Johnston can give YMCA edge over Pembroke
Last year's RSA Senior Cup finalists meet at Claremont Road this morning in the pick of the first-round ties.
The presence of Trent Johnston will be always be a bonus for YMCA, although they have done all right with or without him this season, the holders going into their first defence, against Pembroke, still unbeaten.
In his first game of the season, against today's opponents, Johnston top scored with 41 and then took 4-27 to make it three league wins out of the three for YM. They are favourites.
Johnston's former Ireland team-mate and predecessor as women's coach, Jeremy Bray, has been appointed coach of Denmark, so his presence in the YM team will be even more of a luxury, but with Pat Collins, Tom Fisher and Albert van der Merwe already among the runs this season plus Simmi Singh and the skipper's wickets, it is a formidable line-up.
Clontarf, the 2012 cup winners, will be confident of getting past Terenure. The Hills are expected to beat Leinster. Malahide could shock Railway Union, who will again be missing Kevin O'Brien.
Two Division Two teams are sure to be in the last eight with Cork County (along with Merrion) getting a bye and Balbriggan at home today to Phoenix.
* Andrew Flintoff looks set to make his return to action against Yorkshire next Friday after coming out of retirement to join the Lancashire Lightning squad for the NatWest T20 Blast.