This Saturday will mark a new chapter in the history of the Bateman Cup as Dungannon and Bruff go head-to-head at Templeville Road, having won their respective semi-finals.
The first semi-final saw Munster Cup champions Bruff at home to Leinster Cup winners UCD. Bruff emerged as the winners at Kilballyowen Park thanks to two late tries and a Tony Cahill conversion.
UCD, unbeaten in the league, were 22-7 ahead but the Limerick side blasted back with a late flurry which culminated in a John Shine try and Cahill's conversion which gave them a terrific 24-22 victory.
In the second semi, which was postponed from January to March because of bad weather, Dungannon and Corinthians needed extra-time to decide the victors.
The match, which ironically was played in very snowy conditions, was a bruising affair that saw Justin Fitzpatrick's 'Gannon side grab a late try and Michael Lawton’s conversion took the game into extra-time at 13-13.
An early penalty in extra time put Dungannon in front and they managed to hold out against a gallant Corinthians outfit.
On the league front. Bruff's form seemed to desert them after their cup success and despite finishing the season with a win over table toppers Clontarf, they still face a play-off to retain their Division 1B status.
Dungannon were beaten by UCC in their last league game, but they did record back-to-back wins over Buccaneers in the closing stages.
The two sides have met twice already this season in Division 1B of the Ulster Bank League with home advantage proving crucial in both ties.
Bruff won 21-10 at home in November, while Dungannon reversed it 21-8 at Stevenson Park in February.
Expect a large and raucous crowd from both clubs to descend on Dublin this Saturday. All in all, this is an intriguing cup final to mark the return of the Bateman Cup.
Related Links -