Huge weekend for NW sides
HUGE WEEKEND OF CUP ACTION AWAITS LOCAL SIDES
The domestic cricket season fairly bursts into action this weekend with a full programme in the Irish Senior Cup and RSA National Cup on Saturday followed by the Ulster Cup and Ulster Shield on Sunday. As well as that the long awaited Inter-Provincial series starts for North West teams on Tuesday as the Warriors head to Dublin for a 3-day game against Leinster Lightning.
Turning to Saturday first however and with an indifferent record in the All-Ireland competition in recent seasons many will be hoping that this is the season when fortunes start to change. Donemana have fared by far the best of the local clubs of late and Richard Kee's men welcome Terenure to the Holm for a first round clash. The Leinster side has quality in the shape of Dan Van Zyl, Ritchie Lawrence, Tom Fisher and Kenny McDonald so they pose a real threat. Kee though will worry only about his own side and is convinced they can beat anyone on their own patch.
Brigade have a tough looking task away at North County but will take heart from the fact that they were on their "A" game against Strabane at the weekend. The Beechgrove boys are at their most dangerous when casts as underdogs but they will need to play really well to win this.
Joint league leaders Coleraine are at home to Merrion, last year's beaten finalists and will find the Dublin outfit a tough nut to crack. John Anderson, Dominic Joyce, Ben Ackland and company have come a cropper on the north coast in the past and will be aware this is not an easy place to win especially with the Bannsiders in the mood they are at present.
Strabane head to Stormont and will be underdogs against CSNI but it depends whether the visitors show the form that saw them crushed by Brigade last Saturday or the one that thumped Lisburn in the Ulster Cup 24 hours later. Confidence could well be low in the Belfast side's camp having lost their opening two league matches despite the quality of Griffin Nieuwoudt, Jason van der Merwe and Mark Adair so the Red Caps could add to their woes.
Bready will look to break their duck for the season when they entertain Lurgan and Eglinton will hope to build on Saturday's confidence building win at home to Fox Lodge when they welcome Phoenix. The Foxies themselves make the long trek to Cork Harlequins and are another side without a win this season but Jonny Robinson's men will feel they can put that right in Munster. Glendermott face a huge task in travelling to CSNI while Creevedonnell and Bonds Glen will need rain, and lots of it if they are to have a chance of getting past CIYMS and Waringstown respectively.
Strabane are already through to the last eight in the Ulster Cup courtesy of Sunday's impressive display against a well-touted Lisburn side while Coleraine and Donemana have both been handed byes in a kind draw. The Waringstown v Fox Lodge tie has been postponed to allow the Magheramason men time to get home from the bottom of Ireland. The other six North West teams will try to join the Red Caps this weekend however and here again there are some decent matches down for decision. Bready travel to Instonians as slight underdogs while Glendermott are in Comber with a very difficult task against North Down. Brigade against CIYMS is probably the tie of the round while Eglinton will fancy their chances of a minor upset when they host Civil Service North.