Ireland’s cricketing relationship with the United States is a long one, dating back almost 150 years, and was revived once more in Fort Lauderdale this week.

American was very strong in the 19th century and at one stage they were expected to be the fourth Test nation after England, Australia and South Africa. But for many reasons, including the rise of baseball, the sport went into steep decline.

In 1879 Ireland visited Philadelphia, the heartland of US cricket, and lost a two-day match on Staten Island by an innings. Horace Brougham wrote a book about the tour – now very rare, a copy recently sold for over €4,500 – which detailed their matches and travels.

The players met black people for the first time, as Brougham described in the abhorrent language of his time: ‘The waiters were all n******s, as black as coal. They were fine-looking men and once we found that the black of their hands did not come off on the plates – a feeling that was strong amongst us at first – we agreed that n******s were excellent servants.’

The tourists were not impressed by Niagara Falls – ‘arra, sure why wouldn’t it fall, what’s to hinder it?’, one asked – but when they bowled out Central New York for 16 the Daily Courier reported that ‘the Irish cricketers gave the American what Paddy gave the drum – a bad beating.'

Ireland visited the US more often than anywhere except Britain until very recent times, returning in 1888, 1892, 1909, 1973 and 2021.