YMCA forced to delay bid for treble glory

Cup final put back 24 hours after deluge hits Castle Avenue

YMCA will have to wait at least another 24 hours to begin their attempt at an historic treble after today’s RSA Leinster Senior Cup Final against neighbours Pembroke was put back until Sunday after the deluge that hit Dublin at tea-time yesterday.

The delay may yet prove a bonus to YM after they were set to play today's game without former Ireland opener Jeremy Bray, who is coaching the Irish women's team at the World Twenty20 qualifiers, where they play Sri Lanka in the Group B decider at Merrion this afternoon (2.0pm).

Pembroke have been hit by the loss of their overseas professional Brenton McDonald, after the all-rounder travelled back to Australia early after earning a B contract with South Australia.

The loss of a leg-spinner in a 60-over final is a hard one to take, although the return of Ireland international Andrew Balbirnie from Middlesex will certainly help in the slow bowling and batting departments.


YM will go in to the final as strong favourites in a season that sees them top of Division One in the the Leinster Senior League and with a home semi-final in the RSA All-Ireland Cup next weekend.

New ball
Even if they are missing Bray's services, they can boast internationals present and past in skipper Albert van der Merwe, Trent Johnston, Reinhardt Strydom and Alan Lewis.

Johnston will play a huge role with the new ball and warmed up for the final with a fine debut performance for the MCC at Lord’s on Tuesday, where he took three for 21 in eight overs against Melbourne Cricket Club.

Johnston accepts the tag of favourites, but knows a young Pembroke side have started to show real promise this season and will be a danger.

“We’ve a lot of respect for them, they’re a young, talented team. Their pro going back is a big loss for them, but they’ve still got plenty of players who can win cricket games in their team,” said Johnston.

“We’re certainly not going into this game thinking that we have already won the trophy by any stretch of the imagination and I’ve communicated that to our team. If we play to the best of out abilities we should win the trophy, but if we’re not at our best Pembroke could quite easily win it.”

Meanwhile, the Irish women’s team face the first of three games in the search for one of the three places on offer at next year’s ICC World Twenty 20 in this afternoon’s Group B decider against Sri Lanka.

Both sides have breezed through their Group B games against Canada and Japan, with the winner of today’s game set to avoid a semi-final clash with top seeds Pakistan next Monday.

Opener Clare Shillington has been the star of the tournament so far with the bat, hitting 195 runs in two innings at an incredible strike rate of 146, and Ireland will look to her to set the tone again at Anglesea Road this afternoon.
PEMBROKE: T Lawson (capt), A Balbirnie, R Kelly, B McCarthy, F Tucker, L Tucker, P Lawson, A Eastwood, R Hopkins, D Barclay, D Nicol. 12th man: J Balbirnie.
YMCA: A Van der Merwe (capt), R Strydom, J Tector, S Singh, A Lewis, T Johnston, S McAuley, JJ Cassidy, L Cole, Yacoub Ali Shah, R Gamble. 12th man: A R Dunlop.

Emmet Riordan

Emmet Riordan

Emmet Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist