To everything there is a season.

A time in the year when your mind starts to wander, and you check the skies above and the calendar in the kitchen. When your favourite sport kicks into action after what they call the off-season.

There’s never really an off button for lovers of sport, of course. The field may be empty, but there’s plenty of action going on in your head, reliving great days and speculating when the next might lie ahead.

Covid has confused it of course, and no-one’s really sure when the seasons start, or finish, in the three big ball games most popular in this country. But for as long as I can remember, lengthening evenings are harbingers of the new cricket season.

There are other signs too, such as the smell of cut grass as I pass the entrance to the nearest club to my home, YMCA in Sandymount. The olfactory delight is tempered this month, however, by the stink caused by a large hoarding advertising that the ground is for sale.

A time to keep and a time to cast away

The club that has produced more than a dozen internationals for Ireland’s men’s and women’s teams is on the brink of an unthinkable departure from the ground it has called home for more than a century.

Around the time YMCA cricketers were starting to play in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, an American doctor, Luther Gulik, came up with a triangular emblem for the organisation which symbolised its philosophy of mind, body and spirit.

Since then, the charity has looked after the mind and spirit through religious works and educational projects while leaving the sports clubs to do their own thing. Its soccer club even played a season of League of Ireland a century ago and a thriving club grew up in Dublin 4 also featuring hockey, tennis and cricket. The other sports moved away to more suitable arenas but the cricket facility is now one of the best in the country, home to the Ireland Senior Women’s team.

Except, this time next year the lush outfield may be ploughed up and readied for whatever scheme of apartments and housing may be next to occupy the 6.6-acre field.

A time to rend and a time to sew

The charity’s chief executive Kathryn O’Mahony says the €10million sale is necessary for the City of Dublin YMCA to do its work, saying, “The sale will allow the organisation to expand its charitable activities in those areas which are disadvantaged in Dublin… and allow it to innovate and expand its impact dramatically in those areas of Dublin where there is much need for such services.” Artfully playing Dublin 4 off against Dublin 2, O’Mahony’s new vision for the organisation appears to cut across the mind, body, spirit ethos of its founders.

But it would be wrong to see YMCA as a posh club in a posh area well served by cricket clubs. A quirk of history has placed four of the five senior clubs south of the city in the same postal district, and all four serve a much wider constituency, including plenty from Dublin 2.

The club will find it hard to argue against such a windfall being spent on services to the poorest communities in Dublin at a time of great need but they say they provide a great service too and are appalled that they were given 36 hours-notice before the advertisement of sale was published. YMCA say the City of Dublin YMCA has little or no respect for what it does in the community.

A time to keep silence and a time to speak

Club president Heatley Tector is angry, but resolute. “We are a club of 131 years standing and the current All Ireland T20 champions. We have an enormous heritage to fight for, and that we will.”

The new season started yesterday, with a game in the redrafted women’s Super Series. Youth players are back but the adults are awaiting some Nphet relief. It’s a huge summer for the Ireland senior teams with World Cup qualifiers coming up and everyone is itching to get going.

A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing

The men’s interpros kick off next Saturday, and the extraordinary times mean several Dublin-based players are moving up north on temporary loan deals to get an extra month of club cricket before play starts in Leinster sometime in June. Or whenever.

But this proposed sale of Claremont Road hangs like a dark cloud over Cricket Ireland’s ambition to grow a sport which needs more grounds, not fewer.

The national body is standing by the club but the sums being sought for the site means it is no position to help.

The club has been vocal on social media and is planning its next moves. The central body has refused to talk to the club, directing them to its lawyers. It may take divine intervention to bring about a u-turn, turn, turn.