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Annual Cricket Match 2013

St Mary’s PPU V’S Leinster “CC” . Annual Taveners Match

Friday 24 May 2013

It’s the last week in May and we’re in Observatory Lane in Rathmines, which can mean only one thing - the now annual St Mary’s Past Pupils Union V Leinster Cricket Club Taveners match. After last year’s successful inaugural match, we were back for another dose of reliving past glories. And this year the weather was definitely more calypso than last year’s 4 seasons in one hour affair, with a warming sun bathing the wicket and surrounding outfield.   The connection between Leinster “CC” and the Caribbean is more extensive that the weather however, as the great Learie Constantine was once the cricket coach here and cultivated the career of a certain ex St Marys boy called Gerry Duffy, who went on to represent Ireland with distinction on over 50 occasions, including “that match” in Sion Hills in 1969, when Ireland humbled the mighty West Indies. The fine tradition of West Indies’ involvement in Irish cricket persists to this day with current coach Phil Simmons, who presided over one of my proudest day as an Irishman, March 2nd 2011, when we humbled our Perfidious Albion (that’s England for those of you who’ve forgot your Shakespeare!) on the playing fields of Bangalore.   It’s a measure of how far Irish cricket has come when we were disappointed with this year’s tie and a narrow defeat to Pakistan, who had among their ranks the Number 1 bowler in the world in one day cricket. However, above all else, this week in May was a special one for St Mary’s, and one that if he were still alive, would have made Pere Barry particularly proud, as St Mary’s College won the Leinster Senior Cricket Cup (their first victory since 1974) and Leinster Junior Cricket Cup (the first double since 1948).

Anyway enough of the history lesson – back to the match. We fielded first and thanks to the wily bowling of Ray Sloan, Jonathan Bennett, Liam O Donoghue and Alan Maguire, Leinster wickets began to tumble (which necessitated a number of trips to the drinks table to sap our thirst and renew our strength!). Leinster rallied somewhat but thanks to the cunning plan of including a former Mary’s man in their ranks who seemed intent on playing for his average, (at least until a final ball six), their overall totaldid not look too demanding. However the early loss of last year’s President meant we had to be on our guard but Captain ‘O Riordan led from the front with a quick fire 20 and yours truly managed to keep the scoreboard ticking along. Special guest Conor Hoey showed his class (by running out Ray Sloan – not very clever Beenie) and all of a sudden we were getting a little nervous as we entered the last over. A couple of missed swipes furthered our anxiety but Ed Ryan was just getting his range and promptly dispatched the third ball for 4 to ensure our bragging rights for another year  

Retiring to the pavilion afterwards amidst much back slapping and bonhomie (having made it a hat-trick week for St Mary’s cricket!), we enjoyed an excellent evening in the company of our hosts (with the two aforementioned cups adorning the bar) and I caught up with old friends from both my Mary’s and Leinster CC days. The Andy Hoey Memorial Man of the match award went to Ed Ryan for that lusty blow that secured our victory. Looking around the pavilion, I happened upon a photograph which featured my wife’s godfather, Ian Duff, who I was reliably informed, was part of the first St Mary’s College Team to win a trophy (the Leinster Junior Cup in 1945) with the above mentioned Gerry Duffy leading the team to victory with a sterling knock. It must have been some day for Ian, as he was celebrating not only the victory, but also his 12th birthday! (if you’re good enough, you’re old enough)!   As I lifted my weary limbs from the bar (fast becoming an annual event), said my farewells and headed off, I once again reflected on a most enjoyable evening both on and off the pitch. Roll on May 2014 and a Tavener’s Cricket match, umpired from on high by Pere Barry, luring me back again to a patch of green in the heart of Rathmines for a hat-trick!

Mark Lawler (1981)

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