By Aaron Doyle, The Nationalist

Carlow Cricket Club were visited by three Leinster Cricket coaches last Friday as part of a coaching workshop where the players and coaches of the club got tips on how to improve their game.

Coaches Brían O’Rourke, Robin Kelly and Andy Brawders came down to pass on their expertise to those in attendance at the cricket field at the Carlow Rugby Club grounds in Oak Park.

“It is very important to develop the game outside of the heartland of Dublin,” said O’Rourke, who is originally from Carlow. “There are a sprinkling of clubs in the Midlands that don’t have the same support so days like this are important for us to help develop players and to spot talent for the future.”

Carlow Cricket Club is a growing club which is currently in its sixth season.

“We are doing a lot around the area to get our name out there,” said club secretary Jimmy Dooley. “We are working with the local primary schools and we also have partnerships with the CBS in Carlow as well as It Carlow. We have around 40-50 members at the moment but with these partnerships, we are always looking to expand on that.”

The club has expanded a lot since its early days of just having a team playing the occasional friendly and now has teams at U11, U13 and two adult teams competing in Division 9 and Division 15 in the Leinster Cricket League respectively.

“Our first team made its debut in competitive leagues last year and they dominated Division 15,” said club chairman Ben Parmeter. “They were then fast tracked to Division 9 as they were head and shoulders ahead of everyone else last season. They are finding it tougher this year but it is positive to see them there.”

While the club has grown since its early days, there is still progress to be made. However the Leinster Cricket Union see the growth of the game in places like Carlow as a positive sign. “It is encouraging to see this support for the game down here. It is a battle for clubs like Carlow and those outside the big cities like Derry, Belfast and Dublin to keep going but when we come down and see the support and enthusiasm for the game, it is an encouraging sign,” said O’Rourke.

Like cricket clubs around the country, Carlow is a multinational club with members from 12 different countries.

“We were mostly set up to support the Rohingyan community and to help them become part of the Carlow community” said Dooley. “Since then we have attracted people from typical cricket playing countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Burma to places like Poland, Hungary and Romania. We also have a few locals playing for us too which is helpful. Most of the mix can be seen in the younger age groups rather than the adult teams at the moment.”

While it is important for the club as a whole to get the expertise from the Leinster Cricket Union, it is also a big day for the players themselves. U13 player Raian Hossain said: “It is important for us to get better. These coaches have loads of experience and they can help the younger kids especially to get better when they go to play matches in the future.”

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