Monday 22 January 2018

Con make Bateman Cup history

Cork Con players celebrate their Bateman Cup triumph. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Cork Con players celebrate their Bateman Cup triumph. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne Newsdesk

Cork Constitution became the first club to claim a historic Bateman Cup four in a row last Saturday with a 38-19 win over Galwegians at Crowley Park.

The Cork side have equalled the number of record wins as Lansdowne, an achievement captain James Ryan acknowledged, in what has been a very impressive season for the club.

"The Bateman Cup is a special trophy for Con. I'm lucky enough to have won it for four years now - I think there's only three of us that have done that," he said.

"We had two tough league games against 'Wegians and we were lucky enough to come out on top. It was a big performance by the boys.

They were probably the one pack we never got the better of in the scrum, and it probably showed again. Our scrum was dominant all year, but Saturday was very even.

"The boys up front really prevailed. We stole a few lineouts and we got a few mauls off it which was the key to winning."


Brian Hickey's men still have two more final appearances to come: Sunday's Aviva Stadium showdown with Clontarf in the All Ireland League final (ko 2.30) and the Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Cup decider against Young Munster at Thomond Park tomorrow week.

Young Munster defeated their Limerick rivals Old Crescent 29-14 last weekend to book their place in the Munster final, a feat they last achieved in 2010 under the captaincy of Ger Slattery, who also captains this year's squad.

The side will no doubt be seeking revenge for their disappointing loss to Cork Constitution in the All-Ireland league semi-final, which has set up a mouthwatering encounter on tomorrow week.

Cork Con, who have 26 Senior Cup wins to their credit, will be vying for their second four in a row trophy wins this season, having retained the senior cup since 2012.

The Cork side might also hope to avenge their junior side's loss who were pipped at the post by Young Munster on home soil last Sunday by a 22-13 margin to claim the Munster Junior Cup at Irish Independent Park.

Young Munster director of rugby John Staunton acknowledged the importance of the win for the Cookies, stressing the victory was a great boost for the club going into the Senior Cup final.

"I suppose we needed a trophy after losing last week's All-Ireland semi-final against Con," he said.

"We just could not lose this one and it gives us a great boost ahead of our meeting in the Senior Cup."

For now Cork Constitution won't be looking any further than Sunday's final.

The Leesiders last claimed the All-Ireland League title in 2010 and will be hoping to continue on their many successes of the season.

"Roll on Tuesday when we get back training, get back into the office. We'll start again, put this behind us and try to beat Clontarf," said Ryan last week.

Irish Independent

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