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Clontarf dig deep to deny Town their treble goal

 

By Ian Callender at The Lawn

Waringstown's bid to complete a hat-trick of Twenty20 final successes ended in failure as Clontarf won the first All-Ireland decider at The Lawn by 10 runs.

While skipper Greg Thompson was at the wicket, the NCU and Ulster champions were on course but immediately after reaching his 50 from just 27 balls (four fours, three sixes) he holed out to deep mid-wicket and after that there just wasn't enough big hitters left to take them home.

A major miss in the final was professional Shaheen Khan, who strained his side after just two balls of the semi-final against Bready and could take no further part in the day.

Andrew Mitchell, who scored the sixth goal for Glenavon in their demolition of Ballymena United on Saturday, was the South African's replacement and he hit his second ball for six, but the return of Clontarf skipper Joe Morrissey accounted for him just four balls later and despite Kyle McCallan's best efforts, he could not clear the boundary in the last two overs.

Indeed, he and James Mitchell could manage only seven singles as John Mooney and Shariful Islam bowled the almost perfect death overs to leave the Leinster champions convincing winners.

Mooney was named man of the match after scoring 28 from 31 balls - only Waqar Asmat scored more for Clontarf in their 151 for eight - but even before he conceded just three runs in the 19th over, he had been just as parsimonious in his first three overs, which cost just 11 runs.

The former international hit the stumps twice in his first three overs, crucially removing James Hall, who had hit 74 in the morning semi-final, and then Lee Nelson, who couldn't take advantage of a 'life' before he had scored and was dismissed for four.

At halfway, Waringstown were probably the happier of the two finalists because at the start of the 18th over Clontarf were 132 for three with Mooney and Waqar Asmat having added 66 for the fourth wicket and seemingly in control.

A feature of the Clontarf innings had been the superb running between the wickets but it ultimately proved their downfall as Mooney was just too quick for his partner when attempting a third to fine leg, Asmat was run out by a superb relay throw by McCallan and Thompson.

Two more run-outs followed in the hectic finale which saw Clontarf lose five wickets in the last 18 balls so the momentum was with the NCU side, until Mooney's early strikes changed all that.

There was no doubt that the two best teams were in the final after one-sided semi-finals had seen Waringstown repeat their Ulster Cup final victory over Bready and Clontarf eased past Cork County at Wallace Park, Mooney again starring with the bat, top scoring with 42.

At 36 years of age, Mooney still looks a class act and he is keen to prove it at international level after telling the Ireland selectors he is available again for Test matches and one-day internationals, but not, paradoxically, after yesterday's performance for T20s. Waringstown would have wished he hadn't been involved yesterday!

Meanwhile, Ireland could be facing T20 specialist Chris Gayle next month when they face West Indies at Stormont.

Gayle and Marlon Samuels, both currently playing in the Caribbean (T20) Premier League, rather than in the current Test series in England, have made themselves available for the one ODI and five ODIs which follow.

Ireland's one-off game is a pre-cursor to the England-West Indies series so, after an amnesty was agreed, Gayle and Samuels are expected to be in the ODI squad.

All-Ireland T20 semi-finals

The Lawn: Waringstown 164-4 (20 overs, J Hall 74, G Thompson 47; I Samarasooriya 4-23) Bready 97-9 (20 overs, D Rankin 22, A Austin 21; J Mitchell 3-17, L Nelson 2-9, K McCallan 2-32). Waringstown won by 67 runs

Wallace Park: Clontarf 134-8 (J Mooney 42, R Forrest 24; Joshi 2-27) Cork County 87-7 (G King 40, Clifford 20). Clontarf won by 47 runs

Final

Clontarf 151-8 (W Azmat 36, J Mooney 28, A Poynter 25, B Coghlan 21; K McCallan 2-22, G Kidd 2-24) Waringstown 141-7 (G Thompson 50, A Dennison 34, K McCallan 27; J Mooney 2-14, A Poynter 2-20, J Morrissey 2-21). Clontarf won by 10 runs.

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