Ricky Finlay looks to lead Lisburn Seconds to Cup victory against Cliftonville

Ulster rugby coach Neil Doak will play for Lisburn in the Junior Cup Final
Ulster rugby coach Neil Doak will play for Lisburn in the Junior Cup Final

Twenty years ago Ricky Finlay picked up the MOM final award as the old North of Ireland Cricket Club defeated Ards.

Tomorrow at Moylena he will be hoping for another memorable day in this year’s Goldblatt McGuigan Junior Cup as he leads Lisburn II’s into battle against Cliftonville.

His last appearance in the show piece event was notable for all the wrong reasons; Lisburn lost and he broke his finger in the pre-match warm-up, so it will be no shock that he doesn’t take part in that.

“I simply love junior cricket. I have played in two Challenge Cup finals as well, but this is for me what it is all about. We have five guys over 40 in the side, we are all good friends and there are no passengers.

“Amazingly I have only selected something like 15 players this season and it has been a tough road to get here.

“First up we beat Hollywood by one wicket and then we defeated Instonians. In the quarterfinal it was North Down and then we probably surprised a lot of people with victory over Waringstown.”

For opening partner Michael Turkington, it will be an emotional day, having played most of his career until this season at Cliftonville:

“I’m really looking forward to it, I know where my loyalties lie now having moved to Lisburn this year, but I’m really in a win/win.

“ If we lose there is no other team I’d rather lose to, I have lots of good friends at Cliftonville and spent a great time there. I’m expecting some good natured verbal’s as I go out to bat. I think it is a very even game.

“The game could come down to a dropped catch but hopefully somebody will have a day to remember.”

Another household name in the Lisburn line-up is Neil Doak, returning from an Ulster Rugby squad session in Portugal to appear in the final. He played cricket 32 times for Ireland and as a dual sportsman, also playing 76 times for Ulster Rugby.

There is no shortage of experience in Cliftonville’s line-up either at the disposal of Matty McCord, who despite being around half Finlay’s age can also boast a MOM performance but this time in a losing cause for CSNI:

“Lisburn have been good at playing the underdogs tag, but I’m not buying it.

“Sure we have enough experience of our own, even a father and son combination in Brian and Adam Kelso, with Brian a multiple winner of the trophy with Academy.

Also Johnny Terrett, Davy Munn and Brian Anderson and five bowlers who have taken more than 20 wickets each this season.

“ It’s not just about the firsts we have 50 kids between 11 and 15 playing and our link with University of Ulster has been vital providing indoor nets for winter training.

Not an easy route for us to the final, defeating CIYMS, Victoria, Laurelvale and Cregagh, but we are really looking forward to the day.

Cliftonville may just have the favourites tag, but beware the wily old men from Wallace, it should be a classic.