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Terenure Retain Bateman Cup After Titanic Tussle With 14-Man Munsters

Terenure Retain Bateman Cup After Titanic Tussle With 14-Man Munsters

Conall Boomer and Caolan Dooley, who are leaving to join the Chicago Hounds, lifted the Energia Bateman Cup for Terenure College at the trophy presentation ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Young Munster did not let Fintan Coleman’s first half sending-off stop them from running Terenure College desperately close in an enthralling Energia Bateman Cup final at Lakelands Park.


Saturday, January 6 –

Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Conor Phillips, Jordan Coghlan, Aran Egan; Cons: Callum Smith 2; Pen: Callum Smith
Young Munster: Tries: Sean Rigney, Ruadhan Quinn; Con: Shane O’Leary; Pen: Shane O’Leary
HT: Terenure College 10 Young Munster 8

Terenure triumphed 22-15 to retain the coveted title, becoming the first back-to-back Bateman Cup winners since Cork Constitution in 2017, as Jordan Coghlan (52 minutes) and Aran Egan (59) struck for decisive tries.

Former Cookie Conor Phillips crossed in the fourth minute to put Sean Skehan’s men on course for a 10-8 half-time lead. Sean Rigney drove over from a maul for Young Munster.

Despite number 8 Coleman’s 35th-minute dismissal for a high tackle, Munsters remained right in the hunt and took the lead when Ireland Under-20 star Ruadhan Quinn burrowed over.

However, Terenure finished the third quarter strongly, and having held up Kegan Christian-Goss late on, their captain Harrison Brewer gave the honour to two departing players, Conall Boomer and Caolan Dooley, to lift the trophy at the post-match presentation.

It was Bateman Cup final heartbreak for Munsters for the second time in three seasons, albeit that this was a much closer match than their 2022 defeat to Lansdowne. Having also lost the 1938 decider, they are still waiting to add to their first win from 1928.

Terenure engineered two try-scoring chances inside the opening few minutes, with the first of them coming to a halt when Munsters centre Christian-Goss intercepted a pass that had gone to ground.

The second one was clinically finished off by Phillips, who was released through midfield, rounding Oisin Pepper and stepping inside Shane O’Leary before touching down despite Pepper’s tap tackle.

Callum Smith made it a seven-pointer before Pepper unfortunately had to hobble off injured. Munsters’ first maul attempt gained good ground, and O’Leary duly closed the gap to 7-3 from the tee.

While Terenure looked to play with width despite the soft underfoot conditions, Munsters kept pressing through their maul – driving impressively past halfway – before Brewer forced a subsequent turnover.

Smith landed a long-range penalty to punish a high tackle on Campbell Classon, but there was nothing wrong about Harry Fleming’s bone-crunching challenge on Brewer which the Cookies faithful lapped up.

When Jack Lyons went quickly from a midfield penalty, Classon was not back 10 metres and saw yellow for the infringement. The visitors swiftly took advantage.

The Limerick men exerted more pressure through successive lineout drives, the second one ending with the long-limbed Rigney piling over the line, along with hooker Stephen McLoughlin.

Following O’Leary’s missed conversion, Munsters were defending just inside the ‘Nure half when Coleman caught Peter Sylvester high and the match officials, led by referee Jonny Erskine, deemed the tackle worthy of a red card.

Try scorer Rigney wormed his way through a maul to win turnover ball, visibly lifting his team-mates as a bruising first half came to a close with defences on top.

Ger Slattery’s charges started the second period on the front foot, with O’Leary slicing a drop goal effort wide before his opposite number, Smith, fumbled possession into touch. The resulting power-packed maul earned a penalty advantage.

The Cookies hammered away through the likes of Rigney and skipper Alan Kennedy, the phases racking up as McLoughlin was stopped just short but Quinn managed to squeeze in beside the left hand post.

O’Leary’s straightforward conversion was followed by a brilliant break from Aidan Shortall, who was denied by the bouncing ball after his kick had exposed ‘Nure in the back-field.

A superb sidestepping run from Sylvester reignited Terenure, who used a couple of penalties to put themselves right where they wanted to be. The pressure eventually told.

In front of the Young Munster posts, Colm de Buitléar got his hands free in a double tackle, allowing Adam Melia and Brewer to use the quick ball to send Coghlan charging over from 12 metres out.

Smith pulled the conversion wide at 15-all, allowing the tension to increase again in what was turning out to be an absorbing New Year contest.

Terenure looked to be on the way to a second quick-fire try, but Phillips, having broken out of the home 22, was reeled in in tremendous fashion by Shortall.

The Cookies were cut open though when Skehan’s side moved infield off a lineout, a few minutes later. Sylvester crashed it up before Coghlan put Egan through a gap to dive in behind the posts.

The extras from Smith put seven points between the Division 1A rivals, prompting a strong spell from the Cookies. New Zealander Christian-Goss had them in try-scoring range, only for Brewer to win the breakdown battle.

Terenure wanted the insurance score, but they were sent back out of the Cookies’ 22 by O’Leary’s turnover penalty. Nerves amongst the home supporters were jangling as the underdogs threw the kitchen sink at the defending champions, going closest through Christian-Goss in the 74th minute.

Just when it looked like Munsters might have one final maul opportunity, replacement hooker Chris Moore was whistled up for a crooked throw in the last play.

A Herculean effort from 14-man Young Munster, but Terenure have taken care of the first leg of a potential second successive All-Ireland League and Cup double.

TIME LINE: 4 minutes – Terenure College try: Conor Phillips – 5-0; conversion: Callum Smith – 7-0; 10 mins – Young Munster penalty: Shane O’Leary – 7-3; 21 mins – Terenure College penalty: Callum Smith – 10-3; 27 mins – Terenure College yellow card: Campbell Classon; 30 mins – Young Munster try: Sean Rigney – 10-8; conversion: missed by Shane O’Leary – 10-8; 35 mins – Young Munster red card: Fintan Coleman; Half-time – Terenure College 10 Young Munster 8; 45 mins – Young Munster try: Ruadhan Quinn – 10-13; conversion: Shane O’Leary – 10-15; 52 mins – Terenure College try: Jordan Coghlan – 15-15; conversion: missed by Callum Smith – 15-15; 59 minutes – Terenure College try: Aran Egan – 20-15; conversion: Callum Smith – 22-15; Full-time – Terenure College 22 Young Munster 15

TERENURE COLLEGE: Aran Egan; Adam La Grue, Colm de Buitléar, Peter Sylvester, Conor Phillips; Callum Smith, Alan Bennie; Campbell Classon, Levi Vaughan, Adam Tuite, Harrison Brewer (capt), Matthew Caffrey, Adam Melia, Jim White, Jordan Coghlan.

Replacements: Tom Stewart, Conan O’Donnell, Conor McCormack, Mike Murphy, Tom Coghlan, Stephen O’Neill, Caolan Dooley, Craig Adams.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Aidan Shortall; Shay McCarthy, Harry Fleming, Kegan Christian-Goss, Oisin Pepper; Shane O’Leary, Jack Lyons; David Begley, Stephen McLoughlin, Keynan Knox, Tom Goggin, Sean Rigney, Alan Kennedy (capt), Ruadhan Quinn, Fintan Coleman.

Replacements: Chris Moore, Harrison Allan, Conor Bartley, John Foley, Donnchadh O’Callaghan, Cian Casey, James O’Brien, James Horrigan.

Referee: Jonny Erskine (IRFU)