How Popular Is Cricket In Ireland?

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Anyone who looks at the history of cricket in Ireland will easily notice that the sport declined massively for a long time. Cricket started in the country roughly around the mid-1700s and it made a pretty fast ascent to the top. About a century later in the mid-1850s, cricket was already the most popular sport in Ireland. The first intentional team successfully beat England and the sport was at its peak. However, towards the end of the 1800s, it declined. Some may say it was some political agenda but no one truly knows.

Today, cricket may not be the number one sport in Ireland but it will be hypocritical to deny its growth over the past few years. And not only has the team had success in international contests but also in domestic growth as there are reports of more than 50,000 cricketers on a domestic level from private teams to universities. And now, most Irish betting sites rank the sport highly because of the traction it has gained. But overall, how is the popularity of the sport presently? Stay with us.

Has Cricket Peaked Recently In Ireland?

While the sport is still on a steady rise, it has had some notable highs in more recent years. One will be the 2005 ICC Trophy which Ireland successfully hosted. Although they did not emerge as champions, that alone was a boost to the country’s cricket reputation. They also managed to finish as runners-up behind Scotland.

The 2007 Cricket World Cup also gave Ireland a popularity boom because although they did not win, the team recorded victories over some of the sport’s giants. Here are some of their notable performances in the competition:

  • Ireland won Pakistan by 3 wickets
  • They won Bangladesh by 74 runs
  • Tied with Zimbabwe

Although these are the only successes they recorded in the World Cup, they were regarded as big wins in everyone’s books.

2009 also marked another high for Ireland as they recorded great success in the ICC World Cup Qualifier hosted by South Africa.  The team shocked everyone and came out as the champions of the tournament, defeating Canada with 9 wickets. These accumulated successes served as a significant peak for Ireland. 

The Impact Of The Pandemic on Irish Cricket

COVID-19 impacted sports worldwide and Irish cricket was not an exception. The cricket board in the country had to take some inevitable measures to guarantee the safety of players and fans. 

Perhaps one major decision that affected the sport was playing matches in empty stadiums. Although we get that it was to reduce social interaction, many believe that it limited the growth of cricket within that year. This is because cricket is already viewed as a slow-paced and boring sport for many. 

But with prior successes, many gave in to the pressure and began to watch it. And even as fans, we can say that watching cricket in an empty stadium is not very fascinating. So the belief is that some upcoming fans potentially lost interest at that juncture.

Another thing that impacted cricket in the country was the mass postponement of games. A couple of matches were postponed in the Bangladesh summer tour. Ireland was meant to play three ODIs and four T20I games but due to the intensity of the pandemic, they were forced to postpone the games. Going so long without action is bad for a sport.

The team also had to withdraw from several series games which greatly impacted the teams. These measures were huge blows for both the men’s and women’s Ireland cricket teams.

Will There Be More Growth? 

It undeniably gets better every time. For instance, the ICC granted first-class status to Ireland in 2017. That alone brought more spotlight to the country on an international level.  In 2019, Ireland was estimated to have over 1000 cricket clubs and up to 25,000 children actively participating in the game. In our books, it is pretty clear that the future is bright for this sport in Ireland.