Chairman relishing Clontarf Challenge
CHAIRMAN RELISHING CLONTARF CHALLENGE
It is all-Ireland weekend this time as well with two North West sides taking their place in the quarter finals of the country's premier cup competition on Sunday afternoon.
Champions Coleraine have home advantage over North Down and will quietly fancy their chances of making it through while surprise package St Johnston travel to the home of current holders Clontarf.
The Donegal side are only in the competition by virtue of their second place finish in last season's Championship race but they have certainly raised a few eyebrows by beating Civil Service North from Belfast and then Strabane in the last couple of rounds meaning the southerners are likely to afford their visitors maximum respect.
Earlier this week former St Johnston captain, and now North West chairman Andrew Fleming suggested that his side were really looking forward to the game and there was no reason why they should be afraid of the job at hand.
"There is much excitement around the club at the minute and there will be a full bus-load travelling down on Sunday. We've done very well to get this far but the boys are determined to give it everything against Clontarf and you just never know".
The opening batsman agreed that this would be the single biggest game of his own playing career but that there would be more excitement than nerves.
"In terms of prestige this is definitely the biggest game I have played in however in terms of importance I believe that getting St Johnston back winning trophies in 2008 and 2009 was the most pleasing. We have worked hard for our success this season and it has been brilliant for the club to have our profile raised during this run.
"Obviously Clontarf is another step up again but it will be fantastic for the younger lads to play on an International ground and to pit themselves against quality of the calibre of Alex Cusack, Andrew Poynter, Bill Coghlan and Eoghan Delaney.
"They are a top notch side but our strength this season has been our bowling. If we can get a decent score on the board we would be hopeful that our attack would give us a fighting chance of defending it. Obviously we will be missing Sachin Dixit who is holidaying in India before moving to England to live but we have plenty of good players at the club and they will get their chance to shine".
Asked if he would take winning this match over winning promotion Andrew played a very straight bat. "It's a really good question and I'm not sure there is a definitive answer. The same scenario raises its head every year but it's probably fair to say that opinions are divided at the club. You only have to look at the make-up of our side to see the dilemma- I can't think of one player in his 20's in the first team panel. We have plenty of teenagers and plenty of thirty-somethings and that is probably why we have been a touch inconsistent this season.
There is a train of thought that the younger guys might benefit from another season or two in the Championship however the flip side of that is that the other guys will be another year or two older by then. To be honest I can see both sides of the equation so from a personal perspective I believe we will just try to win every game and see where that takes us.
"Those were two massive wins for us over the weekend (against Bonds Glen and Glendermott) and things like that can often help to change the mindset. What I can say for certain is that the Boathole is a happy place at present and the guys are practising and playing with a smile on their faces. We have already shocked two teams in this competition and hopefully we aren't finished yet. Whatever happens we will be sure to really enjoy the day and I have little doubt that the experience won't be lost on any of us".