Jim Bennett (CricketEurope
Malahide Cricket Club, the First Hundred and Ten Years, 1861-1971
Early days, 1861-1914
Cricket was introduced to Fingal in the mid-1820s by members of the landed gentry. The owners of the “Big Houses” assembled teams from their own households and family friends to play against other “Big House” teams.
Cricket matches were played at Ard Gillan Castle (the Taylors), Hampton Hall (Hamiltons) and Kenure (Palmers), and these games also provided the context for lavish wining and dining at the close of play.
Malahide CC was very firmly embedded in the “Big House” tradition because the club was established by the Hon. Richard Talbot in 1861 and played its home games on the grounds of Malahide Castle demesne. Although Malahide is being referred to as a club, it would be more correct to classify Malahide as a team, because concepts of club membership and organisational structures were very loosely defined.
Matches were arranged by advertising availability in the national press or by issuing challenges. They were essentially social events, and there were no competitions, so people played for whichever team invited them to play. For example, Arthur Samuels, who wrote the paper, Early Cricket in Ireland, played for nine teams during his cricketing career.
Anthony Strong Hussey of Westown House played for Westown, the Naul CC, Balbriggan, Malahide, Phoenix and Co. Meath. AC Blackburne played for Malahide and was Secretary of Balbriggan CC.
The club played its first game against Mr Crawley’s X1 on 15 June 1861 in Malahide. Paradoxically, Mr Crawley’s X1 had only 7 players, and Malahide won with an innings and 13 runs to spare. Mr Gartlan of Malahide was singled out for the excellence of his batting and bowling, and Mr Byrne’s underhand bowling was also deemed worthy of favourable mention.
A return game was played at the “Nine Acres” in the Phoenix Park on the following Saturday. Mr Crawley was involved again, and his team was now called “The Amalgamated Amateurs”. Messrs Gartlan and Byrne were again to the fore, and the “Amateurs” were bowled out for 38 runs. In reply, Malahide scored 95. “The Amateurs” fared slightly better in the second innings, and were bowled out for 48 runs, leaving Malahide the winners by an innings and nine runs.
On this occasion according to the Irish Times, “the batting of Mr Crawley and bowling of Mr Glover deserve notice; and Messrs Gartlan, Byrne and Keegan batted well for the Malahide Club”. Other games played during the 1861 season were against Charlemont (home and away) and Mr Casey’s X1. Malahide lost to Charlemont in the away game because “the batting was not quite as good as usual with the exception of Gartlan whose defence was masterly. However, the fielding and bowling nearly compensated for this defect.”
In the return game against Charlemont, the weather conspired against Malahide because according to the Irish Times, “the day being wet between the innings proved most detrimental to the game.” The final game of this season for which there was a report available was against a team organised by a person who played for Malahide in earlier games (Mr T. Casey) and resulted in a loss for Malahide on a score of 76 runs to 74. Mr Gartlan continued to star for Malahide, and he ended with the highest score (26 runs) of the game.
As a grand finale to this season, there was a “Grand Subscription Fete and Fashionable Promenade in a field adjoining the grounds of the cricket club on Wednesday, 18 September 1861. The Band of the 11thHussars provided the musical entertainment, and there was a series of “Athletic games and foot races”. Admission to the event was sixpence, and the stratified nature of Irish society at this time is illustrated by the fact that the event was under the management of a “Committee of Gentlemen”.
The fete was a great success according to the account which was published the following day: There was a large assemblage present, including the gentry residing either permanently or for the season in this agreeable district and also a considerable body of the country people, to whom the sports, races and music were a great treat. Members of the cricket club appeared to have dominated the different events. Mr H. A. Dillon threw a cricket ball 76 yards; Mr J. H. Byrne won the 100 yards race in a time of 15 seconds and he also threw the 56 lb shot the farthest. He won the 440 yards race and Mr Dillon came second. Nobody had the temerity to compete against Mr Byrne in the 880 yards hurdle race, so he won this event on a walk-over. The sack race provided “great merriment” and the evening ended with a “grand display of fireworks”.
From 1862 onwards, membership expanded to such an extent that the club was able to field two teams. The second X1 played games against the Academic Institute on 24 May and Winton CC on 2 July. The logistical advantage for teams comprising of members of the gentry was the availability of the players for games on weekdays as well as Saturdays. For the game against Eblana, the wickets were pitched at 11.00 a.m. on Wednesday, 13 August 1862, the game against the officers of the 58th Regiment was also played on a Wednesday, Malahide played Ephemera on Tuesday, 5 July 1864, and the game against Civil Service was played on Friday, 24 June 1864.
The match programmes for the next few seasons were broadly similar to the 1861 season with games being played against schools such as Rathmines, Santry, and the Academic Institute, selected sides such as Eblana, Ephemera, Mr Otway’s X1, club teams such as Winton, Civil Service and Kingstown and Army teams such as the 58th Regiment. The availability of a train service was a tremendous asset in arranging games, and as a result, teams were very willing to travel to Malahide. Malahide played most of its away games in the Phoenix Park and in what is now referred to as Dublin 4 because of the convenience of travel. The last train left Dublin for Malahide at 9.30 p.m., and there were trains from Malahide to Dublin from 5.50 a.m. onwards.
In 1863, Malahide had another Fingal rival with Balbriggan CC being re-established after a lapse of almost twenty years. Balbriggan played Malahide in its first game on Saturday, 25 July, with Messrs Blackburne and Hussey now lining out for Balbriggan. The main contributors to Balbriggan’s first innings score of 73 were the Filgate Brothers (L Filgate, 34, T. Filgate, 14) and in reply, Malahide scored 54 in its first innings (T. Casey, 14). Balbriggan scored 28 runs in the second innings, Malahide needed 53 to win, but only scored 30 thus conceding bragging rights to the newly formed club.
In the 1864 season, the playing programme was expanded considerably, and Malahide CC played 16 matches. The club received very favourable mention in John Lillywhite’s Cricketers’ Companion for the Present Year: The Malahide Club possesses an excellent ground, close to the village of that name, 9 miles north of Dublin and about 20 minutes by rail. It has been newly laid down and is situated in the delightfully picturesque demesne of Lord Talbot de Malahide… Malahide is a favourite marine village, the attractions of the game,… generally command a large attendance of the visitors and residents of the neighbourhood… The inextricable links between the social and sporting elements of cricket were a commonplace in the accounts of the games which are extant. For example, when the military teams came to Malahide, “the ground of the club was enlivened by an unusually large attendance of the fair sex and the performance of a military band.”
In 1865, the rivalry between Malahide and Balbriggan was renewed when the two teams played at Malahide. Malahide scored 115 runs (Messrs Downing, Gartlan, J. Kelly contributing respectively 20, 39 and 20); there were 29 extras of which 21 were wides. In reply, Balbriggan scored 88 runs with fine contributions from Mr Madden, 39 and Mr Blackburne, 21). The anonymous reporter was not impressed the standard of cricket which he had witnessed: “The bowling of Malahide was excellent, whereas that of the opponents was not up to the mark.”
