The sharing arrangement with CYM continued into 1986 but Sandyford continued to try to explore the possibility of a separate facility. An agreement was reached between the Club and CUS school to use the sports ground at Bird Avenue and in return to help restart cricket in the school. The MacConvilles and Cliff Kennedy were past pupils of the school and were delighted that Kevin Jennings, then the Vice Principal and Sports Master, was very happy to see cricket reintroduced to the school. Sandyford members were glad to have access to proper changing rooms and showers but members had to commit to Saturday mornings to train the schoolboys in the rudimentary arts of cricket. Failure of a member to show up for coaching would often result in "disciplinary measures" being taken by Tiernan against the individual. CUS has since gone on to become the foremost cricketing school in Dublin, which is a great legacy of the club. A permanent net structure was built and Leinster CC kindly donated its old wooden sightscreens to the club. Lifting the sightscreens over the walls of the Leinster ground in Rathmines and getting them to Bird Avenue is an event not soon forgotten by those involved.

Early Sandyford Side

An early touring Sandyford CC side: Back row (l/r) BrendanMacConville, John O'Shea, Des Bergin, Ray Coghlan, Dave Bergin, Pat Redmond, Cliff Kennedy, Peter Collier. Front row: Nigel Parnell, Tiernan MacConville, Colm Campbell and John Fennell.

Sandyford used Bird Avenue for some matches in 1986 and transferred there completely from 1987 to 1992. Despite considerable efforts, getting a good playing surface in a ground used primarily for other sports was difficult was there was no artificial wicket laid there at the time and the situation was not helped by the creosote which was used by the school's grounds man on the tramlines for the rugby pitches which intersected the cricket square. The Club continued to look for other possible sites and to liaise with Dublin County Council on the matter. The Council continued to refer to Marlay. CYM usage had reduced to pretty well zero. In 1992 Sandyford raised the matter with the LCU Executive. There was some trepidation in that some people who were unhappy with CYM playing all matches on an artificial surface felt that the availability to them of Marlay kept alive the long-term possibility of having a grass alternative. Michael Sharp, Junior Secretary of the LCU, supported the Sandyford position quite strongly. He felt that the club had made significant strides since being formed and sanctioning them to develop and use the Marlay facility was the proper way forward for the LCU.

Michael Sharp

Michael Sharp (left), Junior Secretary of the LCU, who assisted Sandyford in its quest for rights to use the cricket pitch in Marlay. On the right Ray Shimmins, Club Secretary (1995-7) ,Treasurer (1998-2000 & 2005-6) and President  (2009-2012).

This position in effect won the day but it had to be acknowledged that the LCU did have a responsibility to CYM and Sandyford would have to come to agreement with them. In 1993 and thereafter the LCU in effect moved out of the picture and Sandyford became the tenants of the ground as far as Dublin County Council were concerned, having paid CYM a "fee" (donated to the club by the LCU in the form of a grant) for the equipment left behind in Marlay, namely the Portacabin and sight screens. The club has remained in Marlay Park ever since but in 2007 due to a reorganisation in the Park, the club was asked to move to a new location beside the courtyard and where it has now constructed an artificial wicket.

Next Chapter - 1985 to 1990

Last Updated (Monday, 11 March 2013 17:28)