Pembroke hold nerve to defeat Merrion
Ian Callender (Irish Independent)
Pembroke completed the most vital of their two wins over Merrion in the space of nine days to knock the beaten finalists of the last two RSA Irish Cups out of this year's competition.
In a nail-biting quarter-final at Sydney Parade, Conor Mullen and Fiachra Tucker were the coolest people in the ground with an unbeaten eighth wicket stand of 36. It used up 75 balls but, coming together at 169 for seven in the 37th over, there was no hurry in their pursuit of Merrion's 204 for eight. The pair hit only one boundary each, Mullen's the winning one with seven balls to spare.
The foundation for Pembroke's success was a partnership of 107 between Barry McCarthy (64) and Lorcan Tucker (51) but although both were dismissed in the space of three balls, Mullen and Tucker saw them home.
There was also a thrilling finish at Park Avenue where The Hills passed Railway Union's 148 with just four balls and two wickets to spare. Tomas Murphy and Luke Clinton were the last gasp heroes here, scoring the last 11 runs for the 2012 Irish Cup winners.
The holders, though, are still the team to beat and, as expected, Clontarf had no trouble in seeing off North West Championship side St Johnston at Castle Avenue. Ireland international Andrew Poynter scored a stunning 195 not out, from 127 balls with 24 fours and six sixes in Clontarf's 315 for two, his unbroken stand with Colin Currie (91) worth a staggering 296. St Johnston slumped to 33 for six in reply but recovered to reduce the victory margin to 163 runs.
Completing the line-up for tomorrow's semi-final draw are North Down who made a sensational run-chase at Coleraine, scoring 307 in 48.4 overs to win by five wickets.
There was no such excitement in the four Division One league games on Saturday, with the top four increasing their advantage over the bottom quartet after comfortable wins; Pembroke's 38 runs success over The Hills, the closest of the day.