In 1866, Malahide CC played Mr R. Barry’s X1, and the Correspondent for the Dublin Daily Express was also in critical mode: Of the ground, it will perhaps be enough to say that it has not improved since last year and it requires some moral courage to defend your wicket against fast bowling. He continued in this vein by suggesting that the people who had journeyed from Balbriggan and Drogheda to see this selected team would now be returning home, “sadder and wiser”. The last straw was that Mr Barry’s team “gave up the match” when it had lost 8 wickets for 20 runs in the second innings, and in words of the acerbic cricket reporter, this was not “cricket-like.”
From 1866 to 1880, John Lawrence’s Handbook of Cricket in Ireland was published annually, and his reports are an invaluable resource in a period when cricket was thriving in Ireland to such an extent that it appeared that it would become the national summer sport. Lawrence rendered an invaluable service to sports historians in providing commentary which was more objective than the mostly deferential reports which were printed in the local and national newspapers. Regarding the 1866 season, he was critical of Malahide’s match programme: This club has not, we regret to say, shown so much life during the past as in previous seasons, although only hailing from a district within a few miles of the city: they seldom take a lesson from the metropolitan clubs. We hope during the season of 1867 they will show more vigour and venture away from home.
There was only a slight improvement in the 1867, with 4 games being played. Lawrence paid tribute to the indefatigable efforts of the Hon. Sec, Henry A. Dillon “who does all in his power to keep it together and play his team whenever he can get a suitable match.” Ironically, Balbriggan CC which had been the recipient of high praise for its progress during the previous year, ceased to exist during the 1867 season. In 1868, the slide was arrested, and Malahide CC was again on the crest of the wave. 24 games were played, a new square was laid, and it was hoped to have a new pavilion in place for the start of the 1869 season. Pen Pictures of the squad were appended to the report for the 1868 season, and each player is the subject of fulsome praise. Pressure on space prevents the list being quoted in full but a few examples will provide an illustration of the style adopted by the anonymous author. For example, J. G. Felix, captain, is described as a “hard-hitter and good man all round; the 3 Caseys, T.J., E.H. and .PF., are “members of a family well known in the cricketing world and so good at everything it would be difficult to particularize (sic);”; the Hon R. G. M. Talbot is “ a very steady bat and good point”; his brother, the Hon M. G. Talbot is “a very promising cricketer and remarkably fine bowler; ” J. O. Jamieson is “a very showy bat, good bowler and perfect field” and A. S. Hussey is the complete all-rounder because he is a “very useful man, can bat and bowl well, and take any place in the field.”
In 1869, the club played a 16-match programme, and a “handsome pavilion was erected.” The number of members had increased vastly, and according to Lawrence, “among the Eleven may be found names well known to cricketers in England as well as Ireland”. The teams which Malahide played were the eclectic mixture as before. There were selected teams such as the Cynics, the Ephemerals, Mr R. Barry’s X1, Mr Blackburne’s X1; Military teams such as the Grenadier Guards, the 65th Regiment, the 56th Regiment and Dunbar’s Royal Military Academy; school teams such as Kingstown School and teams from established clubs such as Dalkey, Pembroke, Navan, and Phoenix CC (Lawrence, 1870). In 1869, a second club (Waverly CC) was formed in Malahide, but it only played three games in the season.
In his report on the 1870 season, Lawrence expressed his concern regarding the balance in Malahide CC between social cricket and the pursuit of excellence. He referred to the distinguished initials (MCC) of the club and he speculated that the day might come if Malahide CC aimed “at being admitted into the ranks of the leading clubs in Ireland”. He praised the “well-laid down ground and the handsome pavilion”, but he suggested that Malahide should concentrate on playing recognised clubs possessing their own grounds. He saw minimal value in beating teams such as “Bummers, “Chimney Pots, and Stragglers etc.” In the 1871 report, Lawrence was more complimentary regarding the 16- match programme which the club completed: “Malahide played several very good matches, amongst them the Garrison of Dublin and several of the regiments quartered in the town…. From being a small local club, it may now be looked upon as one of the leading Irish Clubs.”
The Dublin Evening Mail of 24 July 1871 contained a lyrical account of a game between the Dublin Garrison and Malahide CC, with the opening paragraph being devoted to an account of the surroundings and the inclement weather: But if cricket could be enjoyable anywhere in disagreeable weather, Malahide ground has many natural advantages over most of the cricket grounds we have seen. It is indeed, without exaggeration, facile princeps, in those respects – surrounded as it is on all sides by magnificent trees in rich verdure clad, whose spreading branches afford a grateful retreat from the passing shower or stormy blast. Lord Talbot de Malahide is referred to as being a “generous patron of the noble game” because he has provided the ground “free of charge”. There is also a reference to the “handsome and commodious pavilion (which) stands at the southern end and commands a full view of the field”. The second paragraph listed the members of the gentry and army who were present (Lord Talbot, Colonel Bolton, Major French, Mr Palmer of TCD, Mr Gartlan, Mr Jameson, Mr Wilde, Mrs and Miss Dillon, Mrs Codrington, Mrs and the Misses Casey, the Misses Colson, the Misses Weld among others). The “excellent” Band of the “2nd Battalion 5th Fusiliers was also in attendance to “enliven the proceedings”, and the intrepid correspondent deemed it necessary to give details of the programme which the Band played, with the final piece being “God save the Queen”. It was obvious where the reporter’s priorities lay because there is only a very cursory reference to the actual game. The visitors, who were 1 man short, were “defensive”, but managed to accumulate 55 runs. Malahide “sent into action a strong eleven, who bore away the laurels for 78, beating the garrison by 23 runs”. The principal contributors to Malahide’s score were the Hon. R. G. M. Talbot (15), S. D. Smith (20) and T. J. S. Casey (14).
In 1872, the Waverly Club was absorbed into Malahide CC, with the result that the club had over 40 members, and of this number, at least two-thirds were playing members. Lord Talbot continued as President, Major R. H. French was Vice-President, HA Dillon who was also Lord Talbot’s Agent, combined the roles of Treasurer and Secretary, T. J. S. Casey was Club Captain and Hon. R. G. M. Talbot was the Deputy Captain. The principal players during this season were the Hon. R. G. M. Talbot, G. D. Casey, R. Manders, R. D. Jameson, J. Kirwan, Hon. M. G. Talbot, H. A. Dillon, A. S. Hussey (102nd Regiment), E. H. Woods, A. C. Courtney, T. J. S. Casey, A. S. Deane, H. Hussey, W. St. L Woods, S. D. Smith.
The 1873 season was a difficult one for the club because typhoid fever caused the death of Lady Talbot and one of her grandchildren. As a direct consequence of these deaths, Malahide CC’s match programme was curtailed, and only 12 games were played during the season. After the travails of 1873, the 1874 season was much more positive. The pavilion was repaired and re-roofed, the ground was in “much better condition and has played on the whole very well.” The club fielded 2 teams, with the First X1 playing 23 games, and the second X1 played 8 games.
