Council vies to bowl Kingdom over with cricket

IRELAND may be excluded from playing in the next Cricket World Cup, but the ‘foreign’ game may yet vie with Gaelic football for the hearts of sports people in Kerry.

Efforts are being made to provide playing facilities for cricket in Killarney, home of football legends such as Dick Fitzgerald, Paul Russell and Colm Cooper. Killarney Town Council is to ask the National Parks and Wildlife Service to make a section of a field at Knockreer, in Killarney National Park, available for cricket.

Former Kerry footballer Michael Gleeson, a long-time councillor, made the proposal, which was unanimously agreed, at this week’s meeting. “A cricket field would benefit many people from cricket-playing nations who reside in our town and county,” he said.

“Such a facility would also help to extend the hand of friendship to people who share a common love of sport,” he said.

Mr Gleeson, who won All-Ireland football medals with Kerry in 1969 and 1970, said he came to realise the importance of native sport to exiles when he played football abroad.

Hundreds of people from cricket-playing countries, including India and Pakistan, are living and working in Killarney but have no place to play the game.

Cllr Hugh Courtney, who seconded the proposal, played cricket with the Co Kerry club, based- in Tralee, and said a piece of land at Knockreer could easily be adapted for cricket.

“A lot of people coming to Killarney would love to be able to play cricket here. It would also be good for tourism,” he added.

An artificial wicket could be provided for €8,000, according to Mr Courtney.

Killarney once had a cricket field on the Muckross Road which was used for many sports, including football and athletics, in the 19th and early 20th century.

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