McBrine has his admirers as Donemana seal high five
The rumours are rife that Andy McBrine will not be around next year when Donemana go for a record-equalling sixth successive Bank of Ireland Senior Cup, but on Saturday night the Ireland international was adamant that this young team can stay together for another year.
"I'll take six in a row next year. It's a good bunch of lads and everyone gels well," was his post-match comment after the Tyrone side completed a six-wicket victory over Coleraine at Strabane.
"It's nice to do five in a row (one short of Clooney's record, set in 1911).
"We put down a couple of chances in the first innings which were crucial and they were well placed at 130 for four but Ritchie and William (McBrine, of course) set us up with those late wickets.
"That was the difference between chasing 160 and a trickier 200. The crucial stand was between Gary and me after losing those early wickets and then my stand with Aggi (Andy Riddles)."
McBrine came to the middle with Donemana on eight for two, after Coleraine's debutant Surav Randiv, their latest Sri Lanka professional, had bowled opposite number Jan Frylinck - but no panic. Just as he had done in two of the previous three cup finals, McBrine was there at the finish to claim a remarkable fourth successive Billy McLeod man of the match award.
And as long as the 23-year old Ireland international was there, it wasn't going to take long. The target of 157 in 50 overs was reached with 122 balls to spare with McBrine completing his highest cup final score of 86 not out, finishing in a hurry with three sixes to make a total of 11 boundaries.
"I was thinking about my innings in Malahide (when he scored 79 from 64 balls for Ireland against Sri Lanka last month)," admitted McBrine and although the bowling might not have been as strong this time, he still had to negotiate eight overs from Randiv.
"My game plan was to go out and attack him, I didn't want him to settle and didn't want them to attack us."
It worked to a tee, with McBrine hitting 22, including four boundaries from 27 balls faced against the Test match off spinner - sweet revenge after Randiv had him caught behind in the first innings for just seven.
As for Coleraine, who have beaten Donemana in the last three league games, only Niall McDonnell seriously held them up over the two days, adding 62 to his undefeated 80 on Friday, but when the teams meet in cup cricket, Donemana are a different animal.
They have now ended the Bannsiders' cup hopes in five of the last six years and, much like everyone else in the North West, they cannot lay a glove on Donemana in the Senior Cup who, fittingly, came of age on Saturday. This was their 21st cup final triumph.
Maybe CIYMS will be the team to put a hole in Donemana's all-conquering cup team - if they can manage to snare McBrine, at the second attempt, to Belmont next year.
Meanwhile, Bready, who were helped by Ireland international Craig Young returning to bowl, moved fourth, within two points of the top of the Premiership, with a three-wicket success at Eglinton.
Scores: Coleraine 198-4 (N McDonnell 80 not out, S Campbell 38, D Cooke 44) and 193-9 (N McDonnell 62, S Campbell 33, M Douglas 26, R Chopra 21; W McBrine 2-28, A McBrine 2-29, R McBrine 2-47) Donemana 235-9 (A Riddles 76 not out, RL Dougherty 43; G Cooke 3-50) and 157-4 (A McBrine 86 not out, A Riddles 26; J Barnes 2-30). Donemana won by 6 wickets
Long's SuperValu Premiership
Eglinton 116 (R Allen 39, J Millar 29, C Olphert 4-38, C Young 2-12) Bready 118-7 (K Hamilton 41, D Rankin 35, O Williams 5-25).