Ian Callender (Irish Independent)
THE semi-finals of the Senior League Cup will go ahead without T20 Cup holders Malahide and cup specialists Merrion.
Both were eliminated on Saturday as Pembroke and Phoenix won their final group games to take the top slots in Group A and victories for YMCA and Railway Union left the Villagers in third place in Group B and unable to represent Leinster in the All Ireland T20 finals for a second successive year.
Phoenix will host YMCA in one semi-final and Railway Union will face Irish Cup holders and Park Avenue neighbours Pembroke in the other next Saturday.
Pembroke had the biggest scare, chasing Dublin University’s 126, especially after Lorcan Tucker was out for 45 at the end of the 18th over, still 15 short of victory.
Leinster coach Nigel Jones, playing his first match of the season for the students, kept himself back to bowl the last over with Pembroke requiring seven but after conceding four singles, Paul Lawson hit his fifth ball for six to claim the vital 20 points.
It was win or bust for Phoenix in their game against Leinster but it was all straightforward as Jamie Grassi hit 59 out of 125-6 and the Rathmines side, with nothing to play for, were bowled out for 75, six Phoenix bowlers sharing the wickets.
Kevin O’Brien made his seasonal debut for Railway and although he hit two sixes, the Ireland international was out for 26 in his side’s 120-9 which was still 40 runs too many for The Hills.
O’Brien’s partner at the end of the memorable victory over England this month, Harry Tector was YMCA’s main man in their six wickets victory over Terenure.
Tector hit 64 off just 32 balls with six fours and five sixes and dominated a stand of 82 with younger brother Tim as YM reached their target of 124 with 34 balls to spare.