Thursday 19 September 2019

'Build on our cricket World Cup success'

COACH: Anne Harris, deputy editor of the Sunday Independent, with new Irish cricket coach Phil Simmons
COACH: Anne Harris, deputy editor of the Sunday Independent, with new Irish cricket coach Phil Simmons
WARM HANDSHAKE: Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and John Taylor (Lord Kilclooney) in the National Yacht Club
COMMENT: Sam Synott, managing director of Hyundai, left, with Lynne McCallan and Sky cricket commentator Charles Colvile
PLAYERS: Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, centre, David Langford-Smith, left, and Trent Johnston, right, at the Sunday Independent/Hyundai Cricket Dinner
AND THE WINNER IS . . . : Kyle McCallan receives his Irish International Cricketer of the Year award from Aengus Fanning, left, Sam Synott, second from left, of Hyundai, and 2006 ICU president Roy Harrison, right, at the Cricket Dinner in the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire. Photos: David Conachy

IRISH cricket has been warned not to let the chance to build on its World Cup success slip away. Sky Sports cricket anchor man Charles Colvile - who led the coverage of Ireland's remarkable World Cup odyssey in the Caribbean last month - said the sport should seize its opportunity and not be like British hockey, which had stood still since its Olympic Gold medal success in Kor

IRISH cricket has been warned not to let the chance to build on its World Cup success slip away. Sky Sports cricket anchor man Charles Colvile - who led the coverage of Ireland's remarkable World Cup odyssey in the Caribbean last month - said the sport should seize its opportunity and not be like British hockey, which had stood still since its Olympic Gold medal success in Korea in 1988.

He was speaking at the Sunday Independent/Hyundai Irish International Cricketer of the Year award at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

At the event, attended by the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, Ireland's off-spinner and vice-captain Kyle McCallan was named Irish international cricketer of the year.

Colvile said that, with an election so close, now was the ideal time to ask politicians to support the growth of the game in Ireland.

He suggested that this could include building a roofed stadium.

In a wide-ranging and witty address, the Sky commentator also spoke of the perils of live broadcasting.

He recalled how, during an intense test match in India, where half the home team had gathered for an on-field conference, watched by a crowd of at least 90,000 Indians, Henry Blofeld had told his audience that it was a case of "too many chiefs and not enough Indians".

Nor was Charles himself immune to the odd slip.

During one of the many flare-ups in the Lebanon, he had once woken his early-morning BBC radio listeners with the news that six people had been killed by "lesbian guerrillas".

He then tried to correct himself by saying, "I'm sorry, that should have been Lesbianese guerillas."

Sam Synnott, managing director of Hyundai Ireland, said his firm was delighted to be associated with the award, and that the Irish team could properly be described as heroes.

He pointed out that the effects of their success in the West Indies included the fact that the game could now be seen being played on streets and on greens in areas which previously had hardly been aware of the sport.

Among those who heard the comments were two other members of Ireland's World Cup team - the skipper Trent Johnston and strike bowler Dave Langford-Smith. Also at the dinner were Brendan 'Ginger' O'Brien and his wife Camille - parents of team members Niall and Kevin O'Brien.

Former unionist politician John Taylor, now Lord Kilclooney, flew in from London for the dinner.

Also among the guests was the Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Eugene Regan, who is running for Fine Gael in the general election.

The award for 2006 was presented to Kyle McCallan by Roy Harrison, that year's president of the Irish Cricket Union.

McCallan, 31, of the Waringstown Club in Northern Ireland, has played for Ireland 161 times, and he is the most capped Irish player of all time.

By taking three wickets for five runs, he brought about Ireland's historic victory over Gloucestershire in 2006.

Last Sunday at Stormont, his innings of 45 not out was the one bright spot in Ireland's defeat by Kent. He teaches physical education.

Charles Lysaght, chairman of the Sunday Independent Cricket Society, who presided at the dinner, called for state assistance to fund our international cricketers, so that they do not have to go to play with English counties.

Also present was Aengus Fanning, editor of the Sunday Independent, John Greene, the paper's sports editor and Godfrey Graham, the celebrated cameraman who, in 1955, became Ireland's youngest ever cricket international, and members of the cricketing confraternity from all parts of the island, including the new international team coach Phil Simmons, current ICU president Tom Prior, ICU honorary secretary John Wright, William Boyd, chairman NCU, Joe Doherty, chairman NWCU, Jim Doran, chairman MCU, Brian Grehan, honorary treasurer ICU and Arthur Vincent, chairman, NCU. Guests enjoyed a fine dinner accompanied by wine from Wakefield Wines of Australia.

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