This was the 4th and last game against the All England XI and Ireland was lucky to draw after leading by 4 runs in the first innings. Play ended before 6 00 on the 3rd day to enable the visitors to catch the evening boat. But for this it is probable that Ireland would have lost their remaining 7 wickets and been beaten. Mr John Lawrence sponsored the match and incurred a heavy loss. The weather was very bad throughout the three days but the crowd was beggarly despite low prices. The team was selected by Lawrence and "a Committee of Gentlemen" and this team was criticised because it contained English players who were mainly "birds of passage". It was said that this destroyed the International character of the match; discouraged the Irish players and led to lack of public support. It is a little difficult to know which players fell into the category mentioned but two of them were certainly the Earl of Lanesborough and W Walrond of the Grenadier Guards. As against this many refusals were received from Irish players invited to play. In this game two long careers ended and one began. JR Roberts and A Samuels were playing their last games. Samuels, a slow underarm bowler, had played in the 1st Irish game in 1855 and had played 13 games since. In this game the veteran conceded only 10 runs in 21 overs. W Hone Jnr., the best of the Hones, made his debut and became the best batsman of the 1870's.
The All England XI made only two changes from the 1868 game - T Walker and G Freeman coming in for WH Acton and G Oscroft. The team included T Haywood and R Carpenter, two of the finest batsmen of the era. Pinder was the wicket keeper while the bowling of JC Shaw, Freeman, Tarrant and Tinley must have been the greatest all round attack of the day. Ireland did very well to make 140 in the first innings. For this PF Casey's 42 was mainly responsible. The members of the Leinster CC presented Casey with a new bat which he used in the 2nd innings. Casey's style was referred to as "abominable - pulling everything to leg" but he was quite often successful.
This game was to have been played in College Park but Lawrence would not accept the conditions of hire and so the game was moved to Rathmines. Owing to rain a start could not be made until 1 30. This gave the visitors a chance to rest for they had been playing at Burton-on-Trent until 5 00 the previous evening. The wicket was much improved on previous years and the Pavilion had lately been enlarged. GF Barry won the toss and sent the All England XI in to bat. At 6 10 they had been bowled out for 136, largely due to a fine late spell by Moeran. John Smith of Cambridge and W Oscroft opening the innings to the bowling of S Smythe and GF Barry. At 4 Oscroft was caught of Barry for 2, the ball actually being a shooter. A Shaw came in, made 4, and was then caught at the wicket, also off Barry. 8-2-4. This was a good start. Hayward came in and he and Smith pulled the game around. Smith played with great care and patience and then hit a ball out of the ground to square leg. Moeran and Samuels were tried but by lunch at 2 30 no further wicket had fallen. On the resumption JH Smith replaced Moeran. Off him John Smith was badly missed at short slip but next ball Hayward was bowled for 15. 47-3-15. Carpenter came in and at 57 John Smith was caught at long leg by Graves off Samuels. He had made 32 in 90 minutes, a valuable innings. Tarrant was next and when Barry relieved Samuels scoring became brisk. Walrond was tried for Smith and Smythe for Barry. Tarrant played brilliantly until Kempster caught a sharp one handed catch at mid-on off Walrond. Freeman joined Carpenter at 96 for 5. Both hit 4's to the cheers of the crowd. Moeran came back for what was to be a vital spell. At 114 Freeman was caught at point off him. In his next over Moeran bowled the gallant Carpenter who had scored 33. 119-7. Pinder joined T.Walker and was dropped by Graves before being caught by Hardy at long-stop off Smythe for 0. 121-8. At 123 Moeran bowled Walker. The last wicket, Tinley and JC Shaw added 13, although Shaw was badly missed by Kempster at mid-off. After a few more overs, Tinley was bowled by another fine ball by Moeran. The wicket favoured the bowlers and the fielding was very good. Moeran in 15 overs took 4 for 15, and all the bowlers were very economical. At 6 20 TB Reeves and J Kempster opened for Ireland. JC Shaw bowled the first over. The 2nd ball saw Pinder, the wicket keeper, badly hit on the eye. With Kempster out of his ground a throw in jumped from Pinder's arm to his eye. The score was 0 for 0 at close of play.
