THE annual end of July party took place at the usual time at the Holm on Saturday night after a stunning fifth consecutive Bank of Ireland senior cup triumph was secured by this all-conquering Donemana team at Strabane Park.
The plaudits have all been handed out and accepted by now as the Tyrone club once again re-set the records in the North West’s blue riband cup competition with everyone in agreement that the better team had won.
Opposing captain, Scott Campbell, pretty much hit the nail on the head when he said that Ricky-Lee Dougherty’s men’s experience of the two day final had been the difference between them as he congratulated the holders on their “magnificent achievement.”
“We always knew how strong they were and how hard it would be to prise the cup away from them and that’s how it panned out. We retreated into our shell a bit on Friday and probably could have paced our first innings better but on hindsight they did very well in dictating the pace of the game” said Campbell.
“They bowled well first up- Jordan McGonigle in particular- and there was no real flow to our innings. That said we were expecting the pitch to wear the longer the game went on- hence the reason we chose to bat first- but credit to the Strabane ground staff it held up incredibly well.”
“We were back in it when we had them 8-2 chasing 156 but that superb knock from Andy finished it, but we dust ourselves down now and we’ve already turned our attentions to defending the North West title.”
Opposite number Dougherty said that the contest had played out as he had expected but that he was thrilled to be lifting the trophy for the second time.
“As a club we want to dedicate this win to our vice-President Ken Kerrigan who passed away earlier this year” said an emotional Donemana skipper.
“We came into this game in a run of poor form but I had no doubt that the players would lift their game for the final. We expected Coleraine to come hard at us and that’s exactly what they did- the score-book will show that we won by 6 wickets but I can tell you it was a much harder game than that.”
The party is now on hold however as the two teams meet again in the league this coming Saturday with the cup winners desperate to revive their fortunes that have seen them go without a Premiership win since the end of May.
They had been due to entertain Drummond this midweek however a bereavement in the visitors’ camp meant that the game is postponed leaving Donemana heading next to the north coast for a crunch league clash between the pair.
Former Irish International Jordan McGonigle agreed that their title record left a lot to be desired but insisted that no-one at the club had taken their eye off the race.
“It’s very difficult to explain, I accept that. I’m sure if we played like we did in the final every week then we would be a hard side to beat in the Premiership, so we know we have to find a level of consistency.”
“Coleraine were really tough to get past in the final as we knew they would be and I have no doubt they won’t make it any easier on Saturday; however we firmly believe that we are right in the title race. We probably need to win there this weekend to stay in it so we’ll be looking to give everything again.”