Work to commemorate the centenary of the Leinster Senior League got a great boost this week when the news filtered down that the Ashbrook Union Cricket Club journal had been purchased by Laois Cricket Club with Castle Durrow Country House Hotel. Despite considerable international interst these important records have been kept in Ireland and will be on permanent display at Castle Durrow Country House Hotel.

Roland Bradley of Laois CC explained. 'This journal is the oldest known Irish Sports Club records in existence(except horse-racing and sailing) and covers the Famine period in Ireland, during which time Laois was badly affected.
 
Peter & Shelly Stokes(owners of Castle Durrow) are organising a permanent display of cricket memorabilia and after the necessary restoration work (only minor as the manuscript is in good condition) the Ashrook journal will be the centre piece. Members of Laois Cricket Club have a considerable number of items which will be included.
 
The Stokes' would also like, during the summer, to organise a cricket match at Castle Durrow, in conjunction with the local Club and including descendents of the original players mentioned in the journal.  The securing of this document locally has been well noted by Laois Heritage Society and the local press and radio.'

The auction of the records became an event in itself with local and national media coverage as well as from the BBC World Service. The intriguing aspect of the story was the payment of players to play and practice cricket at two shillings a day. A sum which during the Famine would have been enough to feed a person for two weeks.

Some intersting details were contained in the description of the journal by auctioneer Philip Sheppard. The period covered is 1846 - 1848. The records list the full names of the founding members and provide scorecards [with batting details only] for 70 matches. These include one against Phoenix / Garrison where the father of Charles Stewart Parnell was on the Phoenix team.

While major clubs were being founded in Dublin [some of which survive to the present day] what the records show is the extent to which the playing of cricket was so closely bound up with the rural life of nineteenth centrury Ireland, especially in the hotbeds of cricket such as Kilkenny, Offaly and Laois.

For anyone intersted in researching further Roland Bradley advises as follows: 'I would highly recommend anyone who has an interest in the history of Cricket in this part of Ireland to read the following books: The History of Cricket in County Kilkenny - The Forgotten Game by Michael O'Dwyer which also covers South Laois and The GAA - A People's History by Mike Cronin.'

Comments

paul delany
paul delany
Friday, 9th March 2012 - 11:47

Good news well done Roland and to others involved, will prove an interesting focal point and will surely lead to other stories emering of cricket in the area and beyond.  Will make a point of droping into Castle Durrow County House Hotel.

Ian Walshe
Ian Walshe
Friday, 9th March 2012 - 16:34

Is raises an interesting issue.  Does the Leinster Branch have a repository for Archival material in general and not just for the Senior League?

Paul Reynolds
Paul Reynolds
Friday, 9th March 2012 - 16:49

Hopefully the next stage of the website will include a vastly improved way of displaying the existing archive. There is some on the site (www.cricketleinster.ie/archives/), but needs a lot of work done to it

Ian Walshe
Ian Walshe
Monday, 12th March 2012 - 09:53

I am talking about score books and memorabilla from clubs no longer in existance from 1916 to 1968

Deryck Vincent
Deryck Vincent
Wednesday, 14th March 2012 - 20:29

Ian, Dublin City Libraries Archive section based in Gilbert Library have a sports archive and are looking for clubs to donate archives to them, where they can be properly maintained.  There are huge costs in maintaining an archive to the highest standard, well beyond the means of a club.

pat Fitzpatrick
pat Fitzpatrick
Monday, 14th May 2012 - 13:10

Hi everybody,
                I am presently researching what I can of the capard cricket club.It was situated on the capard estate lands at capard,Rosenallis.There is a local school re-union coming up and part of the booklet will be a small account of the cricket club,As far as I can establish it started in the Early 1920’s or possibly before.It appeared to finish around 1955 or before Can anybody help re-score books or indeed anything.My phone no.,is 087/2373281.Everybody who played are now departed
I do know the teams that they played against -If anybody can help-thank you.Pat fitzpatrick

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