I wrote an article recently on old clubs in the Clontarf region and it seemed to strike a chord with people. Some remembered playing with and against the clubs, others had relatives or friends who had played for the clubs. In any case it brought back some happy memories and letís face it we all need that, at the moment.
The mother of one of Clontarfís bright young cricketers, Christina Coulter Reilly got in touch too. The article triggered a memory that Christinaís great grandfather Patrick Reilly had played some cricket in his youth and someone in the Reilly family had a photo to prove it. The photo was found and is reproduced below. It is of the Independent Cricket Club in 1933.
The Cricket Leinster History (100 Not Out, copies still available!) suggests that this club played league cricket in 1948 to 52 so we have to assume that this team/club played in some form of Business House league but whatever cricket they played, the professionally taken photo proves their existence.
For the previous article, I had been given a photo of the Santry club, also probably from the 1930ís, a club long forgotten but the photo made the existence of that club all the more real too.
There were the players, largely kitted out in whites, hats, cigarettes. It is clear that clubs come and go, some last longer than others. Why did Dollymount last only 11 years? What made Clontarf a more sustainable model than Killester, a few hundred yards north? We will never know now.
Carlisle CC survived 74 years before closing in 2000, I wonder how many current senior cricketers in Leinster ever played against Carlisle? Old Belvedere lasted till 2012 and are no more, while Man o War and Balrothery merged to form North County in 1986. After a move of ground, now neither the names nor the grounds of the original clubs exists other than in reliving old rivalries.
All around the country this story is repeated, it is not just a Leinster thing. Recently former Carlisle player Greg Molins produced a team photo dated 1903 of the Dublin Jewish Athletic Association Cricket Club an early incarnation of his club and a wonderful piece of history.
He sent me another photograph, this one more poignant as it is the last photo taken of the Carlisle club members. Smiling faces light up the image on what should be a terribly sad occasion.
With great foresight Harold Solomons a stalwart of the club insisted that as many club photographs be scanned and maintained online, so Carlisle is not a forgotten club, far from it. These images can be found at https://www.dublinmaccabi.com/cricket-gallery
Old Belvedere while gone still have a online presence and at www.oldbelvederecc.com where archive photos can be found. But what of the other clubs? Recent experience suggests that there are photos of old teams, gathering dust in old photo albums, I have one of my fatherís old club, 3rd OBU.
So what happens with these photos? Perhaps they could be collated and displayed on the Provincial Unions website. It would be sad if these clubs were forgotten and just left as a footnote in our sportís history, they deserve more than that.
Many thanks to Lisa Coulter and the Reilly family for their help in compiling this article. Also, Greg Molins and Gerry Murphy kept me on the right track on more than one occasion.