Bucannaers travel to Galway

Buccaneers reserves travel to Corinthian Park, Galway, on Sunday next to square up to their Corinthians counterparts in the semi-final of the Connacht Junior Cup, kick off 3 p.m.   This will be a tough test of the midlanders’ character in what should be a decent contest. Buccs field a relatively youthful squad who, if they play to their potential and are disciplined, can advance to the decider. However, they will need to play with consistency right from the start and maintain their endeavours to the final whistle. In the pack, Brian Campbell, Benny Gilligan, James Tormey and the Hughes brothers must fashion a good supply of ball so that young backs like Paul Harte and Karl Turley can thrive. Robert Lee, Patrick Murphy and Mel McGerr too must make their experience pay. A bank holiday weekend (and Mother’s Day into the bargain) will militate against sizeable travelling support. But, if you can, Niall Moran’s charges will appreciate your support for this game, which will go to extra time if necessary. MARIST SEEK DOUBLE Best wishes are extended to the Marist College as the school bids for glory in both the Connacht Senior and Junior Schools Cup finals at Galway Sportsground on this Tuesday afternoon when Garbally College provide the opposition in both deciders. The Junior final gets the action under way at 1 p.m. in an all east Connacht derby. Marist are recent winners of this coveted trophy and will be hoping to add to their tally on Tuesday. However, it’s a surprising thirty years since they last captured the blue riband Senior Cup but they will be keen to have their name inscribed once again on the trophy this season. Marist have a richly promising squad captained by Adam Kennedy, whose potential has been recognised by Ireland selectors. Billy Henshaw and Darragh Kelly are two of their key players as are Mark Dolan and David Fagan in what is a young squad. Indeed, many of the players will be eligible again next season so the future looks bright for the College. Coached by the three wise men – Donal Scannell, Mick Loftus and Ray Fagan – Marist face a more experienced Garbally outfit that boasts a great tradition. But the precocious talent of this Athlone side has the skills and talent to upset the pundits in this Connacht Tribune sponsored competition. The Senior final kicks off at 3 p.m.        MICK GROGAN Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery are extended to Mick Grogan following recent major surgery. KARL TURLEY & TONY DUIGNAN DOING THEIR BIT FOR CHARITY Two Buccaneers players, Karl Turley and Tony Duignan, are both doing their bit for good causes.  Scrumhalf Karl is fund-raising for Palliative Care in memory of his late father Mick, who died last year. A highly successful Table Quiz and Auction got his fund-raising off to a flying start at The Bounty recently. A challenging Marathon Cycle from Malin Head all four hundred miles plus to Mizen Head is the next event. This will see some sixty cyclists tackle this five day endurance ride over the Easter weekend and Karl welcomes sponsorship for it. Tony, meanwhile, is facing an equally daunting challenge as he is running in the Boston Marathon on April 16 th to raise funds and awareness for the Asthma Society of Ireland. ‘Arnie’ had a long innings of front-row duty for Athlone and Buccaneers as well as stints with Corinthians and Mullingar despite being an asthma sufferer. He too will welcome donations for this worthy cause. We wish both Karl and Tony all the best with both their challenges and fund-raising.    IRELAND CHASE SIX NATIONS & U-20 GLORY Ireland gave us some nervy moments before fashioning an unconvincing victory by the narrowest of margins over Scotland at Murrayfield. The early exchanges indicated that the anticipated comfortable win would be carved out but, when the scores did not accumulate, the Scots dug in and made it a testing contest right to the (now bitter) end.  However, victory – allayed to England finally coming good with a great win over France – now means that everything is there to be played for next Saturday. Hopefully, Ireland will recapture the form that took England apart when they travel to Rome where Italy will be formidable opponents.    Meanwhile, Ireland U-20s showed their senior counterparts how it should be done with a comprehensive win over Scotland and, although Italy will field an U-21 squad, these boys in green surely possess the talent, skills and composure that will result in a championship Grand Slam success on Friday. Good luck to both Ireland teams. TADHG O’DONOGHUE  Congratulations to Tadhg O’Donoghue on being named ‘2007 Kerry Person of the Year’ by the Kerry Association in Dublin. Now again domiciled in Athlone, Tadhg is ESB Board Chairman and was highly instrumental in Ireland U-20s playing their ESB International championship games at Dubarry Park recently.