Rush Cricket Club -80th Birthday Speech
Good evening everyone. I’m going to talk us through a synopsis of out last 80 years in general and our last fifty in more detail. What I do say here is based on documented evidence so if it is not as you remember it I can only apologise for the records of the time. I am certain there will be omissions but I have tried to make it as accurate as possible. The first mention of cricket in Fingal is from the diaries of Margaret Taylor 1830 when the Taylors of Ardgillan played the Palmers of Rush. I’m including this here to explain that the roots of cricket in our area stem from the matches between the big estates – the Talbots in Malahide, Taylors in Ardgillan, Cobbs in Newbridge and Palmers in Rush. Teams were made up from the families, staff and tenant farmers and their sons. The Fingal cricket league started in 1926 but there is no specific mention of Rush in the records I have found so far. The early days in Rush are a bit fuzzy around the edges and most of what I know is from Ciaran Clear’s notes from an event similar to this evening 30 years ago. I was going to say that Ciaran kept meticulous notes but I think it would be more accurate to say that he kept copious notes and in a good variety of forms on scraps of paper, back of envelopes and my personal favourite on the back of a cigarette pack. There is also a beautifully written account of the early days written in 1979 by Ellen Barnes (nee Murray). She describes the idyllic scene and there are a couple of copies here if anyone would like to read it later. By their accounts any cricket that was played in the 1920’s was social cricket played on the South Shore, then The Drummonds (which I’m told is back of Larry Kane’s house), Martin’s Field (where the national school now stands and they called themselves Millpark CC), Carey’s field (down the lane across from Price’s) in 1933 to Kenure when Col Fenwick Palmer offered a ground. Ciaran Clear has recorded how, when they were still in Martin’s field, the teams from Dublin arrived by train, the team would collect them on their bikes and give them a lift on the bar of the bike, play a match, have tea and listen to the Tests in Martin’s front room and back to the train again.. Many of the records from this time were lost in a fire in Martin’s house. So the club is attributed as being formally founded and registered with the Leinster Cricket Union in 1931 and were the first Fingal club so registered. They very quickly won their first trophy the Junior Cup in 1933 under the captaincy of Simon Hoare – there are some photographs here from the time. Rush first Fingal team to win a Leinster Trophy. Rush went on to win the cup in ’37, 38 and 39. The Leinster Women’s cricket Union was founded in 1938 and Rush was one of the founder members. Actress Marie Keane and Mildred Carrick were players at the time. They only played for two years - after the outbreak of the war fuel shortages made travel difficult - maybe they should have borrowed the boys bikes and given them a lift. Before she died, Isolda Howard of Leinster told me two stories of the time – once when they came to play Rush the Rush players wore black as a mark of respect for someone who had died and another time a player running backwards to take a catch fell in to a cock of hay on the edge of the ground! The men continued through the 1940’s and 1950’s with wins in the Intermediate league and cup though there is evidence that there was no cricket in 1943 and again in 1960. In 1961 the current resurrection took place – a delegation to Col Palmer asking to use the ground as a soccer pitch was originally turned down but then agreed that they could play. Once the season was over they decided that they might as well play cricket in the summer. They re-affiliated with the Leinster Cricket Union and promptly won the Minor league in 1962 and tied with Leinster for the Junior League in 1963. I should point out that the league titles are confusing as they changed names many times as the league structures expanded. Hopefully archivists in the future will have an easier job now that they are numbered straight through. This was an active time for Ciaran Clear and there are lots of memorabilia here for you to enjoy – teams, registrations lists, membership, averages – they are not all dated though many are. The minutes of the time are very entertaining and paint a lovely picture. The 1964 Secretary’s report describes how Jimmy Nicholson produced ‘terrifyingly brilliant bowling’. I was told by Tony Sourke and Michael McGuinness that Jimmy moved to Wexford – since there is only one Jim Nicholson in the phonebook I took a chance and called him. He said that Rush memories were very happy ones - he was delighted to hear that Ciaran’s grandson is a player and is now Club secretary, that Jim Coleman’s grandson is Treasurer, that Michael McGuinness’ daughter became the first capped player in the club and that Mike Joe Butterly’s grand-daughter became the first Rush player to win a