Ian Callender, 10 June 2001
DOWNPATRICK produced the result of the third round of the Irish Cup, travelling to Dublin and beating YMCA BY 62 runs. On a green wicket, the NCU side were well pleased with their total of 173 for seven, especially as the two slow bowlers on the home side, former international Stewart Taylor and Steve O'Gorman, conceded just 26 runs in their 20 overs. But Downpatrick responded instantly, Stephen Skelly dismissing Angus Dunlop in his second over and Geoffrey Ferguson taking the vital wicket of the other former Ireland captain in the side, Alan Lewis. After that only Stuart McCready held up Paul Linehan's side and once Paul Tate broke the seventh wicket stand between McCready and Carl Hosford, the tail subsided quietly and it was all over before the end of the 35th over.
Lisburn found it more difficult than expected at Wallace Park where 17 wickets fell for just 224 and only Ireland's No 3 wicket-keeper, Niall O'Brien (right), scored more than 21. His 54 was almost half of the Railway total as Derek Heasley returned to the action in top form, taking three for 12 in nine overs and then top scored from No 4 in the order. At 95 for seven, still 17 short of victory, it was all rather embarrassing for Lisburn but Brian Hutchinson, not for the first time this season, came off with the bat, when it mattered and they scrambled into the quarter finals.
The other northern qualifiers came from domestic rivalry with Brigade hammering Fox Lodge by 116 runs, thanks to an unbeaten 83 from Alan Rutherford and three wickets for the second successive match from Jason Brown and Cliftonville finally beating North Down. This was also achieved with some comfort, by seven wickets and a man of the match performance by Mark Patterson who took four wickets as the Comber side were dismissed for a disappointing 113, only international Andrew White putting up any resistance and scoring more than half the runs off the bat. Cliftonville paced their reply as they liked with an unbeaten 41 from capatain Kyle McCallan seeing them home in the 47th over.
In Dublin, North County underlined their credentials to be taken as one of the favourites for the cup with a thumping 192 runs victory over Strabane who were dismissed for 93. Andre Botha, their South African resident, was named man of the match but it was Paul Mooney who removed both the Strabane openers and scored 63 runs to put the Dubliners out of sight.
Malahide continue to have the Indian sign over Clontarf, their third win of the season at Castle Avenue by three wickets putting them into the quarter finals for the first time since1994 and Merrion had 40 runs to spare against Phoenix with Ed Joyce again finding it all too easy, scoring 97.