During the 1870s, cricket was thriving in Ireland, and a game which had been looked upon as the preserve of the gentry, was now being embraced by the populace in general. A letter to the Freeman’s Journal of 1 April 1875 suggests the steps which might be taken to develop the game even further, although, his comments regarding Malahide CC would not have been appreciated: Country cricket is not fostered enough in Ireland. There are but three or four provincial clubs of any note, and even the best of them would I think be easily defeated by a second-rate Metropolitan CC such as Pembroke or the Malahide. Country clubs should unite and form clubs in their county. These clubs should not be exclusively composed of gentlemen. The best men, whether gentlemen or otherwise should be found.
The leader writer of the Freeman’s Journal weighed in with his comments regarding cricket on 26 April 1875: It is only yesterday, comparatively speaking that the Ancient British recreation spread to Ireland, where it was at first rather unpopularised by the notion that it was altogether an aristocratic business and therefore a thing to merit the aversion of Demos. But people soon recognise what is good for themselves; speedily the healthful and enjoyable amusement began to supersede the rough and sometimes dangerous pastimes which had previously made the joy of popular leisure. At present, it is not exaggeration to say, cricket is known and played all over the island. We may take it for granted that the youth of the “next series” will establish it permanently.
Malahide CC continued to thrive in 1875. It played a 20- match programme, and was according to Lawrence, “fast gaining a position second to none among the clubs of Ireland.” Malahide defeated Phoenix, the self-styled Premier club of Ireland, chiefly due to a magnificent innings of 111* by TJS Casey. [Incidentally, Mr Casey had the unique distinction of being the first player to score a century for Dublin University and for Malahide. His 103 for Trinity was scored against Leinster on 11 June 1867. Earlier, the club had been criticised for not venturing too far from Malahide, but during this season, Malahide played and defeated the Ulster Club, Belfast at the Civil Service Ground.
The 1876 season was not as successful, because there were difficulties in fielding strong teams due to the unavailability of some of the leading players. The club played a 17-game programme, but the top player, T. J. S. Casey, only had 4 innings during the season, and it must be borne in mind that each side had 2 innings in a game. In terms of appearances, J. J. Byrne had 25 innings, and the next highest were F. B. Collier with 15 innings and J. Robertson with 13 innings. Lawrence’s match reports contain frequent references to “weak” teams being well-beaten by Leinster, Phoenix and a “weak and short” team being beaten by Navan.
The problems which had been flagged in 1876 became more pronounced in 1877. Lawrence described the season “as a very poor one indeed” for Malahide CC. There were difficulties in getting the ground into playing order; several prominent members declared themselves unavailable at different times and this was illustrated by a game against Phoenix being called off “in consequence of Malahide not being able to get up a team.” A limited match programme (8) was completed and the results in the games played were indifferent; Malahide won three and lost 5 games.
For the 1878, 1879, and 1881 seasons, Malahide CC had no entry in Lawrence’s Handbook. A game between Malahide Visitors and the Civil Service Club game is listed on the Irish Times for 3 July 1880, but an exhaustive search of national and local papers failed to elicit details of any games played by the club. It seems reasonable to conclude that Malahide Cricket Club ceased to function for a considerable period.
It was at this juncture that cricket became embroiled what in modern parlance would be referred to as a “perfect storm”. A Land War commenced in 1879, and the existence of a very prominent landlord in the area such as Lord Talbot meant that members of the gentry had concerns far removed from cricket during this time. On 6 December 1880, a meeting was convened in Malahide for the purpose of establishing a branch of the Irish Land League. In attendance were John Dillon, MP and Michael Davitt, and the meeting was chaired by Mr Andrew Kettle, whose opening remarks were a foretaste of things to come: Malahide might be looked upon as the centre of that district of Fingal, and … they could not find a district better rented and better taxed, and notwithstanding this, better farmed.
The enterprise of the people there had led to competition which had placed the rents at an unmakeable and unplayable standard. The great bulk of the occupiers of land there were completely in the power of landlordism. During the different addresses by the speakers, there were calls for landlords to be boycotted and catcalls when the names of individual landlords were mentioned. The jeering grew to a crescendo during Michael Davitt’s speech, and his message for the landlords of the area was as follows: I can tell the Howths, the Ion Trant Hamiltons, the Talbots, the Palmers and Moncks and the rest of them,… there is no rampart of injustice in Ireland now which Irish democracy cannot scale and no garrison of landlord oppression which the weapons of the Land League ------- justice, reason and combination, cannot bring to the ground… Stand together… and landlordism will soon be compelled to give up the ghost before the national demand of the land for the people and quit Dublin County and Ireland for ever.
Many of the landlords were patrons of cricket clubs so it was obvious that they were not going to be involved in sporting activities when there were acts of violence being perpetrated on people, properties, and livestock. The passing of the Land Acts brought a period of comparative calm, but the Gaelic Revival of the mid-1880s onwards caused general support for cricket to be eroded further. The Sports Historian, Paul Rouse, has argued that despite the Land War, The Gaelic Revival, and the foundation of the GAA, the blame for the decline of cricket as a popular sport should be ascribed to the cricketing establishment in Ireland. It refused to countenance putting structures in place but was content to have friendly games played by like-minded clubs, to make the odd trip down the country to Mount Juliet or Lismore, and to play games against English touring teams.
J. G. Oulton, President of Leinster Cricket Union, provided an insight into the attitude of the Establishment in the era prior to World War 1: Cricket as was then played with plenty of leisure, with two and three-day matches and proper coaching. It was then a game of real enjoyment and every opportunity for a batsman to develop his style and make big scores. We had plenty of visiting sides, with expenses no hindrance. Those were the days of cricket as it should be. What of Malahide CC in this cultural milieu? The club was re-formed in 1891 and the Irish Society Journal reported that: Cricket in Malahide,… is being energetically revived and the opening match of the season is to be played on Saturday next, in the old ground which has often been the site of a hard fought battle. Altogether Malahide is becoming quite festive in her old age.
The cricket club was the subject of a letter of complaint to the Irish Times. A gentleman, E. J. Sedgewick journeyed to Malahide by train to listen to the band of the Royal Irish Constabulary, which was due to play at St James’s Square, Malahide. Unfortunately, when he arrived in Malahide, there was no sign of the band, because it had been re-located “to some little cricket ground in some remote corner of the district.”
During 1891, there are records of at least 6 fixtures. Games were played against Jervis Street Hospital (home and away), Balbriggan Wanderers, “Old Stagers”, Mr Godley’s X1 and Naul. A fixture was made with Belvedere College, but there was some confusion regarding dates, and there is no evidence to show that this game was played. The team which played against Balbriggan on 8 August was J. Daly, J. McBlaine, S. J. Guest, J. C. Collins, T. H. Robertson, R. T. Robertson, J. G. Musters, H. Wallace, G. Burton, J. Wallace, P. J. Kieran.
In terms of continuity between the two eras, J. J. Byrne, the outstanding athlete, played against Naul, and A. S. Hussey was now playing for the Naul. The other members of the team which played against the Naul were J. Robertson, S. J. Guest, F. O. Stoker, W. Deverill, H. Wallis, (sic), Capt Musters, J. McBlaine, A. Wallis, T. Cannon, JH Robertson and Dr Elliott. It is noticeable that the papers have dispensed with using the title, Esquire, and only two players are given titles, Capt Musters and Dr Elliott. It is a matter of conjecture whether this reflected cricket in Malahide becoming more egalitarian or if the members of the gentry were no longer members of the club.
