Every now and again an article appears in the national press or online that talks about famous Irish people that have enjoyed a game of cricket or two. Most mention John Hume playing cricket for Waterside CC or Charles Stewart Parnell. Some go a bit further in to it, like when Ger Siggins wrote a piece in 2016 called Cricket and the Rising, where he talked about Cathal Brugha and Eamon De Valera, to name but two, playing the game.

The subject came up again in the press in August 2020 after Ireland defeated England in the one day international at the Rose Bowl. Articles by Johnny Waterson and Frank McNally appeared in The Irish Times talking about famous Irish men that have played the game and how they would have enjoyed the win. It got me thinking, who would make my XIs of the most famous people I’ve played with and against.

Later that August, I watched a game between the Terenure 3rd XI and the Clontarf 5th XI. The Clontarf side included the actor Gary Cooke, who is particularly famous for his role as Eamon Dunphy in Après Match. I decided at that point, following a discussion over a few beers, that I must write down my (almost) famous XIs. Below is what I came up with, some are A listers, some are D listers, most are somewhere in between. Most would be bigger celebrities then those that appear on Celebrity Big Brother if the truth be told. None are as famous as Parnell or Hume but they are famous in their own right and in their own fields, in which many have excelled or are still excelling.

I’ll start with those I’ve played against, due in the main to the fact I had more people to choose from and therefore they are probably the more famous bunch.

Played Against

Neale Richmond: A Fine Gael politician who has been a TD for the Dublin Rathdown constituency since 2020, following a spell in the Senate. Neale took a night off talking about Brexit on Tonight with Vincent Browne/The Tonight Show to represent Old Wesley RFC in a friendly match against Terenure, thus keeping up the image Paddy Cosgrave has of him. From what I recall Neale is a far better politician then he is a cricketer, but like all bad cricketers and good politicians he can talk a good game.

Andy Irvine/Roger Whelan: Two musicians I have played against numerous times over the years, Roger at schoolboy level and on my way up the teams, Andy on my way down the teams. Roger played ten years of senior cricket (122 games) for Railway Union and took Sachin Tendulkar and AB de Villiers wickets when wearing the green of Ireland, before retiring from all forms of the game in his prime in 2007 to concentrate on his music. (https://therojlight.bandcamp.com/). Andy played for more years than I, and probably he, can remember. When I played against him, he’d open the batting for the lower teams in Merrion, and I think even he will agree, just about, that he wasn’t quite of the standard of either Sachin Tendulkar or AB de Villiers. (https://www.andyirvine.com/)

Matthew Stephen Gregg: A man I cheered on from the sidelines while watching him keep goal for U.C.D. in the League of Ireland Premier Division during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Matt had an illustrious football playing career representing not only U.C.D. but also, Torquay United, Crystal Palace, Swansea City, Exeter City, Bray Wanderers, Bohemians and Dundalk before retiring from football in 2011 to concentrate on a coaching role with Just4Keepers (https://just4keepers.ie/). Matt who represented Gloucestershire at Under 16 level, could, and would have played cricket higher had it not been for him concentrating on the football. That didn’t stop him tormenting sides when playing for Phoenix further down the leagues, where his numbers have been always solid over the years. Matt is the only £400,000 signing I have ever played against, though it has to be noted I never did get to play C.I.Y.M.S.

Dave Robeson: A few years back I was approached by a rugby alickadoo in the clubhouse and asked if I would arrange a friendly against, Dave, his son in laws, touring side who were coming over from England. This I did. It turned out Dave was a Gibraltar international whose biography on Cricket Europe in 2000 described him as “a right-hand opening batsman and occasional bowler who first represented Gibraltar in the 1996 European Championships and was also in the squad at the 1997 ICC Trophy”. In the ICC Trophy he’d played against Ireland, making 5 off 47 balls, opening the batting, caught Patterson M, bowled Doak N. Not a bad way to go. He was the prize scalp in that friendly I can tell you, even though his powers on the pitch had waned a little. It was a great game, thoroughly enjoyable throughout, played as cricket should be. The pints in the bar were even better afterwards.

Karl McDermott: Who would have thought when Karl was knocking about the lower leagues in Leinster cricket scoring runs for Clontarf with what I can remember was an interesting technique, he’d make my celebrity opposition XI for matters cricket related. But he has, with bells on. Karl started off as groundsman at Clontarf, before moving on to the ground staff at Worcestershire. From there he moved to Hampshire as Deputy Head Groundsman before taking on the Head Groundsman role. And finally, he moved to Middlesex, where he now holds the top job at Lords, arguably the top job in his profession. A job well done and something everyone in Irish cricket should be very proud of.

