- Born 5 June 1904, Dublin
- Died 2 July 1976 Rathcoole, Dublin
- Educated Clifton, Dublin University
- Occupation Tea planter, Army Officer, Hotelier
- Debut 19 July 1924 v Scotland at Broughty Ferry.
- Cap Number 327
- Style Right-hand batsman; right arm fast medium
- Teams Dublin University, Co Galway, Up Country (Celon)
Derrick Kennedy came from a long standing Anglo-Irish family with estates in Waterford and Kildare.The death of his elder brother in World War 1 led to his eventually succeeding his cousin to become the 6th Baronet. His uncle, Sir John Kennedy, 3rd Baronet was a mainstay of Na Shuler and Co Kildare cricket in the Edwardian era and played a leading role in healing the long running dispute between the Dublin clubs which came to a head over the South African match of 1901. A great uncle RG Kennedy played one match for Ireland v The Military of Ireland in 1861.
Derrick Kennedy was a useful pace bowler and lower order batsman, who never quite fulfilled his potential in major cricket. He was two years in the XI at Clifton as an all rounder playing under the captaincy of two future county cricketers WH Hampton (Worcstershire) and CS Barwell (Somerset).
Back in Ireland, whilst still a schoolboy, Derrick took part in a minor but his toric game on 11 September 1921. For many years the Curragh Camp in Co Kildare had been a centre of cricket, as well as military, activity. Derrick took part in what was to prove the last military match played there. Bill Harrington the veteran Irish off spinner brought an XI to play the Garrison. His side was awash with military personnel also, the match being played during the "Truce" arranged so that negotiations, which were to lead to the creation of the Irish Free State, could take place. The match petered out into a draw, with Derrick making 1* at 10, and, surprisingly as Harrington was a great encourager of young cricketers, not getting a bowl.
Derrick entered Dublin University in 1923, gaining his place in the XI the following season, under the captaincy of Arthur Robinson. He headed the bowling averages that season with 55 wickets at 9.50. He had two "5 fors" in the League, including 5-54 v Pembroke at Sydney Parade, removing Irish internationals William Alyward and Des Murphy. He was one of a quartet who bowled at a fast medium, the others being GNKB Kelly, Mark Sugden and future Bishop of Derry,Cuthbert Peacocke. Derrick also batted usefully, scoring a good 41 against UCD, opening with Sugden, though he was more at home down the order. Away from the League he had a good all round match against Old Instonians top scoring with 54, as an opener, then taking four wickets, including Arthur Douglas and Willie Andrews. Derrick also took part in the University's English tour which began with a first class match against Northamptonshire at Rushden.
By this time, with the days of players such as Frank Browning, Dan Comyn and the Gwynn brothers long gone, the University XI was no longer able to compete at this level, even against a side as weak as their hosts. Winning the toss, they batted and were shot out for 175, Derrick at 11, contributing 15*in a last wicket stand of 29 with AWB Kelly. Northants then amassed 423, Derrick, bowling third change had 1-65. His wicket was that of RL Wright an amateur middle order batsman who averaged 15.86 in 54 matches for the County. Wright was also a medium pacer, who took 5 wickets in his first class career. One of those was Derrick's, caught for 8 in the second innings, as the visitors crumbled to an innings defeat. Three one day matches in London followed the disaster at Rushden. At Hampstead CC, Derrick had 6-82, but this was not enough to prevent the hosts winning by 68 runs. The following day saw the XI at Wimbledon CC, where Derrick bowled them to victory taking all 10 for 40, seven of his wickets being clean bowled. He did little in the final match against Richmond at The Old Deer Park.
Three weeks later, Derrick found himself in the Irish side which took on Scotland at Broughty Ferry. The selectors had considerable difficulty in fielding a team, Derrick was one of six substitutes from the originally selected XI, and, all told, 21 players were approached before the final selection. The match was a low scoring draw, rain intervening with the hosts in the stronger position. Ireland, batting first were all out for 134, despite 71 from Finlay Jackson, Derrick's share, at 10, being a duck. He was bowled by Willie Anderson, a fast bowler from Dunfermline, who was later to become President of the Scottish Cricket Union. When Scotland batted the off spin of "Jacko" Heaslip and Bob Lambert, restricted their lead to 43, Derrick bowling 7 wicketless overs for 24. The rain came with Ireland in trouble in their second knock, Derrick not having batted.
He left University without taking a degree and became a tea planter in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Here he played for the Up Country XI against the MCC side of 1933-34, captained by Douglas Jardine, a year after the notorious Bodyline tour. Derrick took one of the two wickets to fall as MCC scored 233-2 declared, having the hard man of Yorkshire cricket Arthur "Ticker" Mitchell caught by leading home batsman Alastair Blair, for 66. Blair had made 95 not out on first class debut v the previous MCC side seven years earlier. Derrick's match ended in a draw but not before he had been caught by future Kent captain Brian Valentine off Surrey leg spinner RJ Gregory for a duck. Derrick saw war service as a major in the Royal Ulster Rifles and he then settled in Co Galway becoming an hotelier in Connemara, keeping the Twelve Pins Hotel in Barna.
His cricket career had a final course to run. In 1948 the Co Galway Cricket Club was revived, having been moribund since 1914 and the great days of the Meldon and Comyn families. The revival was to be short-lived; the Club did not survive the loss of its ground in 1958. However within those ten years it achieved some prominence with Derrick playing a leading role. They won the Irish Junior Cup in 1953 and were runners up in 1954. Derrick, though now over 50, still bowling length and line to good effect. His personal best, however, came in the semi final of 1955 against Co Tipperary side Cahir Park at the Galway ground. Cahir batted first and made their cup highest score 193. However Derrick took 7-92, being, "the pick of the Galway attack." Galway still lost by 43 runs as Cahir could boast two high class spinners in former and future internationals Tommy Williams and Barclay Wilson. Cahir Park, alas, is no more, but Co Galway, revived again in 1971, happily still flourishes.
Edward Liddle, April 2008