CRICKET: More Irish Cup carnage for North West sides
At International and Inter-provincial level things have rarely been better as far as the North West Cricket Union is concerned and yet once again when it has come to the Irish Senior Cup, there has been no let-up in the annual disappointment.
If anything it was even worse this time around with seven of the eight local sides exiting the All-Ireland competition at Saturday’s first hurdle - only Strabane with a four-run win in Cork managing to keep the flag flying for the region.
There are several theories as to why things have been so bad of late but there is no doubt that the tournament is now down the list of priorities for many in the North West.
That’s not to say there was any lack of effort at the weekend.
In fact but for a loss in concentration late in the piece, Donemana would surely have got pass the competition’s recent flagship team, Merrion.
The Dublin-based side were staring down the barrel at the Holm with Andy McBrine and Gary McClintock playing shots at will - Donemana on 250-4 chasing 296 to win with a full 10 overs to bat, and yet they couldn’t get over the line.
It was the game of the season to be fair, with Tyrone Kane bowling Andrew Riddles off the final ball of the match when the batting side needed only one run to tie the game up.
Elsewhere, league leaders Bready had no answer to Civil Service North’s Marc Ellison after his classy century helped the Belfast side to 243-8 up at Magheramason while Ryan Eagleson’s five wicket haul for Carrick proved Coleraine’s undoing.
Ardmore made a game of it at Phoenix - especially given that the home side had four overseas players in their ranks - but the southerners closed out a six-wicket win with little fuss.
It was a similar story at Eglinton where Leinster duo George Dockrell and Joe Carroll posted an unbroken century stand as they too progressed.
Brigade’s 100-run defeat away to a crack Clontarf outfit was probably not a major surprise as neither was Fox Lodge’s reverse at home to North Down.
It’s back to the drawing board then, at least insofar as this competition is concerned, allowing everyone bar Strabane to concentrate on their domestic cricket.
The bonus for the Red Caps is that now that they’re the only team left in the region that should secure them a home tie in the next round which will compensate in some way for Saturday’s 600-mile round trip.
There were better fortunes for local sides in the National Cup.
Let’s face it, with Glendermott and Ballyspallen receiving byes it couldn’t have been worse.
Those two have been joined in the next round by Killyclooney, Drummond and St Johnston- the latter receiving a walkover after North Kildare failed to appear.