Pembroke will be looking to deny Waringstown a seventh Irish Senior Cup triumph as they do battle in the final of the Irish Senior Cup at The Hills on Saturday (11:30).
Waringstown skipper Greg Thompson is hoping to be lifting the Bob Kerr trophy for the third time in succession, but knows it will a tough ask against the Dubliners.
“It’s a fantastic achievement for the club to reach another final,: said the Irish international. "We’ve been fortunate to have won the Cup six times – a record number of wins that the club is extremely proud of in this the premier club competition in the country.
“We’ve certainly been made to work hard to reach this final, and to be honest, have had our fair share of luck along the way. We had with a rain-affected win against Malahide, followed by a bowl out victory against Instonians. Of course, the semi-final against CIYMS which went to the last ball was a very tense affair. We always know when we play CIYMS in a cup match that it’s going to be a tight game and the semi-final was no different, but Kyle and Haseeb showed their experience and composure to get us across the line.”
“It’s been easy to keep the hunger and drive up for these Cup games. We’ve had a mixed season to date with our league form not quite matching our cup form. However, there’s always a lift in the squad on the morning of an Irish Senior Cup match and that’ll be amplified on Saturday morning in the build up to the Final.
"We’ve a lot of experience in the squad and most of the guys involved have tasted success in the final of this competition before, but we’ll take nothing for granted as Pembroke are an incredibly strong side. Whatever the outcome, I’m sure it’ll be a fantastic final and one that the supporters will enjoy.”
The Mid-Ulster side were dealt a severe blow with the news that Irish Test player James McCollum is expected to be ruled out with a shoulder injury, meaning David Dawson will step up into the starting XI.
There are no such injury concerns for Pembroke captain Fiachra Tucker, who acknowledged what an achievement it was for the club to reach its first Cup Final.
“It is a massive honour for us to compete in the final for the first time in the club’s 151 year history. It is a competition we have excelled in during recent years, reaching the semi-final on three occasions in the last five years.
"With the calibre and strength of our squad, we were aiming for nothing less this season. We’re delighted to have got into the final and are now hungry to win the competition outright.
“Barry McCarthy’s return to the club has been immense with this experience and skill crucial to our performances - he has been really devastating with the ball. Along with Barry, the involvement of Andy Balbirnie, Josh Little and Lorcan Tucker has been invaluable. These guys drive our standards, both on and off the pitch, and - most importantly - they are brilliant mentors for the young players we have coming through our ranks.
“Our bowling and fielding performances have been exceptional throughout this competition with Barry , Shaheen Khan and Josh spearheading our attack. Everything clicked for us in the semi-final against Phoenix where we showcased all of our quality. We will be looking to put in a similar type of performance on Saturday against Waringstown.”
Action at Milverton gets underway at 11:30 and the game will be live-scored on www.cricketeurope.com