independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Champions are up for the Irish Cup again

Naseer Shaukat is already looking forward to his club The HIlls making the defence of their Irish Senior Cup title.

THE first-round draws for the RSA Irish Senior Cup and RSA National Cup took place last Thursday in Dublin and threw up some fascinating ties involving Fingal clubs.

Skerries club The Hills are the Senior Cup holders, of course, and they have been handed a home tie against Instonians, while their great rivals North County - the most successful team in the competition with five titles to their name - will host twice former champions Brigade. Malahide, the 2002 winners, will have to beat Clontarf in a preliminary tie if they are to qualify for a first-round clash at home to Ballymena, while Rush are also in preliminary round action against Terenure, with Donemana waiting in the wings. The draw was conducted by Cricket Ireland President Arthur Vincent and Philip Smith, CEO of RSA Insurance Ireland, while also present were Mike Baumgart and Tyrone Kane from last year's finalists The Hills and Merrion respectively. Naseer Shaukat, captain of The Hills, commented after the draw: 'Winning the competition last season was an incredible high point for The Hills. It's the 'Holy Grail' as far as Irish club cricket is concerned and the club will be doing its upmost to defend the trophy. 'We've been given a tough draw against Instonians, so I'm sure it'll be a fantastic match at Milverton.' Philip Smith of RSA Insurance Ireland added: 'As sponsor, RSA Insurance is delighted to support the Irish Senior Cup. 'Today's draw has created some captivating clashes and set the tone for what will be another tremendous competition. 'No doubt everyone is eagerly awaiting the first-round matches and while only one club can lift the trophy, we extend good wishes to all teams, their players and supporters.' The draw for the RSA National Cup remarkably threw up a repeat of last year's final, with Balbriggan renewing battle with the team who beat them, Muckamore. The losers of the Rush v Terenure and Malahide v Clontarf Senior play-offs face Templepatrick at home and Drummond away respectively. Dates for the two competitions are as follows: Round 1 - Saturday May 11 (reserve up to and including May 24th); Round 2 - Saturday June 8th; Round 3 - Sunday July 7th; Semi-finals - Saturday August 3rd; RSA Irish Senior Cup Final - Saturday August 24th (reserve Sunday September 1st); RSA National Cup Final - Sunday August 25th (reserve Sunday September 1st).

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