Merrion seeking 6th final in nine years
Ian Callender (Irish Independent)
MERRION resume their quest for a sixth Irish Cup final in nine years tomorrow when they host Leinster in the only quarter-final between teams in the same union.
Having already beaten the Rathmines side in the league this season by nine wickets, it will be a confident Merrion side who will expect to make progress in their favourite competition.
That experience has served them well in their first two games this season, having only 10 runs to spare in the last round against CIYMS after beating Donemana by the minimum margin in their opener.
The other Leinster teams have all been drawn away with Pembroke having the toughest task. They must return to The Lawn, where they lost in the semi-final in both 2015 and again last year. The good omen for Waringstown is that they went on to win the cup in both years.
It is four seasons since Clontarf have been in the last four and they face a tricky trip to Stormont to meet a Civil Service North side who are unbeaten in 50-over Cup cricket, having also reached the NCU Cup final.
Phoenix face the longest trip, to Strabane, who have won three of their first seven games in the North West Premiership on their return to the top flight. But recent history is against the Red Caps who have not reached the last four since going on to be beaten finalists in 2004.
Before they head north, Clontarf and Pembroke meet at Castle Avenue today in the Premier League with ‘Tarf starting the day four points behind leaders Merrion, who are away to The Hills.
Leinster are stranded 40 points adrift at the bottom of the table and will be second favourites at YMCA in their league game today, while Phoenix host third place North County.