Belfast Telegraph

Heasley asked to help Lurgan hit the big time

By Ian Callender

Former Ireland international Derek Heasley is the first Director of Cricket at Lurgan.

The progressive NCU Section One club, who have one of the best youth set-ups in the country, will give Heasley overall control of cricket at Pollock Park, reporting to the club committee.

Heasley, who will be 39 next month, will continue playing but his part-time post — on a one-year contract, although there is funding for the project to continue for a minimum of three years — will also see him in control of senior practice sessions two nights a week and at least one session with the elite performance panel.

Cricket Ireland identified Lurgan and Muckamore last year for specialist coaching and Heasley will work closely with development officer Johnny Gillespie in bringing on the 13-17 year-old age-group.

Speaking yesterday about the new appointment, Lurgan Cricket Club chairman Graeme Hunter said: “Derek has played for a number of clubs in his illustrious career, the last few in the Premier League with CIYMS, and we might be accused of bringing in another hired gun to get us back into the top flight. But, remember, we can’t get promoted next year (the Premier League is being reduced to eight teams in 2012) so we are in for the long haul.

“Of course, playing will be a major part of Derek’s role but it will be even more important to bring on the youngsters and ensure they want to stay with the club. He impressed at interview, has a Level 2 coaching certificate and keen to get his Level 3 badge. We are very excited by the appointment which is another piece of the jigsaw to get Lurgan back to the big time.”

Heasley played 60 times for Ireland from 1996-2002, scoring 952 runs and taking 65 wickets. His club career started at his home-town club Lisburn before joining Carrickfergus and Glendermott. Lurgan were relegated from the top flight for the first time in their history in 2007 and although they won promotion in 2009, they were relegated again last September, failing to win a single match on their return to the Premier League.

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