City of Armagh will travel from the Palace Grounds to Templeville Road on Saturday intent on adding their name to the history of the Bateman Cup. Garryowen will have ideas of their own in seeking recapture the trophy for the first time since 2012, when they beat another Ulster club – Ballymena.
Should Armagh win this weekend, they will be the first Ulster side to get their hands on the coveted All-Ireland trophy since Queen’s University back in 1937. Ballynahinch did claim an All-Ireland Cup title in 2009 but the Bateman trophy was not reintroduced until the 2010/11 season when Bruff were crowned champions.
Garryowen also won an All-Ireland Cup in the non-Bateman season of 2006/07. The Bateman Cup was first presented in 1922 when Lansdowne beat Cork Constitution 6-5. The two sides contested last year’s final as Lansdowne prevented Constitution from winning it for a record sixth 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. This footage from Pathé news shows Instonians winning the cup in 1927:
Ulster Senior Cup winners City of Armagh beat Buccaneers 29-13 in their semi-final back in January, while Garryowen knocked out the holders Lansdowne 14-12 in a closely-fought last-four clash.
The game kicks off at 12.30pm on Easter Saturday and will be live on RTE 2.