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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
11th Viscount Massereene and Ferrard (Clothworty John Eyre Foster Skeffington)
  • Born 9 October 1842
  • Died 2 June 1905
  • Educated Eton College
  • Occupation Lieutenant Colonel Commandant Antrim Artillery Militia
  • Debut 4 June 1868 v MCC at Lord's
  • Cap Number186
  • Teams NICC, Massereene, Na Shuler

Viscount Massereene came from a land owning family with estates in the counties of Antrim and Louth. He could claim descent from two seminal figures in Irish History: Sir Thomas Skeffington, ruthless general for Henry VIII and John Foster the last Speaker of the old Irish Parliament on College Green, Dublin. Massereene's International career must be the most unusual of all those who have appeared for Ireland. A useful batsman, he was selected, as one of seven debutants, to represent Ireland in the MCC match at Lord's in 1868. Thanks to some good batting by HH Montgomery, future Bishop of Tasmania and father of the Field Marshal, and William Hone, father of Pat, as well as some good bowling by WS Hunt, Ireland won by 75 runs. The Viscount however did not take the field at any time in the match. The scorecard shows him as Absent Hurt 0 in both innings. It appears that he never found his way to St John's Wood during the two days.

He was, however a prominent Ulster cricketer. In 1865, he had a highest score of 62 for NICC, but the following season he played for Na Shuler in the match which opened the famous Ormeau ground. Massereene did not distinguish himself. The "Shulers" owed their 4 wicket victory to the batting of Irish internationals John Coddington and FJ Fane, father of FL Fane who was to captain England in both Australia and South Africa. Coddington and Fane were both also North players. Massereene did take the field at Lord's in 1870, when he opened the batting for NICC v MCC in the Club's first appearance there. He opened with JC Kerr-Fox of Dublin University and Gloucestershire. Fox and CP Coote, a Cork County player, both of whom played for Ireland, were the main reasons for North, who were not at full strength winning by 9 wickets?

Massereene's major contribution to Ulster and Irish cricket, however, was in keeping the game going in mid Antrim when it was, as Clarence Hiles has shown, in decline elsewhere in the province. In 1864, he founded his own team, Massereene, which played at Antrim Castle, entertaining quality visitors as well as local teams, and others followed The most prominent was Muckamore founded in 1874 by JJ Robinson a Massereene cricketer.

Away from cricket Massereene spoke in the House of Lords, as Baron Oriel of Ferrard a representative Irish peer, and, as well as his militia responsibilities was Lord Lieutenant of Co Louth. He described himself as a "strong Protestant" and a staunch Conservative. The present Viscount has had had some involvement in Conservative politics and is a Vice President of Muckamore.