A close finish gave Ireland an 11 run win - their second win against IZ in 9 games, the other win being in1866. IZ had not come over in 1870 or 1871 and the 1872 trip did not involve a game against Ireland. Both sides had numerous newcomers. Of the Irish newcomers Rev. J Byrne had an extraordinary debut taking 9 wickets in each innings with his medium paced round-armed bowling. He bowled unchanged throughout the match. His bowling was according to Dr. JP Mahaffy "remarkable for what Aristotle called simplicity". Byrne was chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Spencer, who watched the match. JB Storey of Dublin University was unable to play as were representatives of Louth Limerick and Galway. Storey, who in fact never played for Ireland, it was who in May bowled out the All England XI for 64 and 54 to give Dublin University Past and Present an innings win.
Ten of the IZ team were playing against Ireland for the first time and seven of the newcomers were to play regularly through the 1870's in this match. Only EW Tritton (1867-68) and AJ McNeile (1869) had played previously. McNeile had played for Ireland in 1867 and 1868 and was for many years Hon. Secretary of Na Shuler, the Irish IZ. CP Coote had also played for Ireland in 1871. The best of the IZ newcomers was W.H.Hadow who was to give great trouble to Ireland with both bat and ball. He was the eldest of a notable brotherhood, three of whom, including WH, died young. He played for Harrow, Oxford University and Middlesex. He never did well in a Varsity match but played some notable innings for his county. Other Oxford Blues were C Marriott (1871) W Law (1871-74) J Frederick (1864 & 1867) EW Tritton (1864-67 Captain in 1866). G Macan was a Cambridge Blue (1874-75). The remaining IZ newcomers were WC Higgins, E Lubbock (a brother of A Lubbock) Lord W de Broke (a leader of the die-hards in the House of Lords) and Lord Bernard who was from Cork. Before the Irish match IZ put out a Vice Regal XV for 30, Hadow taking 9 for 15.
Phoenix CC organised the game and a large crowd watched the first day's play. The morning was dark and the afternoon sum gave little warmth. By the end of the day's play Ireland were 10 for 2 in their second innings having been led by 45 on first innings - honours to IZ. Between 12 15 and 2 15 Ireland were all out for 68, DJ Stokes alone reaching double figures. The unchanged bowling of Hadow (3-39) and Law (8-25) was good but not a bit better than there was in Ireland at the time. The stampede could not be accounted for. Fox was first out to Hadow for 9 and P.F.Casey was bowled by Law for 0. GD Casey also got 0 as did Stelfox who was bowled first ball by Law. W Hone Snr. made 8 with great care while Stokes at no. 4 made a capital 18 with 2 fours. Law bowled 33.2 overs and clean bowled 7 of his 8 victims.
IZ started after lunch with WC Higgins and E Lubbock to the bowling of Byrne and Carter. Byrne bowled throughout and in 41 overs took 9 for 48. He had Higgins (3) and Hadow (0) out for 13 then Lubbock and Marriott took the score to 41. Soon it was 45 for 6 with Byrne clean bowling Lubbock (24) Law (1st ball for 0) and Frederick (2) and Carter having Marriott caught. de Broke (26) and Tritton (20) made a stand and added 47 before Byrne swept away the tail and IZ were all out for 113.
At 6 15 Ireland sent in W Hone Snr. and A Abraham (a new pair) to open. Hone was lbw to Hadow at once for 0. Fox came in at no. 3 and on the stroke of time Abraham was bowled by Law for 7. Fox was 2 not out.
The 2nd day's play ended with IZ needing 21 to win with 4 wickets in hand. Due to GD Casey, Stelfox and AT Young Ireland recovered in the second innings and set IZ 108 to win. The sun was out again but still there was no warmth but a bigger crowd than on the first day watched the game. W Hone Jun. came out with Fox to face Law and Hadow. At 15 Law bowled Fox for 4. GD Casey came in and a good stand looked like developing when Hone (14) was run out at 39. Ireland were still 6 behind. Stokes, when 2, gave Lubbock an easy chance off Hadow which was dropped but Law bowled Stokes for 8. Barry made 10 before being caught off Law at 70. At the same score PF Casey was stumped off Hadow and so, in his last match, he "bagged a pair". GD Casey, after a nicely hit 25, was caught off Law at 72. Only 3 wickets remained and the Irish lead was only 27. The last 3 wickets added 80 runs and more than doubled the total. These runs in fact won the match as it transpired. However, they should never have been scored because Stelfox was stumped before he had scored but was given not out. The umpiring (Martingale and Smith) in general was unsatisfactory. Lubbock escaped on the first day and it was doubtful if Hone Snr. was lbw on the previous evening. If Stelfox had been given out he too, like PF Casey, would have "bagged a pair" on his final appearance but as it was he was the hero with a final match winning innings of 46. Such is fickle fortune. Stelfox and A Young produced merry cricket. Hadow and finally Law were rested in favour of Lubbock, McNeile and Macan. It was McNeile who finally bowled Stelfox for 46 (6 4's) with one of his slows. In two overs Macan bowled Byrne and Carter without conceding a run leaving Young 23 not out. Stelfox made one remarkable square leg hit over the pavilion.
At 4 15 IZ went in needing 108 to win. By close of play they were 87 for 7 and Byrne had taken 6 of these and Stelfox 1. IZ also changed their opening pair sending in Law and Hadow. Hadow was lbw to Byrne for 6. de Broke came in and saw Law bowled by Byrne for 10. Lubbock was bowled for 0 at 22. At 30 de Broke fell to Stelfox for 11. At 33 Tritton was bowled for 0 by Byrne. The cheering from the Irish partisans was deafening but a 6th wicket stand followed between Marriott and McNeile. The score rose to 70 - only 37 more with 6 wickets in hand. Then Byrne struck again bowling Marriott who had made a brisk 20. Higgins came in and hit one 4 before he too was bowled by Byrne. 74 for 7 - 34 to make with 4 wickets in hand. McNeile (26) and Frederick (4) reduced the margin to 21 runs without further loss before close of play.
A good crowd turned out to see the finish on the 3rd morning. The day was fine. Three wickets fell before a run was scored. The first ball of the day saw Fox catch McNeile off Byrne for 26. C.P.Coote was bowled by Abraham in the next over - Abraham had ceased to keep wicket. Macan was in with Frederick when the latter was caught by Stokes in the long field off Byrne. 87-10. Lord Bernard came in last and still 21 were needed. Macan scored 9 of these before Bernard hit a catch to mid on to the Professional Wheeler (Substitute) "which not being disregarded terminated the match". The applause lasted for some time and Byrne was loudly cheered. He had bowled 77.1 overs for 85 runs and 18 wickets. Phoenix CC presented bats to Byrne and Stelfox.