AS Waringstown skipper Greg Thompson was quick to point out after the match, either Shaheen Khan was going to win his third successive Irish Cup winners’ medal or nine of the Waringstown team.
Cruelly for the Villagers, who didn’t want to lose their South African professional last year, it was Shaheen who was celebrating, this time with Pembroke as the Dubliners won All-Ireland trophy in their first appearance in the final.
A century and three wickets from the their former team-mate made the man of the match award a formality – his second in succession after scoring 71 not out and taking two wickets for Waringstown last year – but it wasn’t a day for regrets from Thompson, rather praise for a home-grown side and a time to look forward after a record five successive finals for Waringstown.
“I don’t see why this to be the last of our run,” said Thompson. “We have lost only two games in the last five years, both finals. We were more competitive when we lost to Merrion (in 2016) but we bounced back and won two more.
“We’ll see how we go over the winter. It’s inevitable, in all teams, that one or two will step away but what we don’t want is three or four guys stepping away all at once.
“It’s an amateur sport and Pembroke can be very proud that it is not just local guys but home-grown guys who have won the cup, 10 home-grown boys and a professional - yes the pro has had a big say – but that is a model everyone should be striving for
“We’ve still some league cricket to play but it will not impact on where we finish, but it might be a chance for some of the younger guys to put their hands up and ready to be selected next year.”
Reflecting on the final, when Waringstown conceded the second highest total in Irish Cup showpiece – one less than Railway Union’s 317 in 2010 – Thompson admitted it was always going to be a tough ask to replace the injured James McCollum.
“You can’t say it would have made the difference considering the margin of victory but it disrupted our team,” said the skipper. Kyle (McCallan) hasn’t batted at three all year, so we felt by moving only one, the reset could stay where they are most comfortable. Kyle is the man for the big occasion, but it wasn’t his day, it wasn’t our day.”