Kevin O'Sullivan (MCU)
Semi-Final 1 was contested between defending champions Cork County who had topped Pool B and the runner-up in Group A, Cork Harlequins. Harlequins elected to bat first on what was an excellent wicket but their innings never got going. Ted Williamson was the mainstay for the Farmers Cross side making 38 before falling to the bowling of Jeremy Benton in the 16th over but the rest of the batsmen combined for only 41 runs and Quins finished on 79-8 from their 20 overs. Shelford Meads, Rob Duggan and Jeremy Benton were the stand-out performers with the ball for Cork County who were always in control of proceedings after early wickets fell.
Cormac Hassett and Rob Duggan opened for Cork County and made light work of the target score, passing the required 80 runs in the 11th over – Hassett 54* and Duggan 25*. County would face the winners of Semi-Final 2 which pitted Limerick against Kerry.
Having elected to bat, Kerry soon found themselves in difficulty against an all-seam bowling attack. Former Leinster C.C. player Arslan Anwar made 20 but once he was adjudged LBW to former Balbriggan player Mudassar Aziz, wickets tumbled and the Tralee based side struggled to a below par 107.
In response, Limerick started brightly and were significantly ahead of the required rate at the end of the powerplay. Quick wickets from Kashif Khan and former Leinster Lightning star Yaqoob Ali stemmed the flow a little but Limerick redoubled their efforts and cruised home with fourteen balls to spare setting up a repeat of last year’s MCU Senior Cup final.
Having won the toss in the Final, Limerick’s captain Zia Khan opted to bowl first. Hassett and Duggan progressed steadily, Duggan taking twelve from a Mudassar Aziz over to push the score to 42 at the end of the powerplay. Duggan fell for 43 but Hassett and Benton put on 63 in the next 6.4 overs to put Cork County in pole position. Limerick altered their plans from the semi-final and introduced two spinners to the attack in the form of Farman Yousafazai and Sajid with the former taking the wicket of Hassett for a well-made 56. Jeremy Benton smashed three consecutive sixes over long-on before falling for 51. Nabeel Anjum then cracked a further four sixes in the next eight balls but was out in the final over for 28, Cork County finishing on an imposing total of 212.
Mudassar Aziz was elevated to pinch hit at the top of the order but missed a sweep and was bowled by Jeremy Benton in the first over. Shelford Meads bowled an excellent three over spell taking the wickets of Sultan, Khalid and Khan while Murtaza Sidiqi skied to mid-wicket off Sid Joshi’s bowling to leave the Shannonsiders in deep trouble at 54-6 off 10 overs. Cormac Hassett introduced the seam bowling of sixteen year old Daniel Kennedy and he picked up the wicket of Singh in his second over. Prasad was last man to go, caught behind off Nabeel Anjum and with Yousafazai unable to take the field, Limerick finished on 119-9, Cork County taking the honours by a huge 93 run margin.
MCU President Jack Russell presented the trophy to Cormac Hassett and thanked groundsman Matt Reed and all at Cork County for the preparation of the ground and the quality of the wickets. The home of Munster cricket was in pristine order as always and allowed for a great day’s cricket.