They say a good indication of someone’s age is the first FA Cup final they can remember. Usually they are eight years old. Bobby Stokes scored for Southampton as they beat Manchester Utd 1-0 in a shock. 1976, and I was indeed 8.

What a summer it was. Scorchio. West Indies making Tony Greig eat his words and Grovel. Hosepipe bans, ice-cream shortages, brown grass everywhere.

One of the consequences of the drought from 1976 was that potatoes rocketed in price and farmers for once weren’t grumbling – they were smiling and laughing all the way to the bank.

The family and extended relations were lucky enough to have planted fields of potatoes and they were split into two main groupings. I had pledged loyalty to one group for the pricely sum of £1 a day, and for the first two weeks of gathering worked away.

However, I was soon approached by the rival group with an improved offer. £1.10 and an hour of driving the tractor – no Health and Safety in those days!

“I’ve enjoyed my time with the company, but after much soul searching I’ve decided the time is right for a fresh challenge,” I can imagine my eight year-old self writing in a press release.

One person who was less than impressed though about my switching sides was my father. Part of the reason was I had let down an aunt who had given my mother the money to take her and my ill teenage sister to Lourdes searching for a miracle cure from leukemia. When medicine fails, religion is the next best thing. Neither worked.

Anyway, my father stressed the importance of “Your word is your bond” and if you agree to something you stick with it. It’s a lesson I’ve tried to keep in life so far, and while I may be poorer in pocket, I’m certainly richer in spirit.

I mention the above to wish all the Irish senior clubs the best of luck as they embark on a new season full of optimism. Working my way through 47 club previews I was aware of quite a few ‘new challenges’. Me old dad wouldn’t have been happy!


Ireland Wolves will be in action again at the start of May as they provide the opposition in a one-off warm-up match for Bangladesh ahead of the World Cup Super League Qualifiers in Chelmsford the following week.

It will end a 13-month drought and with no other fixtures planned for 2023, it’s likely that this game will be the only one in a two-year period.

“The Wolves programme is a vital part of the pathway for cricketers moving from domestic to international cricket. It allows fringe and emerging players the opportunity to experience international cricket as part of their development as an elite-level cricketer."
Head of Selectors Andrew White: April 21st 2023

“We understand fully the importance of the Wolves programme as an essential part of the pathway between domestic and international cricket and will be looking at a full programme next year and beyond as we enter the next phase in our development as a Full Member.”
Performance Manager Richard Holdsworth: March 30th 2023.

It’s heartening that the pair place such importance and emphasis on the Wolves programme. I would shudder to think what the fixture schedule would look like if they didn’t….


It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word, you can light up the dark
Try as I may, I can never explain
What I hear when you don't say a thing
The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes saying you'll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you'll catch me wherever I fall
You say it best, when you say nothing at all.

It’s been a tough time for the Ireland social media team during the tours of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

When you can’t say what you really think about the performances and have to try and be positive. They have got up in the wee small hours and feel the need to be heard. Sometimes though instead of inane utterances with puerile emojis, I’d suggest it’s best to say nothing.

Uttering such words of wisdom as “come on lads” when the opposition have declared with the guts of 600 and Ireland are 41 for 5 in the second innings following on 450 runs behind just looks stupid. Just post the score and keep quiet.

Cricket Ireland had a recent job advert for a 'Digital Content Executive' and in the job description it stated - 'a knowledge of cricket is not essential'. I would suggest it is certainly essential, or they will continue to look foolish in the extreme.

To be fair to the players and support staff they have been realistic in any media interactions or press conferences. They have admitted their shortcomings while paying tribute to very strong opposition.

There is indeed a realism too with the Irish media and supporters. They couldn’t have expected much given the scarcity of red-ball cricket experience amongst the squad.

The first Test against Sri Lanka was an incredibly chastening experience. But even if you could have picked an all-time Ireland XI, while the performance would have been much better, the end result wouldn’t.


It was great to see the Irish cricketers and management doing their bit for local charity visiting “The Manacare Foundation’s Hopes and Dreams Village in Sri Lanka.

“They have had a tough time of it recently, and it was great to give some hope to their sad little faces,” said Fernando, aged six..

An old joke usually reserved for the England soccer team during World Cups.

On a serious note, well done to all. It certainly serves to give the players a sense of grounding and perspective. I still remember visiting children’s hospitals and orphanges in Guyana, Bangladesh and India. Some of the sights and smells still stay with me all these years later.

I have a lot of time for the Buddhist philosophy and am a great believer in Karma. That increased in 2011 when the day after participating in the Today FM ‘Shave or Dye’ charity fundraiser for the Irish Cancer Society Ireland beat England in the 2011 World Cup.

A pink-haired Kevin O’Brien smashed the quickest century, while Niall had green hair, Ed Joyce blonde highlights, William Porterfield purple hair and Coach Phil Simmons had a shaved head and a blue beard!

Maybe Ireland’s charity trip will bring similar good fortunes tomorrow.