Kane presses Ireland Under 19 case with MOM display
MERRION won their first Leinster Senior Cup for 51 years at Malahide, when they triumphed over North County by the smallest possible margin.
Needing 10 off the last over, Eddie and Terry Richardson scrambled just eight runs off Dom Joyce's first five balls, before Eddie was bowled for 34.
It was a thrilling end to a game that swung violently back and forth between two well-matched sides. Although Merrion were missing the injured Ben Ackland, County were short almost half their preferred first XI. Dara Armstrong’s back ruled him out, while Mini Garry, Conor Shiel and Richie Lawrence were also missing. Shane Getkate, who played three times for the club early in the season, was missing too, but happily looking fit and well as he arrived to support his team-mates.
Merrion kicked off well, and arrived at lunch without losing a wicket, although the 120 on the board after 37 overs seemed a little light. Kade Beasley fell just after the break, and Dom Joyce not long after that. But the key to big innings is strong partnerships, and Merrion found another one.
John Anderson (47) added 87 with the tyro Tyrone Kane, who displayed enormous maturity on the biggest day in the Leinster calendar in making a breezy 66.
Kane was 17 a fortnight ago, and his purple patch unfortunately occurred just after the Ireland Under 19 selectors made their picks. He made a handful of first I appearances over the past two seasons before persistent back trouble forced him to take a break and remodel his action.
He returned a notch slower than before but has shown his potential in two performances in the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup, taking 4-30 against Donemana and 3-28 against Phoenix. He had seasoned observers cooing over his match-winning 68 off 45 balls against Leinster in the LHW Cup first round replay.
Kane and Anderson took the score to 200-2 with ten overs left, but both fell to Josh Reeves. County, with Eddie Richardson in good form, kept taking wickets which interrupted the charge, and were happy enough when Merrion closed on 272-7. The total seemed a bit short against a side that had passed 300 in each round of the cup this season – albeit batting first on each occasion.
Tomas Shiel spooned the ball back to Dom Joyce in the second over, but Conor Armstrong (59) and Greg Hay (89) again knuckled down to take the score to 153 at the verge of tea. Even Merrion supporters were starting to shrug their shoulders and talk about heading back to see how their seconds were doing when Anderson found his way through Armstrong’s defences.
That wicket proved a fillip, but John Mooney and Hay had steadied the innings at 186-2, needing four-an-over and cruising, when Kane struck once again.
Hay reached for one that took his edge and Tice took the catch, and then won a close lbw shout from Jim McGeehan to remove Mooney. Adam Coughlan skied a legside shot which Tice collected and County were reeling on 199-5.
Josh Reeves and Eddie Richardson have come together twice in recent weeks when their club were in trouble, and twice hauled them to winning scores with partnerships of 99 and 98.
Richardson had delayed his 21st birthday celebrations from Friday and his selflessness almost paid off. The pair mixed aggression and caution to put on 48 before Reeves allowed the blood to rush to his head. A six off Damien Poder was followed by a hoick to Matt Petrie at long off and he made no mistake.
The score of 247-5 collapsed to 249-8, and 21 were needed with three overs left, and Terry and Eddie Richardson at the crease. Terry swung and missed at an over from Dom Joyce which yielded two singles, but connected more with Petrie who conceded nine to finish with 12-0-64-0.
Eddie facing, he hit a two, then missed, then tapped a single. Terry smacked a four to leave it 3 off 2 balls. He found a single but Joyce found Eddie’s stumps off the last ball and the Fingal side ended tantalisingly close.