It was Dr Martin Luther King that once began a speech with the words "I have a Dream". Well, I had a dream that would involve schools across Kildare all learning and playing Cricket, and I may have just seen that dream becoming a reality. It was two years of planning. It took a huge amount of help from Naomi Scott-Hayward from Cricket Leinster. Funding was required from Kildare Sports Partnership and Halverstown Cricket Club. Cricket Leinster would provide the Coaching and it took the schools wanting to try a new sport that wasn't the traditional GAA or Soccer.
The two schools chosen were Scoil Bhride in Kilcullen and Brannoxtown CNS. We were super lucky in that, we also had a brilliant coach going into the Schools in Anne O'Meara who is the Development Officer for Kildare and Meath for Cricket Leinster. We agreed that Anne would visit the schools weekly for training sessions, in the basics of Cricket for 4 weeks leading up to the Easter Holidays and the culmination would be a Blitz with the pupils from each club taking part up at Halverstown Cricket Club.
On the day we were blessed with the weather. The Cricket Gods were truly smiling down on us, nodding their approval. We had 120 kids all playing together across the pitch at different stations. The enthusiasm was off the scale and the competitiveness was all there to be seen. They loved every minute. Looking on was Syl Merrins from Kildare Sports Partnership, Cllr Tracey O'Dwyer and Hubert Beaumont, President of Halverstown Cricket Club. It was clear to see them all looking on with jaw dropping admiration.
The Blitz finished up with both schools being presented with a trophy for their participation throughout the programme. The message from the Schools, Cricket Leinster and Halverstown was clear. We want more of this. We want to take this to more schools starting in September. Funding is crucial to this, and we are hopeful of getting it. Yes, I'm biased but Cricket is a wonderful game that caters for everyone of all ages, boys and girls together. Maybe the Leprechaun Cup awaits for these two schools in 2023. We'd love to help them get there.
Finally, out of those 120 kids that took part, maybe the next Kevin O'Brien or Isobel Joyce was out there. Who knows where that journey will end, but I do know where the journey started. That was here.
Stuart Conroy

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