Cork Cricket Club

Kelleher the star as Cork County secure Cork T20 Cup

Cork County A made the short trip up Airport Hill to Farmers Cross for the final of the Cork T20 Cup on Friday evening. A youthful Cork County team had beaten UCC in the semi final while opponents Cork Harlequins had overcome Cork County B to reach the decider.

Quins won the toss and chose to have a bat, eager to set a score before the forecasted rain arrived. Alas, it was not to be and after just 12 deliveries heavy rain swept across Farmers Cross and forced the players off. Aside from two boundaries and Junaid Ayub falling LBW to Kevin O’Sullivan those twelve deliveries were uneventful.

The victorious Cork County team which defeated Cork Harlequins in the Cork T20 Cup

By the time the rain abated the match was reduced to fifteen overs per side with a maximum of three overs per bowler. The hosts wasted no time in upping the run rate, going at almost 11 runs per over until Zuhair Shah holed out to Kevin O’Sullivan at long on off the bowling of Scot Jeffers.

Andrew Whittaker and Andrew O’Reilly continued to add to the score and O’Reilly reached a well-made fifty in the eleventh over despite the best efforts of County bowlers Aidan Kelleher, Brian Kelleher and Barry O’Sullivan. He added another twenty four runs before Ryan O’Connell took a stunning catch at deep mid-wicket to end O’Reilly’s innings.

Aidan Kelleher leaves the field following his unbeaten 92Amaan Mehraj and Andy Whittaker added six more runs until a direct hit from Aidan Kelleher at mid-wicket saw Mehraj run out off the very last ball of the innings. The home side had reached 155-4 from their fifteen allocated overs and despite the fact that one boundary was just 25 metres from the artificial wicket County were very much underdogs at the innings break.

No one could have scripted what came next however. Aidan Kelleher and Peter Barlow opened the batting for County and took an incredible 114 runs from the first seven overs, Kelleher bringing up a magnificent half century in the process with a leg glance. The youngster who has captained Munster at Under 15 level smashed five maximums in the first seven overs to leave County in an extremely strong position with just 42 more runs required for victory.

Peter Barlow, having made a fluent 23 was stumped off Junaid Ayub, but his replacement Scot Jeffers flicked his second ball over fine leg for six to keep the visitors’ momentum going. At the other end Kelleher, who also captained his school side PBC in last year’s Galty Cup demolition by CBC continued to take the attack to the ‘Quins bowlers and it was fitting that he finished the game by flicking a Greg Higgins full toss through mid-wicket, to hand Cork County a 9 wicket win and the inaugural Cork T20 Cup trophy.

During the post-match presentation tournament organiser and President of the MCU, David Griffin thanked all the players who took part in the competition and expressed his desire to see the competition continue to run in coming seasons. Kevin O’Sullivan spoke on behalf of Cork County and expressed his thanks to Mr. Griffin for taking the time to organise such a fantastic competition as well as thanking Cork Harlequins for their hospitality.

 

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