A match similar in many ways to the AIL game between the two sides last October – cold and wet, with a wind sweeping the rain in from the city end of the Dooradoyle ground.
A similar outcome, too, with Garryowen snatching a last-gasp try to ensure a narrow victory over the Cup holders and, on this occasion, progress to the final of the Bateman Cup, where they will face the Ulster Champions, Armagh.
Lansdowne didn’t go down without a fight, but their lighter forwards struggled in the conditions and the absence of recognised second rows put pressure on both their scrum and line-out at key times.
Munster “A” played Leinster “A” the previous day, and this contributed to both clubs fielding weakened teams, although this was not apparent from the effort put in by both sides in what was largely a forward-dominated contest.
Lansdowne won a penalty in the first scrum but were inexplicably penalised in the second one while going forward in a promising position.
Garryowen out-half Ben Healey opened the scoring with a scrum penalty after 13 minutes, which Scott Deasy matched with a similar effort from 20 metres in the 26th minute.
Captain Eamonn Mills, who had an excellent game under the high ball, won the restart and a penalty saw Lansdowne deep into the home ‘22. A further penalty saw Deasy again accurate and Lansdowne had their noses ahead 6-3 on the half-hour.
Garryowen No. 8 Sean Rennison made a telling break which saw his side awarded a five-metre scrum as half time approached, but an excellent tackle by flanker Tom Murphy saw the danger cleared.
Conditions were largely dictating the play, and the greasy ball ensured a high error count.
Alan Bennie came on at half time at scrum half for Tim Murphy and the tempo of the back play increased somewhat. The home side put the restart directly into touch, and Deasy put a subsequent penalty into touch inside their ’22.
The ball was turned over, but right winger Daniel McEvoy launched a great counter attack off a clearing kick and, supported by centre Mark O’Keeffe, who also played well, saw play into the Garryowen ’22.
Lansdowne were awarded a penalty, and Deasy was once again accurate from 28 metres as the visitors went into a 9-3 lead on 45 minutes.
Garryowen went on the attack and began to generate some forward momentum. They were assisted in this by some loose kicking from Lansdowne. This saw three 22 drop-outs conceded from promising attacking positions as the Garryowen back three used the significant wind to pin the Headquarters side back.
Healy kicked two penalties on 48 and 53 minutes to level the scores at 9-all as the match pendulum swung back and forth. McEvoy again launched a strong counter-attack and linked up with replacement prop Martin Mulhall, who was taken out with a no-arms tackle on 67 minutes.
Scott Deasy again did the necessary and put his side ahead with what appeared to be a crucial penalty. Garryowen upped their game again and struck a vital blow with the only try of the match in the 79th minute. This saw hooker Liam Cronin cross for a try wide out following sustained pressure on the Lansdowne line and the final 14-12 score-line.
There was still time for Lansdowne to launch a serious attack of their own and the pack put in some powerful carrying to put Scott Deasy into position for a last-gasp drop goal attempt from 30 metres. The difficult conditions had the last laugh, however, as Scottie’s effort was well wide and the Bateman Cup will find a new home come next April.
Match Report: Michael Daly
Match Details: Bateman All Ireland Cup Semi-Final, Garryowen v. Lansdowne FC
Date: Saturday the 12th of January 2019, Kick off 2:30pm
Referee: Jonathan Peake
Score: GARRYOWEN 14 LANSDOWNE 12
Scorers: Garryowen: Try: Liam Cronin; Pens: Ben Healy 3
Lansdowne: Pens: Scott Deasy 4
HT: Garryowen 3 Lansdowne 6
GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Daniel Hurley, Peadar Collins, David McCarthy, Cian O’Shea; Ben Healy, Rob Guerin; Niall Horan, Liam Cronin, Andrew Keating, Kevin Seymour, Dean Moore (capt), Tim Ferguson, Diarmuid Barron, Sean Rennison.
Replacements: Mike O’Donnell, David Canny, Scott Leahy, Steven Atkinson, Jamie Gavin, Shane Brosnahan, Andrew O’Byrne.
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills (capt); Daniel McEvoy, Mark O’Keeffe, Conor Murphy, Peter Sullivan; Scott Deasy, Tim Murphy; Denis Coulson, James Rael, Ian Prendiville, Willie Earle, Jack O’Sullivan, Tom Murphy, Conor Fenlon, Aaron Conneely.
Replacements: JJ Earle, Martin Mulhall, Greg McGrath, Conall O’Brien, Alan Bennie, Liam O’Sullivan, Barry Goulding.