Three Connacht U-20 teams in Leinster JP Flanagan competition
Three Connacht U-20 teams will take part in the Leinster leagues this season. Buccaneers, Galwegians and NUIG-Corinthians will compete against the best U-20 sides Leinster has to offer in the coming season.
With the qualifier stage done and dusted, the competition proper will get under way on Sunday, October 18. The leagues are organised into three tiers or divisions and Connacht will be represented throughout.
Buccaneers qualified for the Premier Division in the forthcoming Leinster JP Flanagan U-20 League. Here they will compete against top-notch opposition including UCD and Lansdowne. The midlanders earned this opportunity to pit their wits at this level through victories over Greystones and Naas in the prequalifiers.
They commenced their bid with a tricky assignment away to Greystones at Dr. Hickey Park where the teams were level 13-13 at half-time.
A dogged opening hour continued to unfold before the Athlone side clicked in the final quarter, their fitness proving crucial. Tom Finucane led the way with a brace of tries with Ross Cooper and Neale Conway also dotting down. Charlie McMickan converted all four tries and also landed three penalties for a haul of 17 points. Conor Morrissey and James Foley were other young Buccs to excel.
Buccs followed that up with a tight 11-9 home win over Naas. The midlanders, depleted through injuries, did not play to the same heights as in the previous win but, with Conor Kenny and Paddy Browne giving it their all, the Pirates prevailed.
Ross Cooper scored the decisive try and Browne added a pair of penalties for this vital victory that confirmed qualification.
After a less fruitful qualifying phase, NUIG-Corinthians will take part in JP Flanagan Premier 2 where they will face opposition such as Naas, Navan and Greystones over the course of the season. The amalgamated team will look to get off to a good start when they face Old Wesley in Galway on Sunday.
Having not taken part in the qualifiers, Galwegians will take their place in Premier 3 where they face a trip to De la Salle on the opening weekend.
All matches will kick off at the later time of 4.0pm on Sunday to facilitate the viewing of Ireland's much-anticipated Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Argentina.
Sunday's fixtures (4.0pm)
Premier 1: Buccaneers v Terenure, Dubarry Park.
Premier 2: NUIG-Corinthians v Old Wesley, Corinthian Park.
Premier 3: De la Salle v Galwegans, Kirwin Park