In 2019, Cricket Leinster will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Leinster Cricket Union. This does not mean that there was no cricket played in Ireland prior to 1919. Far from it. There is evidence of cricket matches being played in Leinster from the 18th century onwards and a number of our current clubs can trace their history well back into the 19th century.
There were a number of attempts to get a Union up and running in the latter years of the 19th and the early years of the 20th century but they ran into a variety of difficulties. But on 14th April 1919, representatives from Civil Service, Clontarf, Catholic Young Men’s Society (CYMS), Dublin University, Leinster, Meath County, Merrion, Pembroke, Pembroke Wanderers, Phoenix, Railway Union, Royal Hibernian Military School (RHMS), Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), and Richmond Asylum met in the Central Hotel in Exchequer Street and, under the Chairmanship of J.F Crawfurd, the LCU was born.
It's a very different union of clubs now. 42 clubs who field more than 150 adult and numerous under-age teams are spread across the province. Although some of those original member clubs no longer exist, they have been replaced with a wide variety of new clubs – especially within the past decade. Many of these newer clubs reflect the changing cultural face of modern Ireland, seen in the growing number of players and umpires from south-Asian cultures. It will be an important part of the celebrations of our centenary to ensure that every club and its members - not just the founding fathers - becomes involved in celebrating our 100th birthday.
A number of events are planned for our centenary year including:
- 'Your Club, Your Province' Grand Draw. This major fundraising event will run through the year with the winning tickets for major prizes being drawn at year's end. All funds raised by this draw will be re-distributed to our member clubs, so buying a ticket will help contribute to your club’s finances. Tickets will go on sale at the end of February.
- New Website. I think we've all been aware that the Cricket Leinster site has been showing its age in recent years. So I’m delighted to confirm that the first phase of the new site will go live at the end of February.
- Senior League Cup Final will be held in The Hills CC on 8th June 2019. As this year also marks the 50th anniversary of The Hills CC formation there will be plenty to celebrate on the day.
- Exhibition of Memorabilia. Based on the memorabilia displayed at the dinner, an exhibition of cricket artefacts will be displayed during the Senior League Final as well.
- Anniversary matches and 'Cricket Week'. A number of matches for adult and youth players will be held throughout the season to mark the centenary with a special Cricket Week taking place in June.
- 100 Not Out. A book to mark the centenary of the LCU will be published in October. Written by Ger Siggins and with statistical contribution form Eddie Lewis, it will be the definitive history of cricket within the province and an essential read for all of us.
- Cricket Leinster Awards Centenary Dinner. Building on the success of the sold-out 2018 awards dinner in the Guinness Storehouse, we will have a gala dinner will be held in November to mark the 100th anniversary and celebrate the season. A wide range of cricket memorabilia will be on display at the dinner.
The centenary of Leinster Cricket Union should be a cause for celebration for everyone involved in Leinster cricket. I do hope you and your club join in with the celebrations.
Cricket Leinster President 2019