Belfast Telegraph

Howzat! Son and ex-Ireland star mum on rival teams for cricket clash

By Ian Callender

It was a game to remember for this mother and son - which filled them both with pride.

Last week, former Ireland cricket international Julie Logue ended up playing against her 16-year-old son Aidan.

It was a first round game in the North West Senior Cup and Burndennett were drawn against Fox Lodge. Julie has been a lifelong member of the Burndennett club but because they have no boys' team, Aidan joined Fox Lodge, the club next to their Co Tyrone home in Ballymagorry.

"When I found out that we were meeting Fox Lodge and I would be playing against my son, I felt nervous combined with excitement," said Julie.

"It was a very proud moment for me as a mother. Even though the slagging had been going on for weeks, I really wanted Aidan to do well. But on the day my competitive streak kicked in and I wanted Burndennett to win.

"Even before we got on the pitch we were getting stick from both teams, but it was all in good humour."

The result was a convincing win for Fox Lodge, who play one division higher than Burndennett, but Julie played a significant part in prolonging the match, sharing a stand of 102 with Eddie McGettigan after her side had lost the first eight wickets for just 29 runs.

"It was a case of I only had to stay there and use up the overs. I just poked about and let him score the runs," she added.

"The game from our point of view went awful and Aidan just kept looking out at me as each wicket fell; when I went in I was getting smiles and kept being asked to hit him a catch.

"I enjoyed being able to stay there until the end and I'm sure he was proud of me for that."

As Julie pointed out though, it wasn't the first time that Aidan had played at Burndennett.

"He was on the same side as me because I was five months' pregnant when I played in the semi-final of the Cup for the second XI, 17 years ago." she said.

It was to be Julie's last game for some 12 years, until the girls at Fox Lodge persuaded her to start playing again and in two years there they won the league and the cup. Julie then spent a year with Strabane Ladies before taking the plunge and forming a ladies team at her beloved Burndennett.

This year is the 30th anniversary of Julie's first season as an Ireland player - she was just 17. She recalls that the year before she hadn't even known there was an Ireland women's team.

"It was UP McGettigan, a Burndennett committee member, who came up to me one Saturday and told me Ulster were playing a game against South Leinster and I had been picked to play. In those days, at Burndennett, we just played in tracksuits so he had to take me to a sports shop to get a proper playing kit which, of course, in those days included a skirt!"

Julie obviously made an instant impression with her Ulster performances - by the end of 1988 she was playing for Ireland at the World Cup in Australia.

She played 12 internationals over the next two years but the training between matches took its toll on the North West girl.

"We were training every Sunday morning for two months before the season in Dublin and that involved getting the bus from Strabane. In those days that was a four-hour journey, there was no motorway, and I wasn't even able to stay for the whole session. I would be shouted at to tell me to get into the car, to get back to the depot to get the bus home, arriving back at 10 at night. So it just got too much for me."

Julie was persuaded back into the Ireland set-up five years later by former Ulster team-mate Donna Armstrong and played seven more times.

She added: "The opportunities now for the girls and indeed the boys - with Ireland's men now playing Test cricket - are so exciting."

Julie is still making the journey to Dublin, this time in the comfort of her car, to meet the Under-15 Ireland girls squad, where she is assistant coach.

Meanwhile, back at Burndennett, Fox Lodge had lost only two wickets when they won the Senior Cup match, so Aidan didn't get the chance to bat with his mum, a wicket-keeper, directly behind the stumps.

"I just became mum again off the field but have to live now with the stick for a while to come. I hav e to take it as I gave enough leading up to it. But I'm a super-proud mum of a super-son."

Belfast Telegraph

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