Edward Liddle, March 2009
Bob Alexander was a flanker for Queens and Instonians, who, already ready capped at cricket in 1932, gained 11 Irish rugby caps between 1936 and 1939. A highly regarded player, he scored one of Ireland's 3 tries in the 11-4 win over Scotland at Lansdowne Road in 1937. The following year he toured South Africa with Sammy Walker's Lions side, playing in all three Tests and scoring a vital try as the Lions came from behind to win the last match. As a cricketer Bob was a good opening bowler, but a negligible batsman. It was ironic that in his only Irish cap match v Scotland in 1932, he scored 28, but failed to take a wicket. He was killed in Sicily in some of the heaviest fighting of that campaign.
Belvedere College has always been a reliable rugby and cricket production line as our next two studies show. George Morgan (1912-1979) vies with Sugden as Ireland's best inter war scrum half. For Clontarf and then Old Belvedere, he gained 19 caps from 1934, captaining the side six times. A reverse pass specialist, he also played for the Barbarians and toured South Africa with the Lions in 1938. Though he had to compete for a place with the famed Welshman Haydn Tanner, he played in one Test. War probably robbed him of at least two more seasons at the highest level. A good club batsman, he hit two hundreds for Clontarf, for whom he was a consistent rather than heavy scorer. Unfortunately, he failed in his only Irish match, being stumped for 0 in the only innings allowed him v MCC at Sion Mills in 1935.
Kevin Quinn was another Belvedere product. A centre three quarter who played in the "Victory Internationals", he won 5 caps between 1947 and 1953. He never scored a try for Ireland but did kick a penalty. As a cricketer he was a fluent right hand opening bat and good slow left armer. He scored over 400 runs for Phoenix besides taking over 400 wickets. He gained 7 Irish caps between 1957 and 1959, his highest score being 43 v New Zealand in College Park in 1958, though he had also made a stylish 41 v Free Foresters at Rathmines. A doctor by profession, he was the youngest of four brothers, all of whom played cricket for Ireland and one of whom, Gerry, also played in the rugby Victory Internationals.
Jack Notley was a product of Masonic School, Dublin, another fine training ground for aspiring cricketers and rugby players. An insurance company executive, Jack played rugby for Wanderers, winning two caps in 1952. The first was v France at full back. When the regular No 15, JGMW Murphy returned v Scotland, Jack moved to the centre. Both matches were won, with Jack kicking a conversion in Paris but he was not picked again. As a cricketer, he was a heavy scorer for Leinster CC, winning the Marchant Cup in 1957. In his only match for Ireland, he replaced the injured Quinn v Worcestershire in College Park and failed against the full county attack on a difficult wicket.
Mick Dargan a chemist, was a product of both Belvedere and Clongowes Wood College Originally a hooker, he switched to flanker, his small stature when he joined Old Belvedere, as the man in possession of the No 2 shirt was the Irish captain Karl Mullen. Mick won two caps v Scotland and Wales in 1952. He was much praised for his performance in the victory over Scotland, but lost his place after the Welsh match. He also toured Chile and Argentina that year. As a cricketer, he scored over 3000 runs for Phoenix, gaining one Irish cap v MCC at College Park in 1952, He was unfortunate in that it was the last match of the season, so there was little chance to rectify failure, though his slip catching was seen to advantage as Ireland scraped home by 2 runs.
Jimmy McKelvey was probably selected too soon in both games. Having honed his skills at Campbell College, his rugby was for Queens and NIFC. A full back, he was one of 6 new caps, including the captain JS Richie, selected v France in 1955. They were easily defeated at Stades Colombes but the newcomers held their places v England at Twickenham. Here they were defeated 20-0, Jimmy and the captain being among those never to play again. Of those six new caps only scrum half Andy Mulligan had an extended international career. As a cricketer with Queens and NICC and later with Ulster Town, Jimmy was a stylish left hander, often opening the innings. As late as 1969, he was one of the few batsmen in an NCU XI who showed much idea how to deal with a near test strength Pakistan International Airlines attack. Yet he played only twice for Ireland, discarded after making little impression against Scotland and MCC in 1954. His subsequent performances suggest this to have been a premature dismissal of the Saintfield GP.
The last of our double cricket and rugby internationals, Ray Hunter was a tall and strongly built man, whose rugby was played, at club level, for CIYMS, at wing or centre. He won 10 caps for Ireland, injury possibly costing him half a dozen more. His caps came between 1962 and 1966, beginning with a heavy defeat at Twickenham. In fact Ray was never to be on a winning Irish rugby Irish side. He toured South Africa with the 1962 Lions led by Scottish winger Arthur Smith. As a cricketer, Ray had made his name as a fast scoring middle order batsman and medium pace bowler, before his debut in 1957, having scored a brilliant 133 in the NCU Cup Final earlier in the season. He made 74* in his first match v Free Foresters which was to remain his highest score for Ireland. In all he was to score 800 runs for Ireland and take 33 wickets, besides leading the side 3 times in 1967. As with rugby, so with cricket injury was to deprive him of a number of caps, terminating his international career in 1968. An insurance official by profession, he was followed in to the Irish XV by his brother Lawrence, also a centre, who as a fast medium bowler was considered by many judges of the game unlucky not to have been another double international.