I saw someone describe Bagenalstown Cricket Club as everybody’s favourite second club. I have no idea if he was right, but I like to believe it. We’re a proper, old fashioned, village cricket club. And we’re very much a club that is proud of its Irish roots.
This small club in the heart of the Midlands constantly
punches above its weight. Situated in the picturesque McGrath Park,
Bagenalstown are known for our friendly, homely spirit, our unpredictable pitch
and our excellent teas. One of the few clubs in Leinster with a grass strip,
groundskeeper Sean Farrell does an excellent job in keeping the place looking
fresh and evergreen. A small club where everyone pulls their weight and mucks
in to help, the club is always keen to be represented at provincial level.
We’re a close-knit community, and we believe that the strength of any club isn’t about income or facilities; it’s about its members. We encourage everyone to get involved and have a say in the manner in which the club is run. Without our members we’re nothing.
We hold a blitz every other year and the last time out we worked in conjunction with Aiobheann’s Pink Tie, a fantastic Irish charity that works with the families of children who are battling cancer. A couple of our members have had the need to use APT in the last few years and we really wanted to give something back to them. The days are always a great success and a great advert for the sport and the club.
At 177 years old, Bagenalstown Cricket Club is the oldest parochial club in the country and one of the oldest clubs in the World. We have had a long, fascinating history and have had several names over the years. The club originated as Dunleckney Cricket Club c.1843. We were founded by the workers and management of Brown and Crossthwaite Milling Enterprises, proved by the existence of the miller’s wheel which lies on the club’s grounds. We travelled to games in Mill lorries and much of the club’s equipment came from the company too. We were also known as The Lodge Mills Cricket Club for a period too. In the 1920’s, It is believed that the club played in Brown’s Bog. The first existing records of the club are from 1929-32. The scorebooks from this time show that bowling dominated games. The first recorded game interestingly is a derby game between Bagenalstown and Carlow. Bagenalstown went onto win the game thanks to Denis Murphy and the Stevenson brothers, William and Tom.
In 1949, it was decided that the land that the club used on Dunleckney Manor was needed for farming purposes. The club tried to negotiate a longer lease but the owners would not budge. They were instead offered a place in their current home in McGrath Park by the town’s benefactors, the McGrath Trust, set up by the local family that had founded the McGrath Bros. firm of Tea importers. We bought the pavilion from the club and moved it to our new home for £60.
In the mid-2000’s, the club formed a second team due to an influx in membership. 2013 saw the club enter a barren spell as we struggled week to week to form two teams and serious discussions were had about removing the team. The 2s were on a 23 match losing streak, too, not helped by a lack of players. We carried on. We persisted. And the 2s got promoted and then won a Leinster cup for the first time in the club’s history! In fact, the decision to carry on with the second team was affirmed as the right one when in 2015 we entered a third team into the LCU.
As a club, we have had a purple patch in recent years with championship titles for the 1st and 3rd teams, as well as regular promotion for the 2s (and the Minor Cup and Junior Cup too!). We are a club very much on the up. Last year, we featured on “Creedon’s Atlas of Ireland” on RTE1, giving the club a proper spotlight.
Like all clubs, a great deal goes on behind the scenes to try and keep the ship steady and afloat. The club is indebted to the likes of Jim Brown and Des Foot who have single handedly helped the club survive some tough times over the decades, and now we have a strong committee that is always trying to improve the facilities and the club.
We’re old fashioned. From the rustic clubhouse to the grass strip, we are a throwback to how cricket used to be. But we’re also 21st century too. We have players from Ireland, the UK, Sri Lanka. Australia, Pakistan, India, Nepal, New Zealand and South Africa and we are very proud of our cricketing united nations. Our facilities are spartan, but we’re always looking to improve, and we get better every year.
The club is very welcoming to all members and is well thought of throughout the province. We’re always looking for new players, so please feel free to get in touch.
In addition Harry Shorthose was recently featured in the Carlow Nationalist: