Buccaneers round-up with Michael Silke

Austin Reid created a little piece of history when he was elected President of Buccaneers Rugby Football Club at the club’s recent Annual General Meeting. A former player and successful entrepreneur, Austin follows in the footsteps of his late father, Christy, who was President of Athlone R.F.C. in 1985-6. This is the first time a father and son were both honoured with the position in the midlands club. The next Club notes will include a full report on the A.G.M.   The new Coaching and Management set up held the first squad session of the season at Dubarry Park on Saturday last when about 30 players were put through their paces over a prolonged and rigorous get together. New Zealander Matt T’Pau looks the most interesting arrival and we’ll have more anon on the ‘ins and outs’ in the squad for the coming season.   Tony Dolan and Jude Lennon lead the coaching team with Ray Flanagan managing, assisted by Michael Kiely. They previously enjoyed decent success with Buccs U-20 squad, and now are charged with the task of endeavouring to guide the midlanders back to Division One.    Here’s wishing them and the players every success with this considerable challenge. The new season kicks off in earnest on September 1 st when Buccaneers travel to champions Galwegians in the opening round of the Connacht Senior League.    A five-day rugby ‘Summer Camp’ takes place at Dubarry Park from July 23 rd to 27 th inclusive. Sponsored by Ulster Bank, these camps are open to boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 13 years old, and will include appearances by Connacht players on the last day of each camp. The camps are staffed by qualified IRFU coaches and run daily from 9.30 am till 1.30 pm.    In this World Cup season, Connacht host a hugely attractive match at Galway Sportsground on Tuesday, August 21 st when they take on South Africa in a game that kicks off at 7.30 p.m. Tickets are flying for this match and anyone hoping to go along to see the Springboks (whom yours truly thinks could be a very good bet for the same World Cup) should contact the Connacht Branch office 091-561568 or pop into Music World in Athlone 090-6474372 to purchase tickets as soon as possible.   Following the success of the inaugural triATHLONE last year, a larger event in association with Waterways Ireland takes place in Athlone on Saturday week, July 14 th when some 1,200 competitors will be participating.   Last year’s event proved highly successful despite the organisers sustaining bad luck in getting the one really bad day weather wise last July. Hopefully, the rains will be well past by Saturday week. Like all big sports events, volunteers are needed to assist on the day. Thus, if you have a few hours to spare on July 14 th and would like to be associated with the occasion, contact Ronan Keogh at keoghsie@gmail.com     A ‘COACHING AND REFEREEING CONFERENCE’ takes place at the Sportsground, Galway, on Saturday, July 21 st . Key speakers include Connacht Coach and former Ireland scrumhalf Michael Bradley, World Cup referee David McHugh, Connacht and Ireland stalwart Eric Elwood, and former South African hooker Harry Roberts.   It’s a full day event with an early start (registering from 8.30 a.m.) and should conclude about 5.30 p.m. A booking fee of €40 applies and this includes lunch, t-shirt and handouts. Contact Eoin Hegarty at 091-561568 to book. Club’s booking and paying in advance for five or more Coaches or Referees will receive one free place per half dozen (six in, but only pay for five).   TAG RUGBY continues in Dubarry Park on Thursday nights from 7 p.m. Why not come along to support and also enjoy the fun?    Deepest sympathy is extended to Michael Loftus and family on the death of his uncle, Rev. Fr. Michael Loftus, P.P.   It may have been relegation for Buccaneers from Division One but congratulations go to GWERNYFED in Wales on gaining promotion, helped in no small measure through the coaching of Athlonian Lawrence Duffy.