Brían O’Rourke on Boys’ Youth Cricket
At this time of National lockdown, Cricket Leinster would like to take the opportunity to outline the path forward for boy’s youth cricket (there will be a separate article on the Girl’s programme). Despite the challenges, 2020 has enhanced our commitment in Leinster to further expand our programmes for 2021, with some very exciting plans for the season ahead.
Whilst it is deeply disappointing that we are not together at North County indoor training this week, we have flexibility built into the programme, and short term, we can utilize online technology to stay in contact with our players and to engage them in their development work, while National restrictions make training impracticable.
It would have been far easier to accept 2020 as a write-off, but our development team and coaches are driven to ensure that where there is the commitment, they will be there to help harness it and ensure everyone, everywhere in Leinster who wants to play cricket, get that opportunity.
It was a year that we had to adapt ‘tradition’ to National restrictions and become creative in how we staged our programmes or, like so many, simply have to cancel for a year. That creativity has, on reflection, strengthened Cricket Leinster Youth. We have been bemused by comments from UK colleagues about how few of their young cricketers would attend outdoor training from September through to November.
The goal is by February, the restriction will have been eased so we can restart practical activities for all age groups (U11, U13, U15, and U18) across four dates. This will then expand to six days during Easter, with an expectation the outdoor programme, piloted in late 2020 at both Balbriggan & YMCA, will be re-introduced in March.
We expect the ‘School of Excellence’ programme will run an expanded programme throughout 2021 (pre, during, and post-summer season) after its success in 2020 and our summer match season schedule will see twenty plus representative fixtures for Leinster Youth, in addition to twelve boys District games.
Moreover, we are excited by forthcoming announcements from our Council partners in Fingal and Dublin City on the expansion of their cricket commitments, to join with us at Cricket Leinster to engage even more passionate young cricketers in their local communities.
NÍ neart go cur le cheile.