- Born 13 May 1937, Cork
- Educated Presentation Brothers College, Cork
- Occupation Businessman
- Debut 23 June 1962 v Combined Services at Ormeau
- Cap Number 484
- Style Left-hand bat, slow left arm
- Teams Wanderers, Cork County
Pat Dineen was a natural games player who did not take up cricket until he was 16. Nevertheless he soon established himself as, probably the best Munster batsman of his time and, arguably, the best left hander ever produced by the Province. Of average height, he was quick on his feet and was able to destroy average attacks, often with his powerful on and straight driving. However, he also possessed a strong defence, and great powers of concentration, which enabled him to be effective against bowling of a higher quality.
He became a regular in the Wanderers 1st XI from 1958, hitting his first half century in the League the following year. That year also (1959), he played regularly for Cork County, helping Jim Kiernan push the County score well past 200 in a match with visitors Carlisle. However, his breakthrough year came in 1962, when, though he had already shown hints of his class in the Munster side, he was able to show the Irish selectors his worth with 102, coming in at 21-3, for South v North in the annual Trial. It is true that the Trial was by now losing status, and being ignored by several players, but it presented an opportunity to Pat who seized it, with a well received innings.
It gained him selection for Ireland v Combined Services at Ormeau in late July, as had several other prominent innings. He had, for example, made 136 in just over two hours in a league match for Wanderers, putting on over 100 with Trevor Anderson in a second wicket partnership which took his side past 200. He failed at Ormeau, but, importantly for someone playing most of his cricket in Cork, he was now firmly in the selectors minds. He headed the Cork County batting averages that season winning the Colthurst Cup for his achievement. He was elected County captain for 1963, an honour he was to have again the following year, and on three further occasions, 1969, 1978 and 1984.
The summer of 1964 was one of remarkable success though it did not see him in the Irish side. He scored, according to Colm Murphy's "Long Shadows by De Banks," over 1500 runs. He began the League season with an aggressive 96 out of a Wanderers 223-3 dec in a drawn League match with Church of Ireland. Together with Jim Stott, he put on 151 for the second wicket, after opener Bill Bradley had gone cheaply. Pat's season included one ultra purple patch, when he scored four 40s and two 50s in six innings.
However what really turned Pat into a consistently high class batsman was the introduction of the Guinness Cup in 1966. Until then, the chances for Munster players to have regular class competition had been somewhat limited. Now they had five matches a year, against stronger opposition, to showcase their talents. Many found the challenge too much for tem. Not so Pat. The competition might have been made for him. When he retired from the tournament in 1982, he had scored 1325 runs at 25.00. The aggregate and average may pall beside those of, for example his contemporary Ivan Anderson, but they were by far the best for Munster. His runs scored were almost twice those of his nearest Munster rival Leo Durity who managed 753. Leo played less innings than Pat, but would still have been over 300 in areas, had their completed innings been the same. Pat hit five 50s and also scored two 100s, both of them proving key innings, enabling Munster to record rare victories. In 1970, his ton enabled a win to be recorded over Ulster Town, while, two years later, his 124 enabled the Southerners to defeat Ulster Country by 78 runs.
Pat's Irish career began disastrously. In his first three matches, he batted five times and managed only 7 runs including a pair against Hampshire at Castle Avenue in 1965. Thus when he was recalled to the team to play Scotland at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow in 1968, it was probably a make or break situation.
He came in to bat with Ireland, having won the toss on 148-3, thanks to good work by Anderson and Robin Waters. The situation soon changed and the visitors were 171-6, when Pat was joined by Alec O'Riordan. Their partnership was described as follows by Wisden, "Ireland recovered...through the efforts of Dineen and O'Riordan. These two were together in a record seventh wicket stand for their country of 138 in two and half hours." Derek Scott who wrote they Pat had been, "a controversial choice," said that it was a "splendid 84." The record, at the time of writing, now belongs to Trent Johnston and Niall O'Brien put on 163 v UAE at Abu Dhabi in March 2008. Back at Hamilton Crescent, the wicket was the only winner. Pat did not bat again.
