Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Cricket Ireland: First round previews – Arachas Irish Senior Cup and Arachas National Cup

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Photo Credit: Sportsfile

The Arachas-sponsored Irish Senior Cup and National Cup kick off this weekend as clubs up and down the country set out in search of cup glory. For some, the journey will end this weekend, while others will hope the journey will end with the final in Waringstown on 12 August.

Cup Match Centres

All match centres for the two cup competitions can be found here.


The Irish Senior Cup began in 1982 and is a 50-over competition for top-ranked clubs in their respective provincial unions. CIYMS are the current holders of the famous Bob Kerr trophy, following their victory over Lisburn in last year’s final.

The draw has been conducted and the fixtures for the first round has been determined as follows (home team listed first):

Irish Senior Cup – 1st Round
  • Malahide v Instonians
  • YMCA V Coleraine
  • Railway Union v Bready
  • Pembroke v Brigade
  • Woodvale v Balbriggan
  • CSNI v Leinster
  • North Down v Eglinton
  • Fox Lodge v The Hills
  • Donemana v Carrickfergus
  • Newbuildings v Waringstown
  • Cork Harlequins v Merrion
  • Ardmore v Cork County

The four semi-finalists from 2022 – Clontarf, Phoenix, Lisburn and CIYMS – all receive a bye into round two.

Irish Senior Cup Schedule
  • Round 1: 20 May 2023 (reserve date 28 May)
  • Round 2: 4 June 2023 (reserve date 11 June)
  • Quarter-Finals: 18 June 2023 (reserve date 25 June)
  • Semi-Finals: 9 July 2023 (reserve date 30 July)
  • Final: 12 August 2023 (reserve date 2 September)


The National Cup, which began in 2012, is a 40-over competition featuring the next tier of clubs across the five provincial unions. North County won the trophy in 2022 after a thrilling final against Terenure. 

The draw has been conducted and the fixtures for the first round has been determined as follows (home team listed first):

National Cup – 1st Round
  • Wexford Wanderers v Muckamore
  • Rush v Strabane
  • North Kildare v Bonds Glen
  • Ballymena v Knockharley
  • Cregagh v Letterkenny
  • Derriaghy v Ballyhaunis
  • Burndennett v Laois
  • Killyclooney v Templepatrick
  • Ballyspallen receive a bye
  • Glendermott v Athlone
  • Midleton v Civil Service
  • UCC v Cliftonville
  • County Kerry v St Johnston
  • County Galway v Limerick

North County and Terenure receive a bye into round two as 2022 finalists.

National Cup Schedule
  • Round 1: 20 May 2023 (reserve date 28 May)
  • Round 2: 4 June 2023 (reserve date 11 June)
  • Quarter-Finals: 18 June 2023 (reserve date 25 June)
  • Semi-Finals: 9 July 2023 (reserve date 30 July)
  • Final: 13 August 2023 (reserve date 3 September)

The fixtures and dates of the men’s and women’s All-Ireland T20 Cup competitions will be announced shortly.

Best of luck to all teams involved!

Picks of the Round!

Ties of the round – Irish Senior Cup:

One of the ties of the round in the Arachas Irish Senior Cup – in which teams compete for the famous Bob Kerr trophy – will see 2022 Longs SuperValu North West Premiership champions Newbuildings take on the most successful side in the competition, six-time winners Waringstown at the Rectory, where a full house is almost guaranteed. Newbuildings have brought in 21 year-old South African right-handed top-order batter Hanu Viljoen as their overseas professional for this season as they look to build on that success and make inroads in the national competition, having been knocked out at the second round stage in 2022. They also have the likes of Trent McKeegan in their squad. Waringstown have appointed James Cameron-Dow as their new first team coach for 2023, along with 32 year-old South African allrounder Pat Botha. Dow, the tall left-arm spinner will bring both quality and experience. Club captain Greg Thompson will be looking to those two in particular, as well as Morgan Topping, and will also hope that young up-and-comers Ben Snell and Matthew Daly can step up as Waringstown go in search of silverware this season. They’ve started the season very well and are currently unbeaten in the Northern Cricket Union (NCU) Robinson Services Premier League with three successive victories. They also have the added incentive that the final will be played on their home ground.

IBI Corporate Finance Premier League champions Balbriggan are faced with a trip to North-Belfast side Woodvale in the first round, a side they beat at the same stage in 2022. Andre Botha’s men will be hoping for a repeat of that result again this year. They’ve made two interesting additions to their squad for 2023, South Africans Matthew Pollard 22, and Cameron Rowe 21. Pollard is a middle-order right-hand batter, while student Rowe is a right-handed opening batter. They started the season with two victories in the LHK Group Alan Murray Cup but were knocked out of the Leinster Senior Cup by Malahide, losing by 7 wickets last weekend. Woodvale have signed 22 year old South African allrounder Ludwig Kaestner. They will be looking to improve on their performances last season, as captain Jamie Gibson felt they underperformed. James Rose has also joined the club from Instonians. Having lost all three of their NCU Robinson Services Premier League games so far this season the cup game will give them an opportunity cause an upset this weekend. 

2019 Irish Senior Cup winners Pembroke will take on Brigade at Sydney Parade. Australian all-rounder Nick Stapleton linked up with the home side over the winter as they look to battle their way back to the IBI Corporate Finance Premier League. Brigade – who have won the Irish Senior Cup on two occasions, the last in 1999 – have added all-rounder Cameron Melly – who played for the Ireland Academy in 2022 – and teenage opening bowler Josh Wilson to their squad. They come into the game off a defeat to Fox Lodge last weekend.

Ties of the round – National Cup:

In the Arachas National Cup County Galway will host local rivals Limerick in Lydican. County Galway had an excellent 43-run victory over Cork Harlequins in their opening Munster Cricket Union Premier League game, but the weather has delayed any further matches, so they’ll be hoping that it plays ball this weekend for what should be a very entertaining encounter.

It will be an historic occasion (read above) when Wexford Wanderers host Muckamore, while Letterkenny travel to Cregagh (this is the first time for Letterkenny will play in the National Cup since their formation) – it promises to be a memorable day for all clubs.


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