Eoin Morgan: ‘An Irishman transforming a sport they invented’

Dublin cricket club says England captain is ‘as genuine now as the day he left the place’

England cricket captain Eoin Morgan, born in Ireland, highlights the diversity of his side - which contained players born in New Zealand, South Africa and Barbados, as well as the grandchildren on Pakistani immigrants - following their World Cup win.

 

The grounds of Rush Cricket Club in county Dublin are little more than a pitch and small clubhouse.

Last night that small clubhouse was rocked by cheers as Rush CC alumna and Irishman Eoin Morgan captained England to their first Cricket World Cup victory.

Overlooking the grounds is a housing estate, where Morgan grew up.

His former Rush CC coach, Matt Sheridan, says Morgan has “revolutionised” the way England play cricket.

Traditionally conservative in their tactics, Morgan had called for “hard batters that weren’t afraid of hitting the ball out.”

“An Irishman transforming a sport they invented,” Sheridan laughs. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he got some sort of honour after this.”

A British passport holder since birth, Morgan declared for England in 2009. He had previously made his debut for Ireland aged 16 and went on to win 63 caps.

Sheridan says Morgan’s decision to declare for his mother’s native country was a natural progression for the young batsman. “Ireland couldn’t offer him the career path that he needed,” he says.

Ireland’s recent promotion to test status - the same as teams such as India, Pakistan, England and New Zealand - may make it difficult for promising young players to progress as Morgan did, according to Rush CC club chairman Alan Butterly.

“They’re considered [to be]overseas players now,” he says. “Before we got test status, they were able to go across and play on a county team [in England or Wales]. But a county team can only bring over two overseas players a year.

As a boy it was clear Morgan was going to be successful and Sheridan says “he had international ambitions from a very young age”.

“He was a very focused young man … he was tactically aware as an eight-, nine-, ten-year-old; years ahead of his age groups”.

Sheridan says when BBC came to Rush to do a programme on Morgan, they were fascinated by his unextraordinary upbringing, relative to that of his privately-educated England teammates.

Asked if the success has changed Morgan, Butterly replies: “Eoin is as genuine [now]as the day he left the place”.

Its small size hasn’t held Rush CC back. Another Rush native, wicket keeper Neil Rock, captained Ireland’s Academy team in England this year aged 18.

This year’s Ireland Wolves squad - an international team below the full test side - included two Rush CC members - 20-year-old Stephen Doheny and 16-year-old Nathan McGuire.

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