The men’s team travelled to Cork in the 1st round of this season’s competition. It is always difficult to predict the outcome of games especially when you pay your first visit to another zone.
While Mid Ulster would have been confident of a victory, the scale of that victory was surprising - 90 to 27 - an astonishing margin by any standard. Did it suggest a very good Mid Ulster performance or a weak Cork side. Certainly Mid Ulster can generally be happy with their performance rarely giving the home side any opportunity but more was also expected from the home side. Mid Ulster will face stiffer opposition in the next round but they are capable of not only winning but of improving on the Cork performance.
Rink 1 ( M Wilson, G Smith, D Grimes, M Kane)
The late withdrawal of a skip meant that the rink had to be re-organised with Glen Smith moving up to 3rd in place of Trevor Turkington with Micky Kane coming in at lead. This has normally be a rink which has produced a result and so it proved again with a 15 - 2 win over M Sisk.
It was a low scoring game on an end to end basis but the Mid Ulster rink were in control throughout dropping only 2 singles and they can be pleased with their performance.
Rink 2 (T Turkington, L McHugh, S Kyne C Hogg)
The withdrawal of Dane Jordan through work commitments meant that Trevor Turkington moved to skip for the first time at inter zone level. This was a game in which the Mid Ulster rink controlled from the start and should have been cruising throughout.
Despite frequently lying 4 or 5 shots they were only 6 - 4 ahead after 7 ends, primarily to driving from the Cork back end which managed to keep the score respectable. The last 3 ends saw the Mid Ulster rink gain the rewards they deserved as they picked up 13 shots to finish 19 - 4 up.
Rink 3 (D McElroy, S Davidson, R Clarke, S McGlinchey)
This was a completely new formation with Robin Clark making his first inter zone appearance and putting in a performance which he can be very satisfied with. The Mid Ulster side never looked like losing the game restricting their opponents to just three singles in a comfortable 13 - 3 win.
The game, as a contest, was effectively at half time with Mid Ulster leading 47 - 12. it was important that the second half rink played as if the outcome was not obvious and that they continued to press on in the same fashion. In addition no rink wanted to be a losing one.
Rink 4 (S Quinn, D McStravock, A Bradley, D McAllister)
The Mid Ulster rink dominated this game throughout. The home side kept the scores relatively close for the first 6 ends , down by only 8 - 3 but like the first half rink on mat 2 they scored heavily on the next three ends to lead 17 - 3 before the Cork side got a consolation 3 on the last end.
Rink 5 (C McHugh, T Johnston, G Merron, B Kyne) The Mid Ulster rink came up against perhaps Cork’s best know skip in Con Middleton. Con is never afraid of reaching a head and this game was to prove no exception. Mid Ulster, without picking up counts each end were in control to lead 6 - 2 after 6 ends.
Middleton, faced with heavy counts on the 8th and 9th ends drove at the heads putting his bowl over the fender on the 8th and the jack over the fender on the 9th with the visitors ending comfortably 12 - 3 up.
Rink 6 (N Barnes, G Wilson, C Hill, A Paul)
This was a completely new combination and with any new rink it takes time to blend. They were up against perhaps Cork’s strongest rink skipped by Con Middleton Jnr who like his father is never afraid to reach a head. Mid Ulster got off to a good start to lead 9 - 3 after 6 ends but successive threes by the Cork rink squared the game at 9 - 9. Just as the other rink had done the visitors picked up shots in the final ends to close out a 14 - 9 win.
It was a good start by Mid Ulster. It was important that they did not underestimate the opposition something they may have been guilty of last year and it was important that the second half rinks pressed on despite the result being a forgone conclusion at the interval.
A home tie against old adversaries Western looms on the horizon on 3 December and while it will undoubtedly prove to be a much stiffer task, Mid Ulster will go into the game confident in their chances of making further progress.
The ladies face North Belfast in the shield competition the previous Saturday at home.
Second round charity shield games to be completed week commencing 21 November.
Desertlyn v John Bosco
St Mary’s v Cook High
1st Magh v Kildress
Saltersland v St Joseph’s
St Swith Mixed v Moneymore Pres
Molesworth v Lafarge
Kilcronaghan v Cook Par B
Moortown v Cook Par A