THE desire to become a top cricketer has burned hard within Shane Getkate for many years.
The Malahide man has been widely-tipped for years to be the next big thing but it hasn’t quite worked out like that yet.
Change was needed – and he’s made it.
This week ‘Geks’ lines out at Stormont in the Newstalk Interpro series – for the Northern Knights.
“I didn’t play last year with Leinster Lightning which was a bit disappointing,” he told Inside Edge.
“And when I got an email saying I was left out of the squad this year and just added to a training squad I felt I wasn’t going to get the opportunities there.
“I spent the winter in Newcastle in Australia, playing good cricket and taking lots of wickets, and then I played in Dubai for MCCYC against Hampshire and Lancashire and did well.
“I still hadn’t heard anything from Leinster so I took some advice and decided to change.”
Getkate is a busy man these days, playing 50 over games for MCC Young Cricketers every Monday followed by a three-dayer against a county 2nd XI. And filling in weekends playing with CSNI at Stormont and Sunbury in London.
So what’s it like to have Lord’s as the place you clock in every morning? “I sometimes pinch myself to check that I’m not dreaming,” he admits.
“I’m grateful for the amazing facilities and opportunities.”
One of those chances came up last week when he bowled 15 overs to the Sri Lankan and England teams as they warmed up for the ODI at Lord’s.
He is already licking his lips at the chance to do the same to the likes of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli when the Indians play there in July.
The MCC Young Cricketers is essentially a finishing school where talented youngsters get a chance to hone their skills on their way into the professional game.
Other Irishmen who went this route include William Porterfield, Gary Wilson and Kevin O’Brien, as well as test stars Ross Taylor (NZ) and Darren Sammy (WI).
Getkate has previously played with Warwickshire but has lined up a trial shortly with Northants while Lancashire have been in touch too.
That Warwickshire experience almost ended in tragedy when he was helicoptered to hospital after collapsing in a 2nd team fixture three years ago.
“I was very lucky that there were people who knew what to do there at the time,” he recalls.
“I spent four or five weeks in hospital but I recovered quickly and I was able to play for Ireland U19s in the World Cup qualifiers.”
Happily, heart surgeons were able to operate and get rid of the problem and he has made a full recovery. Although a county contract would be a dream fulfilled, Getkate is still passionate about staying within the Ireland set-up and has secured permission from MCC coach Mark Alleyne to play in the Interpros.
“It’s been over a year since any Irish selector watched me bowl so Mark was all for me taking the chance the Knights have offered me.
“I’ve played a lot coming up with Lee Nelson and James Shannon and I’ve played with Allen Coulter at CSNI so I’m sure I’ll be made welcome.”
When he’s up North he might even get a welcome at the historic Co Antrim ruin where the TV show Game of Thrones is filmed.
A newly-crowned Knight would surely feel at home in Shane’s Castle.
WITH the World Cup just months away, ICC is gearing up its media department with some key appointments – and that spells good news for at least one Irishman.
Former Leinster Rugby media manager Peter Breen will be joining the cricket body’s communications team.
The former Malahide batsman was previously PRO for the old Irish Cricket Union and has been working with the DSPCA in recent months.
THERE’S NO doubt that Alan Lewis loves an audience. The greatest showman in the Irish game was a frequent century-maker in cup finals and could be relied upon to perform on a big occasion.
The former Ireland captain reached his own 50 on Sunday, and sure enough, he marked the birthday with an unbeaten 56 against Malahide in the Senior 2 Cup.
The bookies are already refusing to take bets that he will score a century on his 100th.
Performance of the week: There’s a fine crop of young talent up Rathmines way, and none more than Jack Kerrison (122) and Gareth Delany (151), who put on a stunning 282 for the first wicket against Mullingar for Leinster 2nds.
Selfie of the week:
Large Irish contingent at the Oval last Friday for Surrey v Middlesex – Kevin O’Brien, Gary Wilson, Andy Balbirnie, Emma Flanagan, Mary Waldron and Kate McKenna
RSA Womens’ Div 1: Merrion v YMCA, Pembroke v Clontarf, Leinster v North Kildare, The Hills v Malahide
Saturday: RSA Men’s Div 1: North County v The Hills, Clontarf v Pembroke, YMCA v Merrion, Railway Union v Terenure, Div 2: Leinster v Dublin Univ, Pembroke II v Balbriggan, Merrion II v Rush, Phoenix v Malahide
Sunday: Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup: Waringstown v Railway, North Down v Phoenix, Coleraine v YMCA, Merrion v Ardmore, Fox Lodge v Clontarf, Pembroke v Cork County, St Johnston v Strabane, The Hills v Bready