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Donemana boosted by McBrine and Butt

 

By Ian Callender

The Irish Senior Cup may be the most prestigious club competition but such is the international fixture list in the early part of the season that the first round has to be squeezed in this weekend between Ireland's first two home internationals.

As a result, none of the 14 Ireland squad players will be involved but the bonus for Donemana is that with Andy McBrine left out of the games against Bangladesh and New Zealand he can play in the top match of the round between the North West and Leinster champions. And Donemana's new professional, 21-year-old Pakistani batsman Imran Butt, who arrives with a big reputation, will make his debut.

Clontarf are hosts to the North West double winners who do not have the best record in Dublin but one unbeaten record has to go after the sides' impressive start to the defence of their league titles.

CIYMS and Civil Service North are the other teams to have drawn the short straw and face difficult away trips to North County and The Hills respectively.

The latter, who are the early league leaders having been boosted this season by the arrival of Sean Terry and Yaqoob Ali, won the Fingal derby last week by five wickets, County's only defeat.

With last year's semi-finalists getting byes into the second round, there are only three games in the NCU. Brigade, still without a professional, v Leinster is the pick, although all the northern sides at home have got a winnable draw.

The big counter-attraction today in the NCU, however, is the one Premier League game between Waringstown, last year's beaten Irish Cup finalists, and the team they beat in the semi-final, defending league champions Instonians.

It is always a compelling clash but it is even more attractive today as it marks the debut for Instonians of Ireland Wolves captain Shane Getkate after his protracted transfer from Civil Service North was finally completed earlier this week.

A Waringstown victory will put them level at the top of the table with Carrickfergus, the only team so far who have won both their opening games, and in that scenario, Instonians will have lost both their opening matches.

There is also a Premiership game in the North West tomorrow with Donemana hosting Ardmore, another return to his first home for 50-year-old Decker Curry who needs just one more century to complete 100 career hundreds.

Both domestic cup competitions also get under way tomorrow with first round games at Lisburn - against Armagh - and Burndennett who host Strabane.

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