Tom Cosby: I know a few people with large gardens, but none of them have the room to invite 70,000 people to a gig in their grounds, as Tom hopes to for this year’s edition of Electric Picnic, if it takes place. Here’s hoping. Tom, a regular for Laois CC, enjoys hitting a big ball. Many years back in fact he cleared the walls at cow corner in Terenure on at least 3 occasions, peppering some poor old ladies back garden in the process. The woman in question called the Garda, who arrived up the drive soon after, where Tom who had now been dismissed, was first to meet them. He assured the Garda, who had no knowledge of cricket, that it had been some lad that was new to the game hitting it over the wall by accident, and he would sort it out and stop him doing it again. He already had, by holing out. (https://www.electricpicnic.ie/)

Andrew Dunne/Shane Moore/Brian O’Riordan: All three of these professional rugby players deserve a place of their own but sadly I had only one place to spare so they are being entered as one. All three came off the Robin Waters talent conveyor belt around the same time to play for Old Belvedere and all three were arguably as good at cricket as they were at rugby, with Dunne in particular being an exceptional spin bowler. What rugby gained, cricket lost, with old Belvedere losing the most. Dunne would play rugby for Leinster, Harlequins, Bath, Connacht and Ireland A, Moore for Connacht and Ireland A and O’Riordan for Leinster and Bristol. Not bad for one age group of cricketers from one club.

Eoin Morgan: Not much to say here really that hasn’t been said before about the current English captain and former Irish international. I played against Eoin a few times in his youth when he played for Rush alongside his older brothers Gareth and Gavin, and Irish international Conor Armstrong. In fact, I was responsible for him retiring hurt in one Under 13 game. The fact I’m 7 years older than him, and his brothers were allowed come back in after he was out (Both retired not out on 35*) were probably more responsible for him being retired, rather than any demon pace I possessed but I’ll take it.

Niall O’Brien: The 72 against Pakistan in the 2007 world cup is the main reason Niall pips a couple of others for this place. However, the fact his Railway Union side put him fielding in the corner of the ground for 30 overs to try and keep him quiet in a game against me when he was a young lad sealed the deal. The boy could talk then and anyone that’s watched him behind the sticks or commentating since knows the man he’s become can still talk. He could also play, making a career for himself at Kent, Gloucestershire and Leicestershire, while playing for Ireland. One of Irelands greatest ever players without a doubt.

Maurice O’Donoghue: Maurice played against me many years ago for one of the lower sides in Merrion. While I remember the fact he played, unfortunately I remember little about how well or how badly he played, as I couldn’t get the wonderful Father Ted character that is Father Dick Byrne, or the episode “A Song for Europe” out of my head for the entire time he was on the pitch. Maurice is the only member of the cast of Eastenders I’ve played against too, I’m pretty certain.

Ed Joyce/Andre Botha/Kevin O’Brien: All deserving of a place in their own right, Ed for being arguably the best male cricketer this country has ever produced, Andre for his 2/5 off 8 against Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup, and Kevin for his 118 against Pakistan in our first test and his 113 against England in Bangalore during the 2011 World Cup (A knock I got to see in the flesh). Many years ago, I had the pleasure of bowling and fielding to an Ed Joyce hundred against Merrion (A joy to watch), I dropped Andre Botha for Clontarf (A ball I barely saw) and I managed to dismiss Kevin for Railway Union (In the same match as I dismissed Niall too).

Played With

To come up with 11 well known individuals I played with was a little more difficult, having missed out on games with a number of famous folks that have recently donned the whites in Terenure or for other teams I have played for. Some of these include Ciaran Clarke (Irish Rugby International), Conor Hoey (Irish Cricket International), the recently deceased Ian Bruce Deans (10 caps for the All Blacks), Ben Dunk (Australian International Cricketer), Daniel Jacobus van Zyl (Springbok International) and Adrian Holdstock (International Test Umpire). But here is the XI I ended up with:

Peter O’Reilly: Nearly 250 games, over 3500 runs and almost 350 wickets at senior level for Old Belvedere and Trinity, caps for Ireland, and a couple of seasons with Warwickshire 2nd XI says it all really. I had the pleasure of playing with Peter for The Sunday Tribune Select XI in the mid 90’s, though he didn’t show his immense talent in those games. Peter has written about sport for The Irish Times, Irish Independent and Sunday Tribune, and is currently the Irish rugby correspondent for The Sunday Times. His cricket articles in The Irish Times were always enjoyable, his trick of never mentioning himself no matter how well he did, being quite remarkable. Peter has also written and contributed to numerous books on sport over the years, including the “The Full Bag of Chips - Ireland and the Triple Crown”, as well as collaborations with Anthony Foley (RIP) and Johnny Sexton.

Ger Siggins: Another member of The Sunday Tribune Select XI I played with, Ger, like Peter is also an author, journalist and senior cricketer, having played for Trinity once in 1988. Ger worked for years in the Sunday Tribune, mainly in the Sports Department, before going on to be the Assistant Editor there. He’s written numerous books on cricket and rugby over the years, the cricket ones quickly becoming the go to reference books for both Leinster and Irish cricket. He is currently best known outside of cricket circles for his Rugby Spirit series of childrens books. (https://www.obrien.ie/rugby-spirit ) If you see him at a Table Quiz, you know you are only playing for 2nd place.

