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The Bateman Cup – A Brief History

The Bateman Cup – A Brief History

Galwegians will host the Bateman Cup final this weekend as visitors Cork Constitution seek to add to the story of the illustrious trophy by winning it for the fourth year in-a-row. We take a look at the history of the cup.

The final pairing of ‘Wegians and Con is fitting given both clubs played a part in the early story of the Bateman Cup.

Cork Con played in the first final in 1922, losing out 6-5 to Lansdowne. Galwegians were the first Connacht club to reach the finals in 1929 – they also lost to Lansdowne, who went on to win it again in 1930 and 1931.

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Lansdowne feature strongly in the early history of the trophy – winning it four times and reaching the final on two other occasions – but they have yet to feature in the modern version of the competition.

The oldest surviving footage comes from 1927 when Instonians beat Lansdowne 16-8 after extra-time.

The Bateman Cup was presented to the IRFU by Dr. Godfrey Bateman, a member of a well-known west Cork family, in memory of his sons Reginald and Arthur who were killed during the First World War.

Reginald and Arthur were both keen rugby players and both featured in a newspaper record of a Trinity First Year Medicals A team against a Wanderers 3rd B team in November 1910 at Lansdowne Road.

The inscription on the cup reads:

Presented by Godfrey Bateman to the Irish Rugby Football Union in ever-fresh and loving memory of his darling sons:

Major Reginald John Godfrey Bateman, Canadian Infantry, killed in action 3 September, 1918,
Captain Arthur Cyril Bateman, who, on 28 March 1918 gave his life for his wounded Camerons.

The competition was played annually between the four provincial cup winners on the last weekend of the season, with the exception of 1933 and 1934 when a number of the provincial cup campaigns had not been completed on time.

The Bateman Cup semi-finals used to be played as a double header at Lansdowne Road, with the final taking place at the same venue the very next day – ‘a real test of stamina’ according to a newspaper article from the 1920s.

The tournament was finally terminated at the outbreak of the Second World War owing to the restriction on travel.

Garryowen Football Club ran a once-off Bateman Cup style competition in the spring of 1975, this in conjunction with the IRFU Centenary celebrations, the laurels eventually resting with St. Mary’s College.

Bateman Cup Final: Galwegians v Cork Constitution, Crowley Park, 12.45pm, Saturday, April 30, Crowley Park

The match is live on RTE Two Television on Saturday with analysis from Donal Lenihan and Gavin Duffy, and commentary by Hugh Cahill and Alan Quinlan.


1922 – Lansdowne 6 Cork Constitution 5
1923 – Bective Rangers 14 Instonians 6
1924 – Queen’s University 29 UCD 11
1925 – Bective Rangers 6 Garryowen 3
1926 – Dublin University 13 Garryowen 0
1927 – Instonians 16 Lansdowne 8
1928 – Young Munster 6 Lansdowne 3
1929 – Lansdowne 32 Galwegians 11
1930 – Lansdowne 19 North of Ireland FC 12
1931 – Lansdowne 16 Belfast Collegians 5
1932 – Queen’s University 19 Cork Constitution 0
1933 – Suspended
1934 – Suspended
1935 – North of Ireland FC 14 Bective Rangers 0
1936 – UCC 17 UGC 0
1937 – Queen’s University 8 UCC 0
1938 – UCD 16 Young Munster 6
1939 – Blackrock College 4 North of Ireland FC 3

1975 – St. Mary’s College 9 Galway Corinthians 9 (St. Mary’s won on try count)

2011 – Bruff 24 Dungannon 18 – Match Report / Video Highlights
2012 – Garryowen 24 Ballymena 6 – Match Report
2013 – Cork Constitution 24 St. Mary’s College 19 – Match Report / Post-Match Video
2014 – Cork Constitution 19 UCD 6 – Match Report
2015 – Cork Constitution 24 Clontarf 9 – Match Report