Sunday 18 November 2018

Exciting partnership deepens our bond

Dennis Cousins (l), Cricket Ireland’s head of commercial operations, Ciaran Divney of Railway Union CC and Sunday Independent editor Cormac Bourke at the launch of The Sunday Independent Twenty20 Cup. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
Dennis Cousins (l), Cricket Ireland’s head of commercial operations, Ciaran Divney of Railway Union CC and Sunday Independent editor Cormac Bourke at the launch of The Sunday Independent Twenty20 Cup. Photo: Fergal Phillips.

The Sunday Independent is the new sponsor of the All-Ireland Twenty20 Cup, which is competed for by the winners of the 20-over cups in the four provincial unions.

This year's final is slated for Saturday, August 18, and will take place in Bready, Co Tyrone.

"The Sunday Independent has been a long-term supporter of Irish cricket, and we are delighted that we can extend this support into the peak club cricket T20 event on the Irish cricket calendar," said Cormac Bourke, editor of the Sunday Independent.

"Cricket is on the upswing in the Irish sporting landscape, and to be the place to go for the best Irish cricket coverage is an ambition we believe we have delivered on over many years."

Dennis Cousins, commercial director at Cricket Ireland, said "No modern-day sport can create a vibrant and sustainable base without the support of its sponsors, and we are very fortunate to have the long-term and ongoing support of Cormac and his team at the Sunday Independent.

"Their quality, expert journalism, combined with being the largest newspaper in circulation in Ireland, makes this a valuable partnership for our sport."

Railway Union captain Ciaran Divney relishes the chance to take part in the competition. "Twenty20 is a great game for players, and we've seen this year already that it's bringing in even bigger crowds," he said.

Railway are fortunate to have Ireland's marquee player, Kevin O'Brien, but Divney tips a 16-year-old as the one most likely to be next in Graham Ford's sights. "Alex Stiles loves playing T20, when he can express himself and play with freedom. He's a fantastic young bat and if he keeps up his progress he can go all the way."

Last year, the inaugural year of the event, saw John Mooney star with bat and ball in a thrilling final at the Lawn where Clontarf beat Waringstown by ten runs, Cork County and Bready falling in the semi-finals.

Cork County will be there again after overcoming Limerick in the Munster Bash final. The other provincial competitions are in full swing, and the added incentive of the Sunday Independent T20 Cup has made the competition even hotter.

It's still wide open in Leinster where no side won more than once in the first two rounds, while Brigade, Bready and Donemana are flying high in the North-West. CSNI and North Down look set to play off for the NCU spot.

"It's great to have a chance to test yourself at the top level of club cricket in Ireland," said Divney. "I'm sure it will be a fantastic competition."

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