The Early Years

Horace William Rochfort of Clogrennane was the founder of the Carlow Cricket Club. The date of the foundation of the club is given as 1831. However the first cricket game to be played in the county was thought to have taken place as early as 1823. It is to be noted that the Phoenix Cricket Club in Dublin included a number of Carlow players on its team. Men like Horace Rochfort, J. Hardy Alcock and Vigors were all active in the club. Indeed, Edward Vigors Alcock was the secretary of Phoenix from 1830-1852.

In Carlow, the grounds were at Bennekerry, a short distance outside the town. This venue was on the lands of Beauchamps B. Newton, Esquire. A notice from the Carlow Sentinel of May 1834 stated that the Carlow Cricket Club "will meet at their ground at Bennekerry" on the following Friday and on every Friday throughout the season. J. Alexander Junior was the secretary of the club at that time. Home matches against Kilkenny were played there too. In 1834, the committee elected to manage the affairs of the club were William Fitzwilliam Burton Esq., Beauchamp B. Newton, Esq. and Henry Cary, Esq, members were obliged to pay their membership subscription annually, in July or else they would be removed from the register. By 1838, there were reports of a "Great Match" between Carlow County Cricket Club and Phoenix, which was won by the Carlow side.

Around this time, Clogrennane became the new location for cricket in the county. The Kilkenny Cricket Club had been established and the new venue was a convenient grounds for matches against the neighbouring side. It is likely that the prominence of Rochfort in the local club also gave rise to the decision to relocate. Cricket was becoming increasingly popular among the ascendancy classes and it featured frequently on their social calendar. Matches were arranged with clubs and counties at further remove. For instance, Carlow played Meath in County Meath with the return game being played at Clogrennane. On that occasion Carlow won the "away" game but were defeated in the return match at their home venue.

The principal game in the sporting year was usually that against the Phoenix Club. Other fixtures were arranged with clubs from neighbouring counties, chiefly Wexford and Kilkenny. The local aristocratic families including the Alexanders and the Vigors were prominent among those who were active in the game. After this period, the Carlow team began to suffer a number of defeats. It became evident by the 1850's that cricket was going into decline in the County of Carlow.

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