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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
J McCann
  • Born
  • Died
  • Educated
  • Occupation Professional Cricketer
  • Debut 2 September 1869 v United South of England XI at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 135
  • Style Middle Order Batsman v - Hand Unknown. Medium Pace Right Arm Round Arm Bowler
  • Teams Leinster, United South Of England XI, Players of Ireland

J McCann was a competent all round cricketer who did good service to the Leinster Club as player and umpire in the 1860s and 1870s. Unfortunately it has proved impossible, with any certainty, to track down his personal biographical details about which we would be most grateful to receive any further information.

His one international appearance came for XXII of Ireland against the United South of England XI in September 1869. This was to prove the last occasion on which Ireland played against one of the famous Professional XIs and also the last occasion in which Ireland played in an "odds" match. The XIs did continue to visit Ireland for several years, but played against XVIIIs or XXIIs of club sides.

Though fielding 22, Ireland were below strength for the match, several leading players declining the invitation, Charles Stelfox and Arthur Samuels being probably the most missed. The hosts, who batted first were no match for the left arm pace of Edgar Willsher and the roundarmers of James Southerton, the latter would later establish a record which will never be broken, by becoming the first Test cricketer to die. They bowled virtually unchanged throughout the match dismissing Ireland for 83 and 100. J McC, who probably owed his place to the large number of unavailabilities, batted at 11, falling LBW to Southerton for 8 in the first innings and being bowled by Willsher "without troubling the scorers in the second. The visitors also found batting difficult, being bowled out for 142 with Army officer Thomas Harris, cousin of future MCC supremo and Governor of Bombay Lord Harris, taking 5 wickets. JMcC failed to take a wicket but his 13 overs cost only 5 runs.

His accuracy, a highly valued quality by English professionals at the time, clearly impressed the USE as he was included in their side for the next match against The Military, also played at Rathmines, the soldiers including both Harris and future Conservative minister WH Walrond from the Irish XXII in their side. The match ended in a draw, very much in the USE's favour.However JMcC did little to justify his elevation, scoring 2 in his only innings and failing to take a wicket.

In July 1873 he appeared for the Players of Ireland v the Gentlemen in a three day match at Phoenix CC. This fixture had been inaugurated by Charles Lawrence in the previous decade and had seen the Players generally heavily outmatched as they usually had one or two class players and made up their numbers with soldiers from the Dublin Garrison. THis match appears to have been no exception, though the Players had two other good cricketers apart from JMcC, In Thomas Heighes the NICC professional and John Wheeler, professional with both Phoenix and Dublin University, described by Wisden as"a good batsman and fast round arm bowler." However despite the presence of this triumvirate, the Players we only re defeated by an innings and 152 runs. JMcC failed to take a wicker and contributed only 6 and 1 with the bat.

That summer also saw him umpire two important matches, the first between XXII of Dublin University and the ALL England XI to prove historic as it saw the hosts inflict an innings defeat on their mighty opponents. The bowling of JB Story, a fast rondarmer, was decisive and must have given particular to Wheeler who was the other umpire. With fellow professional Paul Smith, JMcC also officiated that summer in a match between Leinster and the USE which was now more of a money spinner for the Grace brothers than anything else. WG made only 36 in the game, and, as was his wont, complained about the standard of the wicket and the umpiring. Perhaps JMcC turned down some of his more outlandish lbw appeals.