Cricket continues growth across Ireland
Wed, Apr 10, 2013 8:04 AM
An amazing 24,654 youngsters are now playing the game in comparison to 11,955 in 2011, a rise of 105 per cent according to figures released this week by Cricket Ireland.
There was strong growth recorded throughout all categories in the survey undertaken for the International Cricket Council (ICC), with the overall participation figure for cricket standing at 40,414 - up from 25,170 in 2011 - an increase of over 60 per cent.There has also been a 29 per cent increase in the number of active coaches in Ireland, increasing from 910 to 1175.
In a further sign of the game's increasing popularity throughout Ireland, the number of teams playing the sport increased from 895 to 1056.There's been an incredible expansion in the number of junior teams across Ireland, while adult team growth has also been strong in the Connaught and Munster areas, where the game has enjoyed a surge in interest following Ireland's exploits on the world stage.
The Cricket Ireland Development mantra is "Cricket For All", and its team have worked tirelessly to promote the game throughout all the regions, with these results testament to the excellent work being carried out.
The expansion in development work has been made possible thanks to additional funding and support received from ICC Europe and official Cricket Ireland sponsor RSA.
The RSA "Get into Cricket" initiative has proved incredibly popular at grass roots level throughout the country, and the programme has proven extremely effective at getting youngsters involved in the sport for the first time.
In Leinster, the development team has been instrumental in projects working with the disabled, while the Leprechaun Cup competition for primary schools has grown into one of the most successful youth competitions in Ireland, with over 53 schools taking part in 2012.
In Munster, there is a renewed appetite for the sport, with projects involving 17 new schools in Clare, Limerick and Tipperary, and the first ever national schools mini-tournaments in Midleton, Waterford and Thurles being particular highlights.
The Northern Cricket Union's development efforts to involve young women in the game has seen the formation of an Under 17 Inter-Regional squad for the first time, while the North West has promoted the game in non-traditional areas. St Columb's College - alma mater of three Nobel Prize winners - on Derry's West Bank, has seen the college entering the Schools' Cup for the first time in their recent history. The development team has also been instrumental in helping new clubs in Maghera and Enniskillen find their feet.
National Development Manager Tim Simmonite said: "I'd like to pay tribute to the outstanding work which has been carried out across Ireland by the Development Team. Their passion and commitment to growing the game is clearly evident, and these superb figures are evidence of the that.
"Enormous credit too must be given to the Provincial Unions and the constituent clubs who have embracedthe continuing changes in the game and have delivered high standards on the ground. The game can only benefit from all their efforts, and I'm certain the sport will continue to thrive."
Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom also paid tribute to those involved in promoting and coaching cricket. He said: "These results give everyone involved in Irish cricket a fantastic boost. We've set ourselves the goal of being a Test nation by 2020, and a tenet of that ambition was to increase our participation numbers across the board.
"We'd set ourselves ambitious targets but have surpassed those easily thanks to the magnificent efforts of the Irish cricketing family. We're especially grateful to both ICC Europe and RSA, whose support has proven invaluable in this expansion. The game here keeps growing at all levels, and with the senior team performing so strongly on the field of play, the future of the game in the country has never looked better."