Mayor Peter Kavanagh celebrated the 4th of July weekend by throwing the first pitch in the game between the Belfast Buccaneers and Cork Cosmos held in Corkagh Park on Saturday. Mayor Kavanagh, a keen baseball player with the Dublin City Hurricanes, paid tribute to the impact baseball has had on the county. “Baseball is second-most widely played team sport in the world after soccer,” said the Mayor, “and South Dublin County is proud to be the first home baseball had in Ireland. The National Baseball Facility in Corkagh Park, Ireland’s Fields of Dreams, a crucial part of the park and will play a huge role in the masterplan to redevelop Corkagh. While baseball grows in places like Cork, Belfast and Ashbourne, there will always be an important part of baseball’s story in Ireland that revolves around Clondalkin and South Dublin County.”
The National Baseball Facility was opened on July 4 1998. Funded by then-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers Peter O’Malley, Dodger Field and O’Malley Little League Field have been home to the Dublin City Hurricanes and Dublin Spartans ever since and have hosted international tournaments, including the Peter O’Malley Invitational Championship as part of The Gathering in 2013. “Corkagh Park has been home to many special days for Baseball Ireland. I won three national championships in Corkagh as player-manager of the Hurricanes, and the 2013 tournament as part of the Gathering was a tremendous occasion for the county,” said Mayor Kavanagh, “The parks team of South Dublin County Council are fantastic and enable minority sports like baseball and cricket to thrive in our county, and they deserve every credit.
”Baseball Ireland President Tom Kelley said, “We are honoured to have the Mayor of South Dublin County throw out the first pitch at Corkagh Park this 4th of July weekend. Baseball is growing in Ireland, but we all remember that it began here in Clondalkin, and we are proud to be part of the sporting community in Corkagh Park and in South Dublin County.”
Pic: Ben Ryan