Knockharley Cricket Club
Knockharley is the only cricket club in county Meath competing in the Leinster Leagues. The club is located in Veldonstown, which is just 7 miles from Navan. Currently Knockharley competes in three leagues in the Leinster Cricket Union and has had many successes over it's 25 year history. Knockharley's 1st XI captained by David Symmons in 2009 won the Inter A league title and went unbeaten throughout the season.They had made it to the final of the Middle 2 Leinster Cup in 2008, but unfortunately were unable to defend the cup having won it in 2007 under captain Ralph Condie. We currently have an U-15 boys team in conjunction with Mullingar CC which competes in the Leinster League.
Origins - by Conor Ffrench Davis
Knockharley Cricket Club was founded in 1982 after it had been noticed that the game was being played during the summer months in back gardens throughout the area during the previous year. A group of interested persons approached Mr. Richard Byrne of Ashfield, Beauparc, County Meath who had played the game over many years. Mr. Byrne was most enthusiastic and very generously made a piece of ground in a field behind his own house available to the fledgling Knockharley Cricket Club. The following year league cricket was started in the Leinster League and at the end of their first season the club moved up a league, a move that was repeated the following year.
In 1985 a second XI was started and an existing agricultural building was converted to a clubhouse with all facilities including a veranda into which all our resources at the time were sunk. The second XI entered the bottom Leinster League in 1986 and has played league cricket consistently ever since. In the late eighties a ladies eleven flourished with three successive moves up the league ladder in 1989, 1990 and 1991. By 1992 Knockharley's first XI had progressed up through six leagues.
The old grounds at Ashfield were the host to many representative ladies matches, including an Inter-provincial in 1993 between North Leinster and Ulster. The supreme moment came in 1995 when the under 19 International between Ireland and Denmark was held there as a follow-up to the Ladies European Cup in July.
In 1994 Richard Byrne, on whose land the club had been playing on for eleven years announced his intention of retiring from farming. In order to fulfil the terms of the farm retirement scheme it would be necessary to turn his farm over to this successors unencumbered, and so he was obliged to give notice to the club that at the end of the subsequent season, in about eighteen months we would have to leave the grounds.
This was a watershed in the history of the club. The difficulty in finding a suitable landowner who was willing to restrict his/her farming activities in the area where the games could be played was obvious. There was no question of folding up the club, so the logical course of action was to purchase our own ground. Early the following year a piece of land only a mile and a half from the grounds of Ashfield, in the townland of Veldonstown became available. Funds had started to be collected as soon as the club had made the decision to acquire a premises and the local community provided generous support.
This land was bought and became Knockharley's new cricket ground. Immediately the task of preparing a proper "square" was put in hand. The outfield was also completely drained, tilled and re-sewn. All the work was carried out with the advice and supervision of the Leinster Cricket Union grounds committee.