Cricket Ireland has grown stronger through celebrating its achievements but then quickly moving on to the next element of what it takes to play at the top level of World Cricket.
Yesterday was another example of their making the right moves at the right time with the official opening of a new world-class high performance training centre at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus in west Dublin.
Phase One which was opened yesterday by Minister of State Brendan Griffin and CEO of the International Cricket Council David Richardson includes five artificial and 16 grass practice wickets, a 3,000 square metre grass covered fielding practice area, and new state-of-the-art bowling machines.
The second phase, which is hoped to be completed by 2020, is more ambitious again with a dedicated building incorporating changing facilities, coaches zone, meeting spaces, performance analysis area, and a player zone and an ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) clear roof canopy over the turf wickets – which will be a world-first in cricket – which will allow players to practice on grass including their run-ups throughout wet weather as well as controlling climate, pitch moisture and ground conditions.
Having the facility located on the Campus brings other benefits as well as Cricket Ireland becomes the sixth sport to make the Sport Ireland Institute of Sport it’s official performance centre. PLayers from the Men’s and Women’s National Squads and from the Shapoorji Pillonji Academy will have use of the state of the art Gym and medical facilities as well as the crucial benefit of shared learning from other sports and coaches.
“We’re delighted to be opening Phase One of a truly world-class training facility – an asset that will benefit this and future generations of cricketers across Ireland,” said Cricket Ireland Chairman Ross McCollum.
“The design of this facility has been developed through significant research of the world’s best cricket training facilities by our coaches and performance staff. Not only does this make the High Performance Centre leading-edge, but its co-location with the Sport Ireland Institute’s high performance gyms and testing facilities makes this the envy of cricketing nations around the world.”
“The growth of cricket in Ireland at all levels in the last 10 years – and Ireland’s elevation to Full Membership of the ICC – has highlighted our sport’s deficit in training infrastructure.”
“The new centre will provide Ireland-based players with high quality training and preparation, and will service the growing demand of multiple international and provincial teams, male and female, senior and junior – not to mention our national academy – all of whom are currently using club facilities which are already over-stretched accommodating our playing schedule, let alone training needs.”
“We would like to thank the Irish Government and Sport Ireland for their ongoing support for cricket. Through both financial support and provision of a lease for the land here at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus, we now have a dedicated home from which we can push our sport forward to new heights.”
“We would also like to thank our major funding partners, the International Cricket Council and Denis O’Brien whose financial contributions towards this project have ensured we have been able to bring our vision to fruition, and have placed Ireland amongst the best in world cricket.”
“Finally, in creating this outstanding facility I would like to thank Architect and Project Manager Ciaran Mac Mathuna, main contractors Clive Richardson Ltd, and Cricket Ireland official suppliers Notts Sport and Tildenet, who have all contributed to it.”
“Projects like this need both vision and a determination to make them happen, and we must recognise the dedicated work of Richard Holdsworth, Performance Director at Cricket Ireland, for creating the vision and overseeing the delivery of Phase One. Without Richard’s ambition to create this world-class facility, we would not be here today.”
“I am delighted to welcome Cricket Ireland’s fabulous new High Performance Centre to the National Sports Campus,” added Minister of State Brendan Griffin.
“Cricket in Ireland has been on an upward curve since the World Cup in 2007 and the performances of the Irish cricket team have helped in no small measure in increasing the game’s profile throughout the country.”
“This new cricket facility will be a great place for our elite athletes to do their training. It joins the excellent FAI and GAA training facilities already at the Campus and we hope that the IRFU and Hockey Ireland will join them in the near future.”
“The development of the Cricket Ireland High Performance Centre is another important milestone in Ireland’s impressive journey as a Member of the international cricket community,” concluded ICC CEO David Richardson.
“It will provide significant support for the further progression of the sport and the development of young talent.”
“Creating a sustainable impact is one of our commitments to helping the game grow and the funding the ICC has provided for this project will afford the next generation of players a world class facility to cultivate their skills and progress as cricketers.”
Image Credits Inpho.ie and Rob Hartnett