Final Report by Barry Chambers

Donemana finally realised their dream of capturing the Irish Senior Cup with a tremendous victory over rivals Limavady in a pulsating match. This game had it all from the very first ball of the match when Decker Curry was nearly run out to the last when young Jordan McGonigle struck the match winning boundary.

Limavady won the toss and decided to bat in overcast conditions, the match being delayed by 20 minutes due to rain. Decker Curry was lucky to survive the first over when in addition to nearly being run out he was dropped by skipper Noel Dunn off Junior McBrine. With the score on 12 Limavady and Harron had an amazing let off when Harron was given run out after good work by William Porterfield. With Harron making his way to the pavilion he was recalled after the umpires had conferred. The decision was that the wicketkeeper had broken the stumps before removing the bails. With this let off Gareth Harron and Curry moved the score along at nearly five an over with the combination of quick running and the occassional boundary.

The introduction of James McBrine and Johnny Thompson into the attack curbed the opening pair and Curry was lucky to survive when he was dropped by Richard Kee off a skier, running back at mid off. How relieved he must have been when Thompson bowled Curry shortly after when he played on, much to the delight of the large Donemana support. Andy Christie was next in and he had scored six when he fell to a superlative catch by Junior McBrine at leg slip off the bowling of brother James to leave the score at 78-2. This same combination accounted for Mark McDaid who scored 5 and his dismissal left the game in the balance at 97-3. Richard McDaid then proceeded to take the attack to Donemana and he struck three sixes and a four in a quickfire 36.

The reintroduction of pace bowler Gary Neely proved to be a masterstroke as he had McDaid caught at slip once again by Junior with the score on 152. Neely captured the wickets of Tom McClintock clean bowled for 7, Ian Smith caught by another wonder catch by Junior for 0, and the same pair accounted for Craig Hartin for 1, to leave Donemana in the box seat at 168-7. They rallied with an 8th wicket partnership of 47 between Harron who batted throughout the innings to end up on 83*, and veteran Herbie Parkhill who scored 21 before he was bowled off the last ball of the innings by Noel Dunn.

Limavady ended their innings on 215-8 with Gary Neely being the most successful of their attack with 4-52, and James McBrine 2-32. Junior McBrine took five catches in the slips, two of which would have graced any test match ground.

In reply Donemana got off to a terrible start when Richard Kee was clean bowled for 0 with the score on 1 in the second over by Richard McDaid. The combination of 16 year old William Porterfield and 49 year old Roy McBrine served Donemana well with the pair adding 131 for the 2nd wicket with young Porterfield looking every inch the class player that he is scoring 59 and Roy combining dogged defence with brutal power making 49. Roy was run out attempting a second run which would have given him his 50, and the very next ball Porterfield was well stumped by Rocky Harron off a wide ball by Mark McDaid to leave the score on 133-3 in the 37th over.

The ideal pair for Donemana in a run chase were at the wicket in James and Junior McBrine and these two added 41 before James was caught behind by Harron off Richard McDaid for 10. Richard Dougherty went clean bowled by Decker Curry in the next over to leave the tie evenly balanced at 177-5 in the 45th over. Johnny Thompson joined Junior and with 31 needed off 4 overs they proceeded to take 13 off the 47th over bowled by Curry including a massive six by Thompson into the Polo fields. Junior then was run out for 37 with only 12 needed by a direct throw from Curry, and when the same player bowled Neely for nought, 11 runs were needed off 11 balls. Jordan McGonigle should have been run out the first ball he faced but managed to scramble a single.

Going into the last over Donemana needed 7 runs for victory and when Mark McDaid bowled 5 wides with the first two balls Donemana knew the cup was theirs. It was left to Jordan McGonigle to strike the winning runs and spark off emotional scenes at Beechgrove for the Donemana supporters, who had waited so long for this moment. Man of the Match adjudicator Roy Torrens thanked everyone involved in making this such a memorable game. Despite having a difficult task with so many noteworthy performances he opted to give the award to Junior McBrine for his 37 and five magnificent slip catches.