Inner View: The Irish National Baseball Team
By John O’Brien, Jr.
A swing and a fly to deep centerfield. A Way Back … Last November, we interviewed the Irish National Baseball Team’s coach, Jay Murphy and Irish born plyer Patrick Mitchell. We spoke on the team, the process and how we can help the team develop the American pastime, baseball, in Ireland.
This month, we follow up with Coach Murphy on Patrick, the season, team travels, and how the focus has already turned, to next year.
What I hope is that kids in Ireland will see the things this team is doing and say,
“Hey, I want to do that, I want to be part of that, and pick up a glove.”
– Irish National Team Coach Jay Murphy
How is Patrick doing?
Patrick is at Penn State Alleghany, a 2-year Jr college in Pennsylvania, playing baseball. It’s a good fit for him; his folks looked at it, and agreed it was the best place for him. He continues to work on baseball and pursue his studies.
How did the team do this past year, Jay?
The national team went to Bulgaria. They didn’t qualify, France won the whole thing. It was the advance qualifier to the senior championships played in 2024. We have a talented group – we just couldn’t get that hit when we most needed it.
Our senior team kids hung in; they have a lot of heart. The first time to got together was when we showed up in the Czech Republic. The government knew it would be quite the challenge. We won the last game, against Lithuania, 11 to 3. I was really proud of them.
We played the 18U European championship. Spain won at all. It was well-done, first class, with the countries national anthem, country jerseys and flags, etc. They are wearing the Team Ireland jersey on their chest; it made them very proud; they want to stick with it and do better. It was a father and son coaching staff for Ireland.
It is the biggest baseball event in Europe. The quality play compared to middle Tier 1 schools here in the U.S. The exposure we gain ties into fundraising*, player recruitment*; it ties into recognition of baseball in Ireland being raised to a higher level.
What I hope is that kids will see all of the things this team is doing and say, “Hey, I want to do that, be part of that, and pick up a glove.” We are hoping the current players will encourage the kids in Ireland to get involved. We are self-funded, we have to raise the funds for flights, hotels, equipment, etc. We have to build off that momentum, the people that are involved and following the team are excited by it. We need much more resources.
What does the European Championships mean to you?
It was an opportunity for me to see baseball firsthand in Europe. It gave me a much better understanding of what we have to do to be competitive for next year. We are already looking for players and evaluating talent. *
A lot of it right now is the work behind the scenes: making phone calls, evaluating players, trying to get Ireland to host the 2023 qualifying tournament (can US/Ireland companies fund it so we can do a great job, and thereby raise the profile of Irish baseball on the world stage?).
We have the Irish Baseball Indoor Training Centre in Finglas (Dublin), called “Strike Zone” (Click HERE to view Strike Zone facility), or copy & paste: https://baseballireland.ie/strike-zone/ but need help and resources to take us to the next level. The pros are inviting forty players from the tournament to try out in the U.S.
We are hoping the current players will encourage the kids in Ireland to get involved. We are self-funded, we have to raise the funds for flights, hotels, equipment, etc. We have to build off that momentum, the people that are involved and following the team are excited by it. We need much more resources.
These games are what we are working from. Everybody went home thinking about that game and what we have to do in the country of Ireland. We have to keep working on developing our players. We need to find the right people to get in front of to get help, maybe 501(c)(3)s or sponsorships; Can they help us?
Interested in helping the Irish National Team and looking for a way to get involved?
Get involved and support the team in day-to-day operations
Donate funds for general or specific expenses
Connect potential supporters/sponsors to the team and Coach Murphy
Refer eligible players of Irish descent
Contact Coach Jay Murphy: j2*******@gm***.com