Greatest moment of club career for village skipper

KYLE McCallan described Sunday’s Bob Kerr Irish Cup final victory over Instonians at The Green as the greatest moment of his club career.

A loser in the final with Cliftonville ten years ago, the Waringstown skipper finally got his hands on the biggest trophy in Irish cricket a full decade later.

“Without a doubt it’s the top moment in my club career. I played in the All-Ireland final in 2001 and it’s taken me another 10 years to finally get over the line,” he said. “It means so much for me and there’s a danger that perhaps some of our younger lads to take it for granted. I’ve told them not to, because they might never get the chance to play in another final like this. We’re going to enjoy the moment, it’s been a special, special victory.”

McCallan identified the dismissal of Instonians’ James Shannon by Gary Kidd as the turning point in the match.

McCallan said: “The turning point was Gary getting James Shannon. James was batting beautifully at the time and he was threatening to take the game away from us.

“But once we got him out we were able to squeeze Whitey (Andrew White) a bit and isolate him. Having played on this ground a week ago I wouldn’t have wanted to defend 237. We were more than happy to restrict them to that total, the only thing would be the obvious pressure of the cup final run chase. I would admit we got the rub of the green with the toss but Duckworth-Lewis has been hard on us this year in the league so we deserved that.”

The weather ruined the prospect of the game finishing on the field, but McCallan maintained Waringstown were in control at 125 for two after 29 overs when the rain came.

“We needed around 110 runs from 20 odd overs with eight wickets in hand, with Si on 70 odd not out, and myself, Jonathan Bushe, Andrew Cousins and Keith Morrison still to come. We have a lot of depth there and I felt we were in control.”

McCallan paid a warm tribute to his team-mates who he saluted for going on to win two trophies despite the absence of professional Obus Pienaar.

He added: “There’s no doubt that our hearts sank a couple of months ago when the email arrived and Obus had been called up to the South African squad.

“I think that a lot of people thought our season would just tail away. But it didn’t happen and that’s an enormous credit to our side. They have been magnificent.”