This was Ireland's first win against I Zingari since the series began in 1859, and what a resounding win it was. The Dublin University scholar JP Mahaffy took 9 for 16 and 4 for 18 as I Zingari were dismissed for 33 and 42 - the lowest match total recorded by an I Zingari team. Let it be said however that I Zingari had the worst of the weather and the wicket. The weather was good on the first day when Ireland scored 105 but on the two following days a high wind and torrential showers turned the wicket into a morass of mud so much so that Captain Tryon, batting last in the I Zingari second innings had mud sent into his face every time the ball pitched near him.
The Vice Regal Ground had had very little use since the Earl of Carlisle had departed in 1864 and indeed the present Lord Lieutenant, the Duke of Abercorn, had opened the ground especially for this match. The wicket in fact was frightful! I Zingari did not have a successful tour in this year winning only once in 6 games and losing to Ireland, to XX of Arklow and to XXII of Cork. Captain Buller however was hurt in a match in Bandon and was unable to play against Ireland. The games of 1867 and 1868 were to prove what a great loss this was. Only 5 of IZ had previously played against Ireland - Capt. Deane (1859); RA Fitzgerald (who was playing in the last of his 4 matches since 1859); Henry Arkwright (1860 & 1863); R Marsham (1860 & 1863); and Capt. W Parnell (1863). Of the 7 newcomers only FH Norman ever played subsequently in this match. Norman was a splendid batsman who played for Cambridge in 1858, 59, 60, being captain in 1860. He was a nephew of Herbert Jenner, the Cambridge captain in the first ever Varsity match played in 1827. Lord George Hamilton was a son of the Lord Lieutenant, the Duke of Abercorn.
Ireland had 5 new players. Of these Lord Hubert Butler, was the younger brother of the Marquis of Ormonde who was playing for IZ. He, RH Ravenhill and LG Scott played only this one match for Ireland. Capt. J Coddington, playing the last of his 9 matches for Ireland, was the only survivor playing in this game of the first game in all played in 1855 and had averaged 10.42 runs per innings, good for those times. Death robbed each team of a player within 12 months of the game. Within a month Henry Arkwright, ADC. to the Lord Lieutenant, and a Cambridge Blue of 1858, was killed when climbing in Switzerland and in 1867 Lord Hubert Butler died of Brain Fever at the age of 20. Butler had played for Eton in the annual match against Harrow. It should be mentioned that Mahaffy and Tom Casey, the two Irish heroes, were both substitutes, replacing AJ McNeile and CE Stelfox.
From noon onwards on the first day the sun shone. The previous day had been wet so the ground was damp and dead until the sun made it difficult when IZ batted in the evening. W Hone Snr. and LGP Filgate faced Capt. Parnell and Lord G Hamilton when play began. Scoring was quick but at 18 Filgate was run out attempting a third run. G Barry, who was playing well, met a similar fate at 33 when Hone refused his call. Ashton came in but before another run was scored Hone was beautifully caught at Long Leg by Fitzgerald (whose fielding was brilliant) off Marsham. Hone's 18 was well made but he was missed when 8 by Norman at Long Leg. Mahaffy was No. 5 but at 37 Ashton was LBW after making one fine leg hit for 3.
With Coddington in Mahaffy was bowled for 0 at 41. Two wickets fell at 48. Lord Hubert Butler hit his wicket and Coddington was caught at the wicket by Tryon off Parnell. Scott was bowled by Marsham for 0 at 50. In this crisis Tom Casey joined Roberts who was batting well. At lunch the score was 67 for 8. Despite several bowling changes the 9th wicket pair eventually put on 40 before Roberts became the third run out. Roberts, who made 10, would have been caught by Fitzgerald early on at long leg had not the fielder tripped on one of the many marquee ropes. Gosford bowled Ravenhill for 2 at 97. With Oldfield in as last man Tom Casey raised the 100 before Hamilton came back on and bowled Oldfield for 0. Casey was 31 not out - a splendid performance at a crucial time.
