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Mon 7th Jan 2019

By Brian O'Rourke

Cricket Leinster Youth’s South African Exchange Programme

Page 14 of Cricket Leinster’s (CL) new strategic report placed a clear goal to ‘build upon the success of the overseas school exchange programme to offer further overseas opportunities for Leinster youth cricketers’.

Cricket Leinster Youth (CLY) is extremely proud of its long-standing partnerships in South Africa and is delighted that CL has formally acknowledged the impact it has had on CL and that it is to be a cornerstone of its ambitious plans for developing cricket further within the province.

The South African Exchange Programme (SAEP), as with all CLY’s overseas link-ups, was established initially by Cricket Leinster CDM Brian O’Rourke and builds upon his own time in South Africa as a young coach which he credits widely in many articles as one of the greatest influences upon his career.

Since 2003, over sixty Leinster cricketers have participated in the SAEP with Barry McCarthy, Andrew Balbirnie, Lorcan Tucker and George Dockrell some of the headline graduates. However, and in keeping with the recent 2019 Cricket Ireland Academy squad announcements, it is apt to highlight the highly rated Harry Tector (St Stithians 2016), JJ Garth (St Stithians 2017) David Delany (Muir College 2014) and Neil Rock (Glenwood 2017) all acknowledge the impact of SAEP has had on them as cricketers.

The SAEP is special not just for the opportunity to spend nine weeks in a famous sporting culture, but those selected, traditionally in their ‘Transition Year’ academically, are fully emerged in the South African school, family and culture.

CLY is quick to acknowledge the support of the host coaches, teachers and families who ensure the players are made to feel welcome, and experience only a deep disappointment the visit is over too soon.

For the players, it is part of their development to live with and support those families, while experiencing the culture in South Africa is one of respect, hard work, long hours, and dedication to be the best you can at whatever it is you are doing.

Without the generosity of Wim Jansen, all the staff at Muir College, Glenwood High School Durban, St Stithians Johannesburg over many years, this SAEP could not be the life-changing experience it has been. We hope that they are rightly proud of their efforts, and more people come to appreciate just how lucky Leinster Cricket is to have such player development initiatives based overseas.

In recent years, CLY has been delighted to arrange for young South African students to come on a reverse exchange to spend their summers in Leinster. CLY is thankful to all those in Leinster who have supported this exchange as host families, host clubs, and for all those who have ensured the young visiting students experience in full the Irish way of life.

CLY players currently in South Africa include:

Seamus Lynch (Firhouse Community College & Terenure CC), Matthew Lynch (Terenure College & Leinster CC) at Muir College, Uitenhage, Eastern Cape.

Stephen Black (Clongowes Wood & Phoenix CC), Patrick Guest (St Andrew’s & Railway Union CC), Jack McGee (St Joseph’s Rush & Rush CC), Daniel Thorne (St Joseph’s Rush & Rush CC) & Joe McCarthy (St Mary’s College & Phoenix CC)

Mickey O’Reilly (St Michael’s College & YMCA CC) at St Stithians College, Johannesburg.

Nathan McGuire & Matthew Tonge (CUS school programme) at St Alban’s College, Pretoria.

Eoghan Keohane and Erik Jerkland (CUS school programme) at Kearsney College, Durban.

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