Grounds for optimism following cricket officials’ visit

Matthew Augustine, Roscommon Cricket Club Director; Richard Fahey, Head of Operations Cricket Ireland; Cllr Tony Waldron, Jeff Smith, Chairperson of Connacht Cricket Union and Abin George, Roscommon Cricket Club Director pictured at ‘The Lough’ in Roscommon Town. Pic: Kieran Croghan

Roscommon Cricket Club members have said they were satisfied following a recent visit by officials from Cricket Ireland and the Connacht Cricket Council to St Coman’s Park in Roscommon town with a view to establishing a playing pitch at the former GAA venue.

Head of Facilities and Operations at Cricket Ireland, Richard Fahey, and Connacht Cricket Union Chairman, Jeff Smith, met with club officials and members of Roscommon County Council recently after it was confirmed Roscommon Cricket Club had secured a six-year lease of the venue, which is known locally as ‘The Lough’.

Club Director, Abin George, said the meeting had been very constructive despite the fact that the ground is currently waterlogged.

“The visit went really well and they were impressed with the ground even though it is flooded at the moment because you can see there is a great space there,” he said.

Cricket officials confirmed during the visit that they would seek a feasibility study of ‘The Lough’ to ascertain whether a playing surface can be developed there.

“Hopefully the study goes well because they are very keen to do something here,” Mr George said.

“It would be good for the promotion and development of the game in Roscommon. Roscommon County Council have also said they would do whatever they could to help us. We are very happy with all the support”.

Head of Facilities and Operations at Cricket Ireland, Richard Fahey, said he was delighted that the game was taking off in Roscommon town.

“We’re happy to support any club when it comes to the development of its facilities. Obviously, the club is also very happy with the lease of the site here from Roscommon County Council. We believe it’s unusual for the ground to be flooded at this time of year but for the club to thrive, a substantial amount of work is needed,” he said.

Mr Fahey said there were local examples of playing surfaces being developed on flood-affected sites, and that a feasibility study would determine the next steps.

“Once we have the results of that study, we’ll know what direction to take, whether it’s finding the funds to developing the site here or going back to square one. But we will certainly pull out all the stops to try and help the club to establish itself,” he said.

The visit by officials came amid confirmation that Roscommon Cricket Club has now been accepted as a member of the Connacht Cricket Union.

Club Director Matthew Augustine said members were “delighted” with the news and were now looking forward to working with the union.

Chairperson of Connacht Cricket Union, Jeff Smith, said the union was eager to develop the game in Roscommon town.

“I’m very, very keen because we need a spread of clubs throughout the province. We need new blood but most of all we need a new pitch. At the moment, we only have County Galway Cricket Club which is currently hosting five clubs,” he said.

“Fortunately, Ballaghaderreen can play their matches on a space between two soccer pitches at the Community Sports Park”.

Mr Smith said he was confident further facilities would be developed in Ballina and Kilconnell, and that Roscommon wouldn’t be too far behind.

“The guys here are very keen and they have their structures in place. I would encourage them to get on the pitch and play even if that means playing away from home for now. I’m convinced that after talking to the local authority that they are going to get them a ground. If they’re not playing in Roscommon town next year, they will be the following year,” he concluded.