June 1986. I turned over the examination papers with more than a hint of apprehension. Having just turned 18, I was more preoccupied with more interesting pursuits than my ‘A’ level subjects. Like a young Father Jack, ‘Drink and Girls!’ were my topics of choice.

Much in keeping with Ireland’s ‘preparations’ for their return to Test cricket I too relied on past experience, previous lessons, and a big dollop of hoping for the best.

The Irish performance in Bangladesh was exceptional, showing determination, fight, spirit and quality in very trying circumstances. At 13 for 4 in the second innings, there was a real possibility of a two-day innings defeat.

Harry Tector, Andy McBrine, and Lorcan Tucker were the stand-out performers in a superb turnaround, which while never really threatened a win, did cause the hosts a few anxious moments on their way to a seven-wicket victory.

You could sense just how much the Irish relished their return to red-ball cricket, which captain Andrew Balbirnie confirmed in the post-match press conferences. There will be three more opportunities for the players in the coming weeks as they face Sri Lanka (twice) and England.

Cricket Ireland have spoken of the ‘challenges’ they faced ahead of this match. While some have been out of their control, some have very much been of their own making. The lack of a domestic first-class competition – one of the pre-requisites for Full Membership – and a Wolves programme meant they were thrown in at the deep end. 

While some of the players floundered and drowned, others survived and a team will be much stronger for the experience.

How to finance more red-ball cricket? Well, questions could be asked how much is spent on lease cars for a start? The last figures I saw were 170,000 euros. Surely red-ball cricket programmes would be more beneficial to Ireland than expensive cars for the hierarchy?


We can all see how many of the current squad enjoy a game of golf. They won’t have had many opportunities in Bangladesh though. One of my favourite stories about golf there was told by Ian Gould. The former Middlesex and England player was umpiring there when their hotel organized a golf day out for him and colleagues. They got up at 5am, loaded their clubs into a hired van and set off in their best attire.

Four hours later they pulled up at their course. An 18-hole one no less. But with a catch. It was a Crazy Golf course..Oh for a camera to capture the look on their faces!


It has been near to impossible to keep track of all the injuries, coming and goings across the various squads for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The comings and goings in the support staff haven’t been officially confirmed, but we have seen Nathan Hauritz arrive late, Ryan Eagleson go early, and now Heinrich Malan will head for home with Gary Wilson in charge for the Sri Lankan Tests.

Watching the games in Bangladesh it has been noticeable that no Cricket Ireland officials/alickadoos were present when the camera focused on the Bangladesh hierarchy.

Having been represented strongly in Australia and South Africa recently, maybe it’s part of a new cost saving strategy? Or maybe they just prefer the golden beaches of Galle to the dust of Dhaka?

I remember getting a call from Lord’s one Friday afternoon in 2005/2006 from Vinny Codrington’s secretary enquiring how many Ireland committee members would be coming over for the match against Middlesex for hospitality purposes. They usually catered for 6-8 I was informed.

I rang John Wright to enquire. “28 was his reply…”


It can be tough having to write reports after your side has endured a heavy loss. Still, you can usually find something positive to take from it, while downplaying the low points.

Cricket Ireland though recently have adopted another approach which was prevalent during the Bangladesh tour. They didn’t release anything during the white-ball losses, while the second-day of the Test didn’t warrant anything to the media.

Hopefully there will be plenty to write about in Galle.