Thomas Patrick Horan and Thomas Joseph Dart Kelly had much in common. They were born in the middle of the eighteenth century in Ireland - Horan in Midleton, County Cork, Kelly in Waterford. Neither would make his home in Ireland, rather it was to Australia they would go to spend most of their lives.

They were also the only Irishmen to play cricket for Australia and in one test they played in the same side. Horan even captained Australia, played in the first ever Test - in Melbourne in 1876-77 - as well as the famous Oval Test of 1882 that gave rise to The Ashes.

Tom HoranTom Horan (right) was born in Midleton in 1854 and was taken to Australia as a child to settle in Melbourne. Thick-set, prematurely balding and extravagantly mutton-chopped, he was one of the finest batsmen in Australia as his position of first wicket down confirmed. He was a useful round-arm pace bowler but, research reveals, an uncertain fielder.

In that First Test Match - the emphasis here is on the number 11 as against 15, 18 or 22 - Australia won the historic encounter against England by 45 runs, a result which would be amazingly mirrored in the commemorative Centenary game. Horan with 12 and 20 hardly disgraced himself in a match where no innings exceeded 245, but it was not enough to save his place for the next Test. His replacement was a certain Thomas Kelly.

Horan was too good a player to be overlooked for long. He may not have been a stylist, but his defence was strong and he excelled against fast bowling. He was a member of the 1878 and 1882 teams to England and, on the second tour, scored a career highest score of 141 not out against Gloucestershire at Clifton and 112 against the United Eleven at Chichester.

Horan was also one of those who featured in that legendary one-off Test match of 1882 at The Oval when England, set 84 to win, lost by seven runs. The mock obituary of English cricket - "the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia" - printed in The Sporting Times was the start of a great tradition, currently being played out during this English summer.

Horan has another claim to cricketing fame when in the Test match at Melbourne in 1881-1882 he made 124, adding 124 for the fifth wicket with George Giffen - the first century stand in Australia. He captained Australia in the second and fifth Tests of 1884-1885: he lost both!

Horan was an excellent judge of the game and, as a first-rate journalist, wrote on cricket for many years under the pseudonym "Felix" in The Australian. He died, much mourned, in 1916.

Thomas KellyWhile Tom Horan played 15 times for Australia, Thomas Kelly (left) appeared twice - first when he replaced Horan in Melbourne in 1876-77 and then when he joined Horan in the same side in Melbourne two years later. Kelly was born in 1844 and, as a child, moved from Waterford with his parents to Bristol. There he learned his cricket from the Grace brothers at Durdham Downs near Bristol before emigrating to Australia at the age of 19. Like Horan, he was to settle in Melbourne. Within two years Kelly was making his debut for Victoria as a free-hitting batsman and a magnificent fielder at point. In that first match he made 19 and 35, the second innings including eight successive strikes for four.

Kelly's first two matches netted only 64 runs and as a player he was overshadowed by his fellow Irishman. Yet it was Kelly, and not Horan, who left a greater mark on the game. His real place in history may rest with him being the first Australian cricketer to wear a blazer - one designed by himself.