A first for Ireland - Cage Cricket comes to Ballyhaunis in County Mayo
Here’s a great little story about cricket interest growing in Ireland. Mayo Sports Partnership and the Ballyhaunis Sports Hub, in conjunction with Active Communities Network and Cage4All, recently launched Cage Cricket at Scoil Íosa NS Ballyhaunis - the event forming part of Mayo Social Inclusion Awareness Week.
Community coaches from across Connacht were trained up in the rules of the game with members of the public invited along for the first ever game of Cage Cricket played in Ireland. Children really enjoyed the game, with actor and Cage Cricket co-founder Colin Salmon providing a little extra star power to a great weekend.
• Unfamiliar with Cage Cricket? Here’s a short video.
Cage Cricket is a fun new game that the Mayo Sports Partnership will be using as a vehicle to promote social inclusion, physical activity, integration and community involvement by delivering to different community groups such as Direct Provision Centres, community youth groups, national schools and active retirement groups.
Elmer Pieterse from Mayo Sports Partnership (MSP) said: “In 2015 the need was identified for more inclusive opportunities within Ballyhaunis. MSP, through Sport Ireland and Dormant Accounts funding, established the Ballyhaunis Sports Hub to provide more opportunities for people to be physically active and improve participation levels throughout all ages.”
“As part of our plan to provide these pathways and build strong links within the community, MSP teamed up with Active Communities Network and Cage4All to bring Cage Cricket to Ballyhaunis.”
“The game itself is dynamic, visual, high-octane entertainment fused with the attitude of youth culture and extreme sports. Played in an enclosed space, it is the only format of competitive cricket played as an individual with one format played across all abilities and ages. Players score points when they bat, bowl and field with the winner having accumulated the most points by the end of the game.”
“The game is also played in a fair manner with every player spending equal time in what’s called the Red Zone, running the game making sure all the players abide by the rules eliminating the need for an external umpire or referee. This encourages educational, social and ethical development of both the individual and group by focusing on skills such as leadership, communication, responsibility and respect.”
Trevor McArdle, co-founder and CEO of Cage Cricket, explained: “Cage Cricket is designed to be played in areas with limited space, using Multi-Use Games Areas, gym halls and indoor spaces. It’s a batting, bowling and catching game where you play as an individual against the other players. Everyone has a role, it’s vibrant, colourful and exciting and young people are drawn in. It’s a street sport and young people are taking ownership of the game by taking the core ingredients of a sport that they want to be involved with and packaging it to fit back into their community to engage them.”
Speaking about their role, Gary Stannett, Chief Executive for Active Communities Network (ACN), said “ACN is a charity organisation using sport to impact on social issues like youth engagement and social cohesion. Partnering up with MSP and Cage4All is a natural fit for us and we will continue to build on this relationship to create opportunities and inspire change.”
Also in attendance was Cricket Ireland’s Participation Director Elaine Nolan. She said: “I think Cage Cricket is the perfect vehicle for involvement in the sport in Connacht as well as nationwide, I look forward to investigating how we can grow its reach.”
Welcoming the visitors and players, Cora Gilligan from Mayo County Council said: “Mayo Social Inclusion Awareness Week has exceeded all expectations, a celebration of all that’s happening in and around our communities - as well as its diversity. Games like Cage Cricket help to make communities more inclusive and connected.”
Image: (from left to right) Elmer Pieterse MSP, Gary Stannett ACN, Elaine Nolan from Cricket Ireland, Elizabeth Murphy ACN, Trevor McArdle and Colin Salmon Cage4All, Cora Gilligan Mayo County Council and Janette Slattery MSP.