Senior Trophy when the Women’s team won the Pilkington Plate this year. I have promised to send him the fixture list and he says that he will visit in 2012. Just as the club had settled in to a happy place they got word that the Kenure estate was going up for sale by public auction and that the Colonel would not be in residence after November 1964. The club asked to hold on to their ground but the land commission said no –copies of the correspondence are here on the wall. It was then decided to ask to buy land from the Land commission to develop a ground and keep the club going. This has to be the single act which decided the future of the club. When you consider that it had only been resurrected in 1961 the passion that drove them must have been fierce. This is made all the more clear when it became obvious that the only site offered was heavily wooded – as Ciaran said beech, ash, oak, sycamore – everything but willow! So in their wisdom or foolhardiness the committee of Paddy Martin, Andy Monks, Michael McGuinness, Ciaran Clear, Ed Scanlan, PJ Doolan, Jim Walls, Mike Joe Butterly and Tony Sourke – made the big decision to turn a wooded area in to what we have today. Everyone has 100 stories of the next 5 years and I could keep you here for hours but I’m going to let them tell you at the bar. Suffice to say after an enormous amount of work the new ground opened on 20th July 1969. For those of you who remember it was the day that man landed on the moon. The minutes record that they had a match, singing and dancing and that they all went out on the pitch, looked at the moon and did the Hokey Pokey!!! Ciaran was in his alley with this and has recorded all kinds of events from the old ground and the new ground – he was the first to call play – first run was to Alan Caren, first six Alan Caren and the first man out Alan Caren. Its all copied on the back wall. Ciaran also recorded that the first work on the new ground was on Wednesday 25th May 1966 when R Whelan, PJ Doolan, Ed Scanlan and Ciaran Clear turned up to clear a piece for a practice strip! Before I go on I must pay tribute to out cricket friends in Balrothery and in particular to Martin Russell. When Rush were homeless they played their home games in Balrothery for one or two seasons. Several people remembered that Martin always prepared the ground for them. Rush just rocked up with their banana and jam sandwiches and played their matches. Many people asked me to thank Martin for a kindness that has not been forgotten.The club prospered in their new home and won trophies in 1969, 1971 and 1972. By 1973 we were fielding a third eleven and a fourth team by 1976. The Leinster women’s cricket union re-formed and the women’s team in Rush were again among the founder clubs and won the Division 2 league in their first year. Ann O’Brien and Angela Murphy became the first club members to win individual Leinster awards when they were awarded the Division 2 bowling and batting cups respectively.The next milestone was the opening of the new pavilion in September 1980. There are plenty of pictures around and thank you Wayne for the unofficial ones. The firsts were now playing Senior 3 and the steady income from the newly opened bar meant that the committee of the time could plan for the future. The club had run on the good nature of a volunteer force that were committed to its success. On the notice board near the door is the bar rota for 1983 – when I looked at it I wondered how Tom slept at night! There is also a cleaning rota for the lodge and bar for your amusement. The regular income meant that we could also strive for professionalism on and off the field – Winnie became a full time bar staff and was to continue for 14 years, later she was followed by Jemmy, Tony and now Brian. We employed coaches to strive for excellence on the pitch and a groundsman to work on the ground. We were also able to buy the lodge and develop the ground with it – making the playing ground larger and making a good practice facility. The arrival of Alf Masood had a huge effect on the team – he brought discipline to the side and was very effective in bringing out the best in players. He worked on their strengths rather than their weaknesses and when we won the Senior 2 league and cup double we battled hard for Senior Status. We played in the 1991 Senior Cup under the captaincy of Michael Marsh and Donners became the first Rush man to score a senior 50. It was to take until 1995 to realise the dream but it did happen and Alan Beggs became the first senior league captain. We are fortunate that Derek Scott keeps meticulous records and every senior run, wicket, catch and record has been carefully noted. There are all up here in ring binders behind me and some are copied on the back wall. To give you a flavour, Dara Armstrong’s senior record was from 1991-1997. During this time he did not miss a match and played 63 matches in a row. He also won the Hopkins cup in his first three years at senior level and for many years afterwards. On