Councillor Michael Gleeson, who won All Ireland football medals with Kerry in 1969 and 1970, is behind a move to persuade Killarney Town Council to provide a new cricket ground in the town, according to the Irish Examiner’s Kerry correspondent, who adds that 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 greats, past and present such as Dick Fitzgerald, Johnny Culloty and the Lyne Brothers not to mention 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 councillor since 1999 and recent General Election candidate for the South Kerry Alliance , made the proposal,at the recent Town Council 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, told the Examiner that he first came to appreciate the importance of native sport to exiles when he played football abroad.
Hundreds of people from cricket-playing countries, including Britain, India and Pakistan and some from as far away as Australia and New Zealand, are living and working in Killarney but have no place to play the game.
Cllr Hugh Courtney, seconder for 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.
There is of course a long established County Kerry Cricket Club – originally formed in the late 1860’s and which plays at O’Dowd Park on the outskirts of Tralee. www.kerrycricket.com – fascinating history – worth a read.
The County Kerry Cricket Club is currently competing in the 2nd and 3rd divisions of the Munster Cricket League.
The club was also responsible for the creation of the Kerry Twenty20 league in 2007. There are currently four teams involved in this league namely: Tralee Aces, Tralee Eagles, Dingos (Dingle) and North Kerry (Ballybunion)
Who knows – if the Killarney proposal comes to pass ,perhaps one day before too long we may be watching a new breed of Kingdom warrior take on Pietersen, Strauss and Cook in Knockreer.
That would teach the I.C.C a lesson for having excluded Ireland from the next World Cup!