It is two years now since photographer Deirdre Power captured four men playing cricket on a side street in the heart of Limerick city centre. The image which appeared in EV+A symbolised an imminent image change for the sport in Ireland. Since then we have had the Ireland world cup story and now local gardai are getting involved with the Limerick cricket cup in running a 6 a side 10 over cricket competition in UL next month. They are looking for participants to represent as many countries as possible. Full details here.
Also looking for participants is a slimmed down version of hurling, called hurling cubed. It comes to Limerick on the 17th to the 19th of July in Arthurs Quay. According to An Fear Rua along with the four cubes there will be a DJ arena! If you want to check how it is played you can see Limerick's Aoife Sheehan play it in Gameball an online sports show, that she presents. Watch it here on youtube or much higher quality stream here (episode6).
Apart from that may not be much more to look forward to on the hurling front this year, (although bookies today making Limerick 40-1 to win outright seems ridiculously long odds). For a number of reasons I didn't make it to Thurles so it gave me a good opportunity to turn on the TV, kill the sound and listen to radio commentaries. I decided to leave RTE 1 out this time and instead moved between the locals. Clare FM had three on the mic with Jamsie O'Connor proving some of the analysis. Not really matching the comic or indeed passionate heights reached by Matthew McMahon, it was still worthwhile if only for the rapid fire commentary which sometime came into play. Over on Live 95, Liam Ahern is now in the slot previously occupied by Mal Keaveny. Very slick and professional, Ahern keeps the flow going with very little dead air. His analytical side kick on Sunday was TJ Ryan. Shortly after the second half began TJ confidently declared that Limerick were now getting their gander up. Within five minutes Clare had two goals and that goose was cooked. However my favourite duo came from community station West Limerick 102. Ger Downes and John Fitzgerald, with their commentary (not Daddy Freddy but fast), on point analysis and tremendous passion and energy are two that I will return to again. Hopefully they will be working right through August.