1980 saw a noticeable change in Irish cricket. Heretofore caps were not awarded for one-day limited over internationals. However, with the fact that in 1980 Ireland were to enter the Gillette Cup for the first time and would be playing a competitive limited overs match against, this year, Middlesex, the Irish Cricket Union decided to alter this policy. The first limited overs match to be capped was to be this match against The West Indies.
10 days before this match a preparatory match, under Gillette rules, was played at Ormeau, Belfast between Ireland and The Rest. The Rest side included six professionals playing in Ireland of whom MV Narashima Rao and P Sharma were test players. The Ireland team as selected was that which had played against MCC but O'Brien (broken toe) could not play. MF Cohen was promoted from The Rest. The Rest's Irish players were AV Smith, T Harpur, EA Bushe (GF Murphy was tried on the Irish side as a batsman / wicketkeeper), TD Kane and AJ Hughes. The ground and wicket were wet and the match was slow-moving. The Ireland team was beaten. They made 117-8 (IJ Anderson 46*; DW Harrison 22; U.Joshi 2-19; AJ Hughes 2-20). The Rest made 118-5 (AV Smith 29; D Pearse 24*). Murphy was, in fact, retained as wicket-keeper on the Irish side against West Indies. This was his first cap. In 1959 he refused a cap as a batsman substitute to play against Sir Wilfrid Isaacs XI on the grounds that he did not wish to play against South Africans. Ireland v the The Rest was covered by BBC 2, Northern Ireland, with commentators Carl Anderson and Derek Scott.
The first West Indies match was ruined by rain. It started as a 55 overs per side match, with each bowler restricted to 11 overs. Play started 30 minutes late and the overs were reduced to 50. Rain stopped play at lunch when West Indies were 105-2 off 35 overs. They could not resume until 5 PM. It was then agreed that the match would continue until 7 PM with Ireland set 106 to win in as many overs as could be fitted it, but a draw would be allowed. Thus it finished with West Indies having taken five wickets for 39 runs and the match being drawn. Of the 16 players touring England West Indies left behind the captain CH Lloyd, the vice-Capt., IVA Richards and L Rowe. West Indies came to Dublin having won the first test and drawn a rain ruined second test at Lords. Greenwich (hero of 1976 in Rathmines); Bacchus; Kallicharran; DL Murray (who had played against Ireland in 1963 and 1976); AME Roberts; J Garner and CEH Croft had all played at Lords in the second test.
The match was sponsored by Rothmans (£4,000). Aer Lingus flew the tourists in free. Messrs. Robert Wallace Shirts presented 240 ties to the ICU for sale - a souvenir with the crests of both teams on it. RTE 2 covered the matches live with Fred Cogley and Derek Scott providing the commentary.
Although the wicket was covered the surrounds were wet and a 30 minute delay held up the start. Greenwich and Bacchus began to the bowling of Corlett and Elder. In Corlett's second over Greenwich skied one to Halliday at mid-on, getting too far under the ball on a damp pitch. 0-1-0. Corlett bowled five overs for three runs and gave way to Halliday. Kallicharran struck him for three fours in his first eight balls. Halliday then bowled beautifully. After 13 off 2 overs he bowled his remaining eight for only 14 runs. Elder (seven overs for three runs) gave way to Monteith. Bacchus hit Halliday for a six and was severe on Monteith who bowled five overs for 27 before Anderson tried a spell. Bacchus went to his 50 in 94 minutes out of 85. In the same over he was caught by Murphy off an inside edge off Anderson. 85-2-50. Kallicharran, 42, and King 9 were together at lunch, at which point it rained.
By 5:08 PM Short and Reith set out to score 106 before 7 PM. Marshall and Garner bowled, the former being very fast and hostile. Short snicked him in the air past Bacchus at second slip, and, next over, Bacchus caught him at first slip off Garner. 3-1-2. Reith and O'Brien were hard-pressed to stay in in poor light against very fast lifting deliveries. Eventually, in the eighth over, Marshall bowled O'Brien. 9-2-2. At 5:36 PM rain stopped play for some 26 minutes with the score on 13-2. On resumption DL Murray moved himself to second gully and at once caught Anderson off Marshall. 18-3-2. At 19 King replaced Garner. In his second over Harrison was caught at slip. 22-4. 10 overs later Johnston was caught at the wicket off King. 32-5. The last few overs were shared by Kallicharran, Bacchus and DL Murray. Reith, 16*and Murphy 5* survived with the score at 39-5 off 30 overs. Reith had born a charmed life but survived 90 balls with considerable courage. Reith and Bacchus were given watches as Man-of-the-Match Awards to each side.