BUCCS GET NEW BACKING: 'Oysterhomes', one of the leading property development companies in the west of Ireland, have become the new title sponsors of AIB Leagie Division One outfit Buccaneers.
The new sponsorship agreement will cover all of the Pirates' teams from senior level right down to the minis, with branding rights to all team clothing as well as a range of signage and advertising rights.
Speaking at the launch in The Bounty, Oysterhomes CEO Eamon Conneely said: "Oysterhomes is delighted to be in partnership with Buccaneers, enabling us to put back something into the community in which we operate. The sponsorship reflects some key aspects of our own business, in that we believe in having the right team working together and developing through training and experience.
"Like Oysterhomes, Buccaneers are young and progressive and, with all teams in the club playing this season for the first time as Buccaneers, we are especially pleased to support at grassroots level and encourage young emerging talent."
Buccaneers President Gerry McInerney welcomed the deal, saying: "The club is delighted to be entering into this partnership with Oysterhomes who are making such a significant impact in the local community through its innovative quality and wide range of housing. Buccaneers is a community-based and vibrant club and Oysterhomes' commitment is therefore particularly significent."
Buccs head coach Geoff Moylan added: "Sponsorship is vital for the ongoing development an ambitious club like Buccaneers. I believe Oysterhomes and Buccaneers will be an ideal match."
TRANSFIELD TRIUMPH ENDS UL'S LONG WAIT: Last Sunday was an historic day for UL Bohemians as they ended their 82-year wait for victory in a Transfield Cup final.
In this year's Thomond Park decider, Bohs' Second team shot to glory with a comprehensive 31-0 win over Young Munster. The Limerick side's previous Transfield Cup success was way back in 1924, just shortly after the club was founded.
Christy Neilan, who is forwards coach to the Bohs' First XV, got amongst the tries while young flanker Marcus O'Mahony was a deserved winner of the man-of-the-match accolade. Bohs' other try scorers were winger Sean McKeown and captain and number eight Pat Fitzgerald. Out-half Ian Costelloe collected 16 points with the boot - two conversions and four penalties.
While hard-working prop Neilan could be seen chugging away on a cigarette whilst admiring the trophy afterwards, the presentation saw a nice touch as Fitzgerald insisted that injured captain Sean O'Gorman accept the cup alongside him.
24 hours later, Bohemians held a launch at Limerick's Clarion Suites Hotel to announce that McMahon's Builders Providers will be sponsorsing the club for the next two years. The deal covers the First, Second, Third and Ladies teams.
Based on the Dock Road in Limerick, McMahon's are Ireland's largest independent builders providers' group. They have an additional one-year option on the sponsorship tie-in.
UL Bohemians RFC's Joint President Joe Sheahan said: "We are delighted to have the considerable support of such a prestigious Limerick company as the McMahon Group. Their main sponsorship is the culmination of the company's support down through the years. Indeed, our histories are intertwined.
"We at UL Bohemians pride ourselves on our growing community-based ethos. We are striving for more success on the field of play and with the backing of the McMahon Group, we have already tasted success this season in winning the Limerick Charity Cup."
CARLOW REKINDLE VETERANS TEAM: The first outing of the County Carlow Cadavers, the midlands club's recently reformed veterans team, will take place this Saturday at Oak Park.
The Cadavers are to clash with the Limerick Leprechauns (kick-off 12.30pm) ahead of the Carlow seniors' opening game of AIB League Division Two against Highfield.
The proceeds on the day will go equally to the Carlow selected charity - the Aislinn Centre, Ballyragget, County Kilkenny, and Leprechauns' chosen charity of the CARI Foundation, so if you are in the area, get down to Oak Park and lend your support.
The Carlow line-up will include Ian O'Dwyer, Robert Kidd, Ivan Tucker, Dick Ovington and Donough O'Brien. It is unclear as to who will line out for the opposition but the Leprechauns' playing numbers, in recent seasons, have included ex-Ireland internationals Gerry 'Ginger' McLoughlin, Brian Spillane and Peter Clohessy.
A trophy, in memory of one of County Carlow Fooball Club's most fondly remembered members and past Presidents, Harold Ardil, will be presented to the winning team.
...Can Jacques Benade bring the glory days back to Ballymena?...
BENADE LOOKING FOR 'GOOD START': Jacques Benade has been making good strides with AIB League Division One side Ballymena ever since he took over from his fellow South African Steph Nel during the summer.
In Nel's final season at Eaton Park, the Braidmen disappointed, finishing tenth in the Division One table and looking a shell of the side that won the 2003 All-Ireland title.
But some decent form in the First Trust Ulster Senior League, which has seen Benade's Ballymena collect six wins out of seven in the competition since late August (their only slip up was against Belfast Harlequins), has excited the new man in charge.
He said: "I didn't know a lot of the players when I came in so it has been good to see them all playing over the last eight weeks. And when I look at the big games, against Dungannon and Harlequins, we did well.
"We should have beaten Harlequins away and we beat Dungannon. We targeted those two games to see where we were and we played well on both days. It has been useful in terms of seeing what is going to work for you and what isn't.
"We have more or less achieved our target of where we want to be at this stage of the season."
The next two weekends should tell a good deal about how the former Malone player and coach's first season in the top flight will go - Ballymena open their league campaign at home to the champions Shannon on Saturday and follow it up with a difficult trip to Garryowen, who topped last season's table before the play-offs, seven days later.
Benade, whose side have five of their seven games before Christmas at home, told the Belfast Telegraph: "It's really important for us to get off to a good start. We want to be the top club in Ulster and to be in the top four for the league play-offs. There is pressure there to meet those targets but coaches thrive on pressure.
"If you look at the last three years for the club, everyone knows that we have a very good pack of forwards, but I think what we would like to work on is a bit more continuity, offloading the tackle more and using the backs as well.
"We don't want to be stereotyped. We want the opposition to think all the time about how we are going to play and vary it. The most important thing is to get the balance right."
AIB CUP DATES: The AIB Cup will swing into action again on Saturday, November 25 when a single preliminary round game will be played. Teams from around the country - Leinster have been allocated six club slots, Munster five, Ulster four and Connacht two - have been qualifying from their respective provincial cup and league competitions for the AIB Cup.
The AIB Junior Cup, which was won in its inaugural year by Rainey Old Boys last April, is sure to be another hotly-contested event.
For the AIB Senior Cup - Cork Constitution are the holders after their final triumph over St. Mary's College - a total of 16 clubs will be entered into a draw for the first round proper on Saturday, January 13.
The quarter-finals are scheduled for Saturday, February 3 and the semi-finals for Saturday, March 31. The AIB Cup finals (venue to be confirmed) have been set for Saturday, April 14 - the weekend after Easter.