For the 1892 season, a meeting of Malahide CC was held in the Reliance Assurance Office, O’Connell Street. The news item referred to the club as being “resuscitated” and it was reported to be in a “most flourishing financial condition”, with the sum of £50 in credit. It was decided to employ a Notts colt as professional coach and to commence playing in early April. The playing programme for the 1892, 1893 and 1894 seasons followed broadly the same pattern as has existed during the 1870s. There were games against club sides (Leinster 11, Pembroke, Workingmen’s CC, Cursis Stream, Wanderers, Phoenix, Clontarf)), Army and Police teams (the Duke of Cornwall’s Regiment, the Army Service Corps, the RIC, Scots Guards), rural teams (Athboy, Reynoldstown, Stedalt, Dundalk), hospital teams (Adelaide), Business House teams (Dublin Metropolitan Journalists and selected teams (Mr Donnelly’s X1 and Mr Alleyne’s X1). Stedalt was in the “Big House” tradition and played its home games on the demesne of Mr Tunstall-Moore who was a notable patron of cricket. When he died at the early age of 42, his obituary mentioned that “as a cricketer he had few equals in local combinations and on his invitation leading clubs tried conclusions on his perfectly equipped green at Stedalt.”
Malahide had a very busy season in 1894. Most of its games were now against club sides (Pembroke, Sandymount, Phoenix, Chapelizod, North Strand, Co. Wicklow, Civil Service, Co. Meath, Wilton and Leinster. The only business house team which it played in 1894 was the Great Southern and Western Railway, and there was a game against the Army Service Corps. A significant number of Malahide’s games was played at home due to the fact that many of the junior teams did not have their own grounds but depended on the generosity of other clubs for access to facilities when the resident club did not have a game on the ground. While the senior clubs continued to be opposed very strongly to the concept of competitions and league structures, the junior clubs started to make tentative steps during the early 1890s towards putting structures in place. Malahide CC was represented at a meeting of junior clubs in 1894 which sought to put the “Leinster Branch of the Irish Cricket Union on a proper basis.”
At its AGM in January 1895, the Leinster Branch decided to organise a cup competition for junior clubs and schools. 7 clubs (Sandymount, Melrose, Westmeath, the Land Commission, Clontarf, Athy and the High School) entered the inaugural competition. (IT, 25 July 1895). The final between the Land Commission and Athy was played at the Phoenix Park on 14 September, and Athy emerged victorious in a two-innings per side game. Although Malahide CC fulfilled a 19-game programme during the 1894 season, there are no reports of cricket being played in Malahide between 1895 and 1900. A photograph exists of a Malahide team from 1897 approximately in which all of the players are dressed in cricket whites. This suggests that some games of cricket were being played but it appears that reports were not submitted to the local and national papers.
During the late 1890s the cricketing scene in Leinster was changing. Junior clubs were lobbying for a Junior League to be organised so that structures could be put in place and fixture-making could be co-ordinated. The columnists in the Evening Herald and the Irish Daily Independent were supportive of the junior clubs’ demands, with the Irish Daily Independent publishing unofficial league tables at various intervals during the 1900 season. In the Junior Cricket Gossip Column of 5 June 1900, the correspondent gave vent to the perceived grievances of the Junior Clubs. He argued that cricket in Ireland was in decline because of “class distinction”, and he suggested that there were cricketers playing on Sundays who were as good if not better than many of the “first-class” cricketers. He recommended that the Junior Cup should be open to all clubs who wished to enter it, and not confined to those clubs whose members were wealthy enough to rent and maintain grounds. He took to task the clubs who were unwilling to arrange matches with their less fortunate brethren, and in a telling play on words, he suggested that the possession of private grounds did not necessarily imply that the “owners are gentlemen.”
The demand for a junior league built up momentum, and on Friday, 29 March 1901, the Leinster Junior League was formed. The Junior League was divided into two divisions, with seven teams in each section. From a Malahide perspective, the teams in the league were particularly significant, because many of these clubs had played against Malahide over the years. In Division A were Sandymount, Leinster 11, Old St Mary’s, Clontarf, Pembroke 11, Civil Service 11 and GS and W. R; and in Division B were Richmond Asylum, Beaumont, Ordnance Survey, Iveagh, Old King’s Hospital, Greenmount, and Acme. Thanks to the brilliant work of some members of Malahide CC, there is photographic evidence to show that the club was back playing cricket in 1901.
Included in the photograph are Charles Adams, an Irish rugby international, his brother, Archibald, and Tom Kettle who was a journalist, barrister, writer, politician and the first Professor of National Economics at UCD. Tom Kettle enlisted in the British Army in 1914 and was killed in action on the Western Front in Autumn 1916. He is commemorated with a statue in St Stephen’s Green which was completed in 1921 but was not unveiled until 1937.
With senior cricket and junior league cricket now occupying space on the national press, there are less accounts of the friendly games played during the season. Malahide CC played Skerries on 29 June 1901 and won by 4 wickets, having successfully chased the Skerries’ total of 20 runs. The club was listed as having a home game against Greystones on 30 August, but it was not possible to ascertain the result.
For the 1902 season, a new Secretary, Archibald Adams was elected, the AGM was held at Mr Cook’s, Main Street and 5 new members were enrolled. The club was now able to field 2 teams, and a comprehensive match programme was completed. Among the teams which played against Malahide during this season were Clontarf, Molyneaux, Balbriggan, Greenmount, Beaumont, Drumcondra, Myra, Calaroga, Ordnance Survey, Acme, and Irish Railway Clearing House CC.
During the 1903 season, Malahide again fielded 2 teams and played at least 23 games, with its final game of the season being played against Clontarf on 1 October. The club entered the Leinster Junior League in 1903, but it did not have the most auspicious of starts. By 11 July, it had only played 2 games in the league and it had no points. It had drawn the game against Iveagh, but unfortunately was deducted the point for fielding an ineligible player. The club played Beaumont on 3 August, and there were 4 points at stake because Beaumont had no home ground. Beaumont scored 71 runs in the first innings, and Malahide scored 20 in reply, with extras (7) being the chief contributor to the total. Malahide lost 5 wickets for 36 runs in the second innings, and Beaumont were declared the winners by an innings. The best bowlers for Malahide were Adams, C. and Tyler, and the main batsman was Smyth who scored 18* in the second innings. The match programmes for the 1904 and 1905 seasons were similar to the previous year.
In 1905, Archibald Adams was elected to the Committee of the Leinster Cricket Union, and the club held “a most successful” concert in the Tea Rooms, Malahide on Wednesday, 1 March 1905. The club was in the news in late July 1905 for a less salubrious reason. The Medical Officer had drawn attention to the fact that there was “nuisance inside the walls at the entrance to the cricket field, both dangerous and injurious to public health.” This matter was investigated by Mr P. Cannon and he named the persons responsible for depositing the contents of privies at the entrance to the cricket ground. Notice was served on the parties not to offend again.
