12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
Replacements used: Rory Byrne for Kearney (4-11 mins, temp sub), Diarmuid Higgins for Staunton (59), Byrne for Satchwell (64), Billy Henshaw for Layden, Staunton for Roets (both 74), Barry Digby for Dolan (77).
Replacements used: Brian Cahill for O'Brien (39 mins), Keith Laffan for M Lynch (46), Paddy Cleary for O'Connell, John Hogan for O'Regan, Gary Leonard for Bolger (all 59), O'Connell for Keogh (64), Bolger for Cahill (67-70, temp sub), Keogh for O'Connell (69 mins).
Torrential rain just before and at regular intervals throughout the game made this a testing contest.
It may have hampered Buccs endeavours to move the ball quickly but doughty Bruff, with a virtually new team since the sides met in the final game of last season, dug deep to make this an absorbing contest.
Jack Carty and Brian Carroll traded early penalties before the midlanders, with Martin Cahill in charge of team affairs on the night, gradually assumed ascendancy.
Their growing territory saw Mike Carroll yellow carded after 32 minutes for not releasing in the tackle and Carty duly converted the resultant penalty.
The home out-half then won the chase to his own teasing kick ahead for the opening try two minutes before the break. Carty's successful conversion gave Buccs a 13-3 interval lead.
A quite magnificent free-flowing move, started and finished by Conor Finn, yielded a superb 58th minute try for Buccs which Carty converted.
But the Athlone men struggled to add to their tally and Bruff continued to battle, their efforts being rewarded with a 75th minute try by Mike Carroll which was converted by his brother Brian to tighten the margin to 18-10.
This set up a nervous finish for the decent crowd that watched proceedings despite the atrocious weather that turned quite cold too.
But Buccs killed off any hopes of an upset when Bruff were slow in clearing their lines and Finn intercepted close in to dive over for a decisive 79th minute try.
From the restart, Alex Hayman ran straight back at the now disheartened Bruff defence and David Heffernan was up in support to grab the bonus point try for Buccs.
Carty converted both scores for a 17-point personal haul that earned him the Audi Athlone man-of-the-match accolade.
One minute's silence was observed before the match as a mark of respect to Faalau Bsu, who died tragically in Australia. He was a brother of Buccaneers Women's captain Mele Kiripati.
Referee: Mark Patton (IRFU)