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Energia Bateman Cup: Semi-Finals Review

Energia Bateman Cup: Semi-Finals Review

This season's Energia Bateman Cup final will be contested by Cork Constitution and Lansdowne on Saturday, April 11 at a venue to be confirmed ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Barry Galvin and Dan Sheehan were the respective hat-trick heroes for Cork Constitution and Lansdowne in this afternoon’s Energia Bateman Cup semi-finals.


Scorers: Sligo: Tries: Calum Goddard 2
Cork Constitution: Tries: Vincent O’Brien, Alex McHenry 2, Barry Galvin 3; Cons: Gerry Hurley 4
HT: Sligo 5 Cork Constitution 31

The historic and prestigious All-Ireland Cup competition kicked off the domestic club action for 2020, with Division 1A leaders Cork Constitution ending Sligo’s hopes with a decisive 38-10 defeat at Hamilton Park.

Winger Barry Galvin’s first half hat-trick powered Constitution – the record five-time Bateman Cup champions between 2013 and 2017 – into a comfortable lead which they never looked like relinquishing in the picturesque setting of Strandhill.

Hooker Vincent O’Brien’s sixth-minute maul try, converted by stalwart back Gerry Hurley, got the ball rolling for the visitors whose physicality and speed on the ball was proving tough for a game Sligo side to contain.

Highly-rated Munster centre Alex McHenry darted in behind the posts in the 14th minute, while Con ended the first quarter 26-0 to the good thanks to a quick-fire brace in the right corner from Galvin.

Sligo, who had Connacht prospect Donnacha Byrne making his senior club debut at number 8, rallied with a well-taken Calum Goddard try from Euan Brown’s cross-field kick. But Galvin touched down from McHenry’s grubber kick to make it 31-5 for half-time.

A scrappy third quarter saw Division 2B outfit Sligo go up a gear. They had a couple of good line-breaks from Kuba Wojtkowicz and co-captain Ryan Feehily and their defence cut down the opportunities for Brian Hickey’s men.

Excellent hands from Sligo native Niall Kenneally put his centre partner McHenry over in the 72nd minute, yet with scrum half Feehily impressing in the build-up, Sligo had the final say when a free-flowing move set up New Zealander Goddard to complete his brace.

SLIGO: Enda Gavin; Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Daire Byrne, Philip Carter; Euan Brown, Ryan Feehily (co-capt); Mark Keegan, Shane O’Hehir (co-capt), Thomas Gormley, Cian Cassidy, Rob Holian, Shane Boyle, Matthew Davey, Donnacha Byrne.

Replacements: James O’Hehir, Jason East, Matthew Earley, Brian West, Diarmuid O’Dowd-Hill, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Brendan Cunningham.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Jonathan Wren; Barry Galvin, Alex McHenry, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Gerry Hurley, Ryan Foley; Gavin Duffy, Vincent O’Brien, Dylan Murphy, Brian Hayes, Cathal O’Flaherty, James Murphy, Michael Casey, David Hyland.

Replacements: John Sutton, Brendan Quinlan, Luke Masters, Sean Duffy, Gary Bradley, Bruce Matthews, Michael Hand.

LANSDOWNE 20 CITY OF ARMAGH 17, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Dan Sheehan 3; Con: Tim Foley; Pen: Peter Hastie
City of Armagh: Tries: JJ Scheepers, Gerard Treanor; Cons: Cormac Fox 2; Pen: Cormac Fox
HT: Lansdowne 13 City of Armagh 3

The Bateman Cup final, scheduled for Saturday, April 11, will be a Division 1A derby as Lansdowne edged out City of Armagh 20-17 in a thrilling contest. Armagh were runners-up last year and came within a couple of minutes of a famous victory on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch.

It took a late Sheehan try and some last-gasp defending to get Lansdowne over the finish line. Despite an early shot at the posts and the bulk of first half possession, the home side could not punch holes in the Armagh defence.

Indeed, it was Willie Faloon’s charges who took a 14th minute lead when out-half Cormac Fox’s penalty punished a high tackle. Yet, Lansdowne hit back in the second quarter with Peter Hastie levelling from the tee before Leinster Academy hooker Dan Sheehan’s opening try in the 24th minute.

A strong lineout drive and a flick out wide saw Sheehan cross in the corner, and with Philip Fletcher paying the price for Armagh’s indiscipline with a 32nd-minute yellow card, Sheehan’s second try arrived from another maul to make it 13-3 at the interval.

Armagh had nothing to lose in the second half and played like it. Following Darragh Murphy’s sin-binning, they pressed for a try and just when a turnover looked costly, a charged-down kick prompted a madcap few seconds and the quick-thinking JJ Scheepers cross unchallenged from a tapped penalty.

Buoyed by their stout defending at the other end, Armagh deservedly went ahead in the 74th minute. Gerard Treanor was fed from the back of a maul and stepped inside the cover to touch down, with his half-back partner Fox’s touchline conversion putting four points between them – 17-13.

Lansdowne needed something special in response, and they got it in the 80th minute. An inch-perfect cross-field kick stretched Armagh to the left, and when the ball was whipped back to the right, once again it was Sheehan who popped up to finish.

Replacement Tim Foley converted and it was necessary as there was still time for Armagh to retake the lead. The final whistle was blown with the ball only inches short of Lansdowne’s line. Armagh had fired their final shot but the hosts had hung on in gritty fashion.

Mark McHugh’s men will meet Cork Con in a repeat of the 2018 decider which Lansdowne won 32-12 to lift the Bateman Cup for the first time since 1931. The headquarters club will host Con before then in the league on Saturday, March 21.

LANSDOWNE: Tom Roche; Cillian Redmond, Conall Doherty, Barry Goulding, Peter Sullivan; Peter Hastie, Tim Murphy; Martin Mulhall, Dan Sheehan, Adam Boland, Mark Flanagan, Jack Dwan (capt), Neal Moylett, Jack O’Sullivan, Darragh Murphy.

Replacements: Ian Prendiville, Greg McGrath, Conail O’Brien, Mark Boyle, Conor Murphy, Daniel McEvoy, Tim Foley.

CITY OF ARMAGH: Tim McNiece; Andrew Willis, Shea O’Brien, Evin Crummie, Josh Morton; Cormac Fox, Gerard Treanor; Paul Mullen, Andrew Smyth, Philip Fletcher, Josh McKinley, JJ Scheepers, Rob Whitten (capt), Barry Finn, Neil Faloon.

Replacements: Jonny Morton, Eoin O’Hagan, Peter Lamb, Oliver Millar, Alex Johnston, Jonny Pollock, Mervyn Brown.