The 1906 season was a successful season for the club. It fulfilled a 20-match programme which included a game against a Trinity team which was entitled the Long Vacation team. Among the other teams which it played were Clontarf, Sandymount, Drogheda, Pembroke, Leinster, Civil Service, Croydon, Workingmen’s CC, RSPU, Richmond Asylum and GSWR. Malahide 11 contested the Junior League Final against Clontarf 11 on 15 September 1906. At close of play on Saturday, Clontarf needed 46 runs to win with 6 wickets in hand. The reporter on the Irish Daily Independent was not too impressed with Clontarf’s attempt to chase the score when play resumed on Monday evening. In his words, Clontarf “failed miserably. Down they went like nine-pins before the Malahide bowling.” The 6 wickets were lost for 36 runs, and the reported deemed the result “a big surprise.” The Drogheda Independent’s report was more positive, and it commented on the “admirable bowling of Adams, backed up by splendid fielding”. Harper (sic, it should have been Hooper) took “2 magnificent catches”, and the game which was fought with “great keenness” was witnessed by a “good crowd”. (DI, 22 September 1906). The Malahide team on this historic occasion was E. Crowley, P. Powell, D. Murray, A. Adams, T. Courtney, Taylor, H. Holton, W. Hooper, J. Reardon, W. Perrin, and C. O’Shea.
After the excitement of the 1906 season, it was difficult to ascertain if Malahide played any cricket between 1907 and the outbreak of the first World War. There are no fixtures given for Malahide during 1907, and by checking the fixtures of clubs such as Phoenix, Civil Service, Croydon and Leinster, there are no games fixed against Malahide. Civil Service listed home and away games against Malahide for the 1908 season, but Malahide’s name does not appear on the league table for that season, so it appears that the games were not played. There were 12 clubs entered in the Junior League for the 1909 season, and among new entrants to the league were Croydon Park, Palmerstown, Dublin Jewish Association, Pembroke Wanderers, GSWR, but there is no sign of Malahide CC. The Junior League tables for 1914 listed the following teams: Leinster 11, Richmond Asylum, Sandymount, Railway Union, Civil Service 11, Pembroke Wanderers, GSWR, Palmerstown, Clontarf 11 and James’s Gate; the second division tables included the second teams of some of the above clubs with the addition of YMCA and Merrion. Fairview features in the Minor League along with the second and third teams of the other clubs. It appears therefore until other information comes to hand that Malahide CC played cricket from 1861 to 1877, 1891 to 1894 and 1901 to 1906.
The absence of cricket from 1914 until 1925 is readily explained by a combination of the Great War, the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War, but the other blank periods are more difficult to clarify and require further research. There is anecdotal evidence of another cricket field where the wicket comprised of cinders dampened/tamped down in the middle of a field, and its location was behind Castle Terrace, which is opposite the Malahide Train Station, but it has not been possible to ascertain if this ground was used for competitive games or just for practice.
Malahide return to League Cricket
When Malahide returned to league cricket in 1925, the cricketing environment in Leinster had undergone a fundamental change. The cataclysmic events of the previous 11 years and their consequences forced the senior clubs to abandon their distaste for competitive league structures, and the Leinster Cricket Union was founded in 1919. The other major change for Malahide CC was that it had relocated to its present ground on the Dublin Road. The teams which entered the junior cup for the 1925 season were Carlisle, Raheny, St Pauls, Pembroke Wanderers, CYMS 11, Leinster 111, Irish Times, Blackrock Hospital, Merrion 1, St James’s, Jacobs, Monkstown 1, St John’s, Wills, YMCA 11, Sandymount 11, RSPU 111 and Malahide.
Among the players who lined out for Malahide during 1925 and 1926 seasons were C and A. Adams, G. and K. O’Neill, E. Crowley, J. Finch, J. Keddie, F. Fitzsimmons, S. Mills, K. Healy, W. Taylor, D. O’Brien, V. Stack, N. Tiernan, W. Polley, T. Burke, A. Weldon, T. McMahon, J., and C. McCreadie, G. Harrison, A. Spadaccini. Some of the names on the above list (C and A. Adams) had played for Malahide before World War 1, and with other names such as the O’Neill family were to render wonderful service to the club over many years. The club fielded a second team in 1926 and in a departure from existing practice, it indicated its willingness to play Sunday fixtures away.
For the next four seasons, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930, the level of commitment to the players to their club was self-evident, and team-sheets showed minimal changes on a weekly basis. The 1930 season was a successful one as both Malahide teams reached finals. At that stage, the leagues were divided into sections, and there were play-offs to decide the eventual league winners. The Seconds played Leinster 1V at the Imperial Tobacco grounds at Crumlin but lost by 34 runs. Leinster scored 75 runs, and restricted Malahide’s reply to 41 runs. The Malahide team on the day was C. McCreadie, J. O’Hanlon, J. Armstrong, H. Payton, L. F. Hughes, J. Scott, J. Moran, A. Spadaccini, J. McCreadie, K. Talbot, and J. Richardson. The top scorer for Malahide was J. McCreadie, with 13*, while J. Armstrong took 4 wickets for 26 and H. Payton took 3 for 26 The First X1 played the National Bank in the Junior League final at the Civil Service Ground and won on a score of 105 runs to 43. The Malahide team on that beautiful, sunny day was K. O’Neill, H. Peyton, E. Crowley, S. Mills (13), C. Hughes, L. Hughes, S. Whieldon (18), T. O’Hanlon, J. Keddie (11), J. Armstrong (10*), and R. Harris. The successful bowlers were K. O’Neill (2 for 16), J. Armstrong (3 for 11), C. Hughes (2 for 6) and S. Mills (1 for 7).
During the next decade (1931 to 1940) the commitment to the players to their club continued to be self-evident, not just in terms of playing regularly, but also in becoming involved in the administration of the club. This is illustrated by a list of officers elected at the AGM in 1931. The patrons were Lord Talbot de Malahide and Mr M. G. Jameson; President: Mr George Bolton; Hon. Sec: Mr Arthur Spadaccini; Hon. Treasurer: Mr E. Crowley; Captain: Mr Kevin O’Neill; Vice-Captain: Mr S. Mills; Committee: Messrs L. Hughes, C. Hughes, J. Mc Creadie, J. Keddie, and J. Scarff. In 1932, Malahide CC was playing in the Intermediate League, and when teams are promoted, it invariably takes time for the team to be accustomed to the higher standard in the new league. No trophies were won during the season, but the club awarded its “Cricket Club Cup” for all-round efficiency, batting, bowling, and fielding to Jackie O’Hanlon, who during the season “gave a brilliant and masterful display.” During this transitional period, the club introduced younger players such as A. B. Robertson, and he was to have a major influence on Malahide CC over the next thirty years. (SI, 10 June 1934).
The members also showed that they valued the social aspects of the club, and in 1936, about 200 guests attended the annual dance at the Grand Hotel. The Irish Independent report gave the names of practically every attendee, but brevity demands that in this instance, only the names of the Committee members are named: Messsrs, E. J. Crowley, K. O’Neill, J. H. McCreadie, L. F. Hughes, C. J. Hughes, A. B. Robertson, L. P. Boyle, and G. McSwiggan.