The 2nd day's weather and crowd were both poor. Ireland gained a 4 run lead and took 1 for 21 in the All England XI 2nd Innings. To the surprise of many Kempster failed to score being bowled by JC Shaw. 2-1. GW Evans came in but at 7 Reeves was caught at the wicket. PF Casey was next and he inspired great expectation by the rapidity and ease with which he scored. His style was showy and it was most unfortunate when he hit his own wicket off one of Tinley's slows. Evans was run out at 16. Walrond made a careful 13 and helped to add 44 with Casey. Walrond was bowled by one of Tinley's dazzling slows. W Hone Jnr, Barry and O'Mara only got two between them - the easy catch which Barry gave being unworthy of him. R Jones made 14 and RA Miller (17) and W.S.Ashton (9) put on 23 for the 11th wicket. Incidentally the stumping of Jones by Pinder off Freeman was one of the finest seen. The 12th wicket fell at 131 - so 5 were required for the lead with 9 wickets in hand. Graves defended stoutly but the 13th wicket also fell at 131, the 14th at 132, the 15th (Roberts) at 133. The Earl of Lanesborough was caught at short slip at 135. Tarrant and Freeman were now rampant. JH Smith went in without pads or gloves and was run out attempting an impossible 2nd run which would have given the lead. Still at 136 Tarrant bowled Moeran. It was W Morgan's single that got the lead and then Tarrant bowled the patient Graves off his pads. His 3 was of great value. Hardy was caught at long off to end the innings at 140. The last 10 wickets had fallen for 9 runs. Tarrant and Tinley took 5 wickets each and Freeman bowled 29 overs in taking 4 for 19.
At 5 45 Smith and Oscroft began again for the All England XI. This time Moeran and JH Smith opened the bowling. There was steady play but rather dull. John Smith was badly missed by Lanesborough at short slip and by Smythe at deep square leg. Oscroft was caught at mid wicket by Kempster off Moeran and play ended for the day. Oscroft had made 6 and Smith was 13 not out. 21 for 1.
On the 3rd day the All England XI were again bowled out for a reasonable total - 131. It might have been even less as at one stage the score was 87 for 7 and then 102 for 8. Of course it must always be borne in mind that it is very difficult to score when there are XXII in the field and the bowling figures always look very well. The crowd was somewhat larger but the weather was still bad. Smith's 36 was the highest score. He batted with patience but had some good hits. A good stand by Pinder and Tinley added 29 for the 9th wicket. Smith and A Shaw began at 21 for 1. At 35 Shaw was run out for 5. Hayward and Smith added 25 and then Smith was very well caught by Walrond at long on off Ashton, who was having his first spell in the match. Smith's 36 included five 3's. Carpenter came in but at 61 Hayward was badly run out for 11. Tarrant was next and three wickets fell in the 80's. Carpenter (10) was caught off Smythe at 82 and Barry got Tarrant (15) and Walker (1) at 87. The latter had been missed by JH Smith. Pinder and Freeman took the score to 102 and then Smythe had Freeman caught. Then came the Pinder Tinley stand which was broken when Barry bowled Pinder for 19 and then had JC Shaw magnificently caught at the wicket by Hudson 2nd ball. This catch got great cheers. The Irish fielding was not as good as in the first innings and a number of catches were dropped. Barry with 4 for 10 in 16.2 overs was the best bowler and JH Smith, without taking a wicket bowled 29 overs for 26 runs. O'Mara only bowled 4 overs in the match.
At 4 00 Ireland went in wanting 128 to win. Freeman and Tarrant bowled fast and unchanged and 14 wickets fell for 41 - 2 run out. The start was fantastic. Samuels (no. 22 in the first innings) and Roberts (no 16 previously) opened. The latter ran out the former at 0 and after a few overs Barry was caught at point off Tarrant. 2-2-0. At 6 Freeman bowled Roberts for 3 and then 5 wickets fell with the score at 7! Casey, with his newly presented bat, got 1 and was run out by Evans' lack of judgement. Ashton came in and Evans was caught at short slip off Tarrant and Smythe was bowled next ball. O'Mara came in and saw Ashton bowled by Freeman, as was Reeves. Eight were down for 7 and the spell was broken when Tarrant bowled a wide. At 12 O'Mara was caught and three more wickets fell at 13 - Hone, Miller and Walrond. 12 were out for 13 runs! Hudson left at 16 and then came a stand of 11 by Purdon and Jones. At 27 Freeman bowled Purdon for 8 - the second highest score. Graves (6) and Jones (12) added a further 14 and carefully played out time. Freeman's bowling was inimitable - 29 over, 25 maidens, 5 runs and 6 wickets - 116 balls and only 5 runs. Tarrant in 28 overs took 6 for 35. Pinder was again brilliant behind the wicket reminding the watchers of Lockyer.