This Saturday brings the second round of the Leinster Senior Cup, which is effectively the quarter-final stage of the competition. All four ties take place on the same day with the semi-finals due to be played on Saturday July 9th.
Phoenix and Clontarf play each other on both Saturday and Sunday, the former are at home in the Cup on the Saturday while the latter have home advantage in the League on Sunday. The teams will have a very different mindset following last weekend's Irish Senior Cup drama. 'Tarf were comprehensively beaten by Brigade and rely heavily on Hokin, who has not yet hit form. He is bound to come good though, and Clontarf will hope this weekend is when things click for the Aussie.
Phoenix have sent home their professional, but are strengthened this season by former Strabane player Ryan Gallagher who scored 75 in their comprehensive and confidence strengthening win over Glendermott. Bowlers Dave Langford Smyth and Osama Khan are a dangerous opening pair and home advantage should count enough to see Phoenix to the Leinster Cup semi-finals. The league game will be a different story, though, with Clontarf difficult to turn over on home turf.
Malahide host North County in what could prove to be an interesting match - closer than one might think at first look. The match will have added spice with Shane Getgate and Adam Coughlan returning to their former club, only to play against them for County.
The Village have been doing well in Division 2 with their professional Paul Tweddle, wicket-keeper/batsman, Jim Govan, Stephen Smith and John Pryor all influential. County could be caught on the hop by Malahide who were relegated last season.
Although the Hills 2 do have home advantage, you can't really look past Rush in this north-side tie. With a very strong batting line-up of Tipu Gull - the side's lynchpin, Shahid Iqbal, Eoghan Conway, Dan Van Zyl and South African professional Lionel Jansen, a major upset looks unlikely. The Hills are always tough to beat, however, and the Clinton brothers and Malcolm Byrne will not give up the tie without a fight.
Merrion host Leinster in what could be the tie of the round with both teams triumphing in tough Irish Senior cup matches last weekend. Leinster will be concerned that they lost seven wickets chasing the low score of 147 posted by Bonds Glen, but Anton Scholz's performance with the ball (4-13) and their ability to finish out the game will give them confidence.
The Sandymount side, on the other hand, did well with the bat last weekend with up-and-comer Ben Ackland scoring his maiden Division 1 century last weekend. Ackland is unavailable for this match though, as his college team play a semi-final on the same day. Tyrone Kane did well with the ball against Donemana, and Matt Petrie is going from strength to strength for the Merrion, adding useful runs in the lower order to his bowling prowess. Home advantage could just clinch it for the Anglesea Road club.
Merrion play away to North County on Sunday in a tough double-header that could prove a bridge too far for them. County are a daunting prospect on their home ground and Sunday will be no different.
Two teams already out of the Leinster Cup, Railway Union and YMCA, also lock horns at Park Avenue on Sunday. Railway will be very tough to beat for YM, who are not known for their form outside of Claremont Avenue. Reinhardt Strydom is in some form with both bat and ball, though, and he will no doubt be firing on all cylinders aided by bowling partner Sameer Dutt who is not only stingy with the ball, but also more than handy with the bat.
Pembroke look like a team on a mission this season, and with youngsters Ryan Hopkins (94) and Theo Lawson (87) coming good last weekend and Stephen Moreton again available, they will look to continue in winning ways in the League on Sunday. Sorenson has been in irresistable form with the bat, however, and Mike Baumgart has also been in the runs for the Hills. Thomas Murphy is one Pembroke will have to look out for with the ball, as he is the northside team's golden arm at the moment.