Inter-pro expansion on the cards
THE issue of how to expand the interpros is currently keeping the biggest brains in Cricket Ireland very busy indeed.
Munster has shown encouraging signs of revival in its underage sides and Cork County, while the likes of Ruan Jones, Allan Eastwood and Robin Russell are doing well for Leinster clubs.
But even Munster itself is taking it slowly and talking about starting with a T20 team in 2016.
There has been talk of a professionals XI, or a student side, or an Exiles team made up of those playing in England.
There is a more obvious solution however, and one that doesn’t need to stretch geographical boundaries and comes with a ready-made passionate support.
Probably the most passionate support in the country, in fact.
The ancient and mysterious land of Fingal is already home to an abundance of cricketers and for many years ran its own Fingal League – which had 22 clubs when it was founded in 1926.
The region of north Dublin has had its own council for 20 years and has five clubs in the senior leagues – The Hills, North County, Malahide, Rush and Balbriggan, who between them have won seven Irish Senior Cups this century and provided three beaten finalists.
Knockbrack, Swords, Castleknock, Tyrellstown and Ring Commons play in junior competitions.
Even the Leinster Lightning captain believes Fingal should be given a chance to go it alone.
“I think you have to put the fourth team where the game is hot,” says John Mooney. “And there’s no doubt that Fingal has been a hotbed of cricket for a long time.”
“It would mean breaking up the Leinster side which would be a terrible pity because we have a seriously good side here.
“But there’s a lot of great players not getting into our team who would bring something to Leinster AND Fingal.”
A quick stab at selection produces a squad to send shivers up the spine.
John Mooney, Eddie Richardson, Fintan McAllister, Reinhardt Strydom and Max Sorensen provide the hard-bitten representative experience, Peter Chase, Cormac McLoughlin, Adam Coughlan and Stephen Doheny the promise of youth.
Fingal being ‘the Land of the Foreign Tribes’, it’s fair enough to throw in a couple of pros, such as Mo Farrukh and Shammi Ahmed (Balbriggan) or Tim Affleck (County) and you have a serious side.
Maybe even Shane Getkate could be persuaded to return to where he learned the game at Malahide and County.
Depth is provided by experienced club players such as Luke Clinton, Patrick Byrne and Tomás Shiel, while youngsters such as Jamie Grassi, Cameron Shoebridge, Nathan Rooney and Fionn Hand will be pushing hard in a couple of years.
It’s barely 30 years since The Hills became the first club from the region to go senior, in the face of bitter opposition, snobbery and prejudice.
Fingal stands proud now, and has contributed more than a dozen quality cricketers to Ireland – and one to England – in that time.
It also has some of the best grounds in the country and would bring out massive support. It deserves its chance.
Cricketers first capped from Fingal clubs (caps in brackets): Declan Moore (7), Matt Dwyer (51), Barry Archer (22), Paul Mooney (84), Conor Armstrong (27), John Mooney (154), Eoin Morgan (63), Andre Botha (141), Naseer Shoukat (11), Reinhardt Strydom (31), Finto McAllister (6), Albert van der Merwe (21), Max Sorensen (50), Eddie Richardson (2)
When the air turned All Black
Today is the 20th anniversary of a game that could have been a famous victory.
Ireland lost by just six runs to New Zealand at Comber when the lower order panicked and failed to nail home the great work of Stephen Warke (82), Alan Lewis (34) and Justin Benson (38), who started the collapse when he was caught on the ropes at long-off.
The abiding memory of the day was of commentator Jackie Fullerton, who sat on scaffolding beside the pavilion.
As NZ captain Ken Rutherford walked off, he overheard the BBC man make a critical on-air remark about his dismissal.
The Kiwi -- appointed Ireland coach six years later -- proceeded to give the viewers his side of the story in language that would have made Andrew Strauss blush!
Inside Edge reported on the three youngsters in action for Durham 2nds last week, and the counties search for Irish talent goes on.
Shane Getkate has been having trials with Northants, while word comes of Sussex taking Waringstown’s Under 15 star Jack Carson under their wing.
Cricket Ireland has also revealed it is pursuing Surrey’s Irish-qualified bowler Matthew Dunn, but Inside Edge hears there is also interest in his team-mate Tom Curran, son of former Zimbabwe all-rounder Kevin – who held an Irish passport.
Thursday: Women’s Div1: Malahide v Leinster, Merrion v North Kildare
Friday: Women’s Senior Cup final: Pembroke v YMCA
Saturday: Leinster Div1: Clontarf v Railway, Merrion v North County, The Hills v Terenure, YMCA v Pembroke
Div2: Malahide v Balbriggan, Cork County v Merrion II, Phoenix v Leinster, Pembroke II v Rush
Sunday: IP T20: Knights v Warriors, Knights v Lightning, Comber; Women’s P40: YMCA v Pembroke, Merrion v North Kildare, Leinster v Fingal
Monday: IP50: Knights v Warriors, Comber; Women’s Div1: Leinster v The Hills, YMCA v Pembroke
Tuesday: Alan Murray Cup: Railway v Merrion, Clontarf v Balbriggan, Terenure v YMCA, North County v The Hills, Malahide v Rush, Leinster v Pembroke