Tough task awaits Northern clubs in Irish cup
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
WARINGSTOWN will have home advantage after all in the second round of the Irish Senior Cup tomorrow after Co Galway failed to find a ground in Dublin and have agreed to travel to The Lawn.
Galway’s artificial pitch is out of bounds in the competition but their three Terenure players are not, so with the Leinster club pulling out of the competition without playing a game – ironically in protest at not being allowed to play on their home mat – professional Ben Speake, Conor Mullan and Ramnathpur are all expected to be in action again today.
They scored all but eight of the runs off the bat in the Connacht side’s first round win over Fox Lodge, as they reached their target of 174, so seem sure to be the only real stumbling block to Waringstown’s progress.
They qualified for the premier all-Ireland competition after winning the Munster Senior Cup last year but finished only third in Division One and while Mullan and Ramnathpur played in the cup final, the Australian Speak sparked the Cricket Ireland investigation into their first round result, but with an address in Munster he was eligible to play for Galway, under the interpretation of the competition rules.
There is only one other Irish Cup game in Northern Ireland – the all-NCU clash between Lisburn and Civil Service North – because the luck of the draw has sent Muckamore to Rathmines to face Leinster and the three surviving North West clubs must also head to Dublin and surrounds.
Strabane would appear to have the most difficult game, against Leinster Cup holders Clontarf, Bready go to North County, weakened by the exit of Ireland international John Mooney but who knocked out Donemana in the first round, and Ardmore are at Pembroke, also looking for a North West double after winning at Eglinton last month.
Waringstown and Lisburn are first in Twenty20 cup action tonight as the NCU’s competition completes the group stage. The Villagers game against CIYMS at The Lawn will decide who tops Group B - both teams are already through to finals day – but if Carrickfergus beat Lisburn at Wallace Park then it will come down to run-rate for the second place in Group A with the losers of the game at The Green between North Down and Instonians.
The weekend action is completed by day one of the return inter-provincial championship game between the Northern Knights and the North West Warriors at Bready. The Knights are unchanged from last week’s drawn game at Downpatrick, while the home side have had to make one change with Gary McClintock unavailable. He has been replaced by Strabane’s Aaron Gillespie.
Tonight (6.15pm): Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup: Lisburn v Carrickfergus, North Down v Instonians, Ballymena v Civil Service North, Waringstown v CIYMS
Tomorrow: Irish Senior Cup (12.30pm): Lisburn v Civil Service North, Waringstown v Co Galway, Clontarf v Strabane, Leinster v Muckamore, North County v Bready, Pembroke v Ardmore, YMCA v Merrion, Malahide v The Hills
Ulster Bank Premier League (12.00): North Down v CIYMS
Section One (1.00): Woodvale v Templepatrick
Section Two: Armagh v Dundrum, BISC v Victoria, Drumaness v Laurelvale (12.00), Saintfield v Larne. Sunday: Dundrum v Larne.
Section Three: Ards v Monaghan, Cooke Collegians v Newforge, Dungannon v Dunmurry, Millpark v Donaghadee. Sunday: Millpark v Ards (T20)
Long’s SuperValu Championship: Bonds Glen v Glendermott, Newbuildings v Creevedonnell
Sunday: Inter-provincial Championship (11am): North West Warriors v Northern Knights