Welcome to our February segment on the Cricket Leinster website looking inside cricket in Fingal.
We have been very pleased by the feedback on the January segment and particularly from the featured club, Tyrrelstown CC.
This time, we are featuring another of the newer Fingal clubs, Lucan Cricket Club whose secretary Imran Mahmood has been keen for his club to be part of the segment.
Address: St. Catherine's Park, Lucan
Phone: 089 9832088
Primary Contact: Atul Khurana (Chairman) - email@example.com
Again, we appreciate many reading the segment do not know Fingal well, so Lucan CC is based in the picturesque St Catherine's Park, twenty miles southwest of Dublin Airport. The park has quite a history that can be read at https://savestcatherinespark.org/history-of-the-park/ but owes its current community status to the then Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, Michael D. Higgins, the current President of Ireland, who sanctioned its purchase for the local community in 1996. It is situated just north of the River Liffey in Lucan and is one of the ten established clubs now situated in Fingal (other parts of the park are situated in County Kildare) who currently participate in the Leinster leagues.
The cricket club was established in 2013, after the opportunity at the park opened up, using an artificial cricket pitch initially put down to facilitate members of An Garda cricket club who played socially there during the summer months.
It is in keeping with the original spirit of why the park was saved for the local community, and as club chairman Atul Khurana describes, the club has worked hard to move through the Leinster structures, to grow a club befitting its ground - “We started in CL Division 14, with only thirteen players, but have since been able to reach two Cup Finals, win our League in 2019, while growing to over thirty registered players, enabling us to enter three teams in the 2020 leagues”.
Club secretary Imran Mahmood’s priority discussing this segment was to get over how much his club wanted to thank Cricket Leinster and Fingal County Council for what they had done to support the club, noting - “we started with one team, but with access to a beautiful ground and thanks to Fingal County Council, with ground usage costs we can afford, which means you are seeing our Lucan cricket community grow into three teams in 2021”.
The development of the club is something of great pride to Imran, Atul and Jeet (club management) and the members at Lucan CC. He went on to address the critical engagement with the opportunities Cricket Leinster continues to provide to assist clubs in this goal - “Cricket Leinster has been a great help, provided us with guidance whenever asked for, offered opportunities for our club members to upskill by attending many educational courses, and they provided us with a grant for a gazebo to ensure we could have pitch side facilities, particularly on match days”.
It was nice to see Imran wish to pay specific credit to the Fingal grounds staff at St Catherine’s Park who he describes as “absolute gems” while adding that “they help keep the ground in such lovely condition with regular cutting of the outfield and make it our honour to call the park our home. Their work is appreciated by every member and the opposing teams who come to visit”.
Looking to 2021 and beyond, Imran wants to see Lucan CC further strengthen the club’s engagement with their local community, in particular to junior cricketers, noting - “local secondary school Coláiste Phádraig use the park for their home fixtures. We need to strengthen not only our links to encourage cricket but our engagement in ensuring that the local schoolchildren have a club they can play for. We are fortunate to have passionate local businesses (sponsors) in Quality Motors (Walkinstown), Delhi Darbar Indian Cuisine (Celbridge/Lucan) and Pizzabaker (City Centre branch) who all want to see this and to ensure the entry cost to new junior cricketers is one of the lowest in Fingal”.
However, Imran is very honest that to do so, the club needs to upscale the ground - “We will need a proper training facility and are in the middle of the capital grant application for our proposed two-bay net practice facility and look forward to discussing our action plans with Cricket Leinster and further engaging Fingal County Council in this area”.
When we passed this segment to Fingal County Council, it was pleasing once again to receive a request from Niall McGuirk, FCC Senior Sports Officer, to respond to the club’s comments and which are published below:
“These segments are helping everyone (including Fingal’s sports staff) to learn more about what our cricket clubs are doing and some of the issues they are facing. We welcome news of the club’s goals to expand their junior cricket section and improve on the cricket provision at the park as this is their role as custodians of the park’s cricket facilities. We have seen really positive developments in cricket facilities around the county over the last number of years and it’s something both the clubs and the Council will continue to work together on to continue to improve the standards for cricketers”.
It is always interesting to hear from Imran about all the work going on at Lucan Cricket Club. The easy part is getting the ground, it really is a lovely place to play, but the hard part is ensuring you grow your club to need the ground. Lucan has engaged with Cricket Leinster and Fingal County Council to seek ways of growing into the community club they want to be, with the hope in 2021, we can help them take a real step forward with their proposed junior programmes.
Imran’s comments do highlight the impact of the struggles to stage coach education courses due to the pandemic. It is something Cricket Leinster will address as soon as restrictions allow, but for now, those already in the Fingal system need to appreciate the help clubs like Lucan need to come out of this pandemic period stronger.
The segment is showing a different side of the Fingal clubs and Niall’s comments further display to the Leinster community the positivity that we have to work with within Fingal County Council and why so much development is being achieved currently in the Fingal area.
B O’Rourke - February 2021