This was the first ever game played by an Irish Selected XI and recognised in the Irish Cricket Union Records. Perhaps appropriately it was won by Ireland by 107 runs.The Irish team was a strong one and contained some very well known players of the 1850's. The Hon. F.G.B.Ponsonby, born in 1815, had played for Cambridge University in the Varsity Match of 1836. He later became, in 1845, one of the founders of I Zingari and was also a founder of Surrey C.C.C. He later became Lord Bessborough and lived to his 80's. This was the only game he played under his own name for Ireland but did subsequently play as "R.Roe" in the next Irish game.
Joseph H. McCormick was one of the hardest hitters of his day - especially forward and made many excellent scores in his short career. His bowling was slow round arm with varied pace and was very deceptive. Between 1855 and 1868 he played in all 5 times for Ireland scoring 115 runs and taking 34 wickets. He played for Cambridge in 1854, was not available in 1855 and captained the side in 1856, a year in which he also got a rowing blue. While at Cambridge he learned his leg break bowling from the famous W Buttress. McCormick was born in Liverpool of Irish extraction in 1834. He was over 6 feet in height and he played for the Gentlemen against the Players in 1857. He entered the Church and abandoned public playing. In 1861 he was the Vicar of Dunmore East in Waterford. After a few years he resumed the game with success. In 1890 he was the Honorary Chaplain to Queen Victoria and he lived to his late 80's.
Arthur Samuels was born in 1826 and lived to be a very old man. In the late 1880's he wrote a pamphlet on his early cricketing life. Of this first ever Irish team he survived the longest playing his 15th and last game for Ireland in 1869 at the age of 43. In these game he took 53 wickets with his slow underarm bowling which often was highly successful, particularly in 1859. Capt. J. Coddington was a fine upstanding player who in 9 games for Ireland averaged over 10, good in those days of bad wickets.
Pat Doyle was born in Dublin in 1831 and was a self-taught professional player. He and M Flanagan (whom M.C.C. engaged in 1870) were the only two well-known professional native born Irish players of the time. For Ireland he played 13 games from 1855 to 1863 and scored 191 runs, at an average of 9.09. W.H.Johnston was a very brilliant wicket-keeper in days when this was a difficult art. Born in Co. Wicklow in 1833 he was educated in Eton (though he did not make the XI) and Dublin University. Smallish in height he was also a splendid bat scoring 156 runs at an average of 17.33 in 5 games for Ireland.
Two of the Kinahan brothers (CH and G) also played for Ireland in this match as did T.Quinn, a fastish bowler who in 13 games for Ireland took 30 wickets. RH Scott and G Kinahan were last minute substitutes for W Molony and G Brennan, neither of whom ever did in fact play for Ireland.
The Gentlemen of England team was misnamed, as it was rather inferior. Changes from the original team selected saw the crying off of two of the famous Walkers of Southgate, F and VE and also W Wills, F Northey and A Hunt. Into the team as substitutes came WP Creyke, C Calvert, Captain Price, Captain Dugmore and J Trimmer (possibly a Pseudonym). These were Irish based players and only 5 or 6 players actually came from England for the match. They were the Fiennes brothers (WS and CB), CS Currer, W Nicholson EHL Willes and CE Eaton. WS Fiennes was to play for Oxford in 1856-57-58 as a fast bowler and lived to be 89. Currer played for Oxford in 1847. RA Fitzgerald, later secretary of M.C.C., played for Cambridge in 1854 and 1856. He later played for Ireland v M.C.C. at Lords in 1858, 1862 and 1867. Willes played for Oxford in 1852-53-54, being captain in the latter two years. All three games against Cambridge were won. He was a free batsman and a fast bowler. W.Nicholson was captain of the Gentlemen in this match and a very interesting personality. Born in 1824 he was captain of Harrow in 1843. He was a fine batsman and wicket-keeper. In 1879 he was President of M.C.C and he lived to be 84. His generosity saved Lords from the builders in 1866 - he bought the freehold for £18,000.
Very little detail about the match is preserved. It began at 11.00 a.m. on the first day and England sent Ireland in to bat. Coddington (23) and Johnston (22) batted well and Willes took 4 wickets. Only Nicholson with 27 reached double figures for England. Quinn took 6 wickets and McCormick 3. Coddington fielded well and took 2 catches while Johnston kept wicket brilliantly. Ireland's lead of 40 was increased to 145. Johnston was again successful with the bat with 35 and McCormick made 20. WS Fiennes with 4 wickets bowled "steady and true". England fielded very well, particularly W.Jacob, a substitute. In their second innings England were permitted to bat RA Fitzgerald instead of W Creyke who was not available. However they collapsed before Quinn (6 wickets) and McCormick (3) and the highest score was 8. The Lord Lieutenant attended both days' play. He was the Earl of Carlisle - one of the greatest patrons of Irish cricket.
After the game the Fiennes brothers and Willes challenged any three of the Irish team in a single wicket match. McCormick, Scott and Coddington accepted and made 21 to the Englishmen's 7. McCormick made 15 and took all 3 wickets. In their second innings the Irishmen were 3 for 0 wicket (all wides) when rain came and washed out the game.