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New £630k centre will help Ireland take on cricket's the big hitters

 

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Big day: Cutting the ribbon at the opening of the Cricket Ireland High Performance Centre are (from left) Aideen Rice, Cricket Ireland president; John Treacy, CEO of Sport Ireland; Cllr Anthony Lavin, Mayor of Fingal; Brendan Griffin, Irish Minister for Sport; Ross McCollum, Cricket Ireland chairman; and Dave Richardson, CEO of the International Cricket Council

Big day: Cutting the ribbon at the opening of the Cricket Ireland High Performance Centre are (from left) Aideen Rice, Cricket Ireland president; John Treacy, CEO of Sport Ireland; Cllr Anthony Lavin, Mayor of Fingal; Brendan Griffin, Irish Minister for Sport; Ross McCollum, Cricket Ireland chairman; and Dave Richardson, CEO of the International Cricket Council

The new £630,000 High Performance Centre

The new £630,000 High Performance Centre

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Big day: Cutting the ribbon at the opening of the Cricket Ireland High Performance Centre are (from left) Aideen Rice, Cricket Ireland president; John Treacy, CEO of Sport Ireland; Cllr Anthony Lavin, Mayor of Fingal; Brendan Griffin, Irish Minister for Sport; Ross McCollum, Cricket Ireland chairman; and Dave Richardson, CEO of the International Cricket Council

Cricket Ireland may have just been accepted alongside the world's top teams, but the players will want for nothing in terms of practice facilities after the opening this week of the High Performance Centre.

The new £630,000 facility, at the Sport Ireland National Campus in Abbotstown, west Dublin - site of the new National Cricket Stadium, due to be completed by 2022 - has been based on the best cricket resources worldwide and improved on.

Phase one includes construction of five artificial and 16 grass practice wickets, a 3,000-square metre fielding practice area and state of the art bowling machines.

Phase two, due to be completed in 2020, will include a performance analysis area and player zone in a dedicated building and outside a clear roof canopy over the turf wickets - which will be a first in world cricket - to allow players to continue practising on grass throughout the winter and wet weather.

Members of the Ireland men's and women's squads, including Nathan Smith and Shane Getkate, were using the artificial nets on opening day with national coach Graham Ford operating the fast bowling machine - called TrueMan - by wifi, adjusting the speed, swing, line and length. The batsman sees an LED animation of a bowler on the front of the machine running in and then synchronising exactly with the release of the ball. In an adjacent net, Merlyn, the spin bowling machine, can replicate any spin type.

Dave Richardson, head of cricket's world governing body the International Cricket Council (ICC) was in attendance at the opening and praised Cricket Ireland for their forward thinking.

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"It's great to see something that started as an idea many years ago now become a reality," he said. "The Cricket Ireland High Performance Centre will be a huge boost, not just to the current squads but future generations of players who have exceptional facilities to help develop their skills.

"We are delighted to see cricket in Ireland moving forward at such a rapid pace, and that can only be beneficial to the players, coaches and support staff to be on a multi-sport campus like this and an environment where cricket can learn from the other sports, like Gaelic and football (who already train there), rugby and hockey."

And Richardson also noted that not only Ireland players will be able to make use of the centre.

"The venue will also provide outstanding practice facilities for touring teams to Ireland in the coming years," he added. "As a sport we are committed to building a culture of respect in cricket, and access to excellent training facilities for touring sides is a crucial plank of that, and when the world's best team use this centre it will enhance Ireland's reputation as great hosts.

"It will be extremely useful in assisting cricket become a sport accessible to all, something we in ICC in particular are aiming at.

"It's also great to see different organisations coming together for the long-term benefit of sport in Ireland, so thanks to Sports Ireland and the Irish government for their support and I look forward to following the further progression of cricket here in Ireland."

Cricket Ireland chairman Ross McCollum said the centre was essential to back up the growth of cricket on the island at all levels in the last 10 years.

"Ireland's elevation to Full membership of the ICC has highlighted our sport's deficit in training infrastructure," said McCollum.

"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, all of whom are currently using club facilities which are already overstretched accommodating our playing schedule, let alone training needs.

"Cricket Ireland would like to thank the Irish government and Sport Ireland for their ongoing support for cricket and our major funding partners, the ICC and Mr Denis O'Brien.

"Your 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."


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