Cricket Ireland launched their new state of the art High Performance Centre in the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown yesterday afternoon. This new world-class facility will be the envy of many countries, as it was built through significant research from many of the world’s best cricketing facilitates.
The Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin TD, was on hand to cut the ribbon on the new €700,000 facility, along with the Chief Executive of the ICC David Richardson, Chairman of Sport Ireland Kieran Mulvey and Mayor of Fingal Cllr. Anthony Lavin.
The first-phase of the development (below) the construction of 5 artificial and 16 grass practice wickets, is now complete, although the grass wickets need approximately 18 months to bed in before use.
2018 has been a remarkable year for cricket in Ireland, with an historic first-ever Test match, sold-out T20 Internationals against India, along with Ireland’s Women qualifying for the Women’s T20 World Cup. The opening of the new National High Performance Centre is just another milestone moment for all involved with cricket in Ireland.
Also included in phase one was the purchase of several state of the art bowling machines, called the Merlyn and the TrueMan. The Merlyn replicates all types of spin bowling while the TrueMan can be programmed for all other types of bowling, including line, length, speed and swing. Members of both Ireland’s Senior Men’s and Women’s Teams (pictured below) were on hand to show off their skills using both machines.
The Minister of State Brendan Griffin said: “I am delighted to welcome Cricket Ireland’s fabulous new High Performance Centre to the National Sports Campus.”
“Cricket in Ireland has been on an upward curve since the World Cup in 2007 and the performances of the Irish cricket team have helped in no small measure in increasing the game’s profile throughout the country. This new cricket facility will be a great place for our elite athletes to do their training. It joins the excellent FAI and GAA training facilities already at the Campus and we hope that the IRFU and Hockey Ireland will join them in the near future.”
The players will also have the use of all the facilities in the Sports Ireland Institute, which includes treatment rooms and a top-class gym (pictured below) which was used by the New Zealand rugby squad last year along with many other high performance teams.
Ross McCollum, Chairman of Cricket Ireland, spoke at the opening, “We’re delighted to be opening Phase One of a truly world-class training facility – an asset that will benefit this and future generations of cricketers across Ireland.”
“The design of this facility has been developed through significant research of the world’s best cricket training facilities by our coaches and performance staff. Not only does this make the High Performance Centre leading-edge, but its co-location with the Sport Ireland Institute’s high performance gyms and testing facilities makes this the envy of cricketing nations around the world.”
“The growth of cricket in Ireland at all levels in the last 10 years – and Ireland’s elevation to Full Membership of the ICC – has highlighted our sport’s deficit in training infrastructure.”
“The new centre will provide Ireland-based players with high quality training and preparation, and will service the growing demand of multiple international and provincial teams, male and female, senior and junior – not to mention our national academy – all of whom are currently using club facilities which are already over-stretched accommodating our playing schedule, let alone training needs.”
Mr McCollum recognised the various funding and support partners that generously supported the development of this project to date, “Firstly, we would like to thank the Irish Government and Sport Ireland for their ongoing support for cricket. Through both financial support and provision of a lease for the land here at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus, we now have a dedicated home from which we can push our sport forward to new heights.”
“Secondly, we would like to thank our major funding partners, the International Cricket Council and Mr Denis O’Brien. Your financial contributions towards this project have ensured we have been able to bring our vision to fruition, and have placed Ireland amongst the best in world cricket.”
“Finally, in creating this outstanding facility I would like to thank Architect and Project Manager Ciaran Mac Mathuna, main contractors Clive Richardson Ltd, and Cricket Ireland official suppliers Notts Sport and Tildenet, who have all contributed to it.”
“Projects like this need both vision and a determination to make them happen, and we must recognise the dedicated work of Richard Holdsworth, Performance Director at Cricket Ireland, for creating the vision and overseeing the delivery of Phase One. Without that Richard’s ambition to create this world-class facility, we would not be here today.”
David Richardson (pictured above unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion), CEO of the International Cricket Council, said, “The development of the Cricket Ireland High Performance Centre is another important milestone in Ireland’s impressive journey as a Member. It will provide significant support for the further progression of the sport and the development of young talent.”
“Creating a sustainable impact is one of our commitments to helping the game grow and the funding the ICC has provided for this project will afford the next generation of players a world-class facility to cultivate their skills and progress as cricketers.”
Chairman of Sport Ireland, Kieran Mulvey, welcomed cricket to the growing number of sports with a presence on the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus. He said, “On behalf of Sport Ireland I am delighted to welcome Cricket Ireland to the Campus. This fine facility will help ensure Ireland’s top cricketers continue to produce fine performances on the international stage.”
“The location of the new practice facility is ideally suited for all of Cricket Ireland’s High Performance teams and staff utilise the excellent facilities and services of the Sport Ireland Institute.”
“Since attaining Full Membership of the International Cricket Council, Cricket Ireland have put in place ambitious plans to grow the game of cricket in Ireland and the development of these world class training facilities at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus will assist this objective as the sport continues to go from strength to strength.”