The 1998 senior cup final brought together Ardmore and Brigade, two teams whose successes in the previous 20 years had come mainly in the North West's blue riband competition.

The Bleachgreen outfit contested two finals in that time- losing to Sion in 1983 before lifting the trophy 11 years later with a win over Eglinton.

Brigade had played in five deciders since 1978, losing four and recording one win- also against the villagers in 1991. The Beechgrove men had also made it to four All-Ireland deciders however, again winning one (1996), although a second triumph was only 12 months away.

It was all about the cups for Brigade as the league championship was dominated in that era by Donemana and Limavady who had shared the previous 15 titles between them.

(Mark Simpson)

This was to be a very notable renewal of the senior cup campaign starting early in the competition when Glendermott ousted the reigning champions and current league leaders Limavady at the Hunter Grounds. Roger Christie had top scored for the Rectory side as they made 149 but the home team were left reeling on 39-6 when rain brought an early end to proceedings.

Ironically the two teams met again in the Faughan Valley on Sunday where a Decker Curry century saw off a Glendermott side who may or may not have had a premature party the night before!

Play in the cup match again fell victim to the weather on Monday night but umpires Alan Wallace and Billy Boyd agreed that things were better on Tuesday. The home side didn't agree with that and didn't field and the tie was awarded to Glendermott.

In the third round, Stephen Smyth's 169 helped Brigade post a mammoth 400-6 against Crindle before both of the finalists recorded crunching semi-final victories. Up at Bready, Iftikhar Hussain was on top form for Ardmore as he took 5 wickets and made an unbeaten 44 to seal a 9-wicket win for the visitors. Smyth was at it again for Brigade as his 92* allowed the Beechgrove men to stroll to the final by 8 wickets at the Rectory.

This was to be the last decider for 19 years to be staged at the Limavady Road venue and there was little sign of what was to come as Ardmore batted first. In those days the cup was 60 overs a side of course and Ardmore opener Paul Brolly anchored his side's innings as he was in the middle for every single one of their 360+ deliveries. The left hander made a superb 94* with Hussain adding 38 and 'Nippy' McAuley 36 in a respectable total of 198-5. Ivan Nicholl fared best of the bowling unit- sending down 16 overs to finish with 3-42.

David Cooke made 45 and Willie Wilson 20* as the home side limped to 134 all out in 58 overs- Hussain picking up four wickets and Gerard Brolly three in the reply. A lead of 64 looked substantial in the conditions, but Ardmore imploded in the second innings in the face of some tremendous bowling from Mark Simpson and Gregory Wilson.

The carnage lasted just 12.3 overs as Simpson claimed 5-7 and Wilson (pictured below) 5-10 with the Bleachgreen boys blown away for just 17 all out.

Now needing 82 for an unlikely win the hosts lost 5 wickets getting there- three more for Hussain and two for Brolly, however Cooke's 44 sealed the deal for Brigade.

It was a topsy-turvy final in keeping with the whole competition that season and one that still brings pain to the runners-up.

If you didn't know any better you would think that somebody from the parish had annoyed a few travelling folk and incurred some sort of curse.

Sure it wouldn't be like a North West team going and annoying some gypsies...

Ardmore 1st XI Vs Brigade 1st XI
2-Innings Match Played At Beechgrove, 01-Aug-1998, Senior Cup
Brigade 1st XI Win Outright by 5 wkts

Round F
Home Side (neutral)
Player of Match M Simpson
Match Report here

Ardmore 1st XI 1st Innings 198/5 Closed (Overs 60)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
I Hussain c W Wilson b I Nicholl 38 0 0 0
P Brolly* not out   94 0 0 0
G Gillen c G Wilson b I Nicholl 10 0 0 0
Gerard Brolly c A Tosh b I Nicholl 4 0 0 0
G McAuley run out   36 0 0 0
E Gallagher c D Cooke b M Simpson 6 0 0 0
P O'Neill not out   1 0 0 0
D McAllister+ dnb          
D Gallagher dnb          
T Brolly dnb          
D McCourt dnb          
extras   (b0 lb6 w3 nb0) 9      
TOTAL   5 wickets for 198      
FOW
1-68(I Hussain) 2-82(G Gillen) 3-96(Gerard Brolly) 4-179(G McAuley)
5-191(E Gallagher)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
G Wilson 6 3 24 0 - -
G Moore 14 1 62 0 - -
M Simpson 8 0 23 1 - -
I Nicholl 16 4 42 3 - -
S Smyth 16 4 41 0 - -