The 84 was to remain his best score for Ireland, though several other notable innings followed. Thus in the following year Ireland lost by 35 runs to MCC, though O'Riordan, Dougie Goodwin and Gerry Duffy had bowled them into a position from which the match could have been won. In the second innings, the batting collapsed against the leg spin of old Oxford Blue, Alan Duff, a teacher at elite public school, Malvern and a regular in this fixture, who later died from cancer, and JD Appleyard, a slow left armer, whose father Frank Appleyard was for years seen as "the best second class bowler in England." Only four Irish batsmen reached double figures in the second knock. Waters top scored with 41, only he and Pat (39) showing confidence against the spinners. Unfortunately they were unable to build a partnership together.
The following summer he played an important part in the defeat of Wales at The Mardyke, though the spin of Dermot Monteith was to prove crucial. Ireland, batting first, lost quick wickets before, Pat and Gerry Duffy (55*) both made half centuries to post 230 all out. Enjoying his home ground Pat, showing his full range of batting skills, top scored with 59. Monteith, aided by O'Riordan, put Wales out for 84. In the second innings quick runs were required and Pat, with a belligerent 32* at 6, obliged. His unbroken 60 partnership with O'Riordan, enabled Goodwin to declare. The great Lisburn left armer then finished the job. Pat was also in good batting form when Ireland travelled to The Hague to pay the Netherlands, a declaration probably robbing him of passing 84 and beyond. Michael Reith made 129, with Pat at 5, making 71* sharing in an unbroken fifth wicket stand of 112 O'Riordan. Goodwin was able to declare twice and help O'Riordan destroy the Dutch batting.
Pat's final innings of consequence for his country was against the same opponents at Castle Avenue the following year. In changeable August weather, on a turning wicket,Ireland took a first innings lead, thanks again to Monteith, but, with batting problems increasing, found the Dutch spinners causing many problems, and were 52-4 when Pat came in on the third morning. He proceeded to play a masterful defensive innings of 31. Some among the spectators were critical of his uncharacteristically slow scoring, but it was a crucial innings, "It's not easy out there," he said, on dismissal. Nor was it. His batting had enabled Ireland to reach a score far beyond the reach of a side who had to face the wiles of Monteith.
Pat also represented Ireland in two non cap matches v The International Cavaliers in 1969. These were 40 over contests, the visitors having several Test stars in their ranks. In the match at Sydney Parade, at top scored with 39, before falling to West Indian paceman Hallam Mosley. Ireland lost narrowly. Later that summer, he captained Munster against the Pakistan International Airlines team, playing the last of their four matches in Ireland. The bowlers were all Test players of the time or the future. In the first innings, in which Munster passed 200 and declared, he took full advantage of a typical Mardyke batting wicket to make 66, adding 95 for the 3rd wicket, with Waters, who was "guesting." Regrettably Munster collapsed in the second innings, Pat being out for a duck to Asif Masood, a paceman, who was to create a good impression on the Pakistan tours of England in 191 and 1974.
Pat continued to play for Munster until 1982, being joined in the team by his son Peter. The latter had won fame, when a 14 year old, by captaining Munster U15s to win the Esso Cup, the Province's first ever win of any Interprovincial Cricket Trophy in 1978. His own all round performances were outstanding. Peter went on to make a number of fluent senior 50s for Munster, to captain Wanderers and Cork County, as well as gaining an Ireland Under 23 cap, under the captaincy of Garfield Harrison. He was also a skilful Rugby player representing Munster Schools. Pat, himself, was also a well regarded Rugby player, winning a Minor Cup Final, at full back, with Dolphin, and also representing their senior side at centre or fly half. He was an accurate goal kicker. In his youth, he had also been a footballer, keeping goal for Glasheen and Cork Athletic. The latter club was wound up in 1958, but is one of those from which the present League of Ireland side Cork City can be traced.
Pat was a highly popular ICU President in 1987, making sure that he visited every venue at which the International Youth Tournament, staged by Ireland, was being played. Looking back on his career in Irish Cricket Magazine's 1987 Annual, he felt that he ought to have scored more runs for Ireland and should have forced his way to a higher place in a strong batting order. Many who saw him in his prime would, indeed, have wished to see him higher up the order, but would not accept his implied self criticism of failure.
Away from his sporting achievements, Pat became one of Ireland's leading businessmen. He was, at one time, Chairman of the Irish Gas Board, and, until he sold his interest in 1994, was also Chairman of Sedgewick Dineen Insurances.
Edward Liddle, April 2008