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Biography
Frederic William Kennedy
  • Born 1863 Co Limerick
  • Died 5 May 1940 Virginia Water, Surrey
  • Educated Abbey School, Tipperary Dublin University
  • Occupation Doctor
  • Debut 12 September 1888 v Longwood XII at Longwood CC, Chestnut Hill
  • Cap Number 204
  • Style Right-hand bat, right arm bowler
  • Teams Dubin University; Phoenix

Fred Kennedy came from a Co Limerick family, his father's occupation being described as a "Gentleman. Fred was educated at Tipperary's Abbey School, sometimes referred to as Tipperary Grammar School, which was a centre of cricket strength at the time. As Patrick Bracken has shown in his "Foreign and Fantastic Field Sports", the game had boomed in the county in the early and mid 1870s, with the Abbey Club, in which two or three masters joined the boys, being one of the strongest sides. This remained the situation in Fred's time, he entered Dublin University to study medicine in January 1881. Cricket was to remain strong at The Abbey until political circumstances forced its closure in 1921, WR King being its last player of note. Fred was to receive his MA in 1887 and completed his medical qualification in 1891.

A somewhat negligible tailend batsman but good medium pace bowler, he gained his University 2nd XI Colours in 1884 and was then three years in the 1st XI from 1885. His batting never impressed, he totalled 278 runs at 7.31 with a highest score of 26. However he took 38 wickets in his last two seasons, though he does not feature in the averages for 1885. In his final summer, his wickets cost him 16.20 apiece. His most important match was for XV of the University v The All England XI in 1885. When his Irish career was over he also played for the University Long Vacation XI on several occasions, notably against the 1889 Philadelphians in the first match of their tour. He did well enough with the bat, making 20 at No 8, before being bowled by classy left armer EW Clark. The tourists were forced to follow on facing a total of only 280, but easily batted out time. Strangely, Fred did not bowl in either innings.

He owed his selection for the Irish tour of North America to having been at Dublin University at the time that he was. This team, raised and organised by its best batsman, JW Hynes, but captained by Dominic Cronin, who was elected to this role on the outward voyage, was nowhere near the full strength of Ireland, being composed predominantly of current or recent University players, amongst whom there were several unavailabilities. Even so, Fred was lucky to get in and it is clearly him to whom Jack Meldon was referring over 60 years later, when he told Pat Hone that one of the XI was, "a virtual passenger." Meldon, then 19, was one of the successes of the tour. In all matches Fred scored 42 runs at 4.66 with a highest of 15. He also took 10 wickets.

His debut for Ireland in a cap match came in the match against Longwood XII. This will not be found in his statistics on this site as it involved more than 11 players a side. It would appear that Meldon was resting or injured, Fred coming into the side to replace him. Batting at 12, he fell for 9 and 2, being out in each innings to the formidable "Ike" Chambers, an English born professional, who took 13-79 in the match. "Ike" was later to sorely trouble the 1893 Australians, who called in on the USA on their return voyage from England.

Fred also appeared against all New York at the famous Staten Island ground. The New York side was a powerful one and Ireland did well to win by 9 wickets. Inevitably perhaps, the one second innings wicket lost was Fred's. Having been out for 1 in the first innings at No 11, and gone wicketless in both American knocks, he was sent in first when Ireland wanted but 23 to win. He was bowled by the hosts' Nottinghamshire born professional Henry Tyers for 2.

His final cap match was in the 12 a side game against Philadelphia at Germantown. Meldon told Hone that the Irish only agreed to play 12 at the last minute, which he said was a mistake because the 12th man was a virtual passenger. As already mentioned this was clearly a reference to Fred, as no one else in the team fits the description. However Fred's last match for his country was also his best. Again it will not be found in his statistics on this site, but the full scores and a report of the game, and the Longwood match, can be found by following the links on the Statszone. In the end the hosts won by 38 runs with 5 minutes to spare but Fred was one of those who made a worthwhile contribution to Ireland's cause. His 15 top score for the tour came in the first innings and he contributed 9 in the second knock, a somewhat higher score than his par for the tour. He also took 3-10 in the Philadelphians first innings, including the wickets of Frank Brewster and Dan Newhall, two of their most outstanding all time players. Perhaps Jack Meldon was, on this occasion, somewhat harsh in his judgement.

Fred qualified as doctor three years after his return from the tour and spent some time in Dublin, appearing regularly for Phoenix, without performing any consistently outstanding feats. His last major match of which a score has been seen was a 2 Day game for RM Gwynn's XI v I Zingari in 1896. Opening the batting with Dan Comyn, he was out to left armer HB Chinnery in each innings, making 4 and 0. Chinnery was a good all rounder who was unable to play first class cricket regularly and was killed in France in 1916. IZ won this match by 9 wickets, despite a typically brutal assault on their bowling by Comyn.

Fred returned to Limerick in the early years of the new century and practised medicine in the city until shortly before his death.

Edward Liddle, December 2008

International Matches
View Match All New York lost to Ireland by 9 wickets (3 Day, Staten Island, 24 September 1888)