Batting the Lashes

Batting the lashes_railway union cricket fest4

Cricket is not a sport which comes readily to mind when thinking of school P.E. classes, but on June 12th this year the Railway Union Sports Club held the inaugural Leprechaun Cup for girls’ cricket, with eight different schools participating.

Brian O’Rourke from Cricket Ireland explained there have been cricket league competitions for boys for a number of years now, with a total of 46 schools in Dublin participating. Of the Leprechaun Cup Cailíní Tournament, Brian stresses, “this is more about reaching out to the girls and giving them an opportunity.”

Brian, who is also the Leinster Cricket Union Development Manager, said it seemed obvious to hold the competition at Railway Union, given that there are four well-established cricket clubs in D4. “There’s a limited time window for an event such as this when we can hold inter-school competitions before the summer break and amenities in Dublin 4 are perfect for this kind of event.”

Event organizer Amy Kenealy also agreed with the choice of venue, admitting to being a fervent cricket supporter most of her life. “I have family connections with the founding of Leinster Cricket Club and was delighted to get a working internship there. I can’t imagine not playing cricket,” she said, proudly adding, “it’s great for the girls to have the tournament here.”

This year’s Leprechaun Cup Cailíní has been restricted to eight teams, but Amy said the number could have been higher due to deadlines. Fellow coach and team mate Isobel Joyce states there is a growing enthusiasm amongst girls to get involved in cricket, especially now that the Irish women’s team are consistently in the top 10 in world rankings. Both Isobel and Amy have represented Ireland and regularly coach both primary and secondary school students.

So why are there so many clubs in the Dublin 4 area? “Cricket is big here because Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) down the road was a British base and areas such as Booterstown and Sandymount became a bit of a hub for the sport,” says Brian.

The first Leprechaun Cup Cailíní final came down to an exciting encounter between Lakelands and Balrothery, which Lakelands won by 17 runs. Plans are already underway for next year’s tournament, along with school coaching sessions through Cricket Ireland.

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Pictured, from left: Esme Clarke, Kristin Barry, Lelia Maloney, Siobhan Teifer, Safia Harting, Iseult Law.
Photo by Ross Waldron

By Eric Murphy