In 1938, the Leinster Cricket Union reduced the number of teams in the Senior League to 6, and it formed a Qualifying League. This initiative was intended to increase the interest of players and the general public, but strangely there was no automatic promotion and relegation. Qualifying teams would only be promoted when they had proved “their mettle”. This change had two consequences insofar as Trinity would now be able to complete its league programme and Malahide was promoted to the Qualifying League. The other teams in the Qualifying League were YMCA and Civil Service who had been relegated from the Senior League, Monkstown, Carlisle, and Imperial Tobacco. It was hoped that by freeing up some weekends, clubs could undertake tours and play friendly games with teams outside Dublin. Although there had been senior league cricket for twenty years, it was obvious that some senior administrators longed for a return to the “good old days”.
These sentiments were expressed cogently by G. J. Bonass, President of Cricket Ireland when he was looking forward to a charity game at Rathmines: We should see some good cricket…. It will be joyous cricket, played for the glory of the game. No points, no leagues, no cups – just willow cracking leather, which, to my mind, is exactly as it should be. Malahide topped the Qualifying League in 1938, and as a result was invited to play in the Senior Cup in 1939. The team reached the semi-final where its opponents were Phoenix. According to the report in the Irish Press, “Malahide put up a good performance, considering the exceptionally strong side fielded by Phoenix and knocked up a total of 138.” However, Malahide’s fielding was not up to the standard of the batting, and Phoenix reached the target in 1 ½ hours with the loss of only two wickets. The main contributors for Phoenix were F. M. Quinn (52*) and J. C. Boucher (41*). For Malahide, the successful bowlers were Hughes (1 for 30) and Armstrong (1 for 50). Later in this season, the First X1 produced a wonderful performance against Monkstown at Serpentine Avenue. Monkstown had scored 180 for 5 wickets, but the last 5 wickets fell for the addition of only 7 runs. The successful bowlers for Malahide were Quinn (4 for 42) and Robertson (3 for 52). In reply, Malahide had a second wicket stand or 170 between Armstrong and Robertson, and the Monkstown total was passed for the loss of 3 wickets. Armstrong made 90 in what was described as a “grand freely-hit innings”, and Robertson scored 102 by “right good hard-hitting cricket”. 415 runs were scored in this game, and in the words of the reporter, it was “an example for the seniors.”
However, this level of performance was not maintained for the season, and the Qualifying League was won comfortably by YMCA. Malahide’s record was played 9, won 4 and lost 5.
By virtue of very settled squads and strong leadership through the club, Malahide CC was the dominant force in Leinster Junior cricket during the 1940s and early 1950s. The run of successes commenced in 1941 when in the words of the Drogheda Independent, Malahide won the “much-coveted” Intermediate Cup for which 22 teams had competed when it overcame Clontarf 11 at the Postal Services Ground. The main contributors on the day were A. B. Robertson (58) and J. Armstrong (26), and Clontarf was beaten on a score of 154 to 128 runs.
The Intermediate Cup was retained in 1943 when Malahide beat Pembroke 11 in a very low-scoring game, Pembroke was all-out for 26 and Malahide reached the target for the loss of 2 wickets. In 1944, the Intermediate League was won after a play-off against Clontarf 11. The Senior 2 Cup competition was inaugurated in 1942, and Malahide won it in 1945 by beating Cremore in the final. The Malahide team was I. Cashell, N. Mc Connell, H. Darlington (30), C. Hughes, J. Armstrong, L. Hughes, Jackie O’Hanlon (38), A. B. Robertson, R. Gilmore (13), H. D. Cashell and H. Booker. A. B. Robertson took the main bowling honours with 5 for 47, and he was ably assisted by Joe Armstrong, 3 for 37 and Cyril Hughes, 1 for 26. To make the season complete, Malahide 11 won the Minor League Cup by beating 3rd OBU on a score of 94 for 8 to 93.
The Senior 2 Divisional League Final was won in 1946 by beating Carlisle at Clontarf. Malahide batted first on a pitch “admirably suited to spins and breaks” of Samuels who took 7 wickets for 16 runs, and bowled Malahide out for 48. According to the Drogheda Independent, Malahide was “undaunted”, and the steady bowling of Robertson (4 for 12) and Armstrong (6 for 29), backed up by the “brilliant keeping by Des Cahill (sic, should have been Cashell) and the keenest fielding”, left Carlisle all out for 43 runs. During this season also, a junior interprovincial game was played between Leinster and Ulster, and Malahide provided two players, A. B. Robertson (capt) and N. McConnell.
Malahide went one better in 1947 by winning the Senior 2 League and Cup. In the cup final against Cremore, John Neville, formerly of Portrane, was the match-winner for Malahide. The First X1 was undefeated for the entire season. The Second X1 also won a League and Cup double. In the final of the Junior Cup, Malahide 11 defeated 3rd OBU on a score of 97 to 60, while Butler and O’Hanlon shared the wickets. The top scorer for Malahide was J. O’Neill (31). The Evening Herald summed up the double, double season with the pithy comment – “nice going”. At representative level, A. B. Robertson again captained the Leinster Junior team in its game against Ulster at Lisburn, and he was joined by 2 Malahide colleagues, I. Cashell and J. Neville. This season also, there was a trip to the Mardyke when Malahide Firsts beat Cork County.
In 1948, the Senior 2 League and Cup double was repeated. Malahide again played Cremore in the cup final at Sydney Parade, and was in some trouble early on until an eighth wicket partnership of 88 between A. B. Robertson (73) and R. Gilmore (30) turned the tide. In reply, Cremore only scored 59 with J. Armstrong taking 7 wickets for 33 runs. In 1949, the League was retained for the 4th season in a row by beating CYMS in the Divisional Play-Off. The 5 in a row was achieved in 1950 when Malahide beat Clontarf in the Divisional Play-off at Rathmines on 14 September. Malahide scored 158 runs, and Clontarf’s reply was 123 runs. The “deadly duo” of Robertson and Armstrong took the wickets, with Robertson taking 7 wickets for 61 runs and Armstrong, 3 for 50. Malahide 11 won its section in the Intermediate League but was beaten by Old Belvedere in the Divisional Play-Off.
By comparison with previous years, 1951 was somewhat less successful, but the Second X1 won the Intermediate League, and A. B. Robertson, J. Neville, and I. Cashell were selected for the Senior 2 League side to play against the Senior I League side. For the 1952 season, the Malahide First X1 was strengthened by the arrival of that wonderful all-round sportsman, Paddy Neville. In the play-off for the Senior 2 League, Malahide played Old Belvedere at Rathmines. At the close of play at the end of the first day, Malahide had scored 188 runs, with contributions from H. Darlington (71) and an eighth wicket partnership of 76 runs between R. Gilmore (35) and G. O’Neill (47). Malahide had also taken 5 wickets for 60 runs, and the other 5 wickets fell on Monday for 27 runs leaving Malahide very easy winners. Robertson took 4 wickets for 35 and Armstrong took 5 for 25.