Robert Vaughan: The least known of Bernie Vaughan's children when it comes to cricket but the only sporting international amongst them. Having stopped playing cricket at a young age, Robert went on to play in goal for the Irish Olympic Handball team for a number of years. Currently working as an artist and illustrator of birds and wildlife, Robert has contributed to numerous publications over the last few years. Examples of his work can be found on his website. (https://www.robertvaughanillustrations.com/ )

Brian O’Donnell/Richard O’Leary: Anybody that listened to TV3 News in the late 90s/early 2000s would have been familiar with the names Brian O’Donnell and Richard O’Leary, so I’ve linked both together here. Both played in the lower teams in Terenure, Brian for a number of years where he took an awful lot of wickets bowling off breaks that really turned, Australian Richard for just the one year. Though they come as a pair, Brian did famously give Richard out LBW first ball in College Park while umpiring, causing tensions in the TV3 staff canteen for weeks afterwards. Brian, after a spell in Setanta Sports, now resides in Qatar and is a Senior Producer at beIN Sports working on the UEFA Champions League & English Premier League. Richard moved back to Australia after his time in Ireland and is now Deputy Director of the Government Media Unit in the Office of The Premier of Queensland.

Daire Kavanagh: Daire, whose father played for Railway Union, was a decent cricketer who came up through the schoolboy ranks in Terenure, getting as far as playing a couple of senior games in the late 90s. He had a great bowling action and could bat as well, being particularly strong when playing straight. Unfortunately for cricket Daire was also making waves on the football pitch as a creative midfielder, and eventually stopped playing cricket to play full time for Shamrock Rovers for a couple of seasons before dropping back to the Leinster Senior Leagues. Sadly, he never returned to cricket.

Eddie Moore: Not everyone gets to interview, and play alongside, one of their childhood heroes, but I managed to do both in mid 1990s. During a spell of work experience in The Sunday Tribune, one of my assignments was to meet with Eddie, interview him and write an article to be published the following Sunday. Eddie was happy to oblige being the nice guy that he was. A little later I’d luckily get to play once in the same side as him on a midweek afternoon in College Park. Eddie, ERP, the P referring to Pacey, was arguably the quickest bowler in the country for many a year, and was certainly feared by many who had to face him. He took 447 senior wickets and scored 2000 senior runs for Terenure between 1986 and 1997, as well as playing numerous times for Ireland between 1991 and 1995, with one of his international scalps being the then Australian captain Alan Border in 1993. Excellent at impersonating peoples bowling actions, which he did in numerous games, his Gladstone Small was a joy to watch.

Devrae Tankard: Bermudan international football player with 6 official caps as well as numerous unofficial caps that played cricket for Terenure on our tour to Alicante and Benidorm in 2018. Looked like Thierry Henry which was handy for nights out in Benidorm. Being a professional footballer, he was also handy at covering ground in the field, something that was very important in Game 2 of the tour. Definitely a better footballer then he was a cricketer.

Chris Macey: The green gate at the bottom of the ground in Terenure is known as the “Macey Gate” as it is where Chris used to always field, and where he generally had a lit cigarette resting for any gap in play. Chris is now ironically Head of Advocacy at the Irish Heart Foundation and can be seen regularly on television telling people not to smoke. Solid bat in Senior cricket, opening the batting for years, scoring nearly 4000 runs. Also, a very decent bowler in his day, with over 100 wickets.

Michael (Micil) Glennon: Mick came from cricketing stock, his father Alo played for Edenderry CC for many years. A taverner, he famously sledged Tom Fisher when Tom was playing for YMCA, for not being able to dismiss him in an Alan Murray Cup game. Also played numerous games for the lower teams, and in one other senior game. He somehow managed to break his leg in a taverners game too. Mick is a freelance journalist that can be found on RTE, mainly covering football, rugby and darts, as well as on the ERC Match Tracker commentary and statistics at Heineken.ie, on Goal.com, and on On the Ball. He’s the lad with the thick Edenderry accent if you don’t know him.

Ingeborg Bevers: Played as a keeper in a 4th XI cup campaign that resulted in her earning a runners-up medal in the Minor 2 Cup as well as the odd league game here and there over the years. Regular in the Taverners team. Quite a good keeper. Umpired 12 years at the top level of Dutch national men's and women's hockey, in 5 European youth hockey tournaments, in a womens test cricket match between The Netherlands and South Africa, and in numerous senior league matches. I’m going to stop here because if I miss something or get something wrong, I’ll be in trouble, as anyone that knows Inge will know.

Andrew Lummis: T20 specialist from England, now living in the Cloughjordan Ecovillage. Andrew, rather like Shane Watson, was always prone to being LBW early in his innings. He played a number of years in the lower leagues with Terenure before moving north to Malahide. Has starred in two movies, most famously playing Duncan in the 2012 film “The Tragedy of MacBeth”

And that’s it. That’s my most famous 11 v 11, played against versus played with. Try it yourself, its amazing who you will come up with and its definitely a discussion worth having over a few pints after a game next season.