Brigade 1st XI 1st Innings 134/10 All Out (Overs 57.2)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
D Cooke+ c D Gallagher b Gerard Brolly 45 0 0 0
J McCrea   c&b Gerard Brolly 8 0 0 0
S Smyth*   b G McAuley 16 0 0 0
M Kilgore   c&b D McCourt 4 0 0 0
A Tosh lbw b G McAuley 0 0 0 0
W Wilson not out   20 0 0 0
M Simpson c P O'Neill b Gerard Brolly 0 0 0 0
I Nicholl c G McAuley b I Hussain 10 0 0 0
G Wilson   b I Hussain 5 0 0 0
S Scroggie   b I Hussain 5 0 0 0
G Moore lbw b I Hussain 0 0 0 0
extras   (b0 lb8 w13 nb0) 21      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 134      
FOW
1-24(J McCrea) 2-56(S Smyth) 3-62(M Kilgore) 4-63(A Tosh) 5-93(D Cooke)
6-97(M Simpson) 7-116(I Nicholl) 8-121(G Wilson) 9-134(S Scroggie) 10-134(G Moore)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
Gerard Brolly 16 2 39 3 - -
G McAuley 14 5 21 2 - -
I Hussain 14.2 4 22 4 - -
D McCourt 13 2 44 1 - -

Ardmore 1st XI 2nd Innings 17/10 All Out (Overs 12.3)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
D McAllister+ lbw b M Simpson 0 0 0 0
P Brolly*   b G Wilson 1 0 0 0
I Hussain c D Cooke b M Simpson 2 0 0 0
G Gillen   b G Wilson 0 0 0 0
Gerard Brolly c W Wilson b G Wilson 7 0 0 0
G McAuley   b M Simpson 0 0 0 0
E Gallagher   b M Simpson 1 0 0 0
P O'Neill lbw b G Wilson 0 0 0 0
D Gallagher   b G Wilson 1 0 0 0
T Brolly   b M Simpson 1 0 0 0
D McCourt not out   2 0 0 0
extras   (b0 lb0 w2 nb0) 2      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 17      
FOW
1-1(D McAllister) 2-1(P Brolly) 3-12(I Hussain) 4-12(G Gillen) 5-12(Gerard Brolly)
6-12(G McAuley) 7-13(E Gallagher) 8-14(P O'Neill) 9-14(D Gallagher) 10-17(T Brolly)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
M Simpson 6.3 2 7 5 - -
G Wilson 6 1 10 5 - -

Brigade 1st XI 2nd Innings 82/5 Closed (Overs 32.4)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
D Cooke+ lbw b I Hussain 44 0 0 0
J McCrea   b Gerard Brolly 14 0 0 0
S Smyth* lbw b I Hussain 3 0 0 0
M Kilgore   c&b Gerard Brolly 1 0 0 0
A Tosh   b I Hussain 0 0 0 0
W Wilson not out   8 0 0 0
M Simpson not out   4 0 0 0
I Nicholl dnb          
G Wilson dnb          
S Scroggie dnb          
G Moore dnb          
extras   (b0 lb5 w3 nb0) 8      
TOTAL   5 wickets for 82      
FOW
1-56(J McCrea) 2-59(S Smyth) 3-67(M Kilgore) 4-68(A Tosh) 5-74(D Cooke)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
Gerard Brolly 9.4 1 36 2 - -
G McAuley 7 2 14 0 - -
I Hussain 14 5 16 3 - -
D McCourt 2 0 11 0 - -