Clontarf were the team who finally put a stop to Merrion's dominant season, as they were today crowned the Sprint Coatings Pilkington Plate Champions for the 2022 season.
Before midday, Tarf's stand-in skipper Christina Coulter-Reilly won the toss and in spite of the green-tinged Merrion wicket, elected to bat first. Coulter-Reilly lost partners regularly early, mainly thanks to an inspired opening spell from Merrion's Niamh MacNulty, and some excellent fielding from the hosts, as run outs from Celeste Raack and MacNulty helped reduce Clontarf to 33/4 in 10 overs.
Anna Kirk joined her skipper at the crease and the pair added an excellent partnership of 92 for the 5th wicket before Coulter-Reilly was dismissed by Cecelia Joyce for an excellent 72. Kirk then took the initiative, and managed the strike excellently with the remainder of the batting order, as she compiled an excellent 51 from just 54 deliveries and guided her side to an all out total of 179, with MacNulty returning to produce excellent figures of 4/26 from her 7.1 overs, the pick of the Merrion bowlers.
Merrion's response got off to a slow start, Freya Sargent running MacNulty out with a direct hit for 2 in just the first over of the innings. Celeste Raack and Cecelia Joyce the put together a fine stand of 82 for the second wicket, before Joyce was dismissed for 31 just before drinks, thanks to an excellent catch from Sinead Thomson at mid-on off the bowling of Julie McNally. When Raack was then dismissed by the same bowler just after drinks for 31, Merrion were firmly behind the 8-ball.
Teenagers Isabel Light and Ally Boucher added 34 for the 4th wicket, before a mix-up and some excellent fielding from Molly Butler and Christina Coulter-Reilly led to Boucher being run out for 21. Merrion needed 59 from just 66 balls at this stage.
Molly Butler came into the attack at this stage and bowled a fine spell of 8 overs, delivering figures of 3/36 and stifling the remainder of the Merrion batting effort, as the hosts eventually finished 173 all out with 7 balls to spare, meaning Clontarf ran out 6 run winners, and are the 2022 Pilkington Plate Champions.