By virtue of winning the Intermediate Cup in 1951, Malahide 11 was invited to play in the Irish Junior Cup. In the semi-final of the Leinster Zone, Malahide played Longford, and the first game ended in a tie. Longford won the replay by 3 runs after a titanic struggle, and the Longford Leader’s report was a classic of its type. Longford, a team “which is struggling for its existence” defeated a Malahide team composed of senior and intermediate players. With Malahide needing 4 for a win and with one wicket in hand, Pickett of Malahide was given out LBW with a ball from Smith, and without a hint of bias, the report was able to assert that this ball would have hit the middle stump. The best player for Malahide on the day was Billy Deane who scored 51 runs.
Unusually, Malahide also entered a team in the Fingal Cup, but did not fare too well in the game against Skerries on a wicket which the reporter described as being “desperate”. Skerries scored 85 runs and then for Malahide, J. O’Hanlon and D. Kerr “hit out lustly (sic) for a merry 39 runs before being separated. The rest of the visiting batsmen failed to impress, and the innings closed with the total at 48”. Jimmy Walsh took 5 wickets, including a hat-trick for Skerries, while for Malahide, H. D. Cashell, normally a wicketkeeper, took 6 wickets for 25 runs. Malahide’s Second X1 was more successful that the Fingal League Cup team, and it rounded off a very fruitful season by winning the Intermediate Cup.
Malahide joins Leinster Senior League
At its AGM in 1952, Malahide applied for Senior League status. Malahide’s record in Junior Cricket over the previous 12 years had been unsurpassed, and for this reason alone, it should have been impossible to refuse the application, but each of the existing senior clubs had a representative on the Senior Executive, and there was always the fear that allowing a team to join the league would result in the introduction of relegation. Once the Executive decided that this would not occur, Malahide was assured of promotion to the Senior League. Malahide thus became the first club outside the greater Dublin Area to achieve Senior League status, and for its first season in senior cricket, the captain was A. B. Robertson.
For the 1953 season, there were some new faces at the Village. Tommy Dawson who joined from Cremore and D. Rimmer who was holidays from India were valuable additions to an already strong squad. Managers of teams which are promoted often hide behind the clichéd concept of consolidation being the main objective, but Malahide’s season got off to a tremendous start by beating Leinster at Rathmines. This superb result was followed up by beating Clontarf by 4 runs in the first round of the Senior Cup. Star of the semi-final was Paddy Neville who scored 142 runs to help Malahide beat Phoenix. Previews of the final between Malahide and Leinster were fulsome in their praise of the contribution which the club had made to senior cricket during its first season at that level, with special mention being reserved for the quality of its fielding. Things did not go well for Malahide on the Friday evening, and Leinster scored 235 runs, of which, J. D. Caprani who was to join Malahide at a later stage of his career, contributed 55 runs. By close of play, Malahide had lost 7 wickets for 96 runs, and the headline on the Irish Independent read “Malahide in Dire Straits in Final.” However, a team which prided itself on its fighting spirit did not surrender easily. A. B. Robertson (53) and J. Neville (40) put on 40 runs for the seventh wicket, and then J. O’ Neill and Robertson added 47 runs for the ninth wicket, but when Neville was bowled by Matchette, the game was over three balls later. The final margin of victory was 62 runs, but the game was adjudged to have been the “most interesting and well-attended final for years.”
Malahide and Leinster met on 2 further occasions during this season, and each game produced what modern media define as “champagne moments”. In the first game, Malahide batted first, and got off to a wonderful start. The first wicket, that of Darlington (49) fell when the score was 105. According to the Sunday Independent, Leinster never looked like getting Paddy Neville out and nothing disturbed him on his way to a “majestic” 105*. There was not much hope for Leinster at the other end either with D. Rimmer ending up on 37*. Malahide declared when the score was 203 for 1. In reply, Leinster lost its first wicket when one of its openers was out first ball, but Burke and Joe Caprani steadied things, and as long as Caprani remained, Leinster looked like winning, but then that man, Neville, intervened again. Caprani hit what looked like being a six, but Neville raced along the boundary and took a wonderful one-handed catch. This effort was described as “the catch of the season”, and even Caprani “waved his bat in appreciation of a magnificent catch”. In this tremendous game, there were moments when either side looked like winning, but in the end, the last Leinster pair “put up the shutters” because they were content with the draw.
The teams met again in the final of the Mid-Week League, a competition which was the brainchild of A. G. Murray of Pembroke. The games were played over 25 overs per side initially, but later this was reduced to 20 overs per side. When the LCU took over the administration of the tournament, the competition became known as the Alan Murray Cup in honour of its originator. The attendance at the game was 400 and the receipts were £20. Malahide batted first and scored 118 runs, of which D. Rimmer contributed 58 runs. The total did not appear to be enough, but D. O’Shea, “the find of the season”, had other ideas. He bowled straight at the stumps, and he took 7 wickets for 24 runs in 7.4 overs. It seemed that no game in which Malahide was involved during this season was complete without a magnificent catch by Paddy Neville when he caught Spenser off a “skier”, and Malahide ended up getting a modicum of revenge for the Senior Cup defeat by a margin of 63 runs.
Malahide reached the Senior Cup Final again in 1955 by beating Clontarf and Pembroke while Leinster defeated Railway Union and Merrion. Leinster dropped S.S. Heighway, their opening bowler, and replaced him with J. A. Chillingworth. As usual when Malahide was involved in a final, the team was very well supported, and there were over 500 in attendance when the game started at Park Avenue on Friday evening. Leinster batted first and at the end of the first evening’s play, J. D. Caprani was 38 not out, G. A. Duffy was 25 not out, and the Leinster score was 111 for 3 wickets. The next day’s play was of the attritional variety as Leinster brought their score to 272 runs, with Caprani scoring 67 runs before being caught by Gilmore off the bowling of O’Neill, while Duffy was out caught by JJ Neville off the bowling of O’Shea. In terms of stamina, O’Shea bowled 61 overs, of which 32 were maidens, and took 6 wickets for 70 runs. On Day three, Malahide scored 85 runs, but had lost 4 wickets, including the vital wicket of P. A. Neville. On Day 4, nothing went right for Malahide as J. J. Neville was out without adding to the score. A. B. Robertson scored 21 and S O’Brien scored 30, and Malahide’s reply was well-short on a score of 165 runs.
After the cup finals of 1953 and 1955, a period of comparative calm followed for Malahide CC, but there were some outstanding individual achievements. P. A. Neville won the Marchant Cup for best batsman in senior cricket in 1956, and D. O’Shea and A. B. Robertson won the O’Grady Cup for best bowler in 1954 and 1958 respectively.
When Malahide reached the Senior Cup Final in 1959, the team contained 5 either former or future Irish Internationals. These were P. A. Neville, J. D. Caprani, D. E. Goodwin, S. W. Ferris, and G. P. O’Brien. It was therefore a very strong team which faced Leinster at Park Avenue in the final.
