Buccaneers touch rugby players feature proudly at 2022 European Championships

Pictured are Ireland Men’s 40s squad who participated in the recent European Touch Rugby Championships in Nottingham.  Back row, l-r, Stephen Kavanagh (DLSP), Nigel So (Buccaneers Touch), Rory Silke (Buccaneers Touch), Denis O’Connor (Buccaneers Touch), Dave White (Racoon West Galway), Peter Ashe-Browne (Coach).  Front row, l-r, Deaglán Ó’Meachair (Wicklow Touch), Damien McAllister (Belfast Warriors), Paddy O’Sullivan (Old Belvedere Touch - Captain), Piotr Dolguruki (Wicklow Touch), Jason Keane (Racoon West Galway), Dara Irwin (Racoon West Galway).

Pictured are Ireland Men’s 40s squad who participated in the recent European Touch Rugby Championships in Nottingham. Back row, l-r, Stephen Kavanagh (DLSP), Nigel So (Buccaneers Touch), Rory Silke (Buccaneers Touch), Denis O’Connor (Buccaneers Touch), Dave White (Racoon West Galway), Peter Ashe-Browne (Coach). Front row, l-r, Deaglán Ó’Meachair (Wicklow Touch), Damien McAllister (Belfast Warriors), Paddy O’Sullivan (Old Belvedere Touch - Captain), Piotr Dolguruki (Wicklow Touch), Jason Keane (Racoon West Galway), Dara Irwin (Racoon West Galway).

The 2022 European Touch Rugby Championships took place over a five day period in Nottingham, Buccaneers Touch having a keen interest in the tournament with four players involved - Paul Gavin, Rory Silke, Denis O’Connor and Nigel So were all part of the Ireland Men’s over 40s team which achieved a sixth place finish.

Day one proved tough for the M40s with heavy defeats against reigning champions France and Jersey. On day two there was only one game against a strong Scottish side and they gave a much improved performance before going down to an 8-5 defeat with Nigel So getting on the scoresheet.

Day three saw Ireland’s first win, defeating Belgium 11-6 with a great attacking performance. There were six tries from Buccaneers players with Nigel So, Paul Gavin and Denis O’Connor getting two tries each. Next up were tournament favourites England. The home side’s fitness and line attack variation was exceptional and they eased to 13-1 victory in the end.

On day four of the tournament Ireland M40s were in action against Wales twice. First was the final round robin game which ended 12-6 with Rory Silke getting his first try of the tournament. It was a deserved win for Wales as they showed some clever innovations both in transitioning from defence to attack and also in line attack.

Next up was a quarter final fixture where both sides clashed once more, Wales emerging victorious on a 10-6 scoreline. Paul Gavin continued his good run of scoring form with two tries. The scoreline didn’t quite do justice to Ireland’s great effort with the game being in the balance till late on before Wales scored two late tries.

On the fifth and final day of the competition Ireland Men’s 40s were in action very early in the day against Belgium. The Belgians were physical and wholehearted as usual and they put it up to Ireland in the opening 20 minutes. The game was level 3-3 at half-time. Early in the second half, Belgium hit the front before a try from captain Paddy O’Sullivan and two from Paul Gavin helped Ireland to a 7-5 win.

Ireland then got a chance for revenge against Jersey in the fifth place play off. In very hot conditions, Ireland exerted pressure on the Channel Islanders but eventually ran out of steam with Jersey claiming a 13-9 win.

Overall, it was a tough tournament for the Men’s 40s but they showed a great work ethic and team spirit throughout. The four Buccaneers players, in particular Paul Gavin, all acquitted themselves well, scoring 14 tries between them.

Details of the tournament along with live streams are available at https://www.internationaltouch.org/events/euros/2022/mens-40/

In all, Ireland sent eight teams to the championships with the best performers being the flagship Men’s Open squad who took the silver medal, making it all the way to the final before going down to an outstanding England side.

 

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