their debuts for Rush, Michael Donnelly, Alf Masood, Naseer Shoukat, Saadat Gull and Dan Van Zyl all scored 50s. Although these records all make fascinating reading it is all the teams that make the club. By now Collette McGuinness had become the first Rush member to gain an international Cap – she was later followed by Naseer Shoukat, William Porterfield and Carole McGuire. Although many of the Rush players joined other clubs (more anon) and gained International status I have only recorded here those who were capped while playing for Rush. The club realised early on that supporting the youth structure is the only way that the club would prosper. The first youth team were harvested from the North beach when Brendan Maypother rounded up a few footballers – Matt Sheridan, Willie Coyle & Gerry Monks included and introduced them to cricket. The youth teams have brought much pleasure and despair (in particular in the memory of those who lost the U13 cup final) to us all. Many of those who completed questionnaires acknowledged the encouragement, enthusiasm and frankly the stamina of Ed Scanlan and I would have to add patience. Many others followed and gave back their time to the club. In 1998 it was decide to provide coaching in the three primary schools in the parish and this continues today. We now field nine hugely successful teams. Their successes are also recorded on the back wall. Rush has always had the ethos of a family club and still strives to promote this. But it is of course a dynamic club and changes evolve with time. Over the years many of our cricket family have sought cricket elsewhere when they thought that the faraway hills were greener (or in some cases the not so far away Hills!). Some have returned and some have gone on to greater things – I think of Caitriona Beggs, Ciara Metcalfe, Fintan McAllister and of course Eoin Morgan. All full Internationals and all are proud of their Rush roots and acknowledge them regularly. We had a moment of history earlier this year when the captain of Ireland and the Captain of England were both ex-Rush players. No other club can say that! We still have four men’s teams and we now have two women’s team. These economic times means that we rely again on the good nature of a volunteers to help the professionals at coaching, mentoring, catering. I want to pay tribute here to the ladies who always help with the catering. While the tea-room has been under the masterly control (over many years) of Doe Weldon, Irene Hearst, Monnie McCann and Linda McGuire there are always plenty of helpers who ease the workload.Rush members have also given a huge amount of time to the Leinster Union and to Irish Cricket. Over the years we have chaired Youth Branch – Paddy Martyn and Michael Marsh, Women’s Branch Ann Harford and Siobhan McBennett and Matt Sheridan has been the first member to act as President of the Leinster Cricket Union. This work also serves our club in good stead.As I read though 50 years of Minutes and Secretary’s reports the same themes emerge time after time after time: Players not turning up on time, players not practicing, members not supporting social events – but of course they always turn out ok in the end. The other running theme has always been finance and fund-raising and believe me it was no different in the 60’s , 70’s and 80’s than it is today. Many in the club have contributed in ways that do not have a price but I hope that for them the pleasure is in giving. I remember Dorothy Doolan telling me that Paddy Martyn asked her to make the teas one day and she said that she would for him. He said –‘Oh no Dorothy – it’s not for me it’s for the club’. That was the lesson I learned from her – do it for the club.So as we go forward what other milestones will there be? Who knows. We have reached two All Ireland Finals and One Leinster Senior Cup Final – the men’s team have yet win a senior title. Have we still work to do? – yes we do. I hope that the next time someone stands up here to celebrate a club birthday there will be more to celebrate.Siobhan McBennettCiaran Clear – 50th anniversary
If cricket was played in Rush prior to the mid-twenties there seems to be no record of it. However, about that time games were played on a more or less friendly basis that included me and as far as can be ascertained were undocumented. Until in 1930 the club was formally established playing mostly Fingal matches and friendlies. This was the start of the club that now continues and celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with the first solid structure pavilion in the Fingal area and the writing of these historical notes. Under the captaincy of Michael Kelly (of the Mill) and Secretaryship of Geoff May the club played its home games out at the Drummonds until 1932 when “Carney’s Field” was offered by the late R.M Carney – here the club prospered for a year. Then in 1933 a couple of acres in Kenure Park were offered by the late Col R Fenwick Palmer who became life President of the club. Here began