Limerick reach National Cup Final
On Sunday, Limerick Cricket Club became the first Munster Club to succeed in making it to a National Final with a resounding 5 wicket victory over fellow Munster competitors, Co Galway. This wonderful achievement is testimony to the club's resilience and strong foundation developed over it's turbulent 50 year history. For many years, since it's formation in 1968, the club has had to make do without a regular home having to play all it's matches in Munster Competitions away. Despite the lack of success, on the field, in the mid-seventies the club's concentration was on securing a home ground and surviving. Their survival was rewarded in the '80s which proved a golden decade for the Club winning 3 League titles, 4 Senior Cups and 1 Junior Cup.
In 1990 the Club moved to the University of Limerick with more success following with Senior League wins in 1990 and 1992 and Senior Cup wins in 1992 and 1994. A Junior League and Cup double was also achieved in 1992. The remainder of the '90's was to prove a barren era for the Club with minor success on the field.
The early years of the millennium demonstrated promise with a Munster Minor Cup (2001) and Munster Senior Shields (2003; 2005) and Munster Senior League titles (2004; 2005). This was also a very productive time for the Junior side, with the Munster Junior Leagues (2004; 2005), and a League and Munster Junior Cup double in 2005. This period of success was remarkable as it was achieved despite a lack of resources, including a home venue.
In 2010, the Club secured a new home on the outskirts of the village of Adare and played it's first match on 17th of July 2011. The Club won a Minor League and Cup double in this year and defended their League title the following year. In 2015, Limerick won the Junior League and were promoted to the Senior League and became eligible to play in the National Cup for the first time in 2016.
Their first National Cup match was played in Adare on 22 May when Limerick defeated Co Sligo by 198 runs. Sufyan Khan top scored with 73 and Mudasar Aziz 44*. In round two, Limerick were awarded the match as Lurgan were unable to fulfill the fixture. In the Quarter-Finals, Limerick were awarded a home tie against NCU side, Woodvale. What promised to be a history making occasion ended in controversy as Woodvale were awarded the match following an appeal on the grounds that the DL software used was not the current issue.
In 2017, Limerick won the Junior League and the Minor Cup and in the National Cup defeated Civil Service by 5 wickets (DL method). In Round 2 Limerick travel to Terenure to take on the home side. In a rain affected game, Limerick batted first and scored 197 from their 40 overs. Zia Khan top scored with 35. With a revised target of 183 from 34 overs, Limerick managed to bowl out Terenure for 182 with 1 ball remaining. Farrukh Bhagat taking 4 wkts for 32 while Zia Khan took 3 for 56. Despite the heroic performance, Terenure advanced through cricket's equivalent of the penalty shoot-out, the Super-over. It was another bitter pill for Limerick to swallow.
In this year's competition, Limerick accounted for Longford by 4 wkts in Round 1 before meeting NCU side, Cregagh in Round 2. Winning the toss, Limerick put their visitors in to bat who duly scored 208 before being bowled out in 38 overs. Limerick successfully chased down the total with contributions from Arsalan Khalid(58*), Murtaza Sidiqi(54) and Farman Yousafzai(37*) with 1 wicket to spare.
In the quarter-finals, Limerick had a comfortable 113 run victory over Co Meath outfit, Knockharley set up wonderfully by a 104 run partnership between Mudassar Aziz and Swaroop Burra.
Following last Sunday's victory over Co Galway, Limerick face current National Cup holders, Rush on Sunday Sept 2nd's Final. While Limerick go into the final as underdogs, it would be a foolish man who would bet against the Shannonsiders once again overcoming the odds.