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Bateman All-Ireland Cup Preview: Dungannon v Corinthians

Bateman All-Ireland Cup Preview: Dungannon v Corinthians

Dungannon host Corinthians in the second semi-final of the Bateman All Ireland Cup this weekend. The game was postponed back in January because of an unplayable pitch, but Stevenson Park should see a lively encounter this Saturday.


DUNGANNON (5th, Div 1B) v CORINTHIANS (6th, Div 2), Stevenson Park, 2.30pm

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Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Dungannon: LLWWWLLWLLWW; Corinthians: LWWLWWLWLDWL

Provincial Cup Runs – Dungannon (Ulster Senior Cup): Beat Belfast Harlequins 25-5; Beat Ballymena 25-18; Beat Malone 50-20; Beat City of Derry 25-0 (final); Corinthians (Connacht Senior Cup): Beat Buccaneers 38-9; Beat Galwegians 25-24, after extra-time (final)

Preview: Dungannon come into this game on the back of a morale-boosting win over Buccaneers in Division 1B of the Ulster Bank League. That win saw them move up to fifth in the table and crucially four points ahead of UCC.

Corinthians sit in sixth place in Division 2 and are not yet out of the running for promotion despite losing to UCD last time out.

Interestingly, UCD were knocked out of the other All-Ireland Cup semi-final by Munster Cup winners Bruff, who have seen their league form take a dip since then.

This rearranged semi-final sees Dungannon director of rugby Justin Fitzpatrick try to put one over on old friend Sean ‘Diggers’ Duignan, who coaches Corinthians along with Paul Flanagan.

Fitzpatrick is unable to call on Paddy Jackson or Craig Gilroy as they are both on duty with the Ireland Under-20s, as are Aaron Conneely and Mark Dolan from Corinthians.

The likes of Conor Gaston, Chris Cochrane and Adam Duhig have been in ecellent form of late for the Tyrone men, who are well-marshalled by captain Paul Magee and player-coach Kieran Campbell.

Corinthians are developing some fine players themselves, with Eoin Griffin and Shane Conneely making the breakthrough with Connacht.

Youngsters like Conor Murphy, Mick O’Flynn, Mattie Flynn and Aaron Conneely are also producing the goods week in, week out for the Galway club.

Both sides should be up for the semi-final as it is a chance for some serious silverware and has the makings of an excellent encounter.

The prospect of a cup semi-final followed by watching Ireland’s exploits in the clubhouse afterwards should draw a good crowd.

Form and league position favours Dungannon to make it an all-Division 1B final. Although Corinthians are more than capable of producing an upset, we still think Fitzpatrick’s charges will do enough to join Bruff in next month’s decider.

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dungannon to win by 6-10 points

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