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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Daniel Francis Gillman
  • Born 11 August 1856, Cork
  • Died 23 October 1928, Dublin
  • Educated Blackrock College
  • Occupation Schoolmaster
  • Debut 30 August 1888 v Canada at Toronto
  • Cap Number 200
  • Style Batting unknown, slow right arm
  • Teams Leinster, Phoenix, Cork County, Free Foresters, Buckinghamshire.

Daniel Gillman's main claim to fame in Irish Cricket lies as an administrator, by no means the last to take on officialdom at Lord's! He was, however, a very useful middle order batsman, who only once showed his real form for Ireland. He first came to notice in 1885, when as a schoolboy at Blackrock, he easily headed the XI's batting averages with 55, some 44 runs above the next player. He became a schoolmaster at a Berkshire prep school and, according to Pat Hone, was soon, "making large scores in good Free Forester Cricket." He was selected for the Irish tour of North America in the late summer of 1888. This venture was organised by John Hynes, who was to prove the outstanding player, though he was beaten in an election for the captaincy by Dominic Cronin. Gillman possibly owed his selection to the unavailability of several key players, and was one of only three of the team not to have current or recent associations with Dublin University.

It must be said that he was not a great success with the bat, though he played in almost all the fixtures, including the cap matches, two of which were 12-a-side so are not shown in his statistics on this site. He played in the first match v XV of Coburg being run out for 1 in his only innings as Ireland won by 10 wickets. This rather set the tone for his tour. He was to be dismissed in a like manner on two further occasions and, taking all matches into account, managed only 117 runs at 11.70. However 48 of these came in one innings. This was in the match against All New York at Staten Island. The home side was a strong one including a recent test player in Charles Absolom, soon to die a gruesome death in a dockside accident in Trinidad, as well as John Grundy of Warwickshire, whose father James had played for Ireland in 1862. They also had Harry Lambkin, who might well have been playing for Ireland, as he was born in County Cork, and had often played for Cork County. I

reland won by 9 wickets owing much to a fourth wicket stand in the first innings between Gillman (48) and the top class Army batsman John Dunn (126). Daniel's innings ended when Lambkin unchivalrously, as his fellow Cork man was nearing a hard earned 50, caught him off Absolom. They put on 162, a record which was not to be surpassed until Ivan Anderson and Alec O'Riordan put on 222 v Scotland at Hamilton Crescent in 1976. Apart from his 48 however, Daniel managed only three other double figure scores in all matches, with his official debut 17* v Canada being the best.

It is, perhaps, not surprising that he was not to appear for Ireland again after the tour, though he continued to play good class club cricket in England for some time, playing for Buckinghamshire in 1892.

Gillman's most important contribution to Irish cricket came in the early years of the new century. He became Hon Secretary of The Committee for Control of Irish Representative Cricket which was established in April 1902, after a selection and match control dispute had rumbled on for several years, ruining Ireland's chances of competing on level terms v I Zingari in 1899 and v South Africa in 1901. This body was mainly responsible for selection. However it also brought Gillman into conflict with the mandarins at Lord's.

FE Lacey, long serving MCC Secretary and later the first man to be knighted for services to cricket, wrote to Gillman in 1904, that Ireland's matches v South Africa and Cambridge that year could not be first class, as Ireland were playing no professionals. Gillman, backed by the English press, replied that there were no Irish professionals. Any English ones engaged in Ireland were either not good enough or were not eligible. Sir John Kennedy, who ran Co Kildare cricket for many years, entered the fray. A pillar of the establishment, Kennedy wrote that, "Nothing was ever achieved from England except by agitation" Gillman accepted Lacey's compromise that Ireland should play as "All Ireland (Gentlemen)" Pat Hone noted that, "It was not long before this cumbersome title was abandoned." The matches concerned, however, have never been regarded as first class.

In 1908, a suggestion was made, originally by WG Grace, that Ireland, Wales and Scotland should play an annual Triangular tournament, with the winners playing the Gentlemen of England. Gillman was an enthusiastic backer of this scheme and saw it partly begin with the annual fixture against Scotland, spasmodic in the late 19th century, become established in 1909. However no matches against Wales were played until the 1920s. Daniel lived to see these, but his and the Doctor's grand design could not be said to have come to fruition until the Triple Crown matches of the 1990s. Then, of course, the three Celtic nations and an ECB Amateur XI competed on level terms. No doubt Gillman would have been pleased to see Ireland achieve official ODI status, even if the type of cricket played might have surprised him.