Ulster Bank Bateman Cup Final Preview: Ballymena RFC Super15 are playing in Dublin B4 The Ulster Rugby European Semi Final – Thay Are going For All Ireland Rugby Championship prepared for the Bateman decider by trouncing UCC 41-6 in their final Ulster Bank League Division 1B game last Saturday!!!!!!!!! Watch the game LIVE!!!!!!!!!! On Saturday On RTE

4 minutes, 10 seconds Read

For all Ulster supporters in Dublin for the Ulster Rugby European Semi Final Templeville is not far from the Aviva and the game is beofre the Ulster game so go over and watch the Ballymena game if you can. the Ballymena Super15 are going for the All Ireland Championship
[youtube FPL9_iGBWgI
The 33-year-old has for some time being regarded as one of the most effective flankers in the Ulster Bank League. He has represented both Munster and Connacht during his distinguished career.
Highlights Of the Ballymena RFC Super15 In The ULSTER CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[youtube ugDo6Akrpo0]
But leading Garryowen to a Bateman Cup success would rate very highly in Neville’s achievements. “It would be a fantastic way to finish.” he admits. “But we appreciate what a tough game it’s going to be against Ballymena. They are quite similar to us in that they are a young side not afraid to play running rugby. When we play with pace and tempo, we are a very good side. If we are off the pace, we can become pretty average.”

Ballymena will be representing Division 1B in Saturday’s decider. They qualified by winning the Ulster Senior Cup and then defeating the Leinster Cup holders Old Belvedere 18-15 at Anglesea Road in the Bateman Cup semi-final. That result alone demonstrates that they must be respected. The also had a good campaign in the Ulster Bank League, leading Division 1B at Christmas before fading somewhat to finish fifth.
[youtube FPL9_iGBWgI]
“We are quite satisfied with that.” stresses Ballymena Head Coach John Andrews. “We have an extremely young side and to be top of the table at Christmas really exceeded our expectations. A more realistic target was to finish in the top half of the table. We’ve achieved that and also won the Ulster Senior Cup for the first time in seven years. Now that we have got a taste for it, we would like nothing better than to add the Bateman Cup.”

Andrews, a teacher at Ballymena Academy, has been central in helping Ballymena adopt a new more positive approach to their rugby. Quite a few exciting young players have come through, notably Ulster’s Luke Marshall at centre or out-half and club international full-back Rodger McBurney. Unusually, the side also includes three brothers in John, Joel and Ricky Andrew, all of whom are highly rated. Unfortunately, McBurney has missed the last five games with a hamstring problem but returned to training this week.

Ballymena prepared for the Bateman decider by trouncing UCC 41-6 in their final Ulster Bank League Division 1B game last Saturday. Garryowen also finished their Ulster Bank League Division 1A campaign with a victory, 33-27 away to Blackrock College. That left them sixth in the table, a position which Garryowen Head Coach Paul Cunningham feels wasn’t bad. He said: “We competed pretty well. For example, we ran the eventual winners St Mary’s to a point at Templeville Road and only lost by three points to them at Dooradoyle. That would suggest we’re not far off. Once we bring tempo to our game, I think we are a match for anyone.”

It helps that Garryowen have some very exciting backs. The back three provide a major threat with their talented wing Ronan O’Mahony capable of causing major problems. He is in the Munster Academy, as is the strong running rated centre Corey Hircock. Hooker James Rael is another top class prospect, while the scrum-half Neil Cronin, the younger brother of Leinster and Ireland hooker Sean Cronin, is also very highly regarded.

But Garryowen have also had their injury problems losing their captain Conan Doyle and vice-captain Mark Melbourne through injury.

Hence, Paul Neville has had to step back into the position of skipper. Overall, Cunningham is very happy. “Remember, last season we had to win a relegation/promotion match against Buccaneers to stay in Division 1A, so we have moved on quite a bit. It meant a lot to us to win the Munster Senior Cup. If we can add the Bateman Cup, it will be massive. But we fully appreciate that it’s going to be tough. They are very similar to us in age profile and they want to play with the ball in hand as much as we do. I’ve been up to Ballymena many times during my career and it’s always been a battle. If they hit it right on the day, they will be very dangerous.”

Cunningham, in fact, only has to look back on the 2008/9 All-Ireland Cup final to recognise that absolutely nothing can be taken for granted. On that occasion, Ballynahinch upset Cork Constitution. In doing so, they became the only side from outside Munster to win the trophy, then called the All-Ireland Cup, since it was introduced in 2005.

If Ballynahinch can do it, why not Ballymena? Garryowen, as the Division 1A side, will undoubtedly be favourites but this has the makings of a top class final.

Similar Posts