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The Bateman Cup – A Brief History

The Bateman Cup – A Brief History

The Bateman Cup was first contested back in 1922 between Lansdowne and Cork Constitution. This weekend the Cork club are aiming for their fifth title in as many seasons. We take a look back at the history of this venerable trophy.

Cork Constitution lost out in that first final, beaten 6-5 by Lansdowne. This weekend will be Old Belvedere’s first appearance in a Bateman Cup decider and they will be aiming to break the Cork Con and Munster stranglehold on the trophy.

Since its reintroduction in 2011, the cup has resided in Munster clubs with Bruff, Garryowen and Cork Con all taking it home. Constitution have won the last four finals – beating St. Mary’s College, UCD, Clontarf and also Galwegians twelve months ago.

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

The oldest surviving Bateman Cup 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: Old Belvedere v Cork Constitution, Anglsea Road, Saturday, 12.45pm

This Saturday’s Bateman Cup decider will be broadcast live on RTE Two Television.


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
2016 – Cork Constitution 38 Galwegians 19 – Match Report