Ian Callender
Cliftonville finally reach the Irish Cup Semi-Finals

Ian Callender, 24 June 2001


AT the fourth time of asking, Cliftonville finally won a Royal Liver Irish Cup quarter final. Even without three of their formidable top seven - Mark Patterson did not travel over from England and Grant Elliott and Gerard Brophy cannot play in the competition - Cliftonville had more than enough strength to dispose of a Lisburn side which, if they cannot get more of their experienced players on the field, could be facing another battle against relegation.

On Saturday, Derek Heasley was working, Brian Hutchinson and Richard Wiseman were on the injury list and the loss of Morne Stydom and Dieter Behrans in the Irish Cup put too much pressure on the youngsters. In the end, Cliftonville did as they pleased and yet another "not out" from captain Kyle McCallan (right) meant that Lisburn could not get past the top five and when Cliftonville lose only three wickets batting second there is only one result.

McCallan finished on 65, with two sixes and four fours, but for a long time he was matched in the scoring stakes by Michael Turkington. When he came in at No 5, Lisburn eyes must have lit up but "the Turk" proved that here was another batsmen who could take advantage of limited opportunity and play a match-winning innings.

He had already won a man of the match award in the Senior Cup tie at Ballymena this season and his responsible batting on Saturday was worthy of another. But, he happens to be in the same team as the Ireland captain, and as Kyle had already taken four for 35 to cut short Lisburn's hopes of a late innings runs rush, umpires Peter White and Bob Kane had little alternative than to give it to McCallan. It was the skipper who dismissed Neil McDowell for 11 after he was promoted to No 4 to increase the scoring rate and his three wickets at the end, including Michael McComish for a classy 40 off 29 balls, restricted Lisburn to 32 from the last five overs and a total of 190 for nine.

McCallan received good support from slow left armer Stephen McChesney, who justified his recall with a spell of 10 overs for 29 and Brian Anderson ensured a snail-pace start from one end by bowling his spell straight through at a cost of just 13 runs. Gary Hanna was the batsman who was tied down and he never really recovered. When opening parner Stephen Hutchinson was out for 43 in the 22nd over, Lisburn were 60 for one and Hanna had made 12. Gary had still not reached Hutchie's total when he was finally out, caught at long-off 23 overs later!

In contrast, two of Cliftonville's top three scored quickly and got out, Johnny Terrett foot before wicket and, more disappointingly, Andrew Patterson caught at mid-off with a careless shot. Let's hope it's the last from him for three weeks. Davy Menaul, however, was in tremendous form, his short-arm jab repeatedly punishing the errant bowlers but, like Patterson, he was dismissed by the excellent David Simpson who showed his more experienced colleagues what was required on an excellent batting pitch.

Unfortunately for Lisburn he could bowl only 10 overs but for Lisburn the future is increasingly relying on the youngsters. For Cliftonville, the Senior Cup is their only concern until their three internationals return in the middle of next month when their club season can begin in earnest.