Cricket: McBrine family affair a real threat to Merrion
MERRION continue their defence of the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup today, but it is their opponents at Anglesea Road who have been grabbing the pre-match headlines.
Donemana, beaten finalists in 2008 and 2009, will have five of the legendary McBrine family in their line-up, with Junior being joined by sons Andy, Ritchie and, for the first time, 14-year-old William.
Their uncle James, twin brother of Junior, will also be in the team as the North West side hope to follow up their emphatic 130-runs win over Rush in the last round.
Railway Union, the league leaders and the side Merrion beat in last year's final at Balrothery, should have no problem against Eglinton, but Clontarf could be tested at Castle Avenue by Brigade in Dublin's match of the day.
Brigade have made an unbeaten start to their league campaign, primarily due to their bowling attack, now led by former Pakistan Test opener Ata-ur-Rehman.
Phoenix have two players very familiar with North West cricket in Ryan Gallagher and Jeremy Bray. The former Ireland international had a season at Eglinton and Gallagher came to the Park this season from Strabane. They should finish on the winning side today against Glendermott.
Pembroke are the other Leinster side with home advantage, and it could prove decisive against Bready, although they come fresh from inflicting a first defeat of the season on Brigade in the North West Senior Cup last week.
The match of the round takes places at The Lawn as Waringstown and North County meet for the third time in seven seasons.
The Dubliners have won the previous two, but this time they must find a way of taming the Villagers new South African professional, big-hitting Obus Pienaar. He has already scored two centuries in Dublin this year. The length of his innings is likely to decide the contest.