History of Cricket in Galway
Cricket has been played in Co. Galway since the early nineteenth century and records indicate a game was played in Eyre Square, Galway City, in 1838. However local games were probably played in the grounds of the Erasmus Smith's College, which was the local grammar school. In the period 1870 to 1914 the Club produced 12 Irish internationals. Following the Great War (1914-18) cricket declined in the west of Ireland and it is unlikely that much cricket was played in Galway until the Club was revived in 1948. The new Club had a successful period winning the Irish Junior Cup in 1953 and finishing as runners-up in 1954. During this period the wicket was located in the Grammar School, College Road, Galway, but in 1958 the buildings and grounds were sold to University College Galway who, almost immediately, dug up the cricket pitch and the Club folded.
Return into Existence
The present Club was formed in 1971 by J. F. Smith. Stanley Lowe, who had been the last captain in 1958, became President and the new club assumed the name of its predecessor. For many years the Club lead a peripatetic existence playing home matches in the grounds of the University, on university soccer pitches and local rugby football grounds. For a few seasons games were played in the grounds of the Grammar School whose buildings then housed two departments of the rapidly expanding university. Wickets were extremely crude for the first few year then a Recticel mat, which is still used for indoor practice sessions, was laid on a sand or unprepared earth base. This served for many year until it was replaced by a permanent Notts artificial wicket.
For many years the Club played mostly friendly matches. The only competitive games were cup competitions. In 1974 they reached the Irish Junior Cup final and subsequently reached the finals of five cup competitions organized by the Midland Cricket Association without winning any of them. Since 1987 the Club has been a member of the Munster Cricket Union whose competitions now provide most of the Club's fixtures. In 1987 and 1989 the Club won the Munster Junior League, doing the double in 1989 when the Munster Junior Cup was also won. There was also a fitting success in the 25th Anniversary year, 1996, when the Junior Cup was won for the second time, during the last over of the game. In 1999 the club won the Munster Senior Shield competition.
In 1983 the Club purchased a three acre site outside the city at Lydican, near Oranmore. The ground, which was formerly used for growing cabbages, was levelled, grassed and a rough square laid in the middle of which the artificial wicket was re-located. The original artificial wicket was replaced in 1996 thanks to generous sponsorship by CSI International. While it is an aspiration of the Club to have a grass wicket, it has generally been considered impractical in the west of Ireland due to the wet climate and the amount of attention such a wicket would require. Once the ground had been purchased the Club struggled for many years to meet the costs of repayments. In 1994 the financial burden became so great that the Club almost folded. However a final determined fund raising effort with generous sponsorship from many individuals, cricket clubs, businesses and banks finally saw the Club reach the required target, settle the loan and become the proud owner of its own ground, the first cricket club in Ireland to do so for many, many years.
In 1996 the Club celebrated its 25th anniversary with a series of gala events including visits from various representative sides and culminating in a replay of the Clubs fist match against Limerick CC with the several of the original participants involved. The Club is currently embarking on a development programme to improved the changing facilities at the ground. This is being carried out in a phased manner as there is a strong wish that the Club should never have to carry the burden of prolonged load repayments. It is hoped to complete development within the next two years.
Any cricket in the west of Ireland involves a considerable amount of travelling. Until 1998 the nearest clubs were in Limerick and Athlone, both over 60 miles from Galway. Despite the time commitment and travel involved most fixtures are fulfilled, both home and away, and we are extremely grateful to those teams who take the time and trouble to visit Galway for a game of cricket. Without their support cricket in the west of Ireland could have ceased many years ago. The Club is still interested in playing friendly matches and in 1999 welcomed two international touring sides, Chetna CC from India and Crusaders from Melbourne, Australia.