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Garryowen And Armagh To Meet In Bateman Cup Final

Garryowen And Armagh To Meet In Bateman Cup Final

Garryowen and City of Armagh both made home advantage count in today’s Bateman Cup semi-finals, with the Light Blues striking late against last year’s champions Lansdowne, and Willie Faloon’s Armagh side stretching clear of Buccaneers thanks to three second half tries.

BATEMAN CUP SEMI-FINALS: Saturday, January 12

Scorers: Garryowen: Try: Liam Cronin; Pens: Ben Healy 3
Lansdowne: Pens: Scott Deasy 4

HT: Garryowen 3 Lansdowne 6

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Lansdowne’s Bateman Cup title defence was ended dramatic fashion at Dooradoyle this afternoon as Liam Cronin’s 79th-minute try earned Garryowen a gritty 14-12 semi-final win and a prized place in April’s All-Ireland decider.

The hooker’s decisive late score completed a memorable weekend for the Cronin brothers with Ireland hooker Sean touching down in Leinster’s Heineken Champions Cup win over Toulouse, Munster scrum half recruit Neil notching a try in the Munster ‘A’ team’s defeat of Leinster ‘A’, and Liam, the youngest of the three, emerging as Garryowen’s match winner.

The Light Blues, who had lost last week’s Munster Senior Cup final to Cork Constitution, showed their mettle in what was a closely-fought semi-final throughout. Both Garryowen and Lansdowne were missing players due to that ‘A’ interprovincial game on Friday, but penalties from Scott Deasy after 27 and 30 minutes had the visitors leading 6-3 at half-time.

Deasy added his third successful penalty, six minutes after the break, yet his opposite number, Ireland Under-20 hopeful Ben Healy, matched that tally with well-struck kicks after 49 and 55 minutes. In dull conditions and amid some long forwards-dominated exchanges, Deasy nudged Lansdowne back in front with 12 minutes remaining.

Garryowen had been the last team to beat Lansdowne in league or cup action, with a late Sean Rennison try seeing them triumph 17-14 at Dooradoyle in mid-October. Mike Ruddock’s men have strung together seven league wins in a row since then, but Conan Doyle’s charges foiled them again with a stirring late finish.

Off a solid scrum platform five metres out, the Limerick outfit moved the ball left towards the posts and then slickly swung it back to the right where David McCarthy sent the lurking Cronin crashing over in the corner for the match-winning try. Garryowen now have the opportunity to win their second Bateman Cup following on from their 2012 title win.

GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Daniel Hurley, Peadar Collins, David McCarthy, Cian O’Shea; Ben Healy, Rob Guerin; Niall Horan, Liam Cronin, Andrew Keating, Kevin Seymour, Dean Moore (capt), Tim Ferguson, Diarmuid Barron, Sean Rennison.

Replacements: Mike O’Donnell, David Canny, Scott Leahy, Steven Atkinson, Jamie Gavin, Shane Brosnahan, Andrew O’Byrne.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills (capt); Daniel McEvoy, Mark O’Keeffe, Conor Murphy, Peter Sullivan; Scott Deasy, Tim Murphy; Denis Coulson, James Rael, Ian Prendiville, Willie Earle, Jack O’Sullivan, Tom Murphy, Conor Fenlon, Aaron Conneely.

Replacements: JJ Earle, Martin Mulhall, Greg McGrath, Conall O’Brien, Alan Bennie, Liam O’Sullivan, Barry Goulding.

Scorers: City of Armagh: Tries: Andrew Willis, Evin Crummie, Jonny Morton, Neil Faloon; Cons: Cormac Fox 3; Pen: Cormac Fox
Buccaneers: Try: Shane Layden; Con: Michael Hanley; Pens: Michael Hanley 2

HT: City of Armagh 10 Buccaneers 6

It will be a novel pairing in the final after City of Armagh ran in four tries to overcome Buccaneers 29-13 and claim their first ever semi-final victory in the prestigious All-Ireland Cup competition, which was first contested in 1922 and revived by the IRFU in 2011. There have been no Ulster winners of the Bateman Cup since Queen’s University in 1937.

Armagh winger Andrew Willis took a great line to cut past two defenders and run in the opening try in front of a large Palace Grounds crowd. That 20th-minute converted score, adding to a Cormac Fox penalty, had the hosts 10-6 to the good at half-time. Buccs improved in the second quarter with Michael Hanley kicking penalties in the 32nd and 38th minutes.

The Pirates were right in contention until sustained pressure led to Armagh centre Evin Crummie scoring a very well-worked 58th-minute try. Terrific running by Neil Faloon and influential replacement Oisin Kiernan put the supporting Jonny Morton clear to make it 24-6 to Willie Faloon’s men, who lost 20-13 to Cork Constitution at this stage last season.

Busy Buccs captain Shane Layden got over in the corner to open the midlanders’ try account and give them a timely boost, only for a forwards-inspired 78th-minute effort from number 8 Faloon to seal the deal for Armagh against their Division 1B rivals.

Willie Faloon’s well-drilled outfit, who are currently level with St. Mary’s College at the top of the Division 1B table, also have the Ulster Senior Cup final against Ballymena – scheduled for Friday, February 8 at Kingspan Stadium – to look forward to.

CITY OF ARMAGH: Shea O’Brien; Andrew Willis, Evin Crummie, Jonny Pollock, Ryan Purvis; Cormac Fox, Harry Doyle; Paul Mullen, Andrew Smyth, Phillip Fletcher, Peter Starrett, Josh McKinley, James Hanna, Robbie Whitten (capt), Neil Faloon.

Replacements: Oisin Kiernan, Jonny Morton, Gareth McNiece, James Morton, Gareth Treanor, Chris Cousins, Matthew Reaney.

BUCCANEERS: Callum Boland; Thomas McGann, Shane Layden (capt), Kieran Joyce, Rory O’Connor; Michael Hanley, Frankie Hopkins; Conan O’Donnell,  John Sutton, Liam Winnett, Ruairi Byrne, Torin Rensford, Fergus Galvin, Owen Treacy, Evan Galvin.

Replacements: Harry O’Reilly, Rory Grenham, Sean O’Connell, Gerard Fallon, Dean McMahon, Ross Murphy-Sweeney.

– Photos from Kieran Ryan-Benson (Garryowen v Lansdowne) and Ken Redpath (City of Armagh v Buccaneers)