North Down hoping to beat the odds
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
NORTH Down have a five in seven chance of meeting Dublin opposition in the quarter finals of the RSA Irish Cup. With their record against Leinster teams over the last 10 years, they will be nervously waiting to see who they get tomorrow morning.
The best they can hope for a home game but they know, no matter who they are drawn against, it is unlikely to be as easy as their second round passage.
Indeed the weather overhead was a bigger danger to a North Down victory at The Green yesterday than Phoenix.
The Division Two team from north Dublin could manage only 128 and when Ryan Haire promoted himself to No 3, ahead of Andrew Sutherland, we knew he meant business.
The captain came to the wicket in the fifth over, after Nick Larkin's quickfire 17, and just 19 overs later, it was all over, a clinical seven wickets success.
Haire faced just 61 balls in his unbeaten 70 and peppered the boundary 12 times, three of them clearing it.
Sutherland, who actually joined his skipper one over later, made just 12 in a third wicket stand of 39 and Taimur Khan was even more of a spectator in the fourth wicket partnership of 57 as Haire finished in a hurry.
Maybe Ryan felt guilty after putting down a straightforward return catch which would have reduced North Down's victory target by 33 runs, the total of the last wicket stand which was, comfortably, Phoenix's best of the match.
But he certainly made amends and ensured that his six-man attack, who all got among the wickets, were rewarded with victory.
Now, to avoid trips to Merrion, The Hills, Clontarf, Railway ....