Thursday, July 04, 2019

By Harry Shorthose

BAGENALSTOWN cricket club members welcomed RTÉ presenter John Creedon to the club on Friday afternoon as he filmed for his new TV show, Creedon’s Atlas.

“I got asked what kind of show I wanted to do and I decided I wanted to do a show around the place names of Ireland and where they came from and what they can tell us,” the presenter told The Nationalist exclusively as he arrived.

“A thought that crossed my mind was that places translate to wet, boggy field. People don’t know that that’s what it means and they go ahead and build a housing estate on it and it ends up on the nine o’clock news, flooded and we wonder why. That’s why there’s information in the place names. You can’t say Bagenalstown without wondering who was Bagenal and who were the Bagenals.

“Obviously Bagenalstown and Muine Bheag was an obvious one because it’s a town with two names so that’s why we came here. Growing up, I would have heard about Bagenalstown and I had a friend, Hugh Brown, who lived over in Ballinabranna who I knew through radio so I would have been around here a few times along the way.”

He says he is enjoying his travels around the country.

Members of the Bagenalstown cricket club with RTE’s John Creedon during his recent visit to McGrath Park Photos: Thomas Nolan Photography

“It’s an opportunity to see the various cultures in the different towns. We can’t just sit down and academically discuss the place names, we also have to bring a flavour of the place.

“Whilst we were in Bagenalstown, we did a story on the Gaelic Games and how there were three clubs and how they’ve amalgamated into one [referring to Bagenalstown Gaels] and then there was this side of town about how cricket has flourished here over the years and how it survived more than anything else, that’s what brings us here.”

He did admit he wasn’t a very experienced cricketer.

“I’m afraid my sporting days are over but I’m game for a laugh as they say. I’ve often watched it, I don’t understand the rules at all but I’m interested in learning something.”

He then went out for a bat and looked a natural as youth team star Eoin Sheridan-Pope got the honour of bowling at him first. He struck the ball well and ably dealt with the Bagenalstown bowlers before they ramped things up with a bit of pace as the club’s highest wicket taker this season, Zeeshan Mumtaz, came on but couldn’t get him out.

However, after a lot of persistence, 16-year-old Dom Byrne eventually did get him out as Creedon missed a rare ball.

“It was good, scary in parts. I surprised myself to be honest with you. It was very fast, I struggled to see it. Survival was a very strong instinct. Brilliant experience though. I know there’s layers upon layers to the culture around cricket, to the rules and so I walk away knowing just a little bit more. I have to say it’s a nice feeling and what I like about it is that it’s very ordered so it’s a real test. You never know, I could have been a contender,” he added.

Club chairman Mat Baker was only too delighted with the publicity.

“It was a really good experience. It was all very interesting, a great bunch of guys. I think it’s really good for the club. It will really increase our profile. We’re sure there’ll be plenty of people watching. He seemed to really enjoy it. A great day, a really positive experience.”

The programme airs on 25 August on RTÉ One.

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