- Born 1847 Crossmaglen, Co Armagh
- Died 21 October 1893 at 158 Thomas Street Dublin
- Educated Weslyan Connexional College, Dublin; Dublin University
- Debut 4 September 1873 I Zingari at Phoenix Park (12 a side)
- Cap Number 158
- Style Right hand batsman, right arm round arm.
- Teams Dublin University, Phoenix
George Casey, who was unrelated to his contemporary namesakes TJS and PF Casey, was a good middle order batsman and useful round arm bowler, who was rarely seen at his best in the various representative matches in which he played. Educated at Wesleyan Connexional College, forerunner of Wesley College, he entered Dublin University in 1869; he was a member of the 1st XI from for four years from 1870, being captain in his last two seasons. He also topped the batting averages in those two years with 17.80 in the first year and 30.11 in the second.
His highest score was 93 made against NICC at Ormeau in 1872. That season he also led by example with the ball, taking 56 wickets at 6.16. It would seem that the wickets at College Park were not of the highest quality at this time. He was often to be seen in the University current or Past and Present matches against the visiting South of England and All England XIs. As mentioned above, his performances in these matches left something to be desired. His debut in such games came against the United South of England XI in 1870, the hosts playing XXII. George, at 21, fell twice to the great Edgar Willsher, probably the best bowler in England at the time, barely troubling the scorers. One of his better matches was against the same opposition in 1878. Bowling in the visitors' innings he had the wickets of two batsmen destined to have their own place in cricket history. He began by removing Billy Midwinter. Billy was perhaps the first modern professional, travelling between his native England and his adopted Australia to ply his trade.
He became the first man to play Test cricket for two countries and the only one to play for England against Australia and Australia against England. Poor Billy was eventually to die in a mental hospital, his mind deranged by the death of his wife and young children. George's other first innings wicket was that of James Southerton, still the oldest man to play Test cricket for England, and the father of Sydney Southerton, Editor of Wisden in the early 1930s, whose condemnation of Bodyline in the 1934 Almanack did much to inform English opinion about its true nature. In the match under discussion, George continued to rub shoulders with history, he was bowled by WG for a duck, but, when the visitors batted again, struck back by sending The Champion pavilionwards.
His best bowling performance came in 1889, when playing for the Stoics - a side composed of former members of the University XI - against the University, he took all 10 wickets for 93. Six, including one return catch, were caught, three bowled and one leg before.
His seven matches for Ireland were somewhat undistinguished, though he was seen to better advantage in the non cap odds matches on the North American tour of 1879. He would probably rather have forgotten his debut and would be relieved to know that, as it was a 12 a side game, it does not appear in his statistics on this site. It was a low scoring match with I Zingari at Phoenix CC in 1873. Ireland won, thanks mainly to some remarkable bowling by the Viceregal Chaplain the Rev J Byrne. Batsmen on both sides mostly did little, few doing less than George who made a pair. His best match as a batsman came in his next game, again against IZ, this time at the Viceregal Ground years later.
Ireland batted first and were bowled out for 94, George falling for a duck to fast underarmer Edgar Lubbock who took 6-20. Good bowling by Byrne and DN Neill restricted the visitors to a six run lead. Ireland then ran up a match winning 265. George, promoted to 3, made 38, adding a crucial 74 for the third wicket with William Hone, jnr. His innings was terminated by a brilliant catch by George Macan, a Cambridge Blue. Undoubtedly the only first class cricketer to have been born in Castle Bellingham, Macan might very well have been playing for the hosts. IZ collapsed again against Neill and Byrne, leaving Ireland comfortable victors.
As already mentioned George was one of the Irish team which toured North America under Nat Hone's captaincy in the autumn of 1879. He did well in the non cap match against Toronto early in the tour. After Ireland's contrasting pair of demon bowlers, Arthur Exham and Horace Hamilton had shot the Canadians out, George topscored with 30 in Ireland's 159. With such a lead, Exham and Hamilton rested, while George with 3-12 played a leading part in bowling the visitors to victory. He also topscored (24) against XV of Coburg.
However his best match was the last game of the tour, the second match against Philadelphia, arranged as a one day fixture after Ireland had been overcome by an innings in two days, in what had been intended as the only match between the two sides. Ireland needed 109 and collapsed badly, then with 7 wickets down for 81, George and Hamilton came together. Hamilton hit out while George stood firm. Ireland batted on after the target was reached, George was there at the end on 22*, a more valuable innings than any other he had played for Ireland.
He was to play two more major matches; for XVIII of Dublin University against Billy Murdoch's 1880 Australians and for Ireland against Philadelphia in 1884. In neither game were his achievements memorable.
George Daniel Casey lived in some style in Raheny, then a village some way to the north of Dublin, but was in the City in Thomas Street when he died. He left the then not inconsiderable sum of £4169-13-7d.
His biography is in the recently published Volume XVI of Scores and Biographies where he is shown as Carey.
I am also greatly indebted to Ms Aisling Lockhart, Senior Library Executive Assistant of the Manuscript Room, Trinity College, Dublin for providing previously unpublished biographical information about him, which has helped to correct some long accepted errors.
Edward Liddle, August 2009, updated July 2014