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Fired-up Cowden is urging CSN to become Cup heroes


Big hitter: Andrew Cowden wants an Irish Cup final place

Big hitter: Andrew Cowden wants an Irish Cup final place

Big hitter: Andrew Cowden wants an Irish Cup final place

After being bowled out on their own pitch for 49 on Sunday, it is hardly the ideal scenario for Civil Service North to be away to the competition favourites in the semi-final of the Irish Senior Cup.

But that is what faces Andrew Cowden this weekend as he prepares his side for what he describes as a "massive task" against Dublin kingpins Merrion, who can include Ireland internationals John Anderson, Tyrone Kane and Dom Joyce in their line-up.

But history, past and present, gives the CSN captain belief that they can cause an upset at Anglesea Road.

"The form book goes out the window in a semi-final, all the pressure is on them in their own backyard. My message to the guys will be who are going to be those two or three heroes who will make club history?" said Cowden.

"North of Ireland were the first winners of the Irish Cup in 1982 and they lost in the final in 1983 and '91 but this is a first for CSN. So it is massive for the club, massive for the NCU and nothing will please me more than having an all NCU-final."

Waringstown will be less than a mile away, at Sydney Parade taking on Pembroke, and Cowden admits the team they beat on Saturday, despite scoring only 117, have the easier task.

"Pembroke may not be going well (though they moved off the bottom of the league table with back-to-back wins last weekend) but it looks like they have Andrew Balbirnie and Barry McCarthy back, so it will be difficult for Waringstown. But we were both in Dublin in the last round and won," added Cowden.

The captain admits that CSN are still "one or two players short of winning trophies consistently" but despite the loss of Nigel Jones to CIYMS, they are still targeting the top four in the Premier League this season.

"We still hope to win four or five of our remaining (six) games and that might be enough to get us fourth. Saturday is a big game (against leaders North Down)," he said.

"We lost there by only 27 runs after DLS had inflated our total, so I believe we are two evenly matched teams and am expecting another close game.

"We have now beaten both Instonians and Waringstown in the league but last Sunday that CSN inconsistency reared its head again.

"We won nine of our first 12 games this season but only one of our last five and the batting is a concern but hopefully a change of scenery, a change of competition and a white ball will help. This is our second semi-final and one quarter-final in the last four years so we've a reasonable record."

A cup final appearance will make it even better.

Despite a rearguard, unbeaten 33 by James Shannon, the Northern Knights trail Leinster Lightning by 79 with three first-innings wickets standing going into the last day of their inter-provincial Cup match at Stormont.

Shannon has already faced 93 balls and his partnership with Instonians team-mate Jordan McClurkin is worth 27, the second highest of the innings, and it stopped the rot after Greg Thompson (6), Shane Getkate and Robert McKinley, both for ducks, were dismissed in the space of 18 balls, the last giving Max Sorensen his fourth wicket of the innings from 11 accurate overs.

The Knights' batting mirrored Lightning's earlier as they collapsed from 161 for three, thanks to half centuries from John Anderson and Simmi Singh, to 205 all out, with Getkate, James Cameron-Dow and the tireless Robert McKinley each taking three wickets, the latter bowling all but five of the 20 overs from the Dundonald End.

Scores: Leinster Lightning 1st Innings 205 (70.3 overs, J Anderson 60, S Singh 55; J Cameron-Dow 3-35, S Getkate 3-41, R McKinley 3-78) Northern Knights 1st Innings 126-7 (53 overs, C Dougherty 37, J Shannon 33 not out, R van der Dussen 24; M Sorensen 4-23, E Richardson 2-16). Continues today at 11am.

Belfast Telegraph