|Born||15 October 1975 Dublin|
|Educated||Skerries Community College|
|Occupation||Golf Turf Sales Consultant|
|Debut||4 June 1998 Pollock Park Lurgan|
|Style||Right hand bat, right arm medium pace|
|Teams||Balrothery, North County, The Hills|
Paul Mooney was - and should he return to the Irish scene would still be - an outstandingly useful cricketer. An all-rounder, like his younger brother John, he is a member of one of Fingal's extended families who have done much for the game in that part of Leinster and elsewhere. A middle order batsman and a medium pacer to be relied on for line, length and, in favourable conditions, some movement off the wicket, he often opened the attack. He began with Balrothery as a young teenager and when the club merged with Man O'War to form North County, was immediately in the senior side. He also had a brief spell with The Hills, for whom he hit 4 fifties in 1999, before returning to The Inch. Though an excellent cricketer in his teens, he was ignored by Ireland's age group selectors, possibly the Fingal clubs were then seen as unfashionable and had not reached the status they now have. According to Siggins and Fitzgerald it was the arrival of Mike Hendrick as Ireland's coach that propelled Paul onto the representative scene, Hendrick having him in the Irish side v MCC at Lurgan in 1998. The former England seamer had no interest in playing the club or provincial numbers game, wanting only the best team available. |
Back with North County in 2001 Paul had a fine all round season in Leinster Cricket with 462 runs at 51.33 and 26 wickets at 17. His best performances were reserved for three matches with YMCA. In an early season Louis Traub League game at Claremont Road, he had 3-31 in his 10 overs and then contributed an unbeaten 54 to be easily top scorer but still see his side go down by 22 runs. However he took revenge for the defeat twice later in the season in the Whitney More Keller competition. With North County batting first at The Inch, he made 48* which, together with Andre Botha's 89 saw the hosts to a formidable 279-6. Then he and the South African bowled unchanged to destroy their visitors. Paul finished with figures of 10-3-26-6 while Andre had 4-23 in 9.1 overs. A 226 runs victory resulted. Then, again against YM at Claremont Road, at the end of the season he added 198 for the 4th wicket with Sean O'Connor (103) being on 98 when the overs ran out at 267-6. The match was won by 120 runs.
Two other fine all round performances came in 2003. Against Malahide away in the WMK League he and brother John rescued their side from a poor start to post a fifth wicket partnership of 106, enabling North County to total 216-5, Paul finishing unbeaten on a dominating 96, another near miss, while John made 53. Paul then had 2-9 as the visitors won by 51 runs.
He was also on top form in the Leinster Cup Final against Clontarf again at Malahide. Batting first NC were soon in trouble at 49-4 when Paul was joined by record breaking wicket keeper Dara Armstrong. Together they turned the match, putting on 154 for the 5th wicket before Paul was bowled by Alex Cusack for 68. Dara finished on an undefeated 60. They had considerable help from Mr Extras who provided 23 leg byes and 27 wides! Totalling 220-6, North County went on to win by 49 runs. Paul had 3-13 in 6 overs while Dara held 4 catches - two off Paul - and ran a fifth batsman out. Paul was Man of the Match, but perhaps there should have been two!
Paul was also one of the mainstays in North County's impressive performances in the Irish Senior Cup during this time. Thus in the 2003 Final against Railway Union at Castle Avenue he destroyed the Railway top order after NC had made 217-7, largely thanks to 70 from Eoin Morgan. Then opening the bowling Paul removed Numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5 in the batting order to end with figures of 7-1-18-4 helping his side to take the trophy by 71 runs. Two years later on a rain interrupted third round day North County faced Waringstown, who in an innings reduced by the elements to 48.3 overs made 190-9, courtesy of fifties from Kyle McCallan and Shane Harrison. Their opponents crumbled in reply losing 3 wickets very quickly as they chased 189 in 48 overs. Then the Mooney brothers came together. Both were in prime form. Making light of their task, John made 72*and Paul 75* as they reached their target with 6 overs to spare.
