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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Andrew Daniel Comyn
  • Born 23 September 1872, Ballinderry, Kilconnel, Co Galway
  • Died 23 May 1949, Loughrea, Co Galway
  • Educated Clongowes Wood College, Dublin University
  • Occupation Solicitor
  • Debut 21 August 1893 v Combined Services at Portsmouth
  • Cap Number 222
  • Style Right-hand bat, right-arm medium pace, occasional wicket keeper
  • Teams Dublin University, Phoenix, Co Galway, Vice Regal, Na Shuler

Dan Comyn was one of the leading Irish batsmen in the halcyon period of the "Golden Age." Short and powerfully built, easily recognisable by his flaming red hair and prominent nose, his strength came from powerful forearms, which, despite his somewhat small stature, made him an immensely strong driver of the ball, particularly straight or over mid on. The great grandson of Daniel O'Connell, he was the middle of three brothers all of whom were cricketers. The youngest, LW, who was to have a distinguished military career, followed Dan into the Dublin University XI and played much army cricket. Their sister married Oxford and Ireland fast bowler Gus Kelly, thus making Dan uncle of two more Dublin University and Ireland players GNB and AWB Kelly.

At Clongowes he was one of a vintage crop of cricketers, being a contemporary of Jack Meldon, Bill Harrington, Tom Ross, and PM Rath, an excellent slow left armer who later played for Argentina. Entering Dublin University in 1889, he features in a team photograph of 1890 but did not gain a regular place until 1892, though he hit 117 for the 2nd XI in 1891.

Once in the XI, he was a four year fixture at the top of the order, establishing an opening partnership with Lucius Gwynn, which was also to serve Phoenix and Ireland. Dan struck 8 hundreds for the XI. his highest being a piratical 187 v Leinster at Rathmines in 1895. Made out of a massive 353-5 declared, it included 4 sixes and 25 fours. 1895 was his best season, seeing him rattle up 4 hundreds in all. These included 142 v Curragh Brigade when he and Lucius Gwyn put on 213 for the first wicket.

He also hit 2 centuries in Galway cricket: as late as September 27th, he hit 138 not out for Headfort CC v Colonel Jourdain's XI carrying his bat through the innings. That season also saw his, and the University's, first class debut. In the four matches played, he made 171 runs at 21.38, including 54 v Cambridge in College Park when he and Arthur Gwynn added 145 for the third wicket. Only one other batsman reached double figures in the innings. Dan passed 50 on three other occasions in the University's three-day matches. The highest was 117 v Leicestershire in 1893; the County was not then a first class side. The best knock was probably his 76 v WG Grace's XI in 1894. The Doctor, later to become firm friends with Comyn, complained about long grass and bad umpiring, but was still easily victorious. In all these matches Dan aggregated 600 runs at 26.08.

Dan made his Irish debut in 1893, scoring 51 v Combined Services at Portsmouth. He and fellow lawyer and Old Clongowian, JW Hynes added 114 for the sixth wicket, Dan being at 6. In all he played 16 times for Ireland making 734 runs at 29.36. His most spectacular innings was his 157 v I Zingari at Phoenix in 1897. He came into the match having scored over 500 runs in his previous five innings, including 96 and 133 for Phoenix v Eton Ramblers. He hit 21 fours, causing "Freeman's Journal" to declare, "Anything like his hitting has not been seen for a very long time." The Irish Times reported, "He hit out with a brilliance seldom seen on this ground." He put on 201 for the sixth wicket with Drummond Hamilton, Ireland's only double century stand until the Ivan Anderson / Alec O'Riordan partnership v Scotland in 1976. Until the Intercontinental match against Scotland on 10 August 2007 his 157 was the highest score made for Ireland at home. Andre Botha broke that individual record with 186 and also established a new highest 6th wicket partnership of 234 with Alex Cusack. The following year 1898, he again destroyed the visitors with 72 in 45 minutes for the Lord Chief Justice's XI, 60 of the runs being boundaries.

While he made several other notable scores for Ireland, with, for example 72 v MCC at Rathmines in 1895 and a clutch of good scores in three matches against South Africa, his most famous innings was 39 v MCC at Lord's on Ireland's inaugural first class tour. A strong Irish line up, including Gwynn, Browning, Sir TC O'Brien, two Lamberts and Jack Meldon, was swept away by the great Australian all rounder AE Trott. Dan's innings earned the highest praise. "Great," said the periodical "Cricket." "Only Comyn showed any real ability to cope with the bowling," said "Wisden." The wicket was atrocious; Trott and JT Hearne unplayable.

In the previous match v London County Dan is said to have earned fame of a different sort. His loud appeal from deep square leg allegedly persuaded the umpire to give WG out caught behind! Nevertheless the two became friends, WG often visiting the lawyer for clandestine out of season shooting. Andrew Daniel Comyn MA LLD never married and died almost forgotten in cricket circles. His obituary, which makes an error over his place of death, and sells him very short indeed may be found in Wisden 1950. Happily he is done full justice in Siggins and Fitzgerald "Ireland's 100 Cricket Greats."