- Born 8 February 1987 Dublin
- Educated Catholic University School, Dublin
- Occupation Cricket Development Officer; Cricket Coach; Construction Industry (Australia)
- Debut 25 May 2008 v Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge
- Cap Number 667
- Style Left hand batsman, wicket keeper
- Teams Rush, Malahide, Riccarton (New Zealand)
Fintan McAllister, excellent wicket keeper and good left handed batsman, is the eldest of three cricket playing brothers, the second of whom, David, has also won fame on the football pitch as a midfielder for St Patrick's Athletic, Shelbourne and, in the English Football League, Sheffield United and Shrewsbury Town. He was also in 2010 selected for the Republic of Ireland U23 side, but injury prevented him from appearing. The youngest, Barry, still (March 2013) at school, has already played senior cricket for Rush.
Fintan came to prominence as a schoolboy at CUS, playing in the same successful school sides as Eoin Morgan. It was under Eoin's captaincy that he first played for an Irish representative side, appearing for the U15 team in the 2002 European Championships at Herning, Denmark. He held three catches in the first match against the hosts, but did not bat as Eoin's 113 set up a 187 runs victory. While Fintan continued to keep well throughout the tournament, he had little opportunity to display his batting skills.
He also represented Ireland at U17 level and again in the 2006 U19 World Cup. In the latter competition in Sri Lanka in February 2006 - again with Morgan in charge, Ireland were unlucky to lose very narrowly to both England, who included three players now very prominent in county cricket - Moeen Ali of Worcestershire, prolific Warwickshire opener Varun Chopra and Rory Hamilton -Brown of Sussex and Surrey - and a New Zealand side which included future Test players in paceman Tim Southee and all-rounder Martin Guptil. Fintan, opening throughout the tournament averaged 20, which left him in 5th place with a highest score of 44 against New Zealand, when he put on 88 for the second wicket with Morgan (124), facing 57 balls and hitting 7 fours. NZ eventually won by 3 wickets chasing down Ireland's 304-9. Fintan allowed no byes and only one leg bye, but did, according to the Irish Cricket Annual miss "three or four stumpings."
In the whole tournament, however he held 6 catches, made 4 stumpings and was responsible for one run out. In the England game was also in good batting form, making 24 and sharing another good second wicket stand with the captain.
Fintan made his senior debut for Rush in 2002 and was a regular in the side from the following season until he joined Malahide in 2009. In all Leinster senior cricket, apart from the T20 competition, he had, by the end of the 2010 season and his self-imposed exile from the Irish scene, scored 2561 runs at 25.61 with two hundreds. His highest score of 109 * came in 2004 in a 10 wickets win over Old Belvedere.
The Cabra side, visiting Kenure, were held to 185-8 with Naseer Shaukat taking 4-24, Fintan then led the chase in a fine innings. Two years later he scored his other League century against The Hills away, facing a more formidable task. The hosts had posted 240; an innings dominated a typically brutal knock of 120 from Jeremy Bray. Rush proved equal to the task. Opening with William Porterfield, on one of his somewhat rare appearances for the Club, Fintan was in great form from the start. With "Porty" contributing a cultured 70, the first wicket partnership realised 176 before the North Westerner was out. Fintan fell as well for 102 before the target was achieved, but, between them, they had set up an excellent win.
He also has two Irish Senior Cup hundreds to his credit. In 2005, at home to Derriaghy, Rush batted first and began well through a three figure opening stand between Fintan and Brian O'Rourke. Brian eventually left for 55, Fintan going on to 102 before he was caught off opening bowler Ian Crothers, whose 2-52 were the visitors' best bowling figures. Having seen his team close at 332-6 Fintan rounded off a good day's work, by allowing only 1 bye in a total of 177. He was to do even better in a match against Lisburn at Kenure in 2008. He and fellow opener, South African D Van Zyl (104), made light of the Co Antrim team's attack, posting 203 before they were parted, Fintan posting a superb 150 before opening bowler David Simpson dismissed him. Rush finished on 346-5 then dismissed their visitors for 166, none of which were byes.
We may note briefly that he also has some good T20 innings to his credit in the Alan Murray Cup. His highest score to date (March 2013) is 52* made for Rush v YMCA in a losing cause in 2005, while his best for Malahide is 51 made in a win over The Hills in 2009. As is generally known, he spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons, indeed entire years, out of Ireland, working in Australia. He played some cricket on the Gold Coast and had a landscaping job in the Sydney area.
However he had already played with some success in New Zealand. In the 2008/09 season, he played for the Riccarton Club in Christchurch, which already had an Irish connection through Paul Mooney's coaching role. Playing in three different competitions, 2 day, 50 over and T20, Fintan held 17 catches and made 6 stumpings. He was most successful in the five 2 dayers, which accounted not only for 11 of his catches and 4 stumpings, but also saw his highest score of 30.
He has played 16 non cap matches for Ireland sides including A and U 23 games, keeping wicket to his normal high standard. His best batting performance came against a Yorkshire XI at Westwood College Leeds in 2009. After a poor first innings Ireland were forced to follow on and with a top order 99 from captain Nigel Jones and exactly 100 from Andy Balbirnie did much better. Fintan at 8 scored freely, helping Balbirnie put on 106 for the 6th, before being stumped for 43 from 46 balls with 4 fours. A declaration followed, Yorkshire then successfully chased down the target of 233 for the loss of 7 wickets, thanks largely to an undefeated hundred from Will Root, whose brother can also bat a bit.
Fintan has played six matches for Ireland, with his first and last games being the most remembered. Making his debut against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in a Friend's Provident Match in May 2008, he came in at 9 with Ireland 203-7 needing 242 to win and Kevin O'Brien in top form. Facing only 6 balls, he helped Kevin add 37. The Railway Union man needed to hit a 6 off the last ball to win the match; it was pulled for 4, so Ireland fell just short, Kevin finishing on 93.
359 days later, Fintan played what was, currently at least, to prove his last match for Ireland. The opposition, Worcestershire at their New Road Ground needed only a no result single point to gain a quarter final place; a win would give them a home draw. A not very large crowd, including this writer, saw Ireland bowled out by the Worcestershire seam attack for 152, Fintan, failing to score, fell to Australian ODI player Ashley Noffke, the first time a bowler had dismissed him in his Irish career. Worcestershire's openers Vikram Solanki and Steve Davies, now both with Surrey, had taken most opposing attacks apart in their Friends Provident programme, but suddenly Peter Connell found Solanki's edge and there was Fintan, low and to his right, making a good catch look simple. There after doom and gloom set in for the hosts and joy unconfined for Ireland. When Fintan wrapped it up by catching Irish qualified Western Australian Matt Mason off Trent Johnston for 2, it was all over. Perhaps Mason, who had turned down an Irish approach some years previously, cast an envious glance or two at Trent and Alex Cusack.
Edward Liddle, March 2013