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20th Anniversary Match

Last Saturday saw a match take place at Inch to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Club's first Irish Senior Cup.

A gallery of wonderful images capturing all the action, taken by Tommy Geraghty of Balbriggan CC, can be found above, while below is a fantastic, detailed account written by Johnboy Mooney, of what was a brilliant day that will live long in the memory for many years to come:

A day to remember for young and old, past and present members of our club and great friends who travelled from far and near to help celebrate the twenty year anniversary of our first all Ireland win.

It was an absolute success and credit must be given to our wonderful committee and helpers who made it such an unforgettable day. Cathy and her crew of ladies had the place looking a million dollars on the inside and Joey had the outfield and surroundings looking tip top too.

To see the faces appear across the carpark with cricket gear was a joy to behold, some we thought would never be seen on the turf at the Inch ever again.

Michael (Thumper) Murphy, Joe (Big Bird) Murphy, Dara (C-Bass) Armstrong to name only 3 of the legends of the day. The North County team picked itself with only Paul (Doggie) Mooney not available on the day, so his nephew John Devane stood in his place. Doggie would have been none too plussed with a particular fielding effort on the long on boundary off my bowling late on in the first innings mind you.

The team would of course be captained by John Andrews and he had no hesitation in sending the NCCC Presidents XI in to bat on what could be described as a sticky enough looking wicket. In fact, Mick Murphy quipped "its a typical Balrothery wicket".

The Presidents XI comprised players from the various teams we played along the way to winning the trophy all those years ago. It was captained by ex Ireland captain Kyle McCallan who was captain of Cliftonville CC on that great day twenty years ago. We had the Gillespies down from Strabane, with some making a weekend of it. Dave McGeehan from Malahide and Angus Fleming from that epic encounter on Anglesea Road that he himself nearly won on the day with a quick fire fifty in the semi final, a Brad Spanner 100 also keeping us on our toes right until the end that day.

The Presidents XI got off to a shaky enough start, the wicket was not easy for batting and the County bowlers, Duane and Big Bird bowled a steady line and length, the latter showing his class all over again and even getting the nod from skipper Anders to bowl five overs on the bounce.

Kyle McCallan held the innings together for the Presidents XI and a lovely cameo at the end from Terry Richardson, who showed everyone what we are missing with him bursting a few big ones in typical T-Rex fashion.

The all Ireland winners were excellent in the field taking some nice catches, the pick of the bunch a fine running and sliding catch in the outfield by Conor Armstrong. The Presidents XI finished on a defendable 126.

Twenty years have surely past but the NCCC top 3 of Conor, Shaun (Blackie) O'Connor and the one and only Andre Botha turned back the clock and showed us all why they were the self titled "entertainers".

Conor survived an early shout off the bowling of Angus Fleming but then found his stride and hit some lovely blows through the off side and one big massive slog sweep which was a big contender for shot of the day.

The NCCC middle order played with lovely freedom and we even saw a reverse hit from the one and only Mick Murphy. Cricket has changed a lot in twenty years and to see Thumper play such a shot is testimony to were the game has gone in that time. The innings finished in the perfect way, with NCCC president Joey Mooney bowling to the old stalwarts of the club. No way was Big Bird getting out to the Balrothery man!

After the game, both sides and some supporters including key sponsors of the club went up to the beautifully presented function room. We heard some great stories about the 2001 campaign and in truth, I could have listened to everybody's little stories all night.

A quick skip over to the Balrothery Inn and our day and night was complete. A day that will take some beating, the feeling of reconnecting with all my old team mates and seeing our friends from the length of the country make such an effort is something that will live on with me for a long time.

I really hope everyone enjoyed themselves as much as I did and hopefully we can do something similar next year to bring the season to an end.

Thank you all so much, especially all the players, sponsors, committee members and club members for making it the day it was.


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