Thursday, April 18, 2024

Cricket Ireland: Club of the Year shortlist demonstrates growing strength of grassroots across Ireland

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Photo Credit: Cricket Ireland

Cricket clubs drawn from the five Provincial Unions – Connacht, Munster, Leinster, Northern, and North West – have been shortlisted for the prestigious Arachas Club of the Year award at tonight’s 12th Business Plus Irish Cricket Awards.

The award honours both on-field and off-field achievements, with clubs being nominated for consideration by each Provincial Union. Previous winners of the award include: Cork Harlequins (2023), Bready CC (2022)Limerick CC (2021), Pembroke CC (2020), Waringstown CC (2018), Waringstown CC (2017), and Cork County CC (2016).

Speaking ahead of the awards, Participation Director for Cricket Ireland, Elaine Nolan said:

“Club cricket is the beating heart of Irish cricket and every year we have an incredible number of Clubs worthy of recognition. The Awards gives Clubs an opportunity to be celebrated and recognised through the many and meaningful contributions of members, volunteers, coaches, players, officials, and supporters across Ireland.

“This year, we are proud to present five exceptional nominations for Arachas Club of the Year, each representing the diverse fabric that continues to enrich grassroots cricket. We wish each of the nominees the very best of luck!”

THE SHORTLIST

Adamstown Cricket Club (Cricket Leinster)

  • Adamstown Cricket Club is one of the fastest growing club in Ireland. This club now has 3 full-time grounds,19 formal teams including 9 men’s teams, 9 youth teams and a women’s team
  • The club has over 350 registered members with over 250 of those active in the game. The club has a thriving youth set-up having fostering close contacts with schools, development officers and the local community. Adamstown is the first club to recruit a full-time paid coach focused primarily on youth and female cricket development
  • Adamstown CC ,in partnership with Cricket Leinster and South Dublin County Council, has overseen the development of a made-for-purpose cricket ground in Airlie Park in the heart of Adamstown which was commissioned in December 2023. This is the first pre-planned, dedicated cricket ground in a South Dublin public park and is an important precedent for other such projects in the future
  • Key members of Adamstown CC are also now fulfilling key leadership roles within the governance structure of the province as a whole, and at a National level. Meena Baskarasubramanian is a member of the National Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Working Group, providing input to the National ED&I Strategy with CI and the Irish Centre for Diversity
  • 2023 saw Adamstown Men’s 1st team win the CL Open Competitions League Division 5 whilst their Development team (Adamstown 8) won CL Open Competitions League Division 20
  • Adamstown CC won the CL Colts (U15) & Cubs (U11) Leagues underpinning their growing strength at underage level. 12 players from Adamstown CC also represented Leinster at various underage IP levels in 2023 which was a break-through year for many of these young players

Ballyhaunis Cricket Club (Connacht Cricket Union)

  • 2023 saw Ballyhaunis CC win the Connacht Senior League and Connacht Senior Cup, and finished runners-up in the Connacht T20 Shield
  • Ballyhaunis runs 2 teams and is building out a youth policy – its members are great advocates for the game throughout east Mayo and in the ex-pat Asian community
  • In existence since 1999, Ballyhaunis CC has been self-financing and represented the province in the National Cup in 2023
  • Ballyhaunis CC is the epitome of a proactive organisation traveling 115 kilometres for every game

Brigade Cricket Club (North West Cricket Union)

  • Brigade CC has invested 8 years in the rebuilding of youth cricket at the club, forming additional senior teams and now operating with an established and supported player pathway
  • Brigade CC now fields 4 youth teams with a number of players in North West and Irish squads
  • The club has a large U11’s base and is in the process of establishing Women & Girls cricket at the club for the first time in its history
  • To complement this, the club has upgraded its cricket facilities to host representative cricket at Warriors and Youth level
  • The club has diversified its offer to the local community, establishing itself as a focal point for local football and hockey clubs to create a year-round sports community hub. The club now hosts community functions for local volunteer groups which has increased its foot fall and the exposure of cricket to a much wider demographic
  • On the field in 2023, the 1st XI won the North West Senior Cup, the North West T20 Senior Cup and were runners up in the North West Premiership. The 2nd XI won the North West League 1

Cork County Cricket Club (Munster Cricket)

  • Cork County Cricket club had an exceptional year winning both league and T20 competitions while also reaching the Munster Cup final which was shared due to weather conditions
  • The Club represented Munster in national youth competitions at U17s and U13s
  • There has been a big development drive in female participation in the club with a girls training session that should see them playing games in 2024
  • Cork County CC is entering into its 150th year this year with many more enjoyable and successful years to come

Waringstown Cricket Club (Northern Cricket Union)

  • Waringstown Cricket Club enjoyed a momentous year both on and off the pitch in 2023. On the pitch, the clubs first team continued to add to its many honours winning the NCU Gallagher Challenge Cup for a record 27th time and also capturing the LVS T20 Cup. The club also reached another Irish Senior Cup Final which was staged at their home ground
  • The club plays a very important role at the centre of the community in the small county Armagh village. More than a cricket club, it plays an extremely important role as a focal point for much of the local community for people to gather. Throughout the year, the club played host to a number of community engagement events celebrating all that is good about village life. 2023 saw the club commence plans to add to its facilities with the building of a hall to be used for indoor nets and community events. They have a clear plan for the future of the club and its growth across every aspect of the sport and its involvement at the heart of the local community.
  • Women’s cricket grew in 2023 attracting a new wave of members to further strengthen the conitinuing work in this area over the last five seasons
  • The U15 boys team won the NCU Premier League, the U13 boys team won the NCU Division 1 title and the U13 Development Cup, and the U11 boys shared the NCU Division 1 league trophy
  • 2023 also saw the club start a girl’s programme which it is hoped will grow to rival the boys equivalent over the next few years
  • Perhaps the most outstanding aspect of the club in 2023 was the way in which its vast volunteer base came together to ensure that they played every one of their home matches despite the most horrendous weather during the most of the 2023 summer. The club was then given the honour of hosting the National finals weekend, with the Irish Senior and National Cups taking place at their ground on the weekend of 10 and 11 August 2023. Despite two days of extremely unsettled weather and significant additional challenges the club volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure that both matches were played and that large crowds enjoyed the most fantastic two days of cricket and hospitality.

The Arachas Club of the Year award will be presented to the winning club at tomorrow night’s 12th Business Plus Irish Cricket Awards in Dublin.

Keep an eye on Cricket Ireland’s social media channels on the night to see who wins these prestigious awards.

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