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World Cup wicket glory has our young students running for school cricket

THE exploits of the Irish cricket team against England at the World Cup has seen a surge in the numbers of Irish kids taking up the willow and ball.

Despite being out of the competition following their defeat by the West Indies yesterday, Ireland's record breaking demolition of the old enemy has seen the sport rise in popularity.

A growing number of schools are looking to introduce cricket to their student following hoping to follow in the footsteps of new national hero Kevin O'Brien..

Brian O'Rourke, a cricket development manager for Cricket Ireland, said: "It's definitely a sport that's growing.

"One of the advantages of cricket is that it is always on television. It gets a lot of exposure."

He said he had received calls from a lot of schools looking to start cricket.

Mr O'Rourke is involved in youth cricket in Leinster working with primary schools, secondary schools, clubs and working with coaches. He said the Kwik cricket programme is aimed at eight to 10-year-olds.

"We tend to go to schools for four or five-week periods and introduce the children to the principles of the game including batting, bowling, fielding and wicket keeping."


He said it was all about teaching children the basics of the game.

"It's a sport that boys and girls can play together. It's all about participation," said Mr O'Rourke.

There are around 85 established cricket clubs in the country, he said. "We have a cricket club in every county in Ireland."

The sport is popular in many areas of Dublin with Sandymount alone having four established cricket clubs. In the north Fingal area, Balbriggan, Rush, Skerries and Balrothery have large established clubs.

Over the last few days, Ireland's cricketers have been basking in their stunning World Cup victory over England in India. Ireland rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll was among those who added his voice to the tributes to the team.

Cricket clubs across the country hope the success will draw more young people to the game.