what all who remember it consider an idyllic era – First the setting was lovely – the picture book cricket ground it was called with the “Big House”, the gate lodge, extensive park – the trees, the wooden styles and fences, even the lowing of cattle and horses. Add to this, after some very hard work, a beautiful wicket.From Ciaran Clear 1980 Who remembers? There must be some senior citizens who could come up with the answer about Millbank or was it Millpark CC. True(?). Last yeat Freddie Leopold, over what should have been a ....drink, produced to me a cutting from a twenty five year old Sunday Independent, which stated unequivocally “ Ciaran Clear bowled Aspill(for) 0” ! Naturally I protested that there was another mention round about that time which stated ‘Ciaran Clear n.o. 96’ but I had no written proof. Freddie had. But as we were all Old Belvederians every ..... finished as Rev Fr Larry would have liked. But to come back to serious matters – It is utterly astonishing to me personally, how many queries I’ve had since the article Michael was generous enough to include in the last issue of this magazine about the bouncers and beamers that Rush CC had withstood. Cricket people – both Fingal and Leinster have said/shed – “But wasn’t there another team out there years ago?’ I can answer - ‘yes there was!’ It was started by two Belvedere schoolboys – the late Jimmy Martin (who eventually became in cricket terms “Mr Rush”) and myself. We had both learned our cricket from the Belvedere Coach. The ‘Jays’ were always good at this – consider the first – Frank Worrell. A.E.Knight (Leicester & England) Quote his words ‘ Never go out lad with five things – a box, two pads and two gloves – anyone who does won’t be playing cricket - he’ll be protectin’ himself’! Even today, so many years later we see people going to the wicket not wearing gloves – heroes how are ye! – ‘Gloves only bother me’!Jimmy Martin’s father owned the field (Martin’s field) and gave Jimmy a bat and gloves and a ball. My father gave me a bat, gloves and stumps – I think both our fathers (God Bless them) shared the cost of wicket-keeping gloves and pads and my uncle Paddy provided another bat. The field was owned by James Martin – up to a year or two.... Anyway most of the old score books were burned in the fire at Martins shop years ago. So if it hard facts that are required then we need to hold a séance (Imagine that! – Jimmy Martin, Paddy Martin, Paddy Carty, Iral Ward, Peter Carty, Joe Kelly, Geoff May all trying to get in on the Ouija board). In flowing whites makes “whites”. Possibly in a couple of cases – harps! How can Joe Kane 4 n.o. for the last wicket give any idea of the tension His! Ours! Theirs! In the last over of a cup match –he hit a boundary - we won – but a bald note in a score book gives nothing of the surge of emotion that the thing really communicate Rush Cricket Club 30/50 As far as I’m concerned and I think its fair to say that I know as much as anybody living about it now – a lot of fine people being dead and me being older than most surviving members (I started in Rush Cricket Club in 1931 – but there had been others (27 years??) 1 In Drummonds – playing among ourselves 2 Carneys Field – Robert A Carney 3 Passing phase – matches against the visitors on the south strand 4 J Martin & myself - our fathers helping – Martin’s field - Millpark CC 5 Move to Kenure – RCC – J Martin – Jimmy Murray et al Fingal - anecdotes – beer half barrel – Oldtown, Naul etc. Geoff May, Paddy Clancy, Bertie Pembrey, Victor Cole, Michael Kelly, Boxer-Jack Kelly (sen), Penem Kilt, Eddie Clear, Jack Leonard (often umpired), Figgis – Peter O’Brien – would to God we had the score books to show his slow bowling figures – then came Jim Coleman – Alec – Kit Russell, Kit Mooney – Matt Murray (wickets). Jim Carty, Jim Cotter (Clongowes) – later Joe Walsh, Tom Walsh, Paddy Carty, Joe St Lawrence, Ciaran Clear, Dom Weldon, Godfrey Quigley, Patrick Leonard (The arts well represented), a very young Iral Ward, Tom Murphy, Jem Murphy, Kennedy. The ladies team: Marie Keane, Kitty Weldon, ....Jones Meanwhile Millpark CC J Martin, P Austin, Carricks, K Lennon, R Cusack, A Cusack, Des McGee, ?Kent Bollard, Ger Monks, Cra Monks, Joe Martin – other McGuinnesses – a Butterly or two.Playing in Martin’s field where the Boys school now stands – we played all the big clubs – collected them on the crossbars of bicycles from the station – rode them into Martin’s field and usually (not always) beat them. Tea in Martins front room where James Martin (father) had his beautifully built home made (and powerful\0 radios – we could listen to the Tests on these – Bradman, McCabe, Larwood and all the big ‘Uns – Oh what a lovely time it was! Sunshine – working on wickets – Martin and me opening innings – tears fill my soul – joyful tears because of the grand things – my 96 not out – and sad – very very sad tears for so many good friends – creating good times – who are prematurely gone out: Caught The Devil – Bowled God!!