With thanks to the Evening Echo.
If you pass through the town of Tralee and head west, you’ll be likely on the road towards Fenit. It’s one of the many scenic routes that spoke out of Kerry’s biggest town, heading along the north of the estuary, looking across to the hills of Derrymore Island.
This is football country. Austin Stacks, Kerins O’Rahillys, St Brendan’s and particularly East Kerry rule the roost around these parts. Soccer and rugby have their place, but there’s no doubting that Gaelic Games head the table.
Imagine one’s surprise, therefore, when, about 15 minutes outside of Tralee, one looks to their left and sees an oval, with an artificial wicket in the middle. A new, fully functioning cricket pitch, now complete with clubhouse, right on the banks of Tralee Bay.
Central to the project has been Dave Ramsey. The former Chairman has been with the club since its re-founding in the late 70s, and having been nomadic for so many years, most lately playing at the back of the Tralee Leisure Centre, it was he that drove the move to what’s now known as the Oyster Oval.
‘Luck, and timing’ is what Ramsey jokingly attributed to the development, which was backed by the neighbouring Oyster Bar, but in truth there was a lot more diplomatic, political, and negotiating skill needed in order to get it over the line.
Ramsey was speaking at the Munster Cricket awards a fortnight ago, in which he picked up the reinstated President’s Award, showing his usual good natured joking, as well as no shortage of modesty for an award all could see meant an enormous amount to the Donegal native.
It also put Ramsey forward as Munster’s nomination for Oasis Cricket Ireland Volunteer of the Year, at their awards ceremony earlier last week.
Cork County came away last year with the Club of the Year award, in a groundbreaking achievement for Munster Cricket, and Ramsey joined Limerick CC (Club) and Matt Reed (Groundsman) as being Munster’s three nominations on the night.
All three well deserved. Limerick’s commitment to youth cricket, and growth at Senior level puts them at the forefront of cricket development in the region, while Reed managed to keep the picturesque Mardyke a carpet, and prepare some excellent wickets despite the ever-increasing amount of games, and difficult weather this summer.
However for solicitor Ramsey it was set to be a date he will never forget, winning the award in front of the great-and-good in the country, and recognise the several decades of service he’s given to cricket in Kerry and in Munster.
The gorgeous Oyster Oval a fitting symbol to his legacy, but no time to settle, plenty more work left on a promising horizon for County Kerry.