Captains speak ahead of much-anticipated Clear Currency Irish Senior Cup Final
DUBLIN – This Saturday Ireland’s premier club cricket competition – the Clear Currency Irish Senior Cup - comes to a climax at The Hills Cricket Club, with Waringstown – appearing in an unprecedented fifth-straight Irish Senior Cup Final – meeting Pembroke - who are appearing in their first-ever final.
Greg Thompson, captain of defending champions Waringstown Cricket Club, is looking forward to leading his club side to another Cup Final:
“It’s a fantastic achievement for the club to reach another final. We’ve been fortunate to have won the Cup six times – a record number of wins that the club is extremely proud of in this the premier club competition in the country.”
“We’ve certainly been made to work hard to reach this final, and to be honest, have had our fair share of luck along the way. We had with a rain-affected win against Malahide, followed by a bowl out victory against Instonians. Of course, the semi-final against CIYMS which went to the last ball was a very tense affair. We always know when we play CIYMS in a cup match that it’s going to be a tight game and the semi-final was no different, but Kyle [McCallan] and Haseeb [Azam] showed their experience and composure to get us across the line.”
Thompson believes that his Armagh-based side needs no additional motivation going into the Final:
“It’s been easy to keep the hunger and drive up for these Cup games. We’ve had a mixed season to date with our league form not quite matching our cup form. However, there’s always a lift in the squad on the morning of an Irish Senior Cup match and that’ll be amplified on Saturday morning in the build up to the Final. We’ve a lot of experience in the squad and most of the guys involved have tasted success in the final of this competition before, but we’ll take nothing for granted as Pembroke is an incredibly strong side. Whatever the outcome, I’m sure it’ll be a fantastic final and one that the supporters will enjoy.”
Fiachra Tucker, captain of Pembroke Cricket Club’s 1st XI for the last two years, acknowledged what an achievement it was for the club to reach its first Cup Final:
“It is a massive honour for us to compete in the Irish Senior Cup final for the first time in the club’s 151 year history. It is a competition we have excelled in during recent years, reaching the semi-final on three occasions in the last five years. With the calibre and strength of our squad, we were aiming for nothing less this season. We’re delighted to have got into the final and are now hungry to win the competition outright.”
Tucker was keen to heap praise on the Dublin-based side’s senior players who have been instrumental in the Cup run this year:
“Barry McCarthy’s return to the club has been immense with this experience and skill crucial to our performances - he has been really devastating with the ball. Along with Barry, the involvement of Andy Balbirnie, Josh Little and Lorcan Tucker has been invaluable. These guys drive our standards, both on and off the pitch, and - most importantly - they are brilliant mentors for the young players we have coming through our ranks.”
“Our bowling and fielding performances have been exceptional throughout this competition with Barry [McCarthy], Shaheen Khan and Josh [Little] spearheading our attack. Everything clicked for us in the semi-final against Phoenix where we showcased all of our quality. We will be looking to put in a similar type of performance on Saturday against Waringstown.”
The Clear Currency Irish Senior Cup Final is scheduled to start at 11.30am, 24 August 2019 at The Hills Cricket Club.
There is free entry for all spectators, the match will also be live streamed through Cricket Ireland’s Youtube channel and it will be live scored on the My Cricket Ireland app.
Previous Irish Senior Cup meetings
Waringstown and Pembroke have met in the Cup on five previous occasions:
2003 – Round 1, Sydney Parade: Pembroke won by 3 runs
2008 – Round 1, Sydney Parade: Waringstown won by 8 wickets
2015 – Semi-Final, Sydney Parade: Waringstown won by 100 runs
2017 – Semi-Final, The Lawn: Waringstown won by 6 wickets
2018 – Quarter-Final, The Lawn: Waringstown won by 133 runs
Brief history of the Irish Senior Cup
The Irish Senior Cup is now 38 years old, and while that is not a significant anniversary, it has had an extraordinary evolution. It was the brainchild of Murrough McDevitt of Leinster CC, an advertising executive who persuaded Schweppes to come on board as sponsors.
The year, 1982, was a difficult one in the Troubles and the idea of running an all-island competition was greeting with suspicion in some quarters. Some clubs declined to compete but the ICU persevered, and everyone eventually signed up and the Schweppes Cup soon became the highlight of the year for club players.
The soft drinks firm continued to back the competition until 1993 but for most of the next 15 years there was no commercial sponsorship. Hope Kerr offered to support it in 2008 in memory of her late husband, Bob Kerr, and did so for three seasons as the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup.
In 2013 Cricket Ireland announced new competition title sponsors (RSA), but re-confirmed that the cup for which the teams would compete would remain as the Bob Kerr Trophy.
On the field, the competition has held a remarkably similar shape since 1982 – the ideal event features ten clubs from each of the major unions, and two from Munster, giving a straightforward five-round knockout. At times entries have sneaked above 32, requiring preliminary games, but the essence has remained. The first round is seeded to ensure every club faces opponents outside its own union, which has helped foster lasting friendships between players and clubs and ensure greater harmony in relationships.
Who was Bob Kerr?
The prize for the Irish Senior Cup winner is the most coveted prize in club cricket, the Bob Kerr Trophy.
Bob Kerr was Chairman of the Irish Cricket Union 2000-02 and president in 2004. He was a retired headmaster, and a founding member and long-serving player with North Fermanagh.
Bob was a much-loved member of the cricketing community and it was a shock to his many friends and admirers when he died in Jamaica in 2007 just as Ireland’s players qualified for the World Cup Super-Eights. It was fitting too, as Bob had worked hard to bring Ireland to that place and would have enjoyed the journey they have taken since. President Mary McAleese phoned the Irish party in the Caribbean to offer her sympathies, saying “Bob Kerr was a great champion of Irish cricket.”
In his honour, the Irish Senior Cup (i.e. the trophy itself) was renamed the Bob Kerr Trophy and that name will be attached to the prize forevermore.