Michael O’Reilly of YMCA has been confirmed as the winner of the O’Grady Bowling Cup for the 2020 season.
In the abbreviated season, O’Reilly’s haul of 20 wickets at the remarkable average of just 9.35 was the only single figure average among the three bowlers who took more than 15 wickets in the season, with YMCA team-mate Tom Anders and Railway Union leg-spinner Prabhanshu Kamal taking 17 and 16 wickets respectively.
This really was a break-through year for O’Reilly, who turned 18 in July, he had previously only made a single 1st XI appearance for YMCA, bowling just one over against The Hills in 2018. However when you contrast this season with previous years, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was an experienced campaigner!
The highlight of O’Reilly’s season was undoubtedly his 5/24 against Clontarf in Claremont Road, where having entered the attack with the away side 48/0, he claimed 5 of the first 6 wickets to fall, tearing the heart out of the Clontarf batting, and setting up YM for a 5 wicket win.
Such performances early on when YMCA were without their International cohort proved to be key in their progression to the knockout stages of the competition later in the year.
The average of 9.35 is the best to win the O’Grady Cup since 1997, when the late Damian Poder of Merrion CC went through the season averaging just 8.91.
A sign possibly that T20 cricket is more of a “young-man’s game” is the remarkable stat that O’Reilly is just a third of the age of the winner last year (the much respected Naseer Shoukat). O’Reilly is also the first left-arm bowler to win the award since Paddy Martin for North County in 2005.
The O’Grady Cup was first awarded in 1938, and has been won a record 11 times by Alec O’Riordan between 1959 and 1977, a sign of the changing face of cricket is that not once in the eleven occasions that O’Riordan won the award, was his bowling average higher than that of Michael O’Reilly this year.
Congratulations from all at Cricket Leinster to Mikey on winning the O’Grady Cup for 2020 – he is the first winner of this prestigious award from YM since Johnny Garth over 30 years ago.