In 1982 the Irish Cricket Union's blue riband competition, the Irish Senior Cup was played for the first time, with North of Ireland taking on Leinster at Rathmines.

North had seen off the cream of NW talent en route to the final, conquering Strabane, Donemana, Sion Mills and Brigade.

The Belfast side had used home advantage to get the better of Donemana, setting the boundaries back as far as they could for a side renowned for taking the aerial route. The plan worked perfectly, with Decker Curry being just one of many to fall for it.

"We had deliberately set the boundary way beyond anything you would ever get at the Holm , but Decker still managed to hit John Davy ( very slow left arm ) for a massive six which landed just inside the wall at Ormeau," said Irish international Simon Corlett. 

"Our keeper Paul Jackson then challenged him to see if he could hit one out of the ground. He was caught off a mis-hit next ball. If I recall rightly , Billy Kirk took six wickets for six runs that day to claim the MOM award."

(Factfile: Up to 1991 Kirk and five others had claimed six wickets in a game. The others were Maurice Whelan (Railway Union), Rodney Molins (Carlisle), Neville Neill (Ballymena), Peter Ryan (Cork County), and Nick Riches (Carlisle).

Leinster's route to the final saw them overcome Waterford, Eglinton - by just 3 runs in a thriller - Phoenix and Woodvale.

The North build-up to the game was unusual, but served to relax them ahead of the game.

"Our team was full of very experienced tourists , so we went down to Dublin on the Friday evening , and painted the town red," said Corlett, a veteran of 73 games for Ireland.

"The day of the match was overcast and rain forecast , which I think determined that we would bat first if we won the toss. The norm in those days was to take things steadily for the first 20 overs , and try not to lose wickets, and then go for the charge.

"However, when we had to stop after 11 overs for a long wait , and were then informed we had 10 overs, we went into semi-panic mode and had no choice but to go for a blast. Six runs an over is tame by today's standards, but it was high in those days , so we were reasonably confident we could win."

North having been 30 for 0 in 11 overs, added 61 in the additional 10 overs, setting Leinster 92 in 21 overs. However, with no restrictions on bowlers in the reduction, it meant Corlett and Rex Gilliland could each bowl 10, leaving Bob Hamilton to finish.

While Corlett's exploits with the ball were well-known, Gilliand was no slouch either as Corlett recalled.

"Those of an age will remember that Rex was a left-arm seamer who bowled round the wicket at a niggly length , mainly swinging the ball in to the right hander.

"On a softish, slow pitch , this meant it was difficult to get the ball away, so we both just kept it tight and pegged them back behind the required rate and taking wickets in the process. They never seemed to be in the hunt and everything went our way. "

Leinster were captained that day by Gerry Delany, father of current international David, and he recalls the fact that his side were dealt a serious blow in the run-up to the game.

"Irish international Jack Short couldn't play in the match cause he was suffering from appendicitis. He would have been our main batsman so that certainly hampered us.

"The fact that there was no DLS in those days was on paper a big advantage to us, but it didn't play out that way.  We batted very slowly initially but they had the advantage that they only needed to employ two bowlers, one of which was Simon Corlett - one of Ireland's best ever quick bowlers.

"The surprise package was their second bowler - Rex Gillialnd - who bowled really well also. We fell short in the chase which in truth never got any momentum. No excuses from us, we were simply well beaten on the day."

With the cup secured by virtue of their 14-run win, North set about celebrating, and like their performance on the pitch, they weren't found wanting as Corlett explained.

"I've mentioned that our team included some very experienced players , and as you can imagine , staying another night in Dublin, with a cup, and no such thing as managers to impose any discipline....

"I managed to share a drink or two with my old friend and fellow international Gerry Duffy . I wonder whatever happened to the wee gnome Duffy with his Irish sweater that resided behind the bar? ( He was rescued from a bar in Amsterdam during the Ireland - Holland match there in 1974, and Ossie Colhoun got him painted up.)

"From a personal perspective, I always loved playing at Rathmines. The pitch always did a bit, and bowling was a pleasure. That old pavilion was also a superb one with great character and a perfect place to enjoy post-match festivities. In addition , the Leinster players were good craic too despite the loss.

"That was a great era for NICC, and the camaraderie and team-spirit was fantastic. No disappearing home straight after a game, and always enjoy a gargle with the opposition.

"Sadly, this does not seem to be the case these days....."


1-Innings Match Played At Rathmines, 04-Sep-1982, Irish Senior Cup
NICC Win by 14 runs

Round Final
Toss won by NICC
Home Side Leinster
Player of Match SC Corlett
Comment Rain intervened after 11 overs of the NICC innings.
The match was eventually reduced to a 21 over a side game.
No reduction of overs per bowler below original 10.

NICC 1st Innings 91/4 Closed (Overs 21)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
C Beverland (Snr)   b J Wills 18 0 0 0
P Nixon c B Buttimer b T McDonnell 15 0 0 0
SC Corlett c GJ Delany b J Wills 17 0 0 0
PB Jackson+   b J Wills 5 0 0 0
P Billingsley not out   15 0 0 0
M Crooks not out   10 0 0 0
W Kirk dnb          
R Parkhill* dnb          
R Hamilton dnb          
R Gilliland dnb          
P Law dnb          
extras   (b0 lb11 w0 nb0) 11      
TOTAL   4 wickets for 91      
1-35 2-41 3-47 4-74
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
T McDonnell 9 0 38 1 - -
GJ Delany 6 4 11 0 - -
J Wills 6 1 31 3 - -

Leinster 1st Innings 77/9 Closed (Overs 21)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
B Buttimer   b R Gilliland 6 0 0 0
D Kent   b SC Corlett 10 0 0 0
S Parkinson   b SC Corlett 1 0 0 0
GJ Delany* c PB Jackson b SC Corlett 5 0 0 0
C Murphy run out SC Corlett   13 0 0 0
T McDonnell   b SC Corlett 6 0 0 0
M McLeman not out   17 0 0 0
B Godfrey+ c P Law b R Gilliland 0 0 0 0
GAA Duffy run out   1 0 0 0
J Wills   b R Hamilton 0 0 0 0
C Colleran not out   2 0 0 0
extras   (b0 lb16 w0 nb0) 16      
TOTAL   9 wickets for 77      
1-10 2-13 3-22 4-31 5-48 6-54 7-55 8-66 9-72
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
SC Corlett 10 1 26 4 - -
R Gilliland 10 1 30 2 - -
R Hamilton 1 0 5 1 - -