- Born 11 February 1988 Newtownards, Co Down
- Educated Comber High School
- Debut 25 July 2008 v Norway at Malahide
- Cap Number 670
- Style Right hand batsman; left arm medium fast
- Teams North Down
Gavin McKenna is a good left arm new ball bowler and a lower order batsman capable of powerful hitting. Though he made his senior debut for North Down as a teenager and also represented Ireland at both U17 and U19 level, he played no schools' cricket of any note. He played for the Ireland U17 side in the European championships of 2004 and 2005, contributing well towards a 103 runs victory over Scotland in the latter year with an economical spell of bowling which brought him 2-25.
In that season he also played for the U19 XI in the Championships, doing enough to earn his place in the party for the 2005/06 U19 World Cup in Sri Lanka. However his bowling was hardly used, his overall figures being 0-7. The Irish side was led by Eoin Morgan and included nine who had gained or were to gain full caps. He had a somewhat similar experience in the 2008 tournament, when he played only against England, had figures of 0-33 but made 16 before being bowled by the Man of the Match, a tall dark haired fast bowler called Steven Finn!
His bowling for North Down over the years has usually been both economical and productive though he has never run through a side, a somewhat hard target to achieve in limited overs cricket. As a 16 year old in 2004 he had some useful figures in the Ulster Cup which greatly helped his side towards the Final. In the first round against Bready, he had a return of 6-2-11-2, preparing the way for 9 wickets victory. He was again a force in the Quarter Final against Glendermott, a much tighter match which saw the Comber side victorious by 20 runs. Gavin's figures of 3-41 were thus most important in securing the win.
He has twice taken 4 wickets in an innings, two of which were achieved in rain restricted matches. In 2006 against Carrickfergus, in a match switched to The Green as the Co Antrim side's ground was unplayable, he had figures of 2-0-12-4 as Carrick finished their 10 overs on 75-8. The hosts made light of the task winning by 9 wickets. Against CIYMS at The Green in 2009, a season in which he took 31 wickets at 19.54, he had 4-10 again in a match reduced to 20 overs a side. He came on as second change and mopped up the lower middle order. His best bowling figures in a full match came in 2007 when his overall figures were 29 wickets at 16.83, including 4-20 from 10 overs against Woodvale, removing the middle order.
His best innings for North Down came against Lisburn in 2007 when, batting at 10, he made a rumbustious 44*, adding 79 for the 9th wicket with Peter Connell (34) and setting up a 64 runs victory.
His two Irish caps had come in the 2008 European Championships held in the LCU area. Against Norway at The Hills, opening the attack with Thinus Fourie he had 0-12 in five overs, accurate enough to maintain the pressure on the batting side who struggled from the outset, having elected to bat. They were dismissed for 119, a total Ireland passed for the loss of 2 wickets. The following day Denmark were defeated by 5 wickets at Rathmines, Gavin's figures were almost identical. Batting first the Danes posted 179-9, with Gavin opening the bowling with club-mate Peter Connell, having 0-11 in 5 overs.
Edward Liddle, June 2013