The second tier cup competition sees Knockharley 1 of County Meath, take on Merrion 2 of Dublin 4. Knockharley 1's sole cup final win in Cricket Leinster competitions was back in the 2006 Middle 2 Cup.
There were league titles in 2015 (Division 6) and 2016 (Division 5) and whilst they would still be below Merrion 2 if there was a full league sturcture this year, the gap is closing.
For a club that has become used to a groaning trophy cabinet, there is a mini-drought at the moment in a couple of categories. Merrion 2 haven't won any kind of trophy since winning Division 3 in 2015, and for a club that always does well in T20 cricket (six T20 titles between 2000 and 2005 and another six between 2009 and 2015), that particular well has dried up, with nothing since the 1st team's Alan Murray Cup win in 2015.
Merrion first won the Tillain Cup in 1996, and then won it a further four times - in 2000, 2002, 2012 and 2013. There has only been one previous meeting between the teams, with Merrion 2 winning a 2018 Senior 2 Cup quarter final by 8 wickets.
Knockharley 1 - key players
Knockharley have won their last five, including a deeply impressive nine wicket demolition of YMCA 2 last week. Performances have been shared around, with seven 50s being scored by four batsmen. Three of those havce also gone well past the 100 run ,mark for the season, with Tayyab Rashid scoring 241 at 34.43, Ross Shivmangal 209 at 26.12 and Harry Shivmangal 170 at 34. Both Shivmangal brothers have had periods playing for Merrion in recent years, and that merely adds the drama around the game. Ross Shivmangal is the leading wicket taker with 14 wickets at 9.36, with Jack Condie having 11 at 14.91 and Kamran Mirza 8 at 18.38. Those five players form a spine which gives Knockharley a good chance.
Merrion 2 - key players
That analysis of Knockharley shouldn't detract from the quality of Merrion. Beant Bhatal is one of the classiest players playing outside of the top flight. and with 103 runs at 34.33, his quality can be seen. However, he has only played three games this season, and may well be missing the final. James Hitchcock's allround abilities will be a real threat - he's so far totalled 165 runs at 33 and 8 wickets at 6.50. The list of batting dangermen is completed by Rohit Pahuja who has scored 140 at 28, whilst the wicket taking lists are led by Conor Austin who has taken 11 wickets at 10.27. Merrion's fifth man to watch is Niranjan Shankar, who ha so far taken 9 wickets at 14.56
Merrion return to the venue of their last gasp semi final win over Pembroke 2, sealed by Jack Atkinson's amazing last ball catch. That will fill the side with plenty of confidence, although Sydney Parade has always been something of a happy hunting ground for Merrion 2, winning six of their nine matches there over the last ten seasons.
Visits by Knockharley 1 have been less common - and less successful. However, their last match saw a big 109 run win over Pembroke 3 back in 2016 in Division 5. The average Open Comps first innings score on teh ground this season has been 128, with the side batting first winning ten times, and the chasing side six times. Interestingly, lhe last two matches have seen Merrion's two run win after setting 134 and Leinster 2's four run win after getting exactly the same.