Today Cork is the stronghold of Munster cricket but in the not too distant past the pecking order was very different. As Limerick Cricket Club approaches its 50th anniversary I've taken time to look back on the clubs most successful decade, the glory years of 1980-89. Limerick Cricket Club was the most successful team in Munster in the '80s, winning the Senior Cup four times and Senior League three times. In 1989 to celebrate the clubs 21st year the club published a book 'LCC 1968-1989 A Brief History'. Over the next few months I will take articles, scorecards and photos from this book and publish them here.
In 1980 our club reached the Senior Cup final for the first time. Despite a fine knock of 74 from Hugh Eillott we were on the wrong side of a 33 run defeat. The club returned two years later to the Mardyke on the same stage against the same opposition (Cork Wanderers) but this time the outcome was very different. Below is an extract by Ronnie Lawlor from the 1989 book about the '82 season and that famous day!
“Come on Eileen” – Ronnie Lawlor
The 1982 season again saw Limerick C.C. on the move. Through the good offices of Bob Nesbitt and his close connections with the nobility, we were offered the use of some land on his estate in Patrickswell by Lord Harrington and thus began a season that would end in the ultimate glory.
With an influx of players from the new Alcan Plant, our playing strength was the highest for some time, and much cutting and rolling, procuring of steam rollers and chasing of cattle commenced. A satisfactory pitch was eventually prepared and nets started. Practices in Patrickswell were particularly well attended. The presence of Catherine McDonnell, our most nubile fast bowler until the arrival of John McDevitt, may have attracted the young and hotblooded and the old but optimistic members of the team.
Competent performances in the League raised hopes for a good cup run and ambition grew after a solid first round win against Harlequins. We now faced the daunting task of a weekend in Waterford for Senior and Junior Cup semi-finals.
The Waterford weekend was tinged with Senior Cup controversy and Junior Cup success. The controversy was eventually judged in our favour in the corridors of the Mardyke. The weekend was not without its consolation as team spirit and camaraderie of the highest order were achieved. Youthful Ken O’Brien and John Cheatley established themselves as bon vivants and heart throbs of the future, and Peter Nicholson etched his name in the Guinness Book of Records with the longest “huey” in Ireland – Waterford to Tramore.
Thus the stage was set for the final and our finest hour. A beautiful day and handsome knocks by Pat Dineen and son Peter, glorious bowling by Ken O’Brien and enthusiastic fielding by Alan Ruddock and Terry Allen were the features of the Wanderers’ innings.
A good opening partnership between Barry Collins and Dave Bennett gave us a bright start but a mid order collapse by the rotund Elliott and Wilson sapped our confidence. John Cheatley then embroidered the game with an innings of class and culture, ably assisted by Ken O’Brien, Alan Ruddock and Jeff Edwards. Fifty-three runs flowed from the bat of Cheatley, each one raucously applauded by our faithful and well fortified ladies. With Eoin McCann and Frank Lynch frantically pacing the boundary, the winning runs were struck and at last the Cup was ours.
Scenes of great joy, jubilation and celebration followed through a long evening and night, culminating in a brave and spirited display in the Junior Cup Final the following day. Alas the tolls of the previous evening had taken their toll and we were gallant but not despondent losers.
To the sound of Dexies Midnight Runners, we celebrated and celebrated for countless weeks and it seemed that the party would never end or the season be forgotten. But there were other mountains to climb, doubles and then trebles to be achieved and all this before we were even 21.
LIMERICK'S 1982 MUNSTER SENIOR CUP WINNING TEAM
Back Row: l to r: Jeff Edwards, Alan Ruddock, John Cheatley, Hugh Elliott, Ken O'Brien, Ronnie Lawler (Vice-Captain).
Front Row: l to r: Terry Allen, Dave Bennett, Bob Wilson (Captain), Barry Collins, Garry Hulmes, Frank Lynch.