YMCA Cricket Club returns to Claremont Road after year long absence

Unclear who will buy land but club has discussed ground-sharing with Lansdowne RFC

YMCA cricket club will return to its home ground Claremont Road after a year’s absence now that the sale of the property has been arranged. The club has not been able to play at its usual home ever since their landlord, the YMCA Dublin charity, put the site up for sale in March 2021.

After submitting four bids in the past 12 months, the cricket club has been informed that it has not been named as the preferred bidder. It remains unclear to whom the land will be sold, but The Irish Times understands that Lansdowne RFC has in the past met with YMCA CC to discuss a ground-sharing arrangement.

Lansdowne RFC has declined to comment at this time.

There is a precedent for a shared ground initiative in the local area, with Monkstown rugby club and Pembroke cricket club both operating on the same land in Sydney Parade. The nearby Railway Union sports club also hosts both rugby during the winter and cricket in the summer.

YMCA CC has played at Claremont Road since 1911, but a leasing arrangement with its landlord ended in March 2021 when the site was put up for sale at an asking price of €10 million. The cricket club would have been permitted to still operate there during the sale provided that the board signed a deed of renunciation. However, the club refused to renounce its claim to Claremont Road, meaning they could not use the ground. Home fixtures during the 2021 season were played at Wesley College instead.

Now that a new owner is set to take over once the sale goes through after the current cricket season ends in September, the club has signed a deed of renunciation under the impression that it will be negotiating a leasing agreement with a new landlord from next season onwards.

The Dublin YMCA initially seemed likely to sell the land to a property developer, but confusion surrounding land zoning alongside political support for Claremont Road to remain a recreational facility for the various schools and clubs that use it, meant that planning permission would have been unlikely to be granted. It is understood that this has significantly reduced the asking price for the site.

The news comes as a boost both to YMCA CC but also to Irish cricket in general since the ground has hosted women’s internationals in the past as well as training sessions for Leinster Lightning, one of the country’s provincial sides. It remains unclear what condition the facilities are in after over a year of inaction, or indeed when matches can be played again at Claremont Road, but the club has stated its intention to members to resume training there this week.

Kathryn O'Mahony, chief executive of YMCA Dublin, released the following statement to The Irish Times: "In line with YMCA Dublin's current five year strategy, we plan to expand our work and fund community investment with the creation of three new community hubs in disadvantaged areas of Dublin, which desperately lack community services and facilities.

“The expansion of our services including the creation of three new community hubs will be enabled by the funds raised from the sale of its YMCA grounds in Sandymount.

“While the sale process is ongoing, we cannot yet discuss the prospective purchaser. However, we are happy to say the YMCA Dublin and YMCA cricket club have worked together to agree access terms for the season whilst the sale concludes.”

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