THERE was no luck for the two remaining Ulster teams in the Royal Liver Irish Cup in yesterday's semi final draw - both must travel to Dublin. Donemana would appear to have the harder of the two games, against Malahide, but Downpatrick will be wary of their visit to Rush, who have come from nowhere to be in the last four for the first time.
For Malahide, it is their third semi final, but after losing to Brigade and Limavady in their two previous games at this stage, in 1993 and 1994, Donemana have the chance of making it a North West hat-trick. Donemana brought Eglinton's heroics in the competition to a spectacular conclusion, dismssing their North West league rivals for just 44.
Yet, when Donemana were 39 for five there seemed every possibility that the unbeaten Derry Journal League leaders would join North Down and Limavady in a hat-trick scalps. However, James McBrine ended that notion with exactly 100 from 104 balls, including nine fours and half a dozen sixes.
Donemana finished with 259 for nine, a total which so demoralised Eglinton that their reply lasted only 19.4 overs, James helping himself to four wickets for five runs in seven overs to complete a devastating all-round display. At the other end, Johnny Thompson proved his form and fitness ahead of leaving with the Ireland Development squad today for their European tournament in Holland by also taking four wickets. Only Alistair Spratt, with 12 not out, reached double figures for Eglinton and the top six aggregated just 14 runs between them.
They are the only North West side in the last four after Brigade collapsed from 146 for four to 176 all out, 11 runs short of Malahide's total. The Dubliners had raced to 117 for one in just 28 overs but the Beechgrove side took the last nine for just 70 runs with four wickets each for Mark Simpson and Ivan Nicholl.
The amazing Rush story, however, just goes on and on. The north Dublin side hadn't won a match in the cup before this year; now they are in the semi finals with Merrion the latest team to be on the receiving end of Naseer Shaukat. The Dublin-based Pakistani scored 122 out of a Rush total of 245 for seven, and then took four wickets for 26 as Merrion were dismissed for just 142 in the 43rd over.
Downpatrick are in the first semi final for seven years, and must be be fairly confident of improving on their last performance at this stage. After scoring 237 for three, they lost to North Down by 10 wickets! Royal Liver Irish Cup semi final draw: Rush v Downpatrick, Malahide v Donemana. Games to be played on Saturday August 10.