I’ll start this week with something positive and the Cricket Ireland Awards which were held on Friday night. It was well put together by Heatley and crew in difficult circumstances, and there was little to argue about with the selections of the various judging panels.

Leinster as expected dominated most of the categories, with prizes for Kim Garth, Simi Singh, Laura Delany, John Anderson, while Catriona Beggs and Jimmy Boucher were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Most popular award went to the indefatigable Brian O’Rourke for his coaching endeavours over the past 25 years.

The other regions were also successful with Munster based Michael Hickey and Limerick honoured. The NW’s Alana Dalzell and Peter Gillespie won prizes, while the undoubted highlight of the night was an emotional tribute to Roy Torrens, with contributions from former coaches Adi Birrell and Phil Simmons.

Paul Stirling from the NCU was the big winner on the night enjoying double success in the Player of the Decade and Player of the Year Category. Ian Houston was rightly recognised for his 20 years (and still counting) as NCU Umpires Appointment Secretary

Well done all and to Cricket Ireland and presenters Marie Crowe, John Kenny and Kyle McCallan.


It’s truly frightening to think it has been ten years since Kevin O’Brien’s record century beat England in Bangalore. It still sends shivers down the spine watching the highlights of that incredible innings, not that it needed much editing given it only took 50 balls. The outside the box thinking by the batting pair to take the power play really early paid dividends as ‘King Kev’ and Alex Cusack smote the ball to all parts and the Irish juggernaut was up and running.

It was the start of the busiest 72 hours of my life. The phones – and I had three mobiles plus a fourth landline in the hotel – rang incessantly. There was no respite as the entire world’s media wanted to talk to Kevin and the Ireland team. Given that we were playing India next didn’t help and anybody who has ever worked there knows that they don’t take no for an answer.

We had learned from our 2007 World Cup experiences and RSA, the team sponsor had hired a conference room and we were able to juggle the demands, with players and staff all chipping in to sate their unquenchable thirst. The media department even doubled in size as Ger Siggins was requisitioned as my assistant for the rest of the week.

We had to make the most of the opportunity to spread the gospel back home and certainly did. Normally I was having to badger and plead for exposure and here we were getting about 5-10 years’ worth in a few days. It was funny at the World Cups – it was at times an all or nothing experience. Win and the phones went red hot, while a heavy loss and I was like the old Carlsberg ad with the guy dusting off the phone and checking it was working given the lack of calls.

When you’re hot, you’re hot….


As we approach the 1000 day mark since Ireland Women last played an ODI, there is good news imminent.

Cricket Ireland are expected to announce a series this week. Opposition is as yet unknown but there had been plans to host a tri-series in La Manga around Easter so it could well be there as the location rather than travelling further afield. Scotland and The Netherlands could be lined up for the games, but who knows, more exotic opposition may be in the pipeline. Whoever the opponents are, It’s great news and the Girls in Green will be so relieved that their long lockdown looks finally coming to an end.


It was at times a hard watch as Ireland Wolves were comprehensively beaten by a Bangladesh Emerging XI in their first game of the tour. It really was a chastening defeat against a side that was in essence primarily their successful Under 19 side from last year. It’s never easy in subcontinental conditions but this was far from the raging turner that we’ve seen in the India versus England Test series. Yes, there was some turn but nothing prodigious.

I expected more and better having looked at the line-up which had seven senior players, six of whom had been on the tour of the UAE.

Given that most hadn’t played red-ball cricket in 18 months, it seemed my optimism was misplaced. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail and all that. The loss came the week after it was announced that the first-class interpro Championship was being scrapped in 2021, having not been played last year because of Covid. Reading between the lines it’s not expected to return in the current format. If any multi-day cricket is played then it will probably be in a North v South format or something of that ilk.

The abandonment of multi-day cricket doesn’t sit well with me for the development of sport in Ireland. With our players being denied the opportunities in county cricket, it was hoped and indeed expected as a result of getting Full Member status that there would be plenty of games at interpro level. It hasn’t happened and not looking likely to do so either.

I remember Phil Simmons telling me that while T20 and 50-over cricket was the main staple of the modern game, players learned to play the game in the Test and four-day environment.

I can understand the reasons why there is going to be a concentration short-term on white-ball cricket, but I’d love to see a bit of imagination in getting the volume necessary of red-ball cricket. Leinster Lightning have previously looked at playing English counties in the longer format, and I’d love to see the Wolves or the U19s playing plenty against other Full Member countries too.

Back to the games in Bangladesh, the Irish have a chance to acclimatise and start five 50-overs matches this Friday. I’m expecting better things from Harry Tector’s men. But then I’m an optimist….


I’d asked the question about the progress on building the new National Stadium last week. Rather than forging ahead it seems there has been a bit of a blip. The grass wickets haven’t gone as well as hoped and need serious renovation. Hopefully this will be sorted asap in time for the forthcoming season and the visiting tourists.


The announcement this week that Freesports had secured a three-year deal to show the home matches of Afghanistan and Zimbabwe included supposed fixtures in September in Harare.

The poster promised a Test and five T20I’s between Zimbabwe and Ireland but alas, this won’t be happening.

At the time of writing, Ireland’s sole Test remains away to Sri Lanka in December. I don’t know about you but a week in the sun this winter watching Ireland sounds like an ideal reward after the trials and tribulations of this past year. It’s the least we deserve…