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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Patrick Murphy
  • Born Q1 1882 Co Wicklow
  • Died Q2 1938 Dublin
  • Educated
  • Occupation Civil Servant (Accounts Office, GPO Dublin)
  • Debut 22 July 1909 v Scotland at North Inch, Perth
  • Cap Number 268
  • Style Right hand batsman; right arm medium pace
  • Teams Civil Service (Dublin)

Paddy Murphy was a good, persevering and successful medium pacer, who was also, at club level at least, a more than useful batsman in the lower middle to lower order. It was, in fact his batting ability, that first brought him prominence in Dublin cricket. Having joined Civil Service in 1903, he hit a fine century against the Seaforth Highlanders in the following year and, one week later, made 83 against Leinster.

However, while his batting skill never deserted him, it was as a bowler that he did his most memorable work for Service. By 1906 he was opening the bowling, a role he continued to fill until August 1914 when cricket abruptly stopped. Possessed of great stamina, he often bowled unchanged throughout an innings, sometimes almost doing so in two day games. This was certainly the case in 1906 his first summer with the new ball, when he had 10 in the match against the Garrison CC.

Two other outstanding performances may be mentioned. In 1912, he returned his best bowling figures, taking 8-25 in 16 overs against Co Meath. Then on 1 August 1914. Civil Service played fulfilled a fixture with Clontarf. It was the end of a historic week for cricket, as it was six days after WG Grace had played his last ever match, scoring 69* in a club match for Eltham and two days after the great Australian and Middlesex all rounder Albert Trott - destroyer of the Irish batting for MCC at Lord's in 1902 - had shot himself through the head at his London lodgings. Paddy, in what proved to be Civil Service's last match of the season, took 7-35 . This included not only the hat trick, but also a separate spell of 3 wickets in 4 balls.

However it was a historic week for reasons other than cricket. Even as Paddy ran through the Castle Avenue side, German troops were already massing on the borders of Belgium and Luxembourg, which they crossed the following day, Britain declaring war two days later. It is interesting to note that Civil Service did not play again whereas county cricket continued in England until late August, matches on the south coast, for example being played to the sound of roar of the guns at the Battle of Mons and elsewhere. Eventually a letter from WG Grace to the "Sportsman " newspaper on 27 August strongly suggested that a halt should be called and so it was.

Paddy won two Irish caps, both against Scotland. His opportunities were limited by the limited nature of Ireland's fixture list and by the fact that he chose to remain with Civil Service. While he was by no means the outstanding bowler of medium pace or above in Irish cricket of his time a move up the road to Phoenix, or across the river to a more fashionable side such as Leinster or Pembroke, might have brought more reward.

As it was, his debut came against Scotland on the historic North Inch ground in 1909. This was the first time Ireland had played Scotland for 19 years, it was also the first match in this long running contest to be regarded as first class. Paddy, together with the Dublin University paceman John Flood came into the side when Tom Ross- who disliked travelling - and Gus Kelly cried off. Ireland were outclassed from the start with Scotland's openers having 50 on the board in half an hour against an attack of Paddy and the veteran off spinner Bill Harrington. The hosts eventually totalled a massive 485, with their captain and No 1 bat, Leslie Balfour - Melville reaching 91 before Paddy had him well stumped by Frank Browning, clearly standing up to the medium pacer, in the fashion of the times. Paddy also took the wicket of Scotland's No 5, George Jupp well caught by Louis Meldon for 14. thus finishing with 2/92. Ireland collapsed twice to lose by an innings and 132 runs, Paddy remaining undefeated in both innings with 4 and 8.

His second and last appearance for the national side came at Rathmines in 1912. He was an original selection this time but as some seven of Ireland's best side were unavailable, was, perhaps, not one of the first in the selectors' thoughts. Scotland batted first and Paddy, brought on as third change took a wicket with the last ball of his first over bowling all rounder John Ferguson. He was, however, given only two more overs by his captain, George Meldon, Louis' brother, finishing with figures of 3-2-7-1 as the visitors totalled 147. They fell to the mixed leg spin and cutters of Robert Gregory, later to be immortalised by WB Yeats in An Irish Airman Forsees his Death, who took 8-80. Ireland, however collapsed for 83 - Paddy 4 at No 10 - but rallied to bowl the Scots out for 83 with Paddy, this time given the first over, taking 1-18, his wicket being an lbw decision against opener JB Walker. Left 132 to win Ireland still needed 23 when Paddy, this time at 11, joined Willie Mooney, who was batting elegantly but unsoundly.

In a stand which reminds this writer of the Lee-Kasprowicz epic at Edgbaston in 2005, they took the score agonisingly close adding 19, Mooney being missed along the way. At last however Paddy, having just reached double figures, was bowled by slow left armer Robert Sievwright, and the visitors were home by 2 runs.

Patrick Murphy was not asked to play for Ireland again but remains one of the best bowlers to have represented the Civil Service Club.