Paul's best performances at Interprovincial level were with the ball, both coming in 2000. Against NCU at in College Park, he took 4-38 as Ryan Haire made a stylish 58 to post what proved to be a winning score with the hosts falling 22 runs short. The North West match at Castle Avenue provided Paul with his best all round performance in these games. North West batted first and totalled 203 with Paul, engagingly accurate as ever and moving the ball slightly off the wicket, had figures of 10-1-36-5. However Leinster also found the wicket far from easy and were 79-4 when Paul, defending solidly, was joined by his brother. They added an unbroken 101, to see their side home on run rate as rain intervened. . John, the dominating partner, had 57, Paul was on 34.
For Ireland Paul played 7 non-cap matches with best bowling figures of 3-49 against Gautang Colts in January 2001. For the full Irish side he made 84 appearances scoring 766 runs at 17.20 and taking 103 wickets- two of which were those of newly appointed (2013) Australian batting coach Michael di Venuto- at 26. 65. He was originally chosen as a middle order batsman, who might turn his arm over for a few overs, but very definitely became a front line bowler, going in further down the order. During his 84 matches he batted in every position from No 5 downwards! This change of role might have unsettled some, but Paul, the ideal team man, never complained, simply getting on with whatever task he was set. He made 0 and 42 on debut v MCC at Pollock Park, but his highest score of 66* came against the Club Cricket Conference in a one day match at Shenley in 2003. This was a Man of the Match performance against the Conference's strongest side. Paul came in at 166-6, after Eoin Morgan in his second match for Ireland had made 71, in - for him - a rather pedestrian style. With the overs running out Paul wasted no time, getting to his fifty off 38 balls and eventually facing 44 for his 66, hitting 10 fours in a 43 minute stay. Exactly half his runs came off the last three overs. Two wickets sealed his award, a tankard presented by the CCC. It, no doubt, sat nicely on Paul's mantelpiece beside the one he had won against the same opposition at The Lawn three weeks earlier when his 4-26 had brought Ireland a win by 167 runs!
He was also Man of the Match in an ICC Trophy match against Uganda at The Green in June 2005, as Ireland moved towards World Cup qualification. Ireland had posted a sound looking 231, Paul having been at No 11 contributed little. Then he opened the bowling and, in two spells, returned figures of 10-4-10-3, Uganda being dismissed for 104. However his best bowling figures for Ireland came in a first class match against Scotland at Ormeau in 1999. In the visitors second innings, the fifth bowler to be used, he had an analysis of 11-6-12-4. This ensured that Ireland, who had been in control for most of the game, were left a simple task. They made rather heavy weather of it before, at 42-6, achieving victory.
Paul was a member of the Irish side in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean. Unfortunately, partly because of the success of the team, he played only one match, a Duckworth/Lewis encounter against the powerful South African side in Guyana. Trying to force the pace he was caught down the leg side first ball by Mark Boucher off the fast medium Carl Langveldt, a man who played for four English counties. Bowling as the Proteas chased down a revised target, Paul was savaged for 40 runs in 3.3 overs. However he was not alone in coming "under the cosh."
At the end of the tournament he announced his retirement from the international scene saying, "All my ambitions and hopes for Irish cricket have been realised. ... I'm going out at the top. It doesn't get any better than this." After the 2007 season Paul John Kevin Mooney also retired from Leinster senior cricket and soon emigrated to New Zealand. He was for two seasons Coaching Coordinator of the Riccarton Club in Christchurch. The Club was founded in 1905, plays its matches at the historic Hagley Oval and includes such names as former Test fastmen Johnny Hayes and Dick Motz among its former players. Paul also coached the club's Premier XI during this time. Paul was much missed both at The Inch and further afield. For as Ireland's coach Adi Birrell, who also bowed out after the West Indian adventure, said, "He's the sort of guy you want to go to war with."
Paul Mooney is featured in Siggins and Fitzgerald "Ireland's 100 Cricket Greats."
Edward Liddle, February 2013
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