Cork Cricket Club

Mardyke is Mainstay of Cork cricket life

There is quite a bit of evidence to suggest that cricket originated in France. We know that the first international was played in the USA between the home side and England. Back in those days of the early 1800’s the game was only beginning to find its feet both in Britain and the colonies.

The Gaelic Athletic Association wasn’t even a conception at that period and, because the eternal battle between bat and ball was the only challenge offered to the Irish youth, cricket flourished throughout the country in the initial stages.

It became very popular with the general populace in virtually all counties, particularly Tipperary. It has strong roots in the Ireland of today. The Mardyke in Cork, with its fascinating location and picturesque setting has been, for very many years, the acclaimed venue, the cathedral of cricket, in this land. It is nature’s gift to cricket and to the city.

The Dyke has suffered her agonies down through the decades. At one stage there was considerable pessimism that she would even pull through to see another dawn. That, happily, turned out to be totally misplaced. In fact, a bright, buoyant and successful future is now seen as an inevitability. All the signs are in place. A burgeoning youth policy has produced a progressive team policy where, in fact, most of the Cork County teams, from minor to senior, are top of their respective Munster leagues. The senior squad’s ambitions in the powerful Leinster league have, so far, been vindicated and the club captain Robert Duggan has led the side with elan and drive.

But the edifice, the pavilion that supports all these activities, is now Cork County’s pride and joy. For a time it had a miserable existence and only the members’ fortitude kept it alive. Bit the building was often sick and said to be in terminal decline.

Five years ago, the members, supporters and the business fraternity of the city rallied to her aid and a first class restoration programme was completed. The tsunami that prostrated parts of Cork in November last included the famous grounds. The floods left the officers, Kieran Aherne (president), honorary secretary Donal Donovan and honorary treasurer David Griffin in a dilemma of mind boggling proportions.

But, again, though dismayed, they were successful in finding a solution. They formed a steering committee – David Griffin, Shay Livingstone and John Power – to be in total charge of the renovation and restoration work which went on over a six month period.

Now, the new Lady of the Mardyke is ready for unveiling in all her glory and in all her majesty. She is a fir queen for any consort. The new bar area has been remodelled, refurbished and refreshed and, just now, the Long Room, incorporating the old and historic Pavilion; the new dressing rooms, shower and toilet areas have all received a thorough make-over that would great rejoicing to the proprietor of any five star hotels. All this and heaven, too, luxuriating in the quaint, somnolent setting of the famous cricket grounds.

The programme, at first, was supervised on site by Stephen Hickey and, then, by Matt Reed who carried it through to its glorious conclusion. These, and the driving force of the steering committee of Power, Liviningstone and Griffin, a trio of dedicated and resourceful people, saw the good ship Mardyke to a safe anchorage.

What was achieved, this time, will never be attempted again. The dream and the wish have been fulfilled and the club, free from construction worries can happily sit back on their laurels.

Sean Power
Evening Echo, Thursday, June 10, 2010.

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One Response to “Mardyke is Mainstay of Cork cricket life”

  1. Jim says:

    Great venue it has to be said. A joy to play in. Top of every league in munster though? come on guys!