Leinster won the toss and opted to bat first and scored 40 runs without loss. The pundits were predicting a score for Leinster in the hundreds, but D. Goodwin came on to bowl and within three balls, Duffy was out, caught brilliantly by who else? Paddy Neville. After this reverse for Leinster, things got progressively worse, and on a drying pitch, Leinster was bowled out for 83 runs, with Goodwin taking 5 wickets for 28 runs and A. B. Robertson got 4 wickets for 26 runs. J. D. Caprani and W. Behan opened for Malahide, and Caprani scored 36 before he was out, caught by the wicketkeeper, Fitzsimons, off the bowling of Harkness. Sean O’Brien was out for 4 runs, but Paddy Neville (18*) and Behan (22*) brought Malahide home without any further alarms to win the Leinster Senior Cup for the first time.
During the next few seasons, Malahide players won further individual awards. P. A. Neville won the Marchant Cup on two more occasions, in 1960 and 1963, and L. P. Hughes won the O’Grady Cup in 1963.
In 1964, Malahide which was in contention for all three trophies and met Old Belvedere in the Leinster Senior Cup final at Cabra. The game was decided on the first evening when a last wicket partnership of 53 enabled Old Belvedere to finish on 158 runs, and then Malahide lost 4 wickets before the close of play. Alec O’Riordan took the wickets of G. P. O’Brien, P. A. Neville, and C. D. Smith, while the other opening bowler, Leslie Lloyd, took the wicket of J. D. Caprani. The following day, the wicket of Sean O’Brien was lost nearly immediately, and a rear-guard action by R. J. Gilmore (18) and L. P. Hughes (29) brought Malahide’s score up to 123, but it was too little, too late.
Malahide was back in cup action on 11 August 1964 when it met Leinster in the final of the Alan Murray Memorial Trophy. The star batsman on this occasion was the veteran J. D. Caprani who scored 58* and this was the foundation of Malahide’s final total of 99 runs. In the Leinster reply, Murrough McDevitt scored 30 runs, and when the last over was called, Leinster needed 13 runs with three wickets standing. Dougie Goodwin dismissed H. Buttimer, thanks to a “superb catch” by his brother, Billy, and with the next two deliveries took the wickets of Doyle and Geraghty, the final wicket falling to a catch in the outfield by L. P. Hughes. Goodwin ended with a hat-trick, and his figures for the evening were 7 for 45.
Winning a league is a reward for consistency throughout a season, and when Malahide played Pembroke on 22 August, the team only needed a draw to win the senior league for the first time. Pembroke scored 157 for 2 wickets and declared, thanks to 100* by Stanley Bergin. The target of 158 was achieved with 20 minutes to spare, and the way in which Malahide approached its cricket was exemplified by Paddy Neville hitting three consecutive sixes for the winning runs. His partner in this run chase was L. P. Hughes who scored 86* and this rounded off a season, in which Hughes had starred with bat and ball. At a personal level, he had at that stage of his career won Cup medals with Dublin University and league honours with Malahide and Clontarf. The icing on the cake for Malahide was A. B. Robertson being President of the Leinster Cricket Union in in 1964.
In 1965, Malahide’s defence of the senior league started and ended badly, but the team reached the final for the second successive year and lost again to Old Belvedere in the Senior Cup final. The following year, Malahide again met Old Belvedere in the Senior Cup Final. With the game being played at the Phoenix Park for the first time, it was not permitted to charge an admission fee, but there was a souvenir programme. The game was sponsored by Mineral Waters Distributors Ltd, a public address system was installed and there was a refreshments marquee. Old Belvedere captained by R. D. Daly was firm favourites to record the treble, and that was how the game turned out. Old Belvedere scored 210 runs, and Malahide ended up with a score of 65.
The consolation for Malahide was its involvement in the Alan Murray Memorial Tournament, and in an exciting game, Malahide defeated Clontarf, the holders, by a single run. The scores at the finish were Malahide 90 and Clontarf 89 with the main contributors with the bat for Malahide being T. Taylor (23) and P. Hughes (21); Dougie Goodwin took 3 wickets for 47 runs.
Up to 1971, the 1964 season had been dubbed as the best season for Malahide, but the achievements of 1971 surpassed all the achievements of previous years. R. D. Daly, who had captained Old Belvedere to Cup success in 1966 was now captain of Malahide. The Senior Cup final between Clontarf and Malahide was played at Castle Avenue, and in a less health-conscious era, sponsored by Players, No. 6, a cigarette company.
Malahide did not have a good day with the bat, and only scored 102 runs. The following evening, the Malahide opening bowler, Ray Kelly took 2 wickets, and on the last ball of the evening, the night watchman, Michael Delaney, was run out. Thus, at 33 for 3, it was very much game on. In a preview, Sean Pender of the Irish Times, commented that Clontarf only needed 68, and with “Carroll batting soundly, and Noel Grier, Dickie Spence, John Nolan, Fergus Carroll and Podge Hughes – all of whom are quite capable of big scores – still to come, such a total should really be within their reach.”
That was not the way it worked out. Dougie Goodwin bowled 26 overs in total and took 4 wickets for 26. Ray Kelly took another three, and his figures for the game were 5 wickets for 16 runs. Clontarf’s final score was 73, and the margin of victory was 29 runs. Both sides fielded brilliantly, and R. D. Daly was commended for his “courageous field placings with so few runs to play around with.”
With the first leg of the double achieved, Malahide could now focus all its energy on winning the League. By the end of August, the league had also been won, but there was no let-up for Malahide, and it finished the season undefeated. The batting honours for the season went to R. D. Daly (487), J. D. Caprani (299), D. Connerton (284), G. P. O’Brien (252) and S. O’Brien (247). Dougie Goodwin took 55 wickets and won the O’Grady Cup, while the other successful bowlers were R. Shaw (38), Ray Kelly (31) and G. J. Ward (30). In taking 20 catches in the field, S. O’Brien broke a 50-year-old league record, and the “stern and inspiring captaincy” of R. D. Daly was praised for adopting a bright and attacking strategy if there was even a remote chance of victory.
It was not just the First team which brought glory to Malahide during 1971, and the Third X1 also won the Intermediate League and Cup Double. Although, it is beyond the scope of this article to comment on the period from 1971, it is important to recognise the vision that has ensured that members of Malahide were not just concerned with their own club but contributed to the growth and administration of cricket in the Leinster Cricket Union and in the Irish Cricket Union.
Malahide has provided Presidents of Cricket Ireland, Presidents of Cricket Leinster, a Secretary of Irish Cricket Union and coaches to international schools and youth teams. Malahide CC was established in 1861 as a social and sporting outlet for the gentry, and over the next 110 years, it evolved into an inclusive organisation which has provided sporting and social activities for men and women, boys, and girls.
Its origins were elitist, but over the years, the club has ensured that all are welcome at the Village. During this period, it achieved senior status, won the Senior League and the Senior Cup, and won numerous trophies at junior level. Its players have been capped for Ireland and won individual awards for excellence. The motto which the club adopted in 1861 was forte et fidele (by strength and faithfulness), and Malahide CC has more than lived up to those characteristics in the years of its existence.
Thanks to Alan J. Hughes for providing access to Malahide Cricket Club: Souvenir Brochure, 1981 which was edited by his father, Ivan. I am grateful to Brian Gilmore for his comments on earlier drafts and for providing some photographs. I also consulted with Alan J. Hughes, John M. Pryor, Ray Daly, Ian Talbot, and Gerard Siggins, but I am responsible for any factual errors or omissions.