High-flying Division 1A side Terenure College proved much too strong for a greatly depleted Buccaneers squad in the final of the Bateman Cup with the Dublin outfit winning comprehensively 71-13 on the 4G surface at their own Lakelands grounds on Friday night. The hosts fielded a near full-strength team against a Pirates crew missing a raft of players due to injuries and some on breaks (this was a scheduled free weekend on the fixtures list) while the Academy players were also not available.

On a dry but bitterly cold night, the match was staged on the all-weather pitch which had been cleared of snow in time for kick-off. Nure, much more familiar with the surface, hit the ground running, scoring converted tries by Craig Adams and Alan Bennie in the opening ten minutes. Michael Hanley opened Buccs account with a 14th minute penalty. Adam Lagrue notched the first of his hattrick almost immediately despite an offside infringement in the build-up before Stephen Mannion’s long-range penalty left the Athlone club trailing 21-6 after 23 minutes.

Buccs centre Conor FitzGibbons incurred a yellow card a minute later and Terenure soon added tries by Niall Lalor and a second by Lagrue. Caolan Dooley landed four conversions for the metropolitans, who had Bennie in the bin on 31 minutes, giving them a 31-6 lead at halftime.
College continued in ruthless fashion after the change of ends against their slighter and vastly less experienced opponents. Tries by Craig Adams, Sam Coghlan-Murray and captain Harrison Brewer, all converted by Dooley, pushed their advantage to 52-6 in a similar number of minutes. Lalor and Lagrue added to their try tallies before Buccs were rewarded with their best spell of the match when substitute Robert Teape powered over for a 69th minute try wide on the right with Hanley adding the conversion.

Conor McCormack scored Terenure’s eleventh try in the final minute with James Thornton’s conversion completing the 71-13 scoreline in favour of the first-time winners of the Bateman Cup. It is a magnificent trophy but the folly of insisting the fixture be played last weekend devalued the tournament as Buccaneers were so understrength.

The winners had power, pace and precision all round their well-drilled side. Nevertheless, the Pirates can be proud of the never say die efforts put in by their callow squad, most of whom are not Senior regulars and indeed ten had never played at this level previously. It was a tough outing for a primarily youthful squad but they will benefit from it in the long term and they will also have experienced playing in an All-Ireland final.

TERENURE COLLEGE:- A.Lagrue; S.Coghlan-Murray, S.O’Neill, C.Dooley, C.Adams; J.Thornton, A.Bennie; C.Classon, L.Vaughan, A.Tuite; H.Brewer (captain), M.Melia; A.Melia, N.Lalor and J.Coghlan. Rolling Replacements:- R.Smyth, C.McCormack, A.Keating, M.Caffrey, C.de Buitlear, M.Murphy, C.Marsh and L.Clohessy.

BUCCANEERS:- A.Evans; H.Balsiger, C.FitzGibbon, S.Mannion, R.Murphy-Sweeney; M.Hanley, F.Hopkins; J.Kelly, S.Lombard, M.Staunton (captain); F.McDonnell, R.Byrne; S.O’Connell, C.Walsh and L.Balsiger. Replacements:- M.O’Neill (for L.Balsiger, inj. 21 mins), O.Dolan (for Lombard, 53 mins), J.Scouler (for O’Connell, 55 mins), R.Teape (for Evans, 55 mins), C.Byrne (for Staunton, 73 mins), Y.Avrahami (for Murphy-Sweeney, 73 mins), D.Bolger and C.Daly

Referee:- Padraic Reidy (IRFU).