or not Stephen McVeigh is named in The Students squad. The Glasson backrower achieved a scholarship to UCD that necessitated his transfer there. Ronan Foley and Brian Cawley are regulars in the pack, where recent Leinster cap Josh Murphy could feature. Jamie Glynn captains The Students from centre and he could be joined in the backline by Jack Ringrose and Harry Byrne, whose older brothers are key components in the Leinster squad.
Sixth placed UCD are capable of decent scores, but also tend to concede too so a high-scoring joust could be in prospect. Buccs will be hoping that their injury list will be shortening. Dan Law got a brief run-out with the Seconds and they will be anxiously awaiting news on other forwards - Paul Boyle, Peter Claffey, Ruairi Byrne, Ryan O’Meara and Conor Kenny - but Simon Meagher should be good to play.
Callum Boland’s recent return in the backline was a welcome boost, Darragh Corbett took his chance well against Cork Con, while Corey Reid could be in contention to start. This could be a lively and entertaining tussle.