Cricket Ireland pay tribute to Alan Ruddock
Cricket Ireland and Glasgow Herald
Cricket Ireland Chief Executive Warren Deutrom has paid tribute to the respected journalist and author Alan Ruddock, who died suddenly at a cricket match on Sunday.
"I'd like to pass on the deepest sympathies of all of us in Cricket Ireland to Alan's family, friends, and colleagues. Alan had latterly become a great champion of Irish Cricket, and had begun the process of our sport being taken seriously as an Irish success story, not least because of his own love for it.
"Mostly, of course, it must be devastating for the family to lose a husband and a father so young – our thoughts are primarily with them today."
As a mark of respect, The Sunday Independent, for whom Alan worked, has named the award for the Irish International Cricketer of the Year, 'The Alan Ruddock Trophy' in his honour.
There follows his obituary which appeared in today's Glasgow Herald and is reproduced with their kind permission.
Alan Ruddock, who has died suddenly at the age of 49, was editor of The Scotsman during one of the newspaper’s most crucial and influential periods – 1998-2000 – which saw devolution and the creation of the Scottish Parliament.
Although a Dubliner by birth, he devoted his editorship to ensuring the newspaper recorded Scotland’s historic events with accuracy, impartiality and panache. Ruddock, a keen sportsman who collapsed after playing cricket on Sunday, spent the latter years of his career in his native Ireland, where he became one of the country’s most prolific all-round journalists, covering politics, economics and sport, notably for the Irish Independent and the Sunday Independent.
In 2007, he wrote a well-received (except by its subject) biography of the controversial Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, entitled A Life in Full Flight.
Alan Stephen Dennis Ruddock was born in Dublin and became a keen all-round sportsman while still at school, playing rugby, football, cricket and tennis. He was already 32 when he got his big break in journalism as a reporter for the Sunday Times and his talent and Irish charm led to his appointment as editor of the famous newspaper’s fledgling Irish edition, which he developed from 1994.
He overcame Hodgkin’s disease, a type of lymphoma which has a high cure rate if treated early. Ruddock married Jackie Kilroy, daughter of one of Ireland’s wealthiest men, the then governor of the Bank of Ireland, Howard Kilroy, who was also president of the country’s largest industrial company, Jefferson Smurfit. Ruddock and Jackie purchased a country home called Rathmore House, described by one of his Sunday Times colleagues as “a splendid pile”, with an estate of 55 acres of prime land in County Carlow and a mile of fishing along the River Slaney.
After the Sunday Times, Ruddock had spells with the Sunday Express (1996) and the Mirror Group (1996-98) before his reputation led The Scotsman to give him the top editorial job in 1998.
He oversaw the editorial side of The Scotsman’s move from its traditional headquarters on Edinburgh’s North Bridge – now the site of the Scotsman Hotel – to its offices on Holyrood Road. He left the job in 2000 to return to Ireland. “Alan was a fine editor of The Scotsman,” said the newspaper’s current editor, John McLellan. “He was an instinctive journalist with a keen eye for political and business stories. He steered the paper at a crucial time for Scotland and his sharp brain, combined with his Irish background, meant he had a natural feel for the issues facing the country.”
Once back in Ireland, he became one of the mainstays of both the Irish Independent and its Sunday sister. On Sunday, a few hours before he died, Ruddock had picked up the Sunday Independent from his local newsagent and read the aggressive front-page story he had co-written. It suggested Ireland’s would-be bank bailout by the National Asset Management Agency (Nama), aimed at cleansing banks of toxic debts, had turned into “a bailout for builders and developers”.
Typical of his prolific output, he also had two sports stories in the same edition: one predicted that his fellow Dubliner, left-handed batsman Eoin Morgan, could be “an Ashes ace” for England. The other gave the financial background to next September’s World Equestrian games in Lexington, Kentucky, driven and largely-sponsored by another Dubliner, Dr Pearse Lyons, founder and president of the Alltech animal nutrition company.
Ruddock was a great supporter of Cricket Ireland – the Irish cricket union – and was planning to be at the Ireland-Australia one-day international in Clontarf, Dublin, on June 17.
His writing on Irish issues was also in demand from newspapers in the UK. On May 28, 2002, after Irish footballer Roy Keane’s bust-up with manager Mick McCarthy, he wrote in The Independent: “It is difficult to convey the devastation that swept through Ireland on Thursday. Normally-sane people likened it to a death in the family, children and grown men cried and the Taoiseach’s office was flooded with calls beseeching Bertie Ahern, the great conciliator, to intervene. Ireland had lost Roy Keane, the iconic leader of its football team, in bizarre and inexplicable circumstances, and with him went all hope of progressing in next week’s World Cup finals.”
When Ruddock decided to write a biography of Michael O’Leary, the Ryanair boss withheld his approval and cooperation. Ruddock proceeded regardless and the book, published by Penguin, gave an insight into O’Leary’s childhood and his motivation.
Ruddock lived with his family near Tullow, County Carlow. He is survived by his wife Jackie, their teenage sons Matthew, Daniel and Cameron, his father John, his sister Gill and his parents-in-law Howard and Meriel Kilroy.
Former editor of The Scotsman;
Born July 21, 1960;
Died May 30, 2010.