Muckamore have no fear in Arachas National Cup quest
Muckamore Cricket Club will be looking to reach their second Arachas National Cup final this weekend, when they host Cliftonville Academy in Moylena on Sunday.
Having battled past Wexford Wanderers, North Kildare, and 2022 runners-up Terenure, the Antrim-based club will be hoping to emulate the side that won the inaugural competition in 2012.
Muckamore are one of the biggest clubs in the country with six men’s teams, two women’s teams, a Women’s Under-15 team, two midweek teams and numerous youth teams from Under-11s up to Under-17s.
Club captain is former Ireland Under-19 international Neil Gill - who played at the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2006 alongside Cricket World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan – and he said the club are relishing the game against Cliftonville Academy:
“We’re all very excited as a team, but also as a club, to be hosting Cliftonville Academy on Sunday. We have been getting big crowds at our home matches and this will be no different. They are a very strong team with several good cricketers, and they also have a top professional. We have no fear however, and we will be giving it our best shot to get to the final.”
In the quarter-finals Muckamore were pitted against last year’s finalists Terenure. Their bowling unit of Sathish Suresh, Ewan Wilson, Shane Henderson, and Pavan Karthik were outstanding as they bowled Terenure out for 145 in less than 36 overs. Karthik with incredible figures of 4-12 from just six overs.
Ewan Wilson and Ben Calitz then combined for third-wicket partnership of 111, with Calitz scoring an unbeaten 65*, as they eased to victory.
“Beating Terenure in the last round was extremely pleasing. We won it very comfortably in the end, and that win has given us plenty of confidence going into the game.”
Muckamore are in tremendous form this season – unbeaten in the league, and into the final of the T20 Trophy – the side have only lost once all season, to Waringstown in the Gallagher Challenge Senior Cup quarter finals. With the club set to celebrate their 150th anniversary in 2024, they hope they will be playing their cricket in the Premier League next season.
“Our priority at the start of the season was to win the league. We still have 11 matches left, but it’s so far so good, and we just need to keep working hard. We still have room for improvement on all fronts, so it’s an exciting time for us.”
Gill reflects on one of his most memorable days playing for the club:
“We’ve had many memorable trophy wins, and great matches in my time playing for the 1st team, but the most notable one was the National Cup win at The Hills in 2013, beating Balbriggan. It was a beautiful day, and we brought a coach load of supporters from the club. The game was a real thriller, and thankfully we came through to win it. The journey home and the night we had afterwards was incredible. This meant so much to the club. A week later we went onto win the Ulster Shield beating Eglinton in another thriller. As captain both these matches were very proud moments for me.”
The club brought in Canadian Under-19 international Ben Calitz during the off-season, and has settled in well according to Gill:
“Ben Calitz had a slower start with regards runs scored, but he has shown his class in the last few weeks with a great 60 not out against Terenure and another excellent 60 against Waringstown in the Gallagher Challenge Senior Cup, so we are hoping Ben’s fine form continues and he keeps improving. He’s a top lad who has really bought into the team and club and it’s a pleasure to have him.”
Expect plenty of ‘Come on the More’ shouts on Sunday.
Arachas Irish Senior Cup – Semi-Finals
• Leinster v The Hills
• Waringstown v Pembroke
Matches are due to get underway at 12.30pm.
Home teams listed first.
Arachas National Cup semi-finals
• Derriaghy v Rush
• Muckamore v Cliftonville Academy
Matches are due to get underway at 1.30pm.
Home teams listed first.
Watch a preview