At 4.10 pm Tryon and Arkwright began for IZ to the bowling of Mahaffy and Oldfield. These two bowled unchanged until close of play at 6.oopm and in those 110 minutes IZ scored 29 for 8 - unusually slow scoring in the 1860's. Arkwright hit his wicket playing back to Mahaffy - 8-1-3. The Earl of Gosford was No. 3. Mahaffy bowled Tryon for 3 at 13. FH Norman came in and he actually batted until close of play - some 95 minutes - for 8 not out. Around him Mahaffy created terrible havoc. At 20 3 wickets fell to him. Gosford was cleverly caught behind the wicket by Casey, Fitzgerald was bowled for 0 and Denne was caught at slip by Home also for 0. At 25 Hone caught Marsham at point for 0 and at 27 Capt. Parnell was stumped. 27 for 7 and Mahaffy had taken them all! At 28 Hone took his 3rd catch when he dismissed the Marquis of Ormonde off Oldfield. At 29 for 8 bad light and an icy wind ended play. Norman was 8 not out and Hamilton 1 not out. Mahaffy to date had bowled 99 balls and taken 7 for 14.
The second day was much time interrupted by heavy showers but a large crowd again attended. Sawdust was in much demand by the players. Play ended with Ireland 173 ahead and 5 wickets in hand. IZ started at 11.30 am but only added 4 to their total of which Hamilton got 3 and Norman 1. The last 3 wickets all went down at 33. Norman was caught at the wicket by Hone (who had replaced Casey) off Mahaffy. Hamilton was caught by Coddington at point to give Mahaffy his 9th wicket and Stewart was run out. Mahaffy bowled 30.3 overs, 23 maidens and took 9 for 16. Oldfield took 1 for 9 in 25 Overs. He bowled 16 maidens and therefore conceded a single in each of 9 overs. The fielding throughout was splendid.
After some rain Hone and Filgate opened Ireland's 2nd innings. Parnell and Marsham were the bowlers. At 10 Filgate (5) was caught at the wicket off Marsham. Ashton came in at No. 3. He drove very well and the score rose rapidly until at 34 Hone (15) was bowled by Marsham. With Casey in lunch was taken at 44 for 2. After lunch Casey was well caught at long off off Arkwright's "slows". 51-3-3. Barry joined Ashton and kept the score moving. At 64 Ashton was caught by Stewart at long on off Marsham for 36. His hitting to leg was a feature. Coddington and Barry added 19 before the former was bowled for 10 by one of AL Smith's "special eccentrics". Lord Hubert Butler was bowled by Smith's next ball and 6 were out for 83. This ball which bowled Butler "ricoched along the ground and after describing several gyrations went into the wicket". Roberts and Barry stayed together until time was called at 5 30 pm. The score was 101 for 6 with Roberts 15 and Barry 10. Barry's 10 took 2 hours - a testimony to the bowling and fielding although he was missed at the wicket before he had scored.
On the third day a heavy gale was blowing. There were also heavy showers and the crease was a sea of mud. At 11 45 am Barry and Roberts started again. As there was no declaration rule in 1866 it was necessary for Ireland to get out quickly in order to avoid a draw. The remaining 5 wickets went down for 20 - Arkwright taking 4 of them. Before the score was added to Barry was caught at long on by Gosford. At 113 Scott was stumped and at 119 Mahaffy was bowled by Marsham and Ravenhill stumped. The innings ended at 121 when Lord George Hamilton took a splendid catch at long on to dismiss Roberts for 21. The fielder had to run backwards for a considerable distance. Arkwright's figures were 5 for 39 in 22 Overs and Marsham's 4 for 25 in 39 overs. IZ's target was 194 and they really had no hope. The whole innings was a chronicle of disaster. There was no stand at all and for the second time no batsman reached 10 - although extras (all wides) did! Gosford was the highest scorer with 9 and the innings total was 42. The innings was frequently interrupted by rain. Capt. Denne was absent so IZ batted only 11 men. Mahaffy and Oldfield bowled unchanged. Mahaffy took 4 for 18 and in the match 13 for 34.