The Magnificant 90s
It was not just the Irish economy that prospered in the 1990s, but also Merrion CC. Some have speculated on the linkages between the two and certainly Merrion has benefited greatly from the increase in the number of cricket playing immigrants. But there was much more to the 90s than an influx of antipodeans. The coaching structure in the club which for so many years had produced a steady flow of cricketers only to see them leave Irish shores to find work abroad, finally began to see a return for the effort. The often neglected junior ranks also saw a revival in fortunes with more players and teams and improved performance. And the women's section was revived after a break of over 10 years.
The revival of Merrion's fortunes at senior level during the 1990s are well documented. In 1994 Merrion was briefly relegated to the junior ranks only to be re-instated immediately by the LCU. Since the nadir of 1993 Merrion has had probably its best sustained period of success since it went senior in 1926. The facts are well known by now. Champions in 2001 and runners up in 2000 and 2002. Winners of the league cup in 2000, but probably more significant, qualifiers from the league sections for six successive years. Twice cup finalists in 1995 and 2000, semi-finalists in the Irish Cup in 2001 and of course winners of the Alan Murray Cup for six out of seven years starting in 1995. In cold statistical terms since 1994 the senior team has won 61 games out of 96 played, with only 21 losses.
In the ten years from 1991 to 2000 junior cricket in Merrion showed steady improvement. In 1990 Merrion ran five senior teams. In 1994 a 6th XI was added and again in 1996 another team was entered in the league. This was the first time that any club had entered seven teams in LCU league competition. In 2000 an 8th Cup team made its first appearance. Over the decade no team was playing in a lower team than it started in.
The most successful team of the decade was the 5th XI. In 1997 had the best performance in a single year with an impressive 97.5% on 12 wins out of 12 games played. Over the ten years it got promoted twice, winning two leagues and a cup, and only once achieved less than 50% in a league. The most successful cup team was the 2nd XI with victories in 1992, 1995 and 2000.
The contrast between the first and the second half of the decade in the performances of the youth teams was very marked. In the first five years the only achievements were two 'runners up' positions. While the second half the boys alone could boast one 'all Ireland' cup, eight times winners of league or cup and six runners up positions. Merrion also led the way in extending competitive girls cricket across all under-age groups. Within a short time Merrion came to dominate girls cricket in Leinster repeatedly winning the U15 and U13 leagues.
Finally, womens cricket was revived at the start of the 90s and by 2000 Merrion had fought its way back to senior levels as well as supporting a second junior side. In 2003 all the hard work culminated in the first victory in the league since the early 1980s, as well as runners up in the '40 Overs' league.