City of Armagh 7 Lansdowne 22
Lansdowne moved within 80 minutes of lifting the Bateman Cup again after ending City of Armagh’s hopes at the semi-final stage.
Jack Matthews and Sean Galvin both touched down in the second half, adding to an earlier penalty try, as Mark McHugh’s men triumphed 22-7 at the Palace Grounds.
It was always going to be a tough ask for Division 1B side Armagh, who were hoping to avenge a 20-17 defeat to Lansdowne from the 2020 edition of the Energia-sponsored All-Ireland competition.
Young outhalf Peter Hastie landed a penalty in very wet conditions, before Lansdowne’s robust pack forced a penalty try to take the visitors into a 10-0 half-time lead.
Two tries in a 12-minute spell at the start of the second half effectively settled the issue. Scrumhalf Matthews crossed in the corner before replacement Galvin rounded off a surging attack that began with a quick tap in Lansdowne’s 22.
Armagh replacement Matthew Hooks deservedly hit back with a seven-pointer, but there was no stopping Lansdowne as they set up a February 12th final against Young Munster, who advanced after Covid-19 forced Ballina to call off their game.
Lansdowne have a long and proud history with the Bateman Cup, winning the inaugural event 100 years ago and further titles in 1929, 1930, 1931 and 2018. They were crowned joint winners with Cork Constitution in 2020, following the initial outbreak of Covid.
Young Munster’s only Bateman Cup success was back in 1928, when they beat Lansdowne 6-3 in the decider. The clubs are currently third and second respectively in Division 1A of the Energia All-Ireland League.
They played out one of the games of the domestic season so far at Irish Rugby HQ in October, a Conor Hayes hat-trick of tries inspiring a 24-20 success for the Cookies against McHugh’s charges.
City of Armagh: Try: Matthew Hooks; Con: Kyle Faloon.
Lansdowne: Tries: Penalty try, Jack Matthews, Sean Galvin; Cons: Pen try con, Peter Hastie; Pen: Peter Hastie.
City of Armagh: Kyle Faloon; Andrew Willis, Tim McNiece (capt), Evin Crummie, Shea O'Brien; Harry Boyd, Alex Johnston; Peter Lamb, Jonny Morton, Philip Fletcher; Josh McKinley, James Hanna; Nigel Simpson, Ryan O'Neill, Neil Faloon.
Replacements: Jack Sleator, Eoin O'Hagan, Paul Mullen, James Crummie, James Morton, Romain Morrow, Matthew Hooks, Ross Taylor.
Lansdowne: Liam O'Sullivan; Sean Galvin, Andy Marks, Corey Reid, Daniel McEvoy; Peter Hastie, Jack Matthews; Frank Kavanagh, Luke Thompson, Greg McGrath; Joey Szpara, Jack Dwan; Clive Ross, Jack O'Sullivan (capt), Mark Boyle.
Replacements: Patrick Nixon, Henry Godson, Conan Dunne, Darragh Murphy, Daniel Murphy, Sam Prendergast, James Kenny, Michael Silvester.
Railway Union 24 Blackrock College 14
Railway Union reached the Energia Women’s All-Ireland Cup semi-finals with Aoife Doyle touching down twice in their 24-14 win over close rivals Blackrock College.
John Cronin’s side burst out of the blocks in their first game of the New Year, Ireland speedster Doyle crossing in the corner before adding a well-taken intercept effort in the eighth minute.
Up-and-coming prop Amanda McQuade added a third try for a 17-0 half-time lead, but Blackrock, turning around with a big wind behind them, were much improved after the break.
Two quick-fire tries brought them right back into contention, recent Ireland cap Maeve Óg O’Leary breaking free for the first of them after good initial work by Maggie Boylan and the supporting Natasja Behan.
Replacement Caoimhe Molloy crashed over to make it a three-point game, but Railway’s swift response through Kate McCarthy, who was sprung from the bench, sealed their passage through to the last-four.
Railway Union: Tries: Aoife Doyle 2, Amanda McQuade, Kate McCarthy; Cons: Nikki Caughey 2.
Blackrock College: Tries: Maeve Óg O'Leary, Caoimhe Molloy; Cons: Lisa Mullen 2.
Railway Union: Molly Scuffil-McCabe; Emer O'Mahony, Aoife Doyle, Alex McGuinness, Tess Feury; Nikki Caughey, Ailsa Hughes; Lindsay Peat, Chloe Blackmore, Katie O'Dwyer; Aoife McDermott, Sonia McDermott; Keelin Brady, Emma Murphy, Deirdre Roberts.
Replacements: Lisa Callan, Megan Collis, Amanda McQuade, Kate McCarthy, Emma Fabby, Erin Coll, Ava Ryder.
Blackrock College: Maggie Boylan; Natasja Behan, Michelle Claffey (capt), Ciara Scanlan, Adele Leogue; Jackie Shiels, Lisa Mullen; Casey O'Brien, Niamh Tester, Christy Haney; Mairead Holohan, Eimear Corri; Meadbh Scally, Maeve Óg O'Leary, Tess Meade.
Replacements: Caoimhe Molloy, Ann-Marie Rooney, Roisin McWey, Katie Fitzhenry, Niamh Griffin, Valerie Power, Ellen Taite.