This is the seventh season that Dubarry Park in Athlone, the home ground of Buccaneers RFC, has played host to the Ireland Under-20s’ Six Nations matches, or the Under-21s as they were in previous years.
At a recent launch in the Bounty in Athlone, Buccaneers RFC President Ted Carty acknowledged the support of the Irish Rugby Football Union in bringing the prestigious international fixtures to the heartland of the country.
There is great excitement in the club about the Ireland Under-20s’ forthcoming home matches, against Wales, Italy and Scotland, and also the number of young Buccaneers players – Daniel Qualter, Shane Layden and Conor Finn – in contention to wear the green jersey.
Athlone Lord Mayor Alan Shaw thanked the IRFU for their support in promoting the excellent facilities at Dubarry Park.
Thes U-20 games are a considerable boost to the economy of Athlone particularly with regard to hotels, restaurants and pubs at what is generally a quiet team of the year.
Ireland U-20 head coach Mike Ruddock and new team manager Brian Roantree attended along with some members of the current squad, including captain Paddy Jackson, JJ Hanrahan, Qualter and Conor Gilsenan.
Ruddock was again delighted to be back in Athlone and he commended the host Buccaneers club on both their top class facilities and warm welcome.
He believes Ireland have a well-balanced squad this season with an experienced spine through the panel and he is confident that they will do well.
Having coached Wales to a senior Grand Slam, he feels he knows a thing or two about Wales’ and he is ‘eagerly looking forward to the opening game against them’ this Friday night.
Tickets for the Ireland U-20s’ clash with Wales are on sale at Dubarry Park (tel: 0861732711) and they can also be purchased at the Bounty (tel: 090 6477566) and Musicworld (tel: 090 6474372).
Stand tickets are priced at €;20, ground/terrace tickets are €;15 and admission for student/OAPs is €;10. Discount vouchers have been distributed to secondary and national schools in the region as usual.
Pre-match tables can also be booked at just €;320 per table of eight. That is just €;40 per person for which you get a three course meal and wine and a reserved seat in the stand. Larger or smaller groups will also be catered for.
Contact Geraldine at 0861732711 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org to book or for further details.
Friday’s game will be broadcast live on RTÉ Two, with commentary provided by Ryle Nugent and Donal Lenihan. It will also be shown on RTE.ie (Island of Ireland only).
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