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Bateman Cup: Garryowen to face Ballymena in final

The two sides will meet at Templeville Road, home to league champions St Mary’s, on Saturday afternoon.

AN EXCITING DAY of rugby awaits on Saturday and silverware will be handed out by early afternoon as Garryowen and Ballymena clash in the Bateman Cup final.

Paul Neville will attempt to end his career on a high note when he captains Garryowen at the home ground of Ulster Bank league champions St Mary’s. (Live on RTE 2 at 12.35pm).

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.

“It would be a fantastic way to finish.” Neville admits. “But we appreciate what a tough game it’s going to be against Ballymena.” He added:

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 come into the contest as underdogs having finished fifth in division 1B of the UBL.

Their 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.

He added, “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.”

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