Buccaneers Face Queens In Promotion/Relegation Play-Off

Written 4 months ago by Midlands Sport

Buccaneers enter unknown territory when they take on Queens University in the opening round of All-Ireland League promotion/relegation fixtures on Saturday. The first visit by Queens to Dubarry Park kicks off at 2.30 p.m. It’s win or bust for both clubs and Buccs, being the higher-seeded club, have home advantage which they must capitalise on.

    Queens arrive on the back of a tremendous winning streak, losing just one AIL match in 2019. In doing so, they have accumulated some high scores and, of course, have moved steadily up the Division 2A league table to qualify for the play-offs. The Blues have a slick backline, well capable of poaching scores. Their captain David Whitten can play at lock or in the back row and he was a teammate of Rory O’Connor recently on the Ireland Students team.

They will prove dangerous foes and Buccaneers must really hit the ground running and maintain their workrate, discipline and focus all the way to the final whistle. Communication and leadership, on and off the paddock, could be decisive. The midlanders did not risk utilising players carrying injuries or niggles against Naas so Shane Layden, Callum Boland and John Sutton are among those who could be returning on Saturday. Peter Claffey and Rory Moloney could also be fit for inclusion while Conor Kenny and Darragh Corbett will both have benefited from returns to action at Forenaughts where a number of the younger players such as Michael Hanley and Brian McDonnell showed up well.

The availability of Luke Carty, Colm Reilly, Conan O’Donnell, Corey Reid and Kieran Joyce would also be paramount to Buccs prospects. Hopefully, coaches Peter O’Donnell and Aidan Wynne will have a full squad to select from for this “must win” encounter. If they have, Buccaneers have the talent and experience to get over what will surely be a tricky hurdle. With so much at stake for the Athlone club, the players can and must deliver. Large home support could also prove vital so lets see a big crowd at Dubarry Park on Saturday.