North County defeat Clontarf in thriller
A thrilling encounter at Castle Avenue ended with a 2 run victory to North County virtually ensuring them of the Division 1 title - but pushing Clontarf back towards the relegation mire.
The North County innings started slowly against tight Clontarf bowling. The opening stand had ground its way to 68 in the 19th over when V J Gopal bowled Tomás Shiel for 31 which quickly became 76 for 3 as Richie Lawrence and Conor Armstrong departed - the latter for 24 made in as many overs leaving the visitors 82 for 3 at drinks.
Jimmy Boyland and Ciaran Garry decided on a more positive approach against Rod Hokin and Gopal. Both soon perished - Boyland for an enterprising 30, bowled giving Jordan Coghlan the charge - and at 121 for 6 responsibility for nursing the tail fell to Eddie Richardson.
His was the last wicket to fall at the start of the 49th over for a well made 48 leaving County 198 all out - better than it might have been but by no means a safe total. Coghlan and Hokin both finished with 3 for 41 and Gopal 2 for 21.
Bowling at great pace, Boyland quickly blew away the top of the Clontaf innings - Gopal, Hokin and Eoghan Delany departing in quick succession.
But Bill Coghlan was still there and he set about rebuilding the innings - firstly with Adrian D'Arcy then Richard Forrest. But he toyed with Jonathan Andrews once too often and Tomás Shiel took a fine running catch at mid wicket to remove him for 61.
Shiel's left arm spin then accounted for Jordan Coghlan and Joe Morrissey in successive deliveries - the former to an excellent boundary catch and at 127 for 7 Clontarf were in serious trouble. Now Forrest came to the fore in key partnerships firstly with Killian Lynskey and then younger brother Robert.
But the returning Boyland accounted for the younger Forrest leaving Clontarf 187 for 9. By the start of the final over the target had been reduced to 6 runs. Singles were nudged off each of the first three deliveries, then Hugo Whelan decided on the glorious path to victory,
Richardson easily bagged the return catch and County were home by 2 runs with Forrest left undefeated on 56.
Boyland finished with 5 for 41, Andrews 2 for 27 and Shiel 2 for 21.