SUPER SIX FOR DOMINANT DONEMANA

A Junior McBrine-inspired Donemana retained the Bank of Ireland senior cup at Beechgrove on Saturday afternoon with a comfortable win over Championship side Ballyspallen and in the process equalled that long-standing record of six cup wins in a row.

It was the Premiership team's class and experience that was to tell over the two-innings final- that and a 10-wicket haul for the evergreen McBrine- although to be fair to Ballyspallen they were competitive for a lot longer than many had anticipated.

Certainly the Roe Valley men had the holders rattled in Friday's first session and with Donemana 71-5 batting first, they knew they were in a scrap. The Tyrone side recovered though as they usually do, courtesy this time of a 102-run partnership between skipper Ricky-Lee Dougherty and Andrew Riddles.

The early trouble was caused by a combination of tight bowling from Steven McCloskey (2-35) in particular as well as Mark Averill (2-56) and Johnny Martin (2-64), and some fine glove-work from Darnell McCallum, but Dougherty and Riddles were able to recover before their plight worsened.

Those two set about re-building the innings with Donemana taking 32 overs to get their total up to 100- before pressing the accelerator later on. Skipper Dougherty went on to top score with 63 (6 fours and a six) while Riddles was out three short of a deserved half century.

Dwayne McGerrigle's late cameo of 28 came off 14 balls and included 3 fours and 2 sixes, taking the score to 226-8 after their first 50 overs.

The Roe Valley men made a solid start in reply as Stephen Kennedy (26) and Craig Averill (20) got them to 50 for 1, however once Dougherty introduced his spinners, the game turned Donemana's way.

McGerrigle (2-40) actually picked up both set batsmen as he was introduced first, but after that, Jordan McGonigle and Junior McBrine took over.

Mark Averill (32) and Ivan Hill-Nicholl (24) offered the best of Ballyspallen's resistance, however the innings closed on 129 all out- a lead of 97 for the cup holders- with McGonigle picking up 4-21 and McBrine 3-22.

Skipper Ritchie was disappointed leaving Beechgrove at the end of the first day's play; not because of Donemana's recovery from their spot of bother but because he felt his side had let themselves down with the bat.

"I felt the decision to put them in was justified when we had them in bother but even with them scoring 226 we were still well in the game. It's fair to say we were disappointed as a team at how we performed with the bat- we're a much better side than that- although obviously Donemana bowled very well and made it difficult for us."

The Premiership side started much better on Saturday despite losing Jamie Huey early on, with Imran Butt and Gary McClintock posting a 94-run stand for the 2nd wicket. These two rarely looked in trouble until Stephen Kennedy took a superb catch at backward point to get rid of Butt for 69 (10 fours and a six).

McClintock then edged one to Ballyspallen's impressive wicket-keeper McCallum for 42, giving Mark Averill (4-44) the second of his four wickets.

From there the Championship boys fought back again; Johnny Martin (2-23) and McCloskey (2-38) battling hard to keep the holders at arm's length. The dangerous Dwayne McGerrigle made 22 before being bowled by James Thompson and cameos from William McClintock (20), Junior McBrine (20) and skipper Dougherty (17) all helped the Tyrone outfit towards a total of 237 all out- an overall lead of 334.

Despite skipper Ritchie's hope that they would bat better second time around It was a near impossible ask, however the openers gave their supporters something to shout about in the first 10 overs as McCallum and Stephen Kennedy took the fight to their rivals.

This pair put on 60 for the first wicket, and in good time too, however once they were separated- McCallum caught on the boundary off the bowling of William McBrine for 24 (3 fours and a six)- the deck folded. And the man responsible was the 54-year old former Irish International who simply ripped through the rest of the 'Spallen order.

Kennedy's 35 was a very good effort in the circumstances but from 60 without loss, the Roe Valley men were rolled over by a superb spell from McBrine of 7-13 from almost 9 overs. Jordan McGonigle helped tidy up with 2-12, but it was Junior's day as he picked up his 12th senior cup winners medal and a deserved man-of-the-match award.

Ballyspallen were all out for 101 second time around- a 233-run defeat in the final reckoning- and a delighted Ricky-Lee Dougherty was only to happy to accept the trophy which will now spend a sixth consecutive winter at the Holm.

It was a job well done by Donemana and a fantastic sight to see a hard-working club like Ballyspallen strut their stuff on the biggest domestic stage of all.

And a magnificent effort from all at Brigade Cricket Club too- a first cup final at Beechgrove for 19 years, but highly unlikely to have to wait that long again after pulling out all the stops to ensure that nothing was left to chance.

BANK OF IRELAND SENIOR CUP

First Innings

Donemana 226-8 (50 overs; RL Dougherty 63, A Riddles 47, D McGerrigle 28, G McClintock 20, S McCloskey 2-35, M Averill 2-56, J Martin 2-64)
Ballyspallen 129 all out (42.2 overs; M Averill 32, S Kennedy 26, I Hill-Nicholl 24,C Averill 20, J McGonigle 4-21, Jun McBrine 3-22, D McGerrigle 2-40

Second Innings

Donemana 237 all out (49.5 overs; I Butt 69, G McClintock 42, D McGerrigle 22, W McClintock 20, Jun McBrine 20, M Averill 4-44, J Martin 2-23, S McCloskey 2-38)
Ballyspallen 101 all out (25.2 overs; S Kennedy 35, D McCallum 27, J McBrine 7-13, J McGonigle 2-12)

Donemana won by 233 runs

Man of Match Junior McBrine