ACTION this week centres on the first round of the Irish Senior Cup and despite a poor recent record the four Tyrone teams involved all have good chances of progressing.
Fox Lodge have arguably the most difficult challenge of the quartet as they entertain Leinster, the side who beat them at this stage in 2010 but the Dublin side are plying their trade in the second tier of Leinster cricket these days.
Iftikhar Hussain’s team looks quite solid this season and of course have the very potent Pakistani fast bowler Tabish Khan in their ranks so it could be quite a contest at Ballymagorry.
Bready too have home advantage as they entertain Ballymena who are hampered by the fact that their overseas professional is still involved in the IPL.
David Rankin posted the region’s first century of the season in their big win in Donemana on opening day and skipper David Scanlon will be hoping that his fellow Warriors team-mates Ryan Barr and Craig Young as well as new overseas man Ernest Kemm can help him spearhead a run into the second round.
Donemana and Strabane are both on the road; the Holm men facing the long, arduous trek to Cork County albeit Richard Kee’s side should have enough about them to put their name in the hat for the next round.
The Donemana skipper always has this competition high on his wish list and if they are on their game after the long journey, Andy McBrine, Kamran Sajid, Junior McBrine and the rest can ensure their passage into Round 2.
Strabane only have as far as Lurgan to negotiate however they too will believe that they can take their place in next week’s draw.
Red Caps’ skipper Tommy Barr said that everyone was looking forward to the trip and were very much focused on trying to progress to the next round.
“We lost narrowly at Stormont in the first round last year and are keen to do much better this time,” he said.
“ We had a poor run in the cups generally in 2013, also losing out early in the Danske Bank and Club Turf cups and it definitely had a negative impact on our whole season.
“This is obviously the premier cup competition in Irish cricket therefore we want to be involved for as long as we possibly can”.
The Strabane captain said that he had seen little of Saturday’s opponents in person but he was aware that they were a fairly youthful side and had made a good start to their league campaign. Barr also suggested that his own team wasn’t quite at full strength just yet but he felt they had enough about them to progress in the competition.
“Matt Bentley is available now having missed the opening game against Eglinton and he brings quality into the team.
“Matt will probably slot into the top order however Kevin Martin is unavailable until next week and will play no part. Other than that I believe we have a clean bill of health and everyone is available for selection.”