It Could Have Been Cricket Over Hurling in Co.Wexford

The game of cricket has seen somewhat of a Renaissance in Co.Wexford in recent years, with the establisment of Gorey Cricket Club and the continued success of Wexford Wanderers Cricket Club, but in many areas across the County prior to World War Two, cricket was actually equally as popular if not more popular in some parishes than hurling.

Cricket in Co.Wexford is recorded as far back as 1833. A decade later Lord Courtown built the first oval cricket pitch in Ireland, which remains in the Burrow Road.  The game flourished throughout this county. The games of Hurling, Shinty, Rounders, Baseball & Cricket may have come from the same Gaelic gene-pool. It was so popular countrywide that one of the founders of the GAA, Michael Cusack, wanted to include cricket under the umbrella of the newly formed GAA. Alas, this motion was narrowly defeated. It was nearly the 5th Gaelic Game. How would the history of the game have differed if it had become a Gaelic Game? Imagine DJ Carey, Henry Shefflin, George O’ Connor, Martin Storey etc. playing cricket for Ireland.

Most parishes played cricket on Sundays, first recorded in Gorey in 1866, in the beautiful grounds of Ramsfort Park. Cricket matches were recorded in Camolin, Ballycanew, Ballyhast, Ardnamine, Wells, Ballymore, Ballycanew and Tomsollagh as far back as 1895.

Summerville Cricket Team, Tomsollagh, Co.Wexford circa 1930’s

Evidence suggests cricket derived from the native Irish people, as many phrases come directly from the Irish language as explained in a splendid book from local author James Caulfield, ‘The Origins of Cricket’. However, cricket’s popularity in Ireland declined sharply after WW11, for a variety of reasons. The rising popularity of Gaelic Games chief amongst them.

Similar to rugby, Irish Cricket is represented by an All Ireland team, with players from North and South combining forces, playing their first One Day International in 2006 in preparation for the 2007 ICC World Cup. Notably, during that world cup, Ireland beat Pakistan & Bangladesh as well as tying with Zimbabwe, receiving a heroes welcome back home. At the next World Cup in 2011, Ireland scored an incredible victory over England. Some world class players produced by Irish Cricket in recent times include Ed Joyce, Kevin O’Brien & Eoin Morgan. Morgan, moved to England and due to his English mother, decided to represent England. In 2019, he captained England to their first ever cricket World Cup win.

Gorey Cricket Club’s reincarnation commenced in 2015, on the back of these famous WC victories. In attendance at the founding meeting were many local veterans from Camolin C.C. (the last regional team until 1979), enthusiasts,  people newly settled in the community, as well as many ‘new’ Irish from former British colonies. Based in the fabulous grounds of Courtown Hibs, the cricket club secured a third soccer pitch on a long-term lease, & installed an artificial playing surface.

Gorey CC has had a successful beginning. In 2018 the club won Leinster League Div 14 Title, and hope to progress further up the divisions in the coming years. Currently, Gorey Cricket Club has sixty members; it includes a senior team, a Development League side and a junior section involving Hard/Soft Ball games, as well as a social team and a women’s team.

In honour of the past, present & now future players, a ‘Trent Johnston Perpetual Cup’ has been played annually amongst Primary Schools in the Gorey/Kilmuckridge region. Schools from Ballaghkeen, Riverchapel, Kilanerin, Loreto, Gorey Central & Kilnamanagh have played for this prestigious trophy.

The longer established club in Co.Wexford is Wexford Wanderers Cricket Club established in 1976. The club shared their ground with the Rugby club of the same name, based on Park Lane. The Club is very diverse and welcoming. There are over 50 people involved in the Club and currently have two teams playing in the Leinster senior league. The first eleven team play in division five and the second eleven team in division fourteen. There is also a junior team with boys and girls taking part. During 2019, efforts of both adult teams were very admirable, with the 2nd’s winning the Minor Cup and finishing 3rd in Division 15, whilst the 1st’s were runners up in the Middle Cup and finished in 6th place in Division 5. The club is particularly keen to establish a ladies team.

Gorey C.C. and Wexford Wanderers C.C. are the only two ‘competitive’ teams in the county and both share the same goal of promoting the game.
This cricket renaissance can be credited to Herbie Honohan, ably assisted by Peter Hudson, Wexford Wanderers Cricket Club who coaches in many schools the length & breadth of Co. Wexford. Over a thousand pupils have been introduced to cricket from as far as Kilmore NS to Kilanerin NS & growing.

Both clubs are always seeking new members, male or female, young or not so young, experienced or novice, and you’ll be sure of a warm welcome in either club.

For more information and contact details:

For Wexford Wanderers Contact Info, check out their facebook page or follow this link: https://www.cricketleinster.ie/clubs/wexford-wanderers-cc

While for Gorey Cricket Club, they also have a facebook page and a website: http://goreycricketclub.ie/?page_id=139

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