A Buccaneers selection were the winners of the inaugural Midlands Sevens tournament, which was played in perfect weather and pitch conditions at Dubarry Park in Athlone last Saturday.
‘Buccs 1’ proved too strong for a gallant Castlebar outfit at the end of an entertaining day’s running rugby contested on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
Special credit must go to Alex Hayman for organising this event and, as club President Ray Duffy stated at the post-final presentations, ‘out of little acorns do big oaks grow;, it is certainly an idea that can be built on.
The response from some of the visiting sides was that while Sevens is traditionally an end of season competition, this tournament proved most useful in getting their squads on to the pitch for reasonably competitive fare.
It also showed them how much more work needs to be done particularly with regard to fitness and handling levels.
It would also hammer home to players areas they needed to improve and work on before the season proper kicks off.
A real pity then that not all the teams who undertook to field turned up but, nevertheless, all those who attended got at least four matches, far more productive than most training sessions.
Overall, the tournament was played in a most sporting manner and here plaudits go not only to the players and mentors but also to the match officials who too were getting an early run-out.
They officiated in a fair and pragmatic manner and they too seemed to enjoy the session. The organisers are grateful for their assistance and to Dubarry for their kind sponsorship in this regard.
In the early pool matches, ‘Buccs 1′ and Castlebar looked the stronger outfits while a youthful Mullingar, waiting in the wings, looked a positive threat.
However, they lacked a bit of guile and leadership while C.Y.M. and Buccaneers’ second squad, rather appropriately named ‘Cardiac Arrest’ (composed primarily if not ideally of props!), emerged to contest the Plate final in which the Dublin club prevailed.
And so Castlebar and ‘Buccs 1′ renewed acquaintance in the final which continued the trend of high scoring with the hosts coming from behind to lead 21-12 at half-time.
They eventually captured the title on a 38-12 margin with Marcus Madden (or ‘Gavin’ as he was affectionately dubbed on the day!) notching all Buccs’ first half tries and his haul tallied no less than eleven tries in total.
The victors’ other try scorers in the final were Alex Hayman, Sean Stapleton and Kent McIntyre, while Fintan Casey and Paul Yeoung replied for the Mayo club.
‘BUCCS 1′ squad: Alex Hayman, Marcus Madden, Sean Stapleton, Kent McIntyre, Kolo Kiripati, Gerry Fallon, Michael Donohoe, David Egan, Garreth Halligan, Alan Kelly.