Leinster out to win cup
JUST 14 years ago, Leinster lost the first final of what was then the Schweppes All Ireland Cup, cricket's initial, and so far only, all island club competition.
It was an undoubted achievement to have carried the banner of the Leinster Cricket Unions into the fin but unfortunately the fairytale ended there for Leinster lost to NIC Observatory Lane in Rathmines.
Today, once more at their home ground, Leinster will again contest the final of the competition, now sponsored by Royal Liver. This time their opponents will be Brigade, from the North West Cricket Union.
Brigade have reached three previous finals, but have never Won, the cup, losing to Lurgan at Rathmines in 1984, to St Johnston at home at Beechgrove in 1987 and to North Down, again at Rathmines, in 1993.
Brigade have won 33 matches, and lost 14 in the cup down the years by contrast, Leinster have won 9 and lost 14.
So far, Phoenix are the only LCU club to have won the cup, but after their stirring defeat of Waringstown in the semi final, Leinster certainly seem capable of emulating that feat. J. V. Byrne, J. E. Byrne and Mark Jones are capable of scoring runs, and up to blast weekend their personal aggregate totals were 727, 684 and 605 runs, respectively.
Brigade will be looking for good performances from their captain, Marshall Kilgore and their professional, Akram Raza. Raza headed the NWCU bowling averages last season, with 59 wickets for an average of 13.84, and finished mid way up the batting table, scoring 812 runs (highest 109) for an average of 47.76.
Leinster's recent performances in the River House League have also been encouraging. But without doubt, the semi final victory over Waringstown will be a major incentive today, and Clive Colleran and his team will have high hopes of taking the cup for the first time.
The winning team will get £1,500, the runners up £750, and the Man of the Match adjudicator is Stan Mitchell of Phoenix and Ireland. Play begins at noon.