- Born 15 August 1878, Dublin
- Died 7 February 1936 Dublin
- Educated Leeson Street School
- Occupation Barrister
- Debut 30 June 1904 v South Africa at The Mardyke
- Cap Number 250
- Style Right-hand bat
- Teams Dublin University, Phoenix
Harry Corley was a fine all round sportsman. As a cricketer, he was a sound middle order batsman, who perhaps suffered in his Irish appearances from being something of a moveable feast in the batting order. As a rugby player, he was, in the days before the positions were specialised, a half back, good enough to win three Irish caps. He later became a well known referee.
He was five years in the Dublin University XI, his best season being his second, 1898. That year he scored two centuries. Against The Garrison in College Park, in a two day match in early July, he made 116. However a month earlier on the 6 June he hit a remarkable 101 v Cork County. The County's scorecard suggests that, batting at 6, he was one of only three batsmen to reach double figures in a total of 228. The University's statistics give 294 as the team total, recording Harry as having hit sixteen 4s. Either way it was clearly an outstanding innings. He had only one chance against first class opposition for the University, unfortunately recording a double failure v Worcestershire in 1902.
On leaving University, he joined Phoenix, gaining nine Irish caps between 1904 and 1909. He aggregated only 172 at an average of 12.29, but managed some worthwhile innings. Thus on his debut v the 1904 South African tourists, he made 11 and 28, a far from negligible contribution to Ireland's 94 run victory. His best innings was later that summer v Cambridge University at Rathmines. Ireland had lost the first of two matches against the visitors, but, moving from The Mardyke to Observatory Lane, won by an innings and 41 runs. Corley's 59* was an important part of this win. The early Irish batting failed apart from Bob Lambert who dominated the attack. At 8, Harry helped him add 84 for the 7th wicket. When Lambert (101) fell, Bill Harrington helped Corley add 48 for the 8th. One other noteworthy performance came in the first Philadelphia match in 1908. Ireland were swamped by an innings and 7 runs with the great Bart King and the Australian Googly bowler "Ranji" Hordern proving nearly unplayable. Corley's second innings 27 was not only top score, he succeeded in being one of the few not to succumb to King or Hordern, falling instead to an unremarkable left armer FA Greene.
As a rugby player Corley was first capped against England in 1902-03. Ireland won by a try (then only 3 points) and a Corley penalty to 0. However his goal kicking skills appear to have deserted him for the remainder of the campaign, Ireland going down to Scotland and Wales without getting any points on the board. He gained eight caps to the end of the 1903-04 season, leading the side on five occasions. As a referee he had charge of Scotland v South Africa in 1906 and the Calcutta Cup match of 1908. Cricket ran in the family. His brother Dr Anthony Purdon Hagarty Corley played with him in the 1899 University XI. Emigrating to Australia, Anthony returned to Europe as a captain in the Infantry Battalion of the 1st Australian Division in 1915 but was killed at Gallipoli on 30 September 1915. Harry Corley was only 57 when he died in 1936.
Edward Liddle, June 2007