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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Ernest Ashley Rooney
  • Born circa 1880 Co Meath
  • Died circa 1950
  • Educated
  • Occupation Civil Servant
  • Debut 10 July 1913 v Scotland at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh
  • Cap Number 291
  • Style Right hand batsman, right arm fast medium pace bowler.
  • Teams Merrion, Pembroke.

Ernest Rooney was a useful all round cricketer who was best known for his main team, Pembroke as a pace bowler, however in his two matches for Ireland, both of which he played as a substitute, he appears to have been played for his batting alone though he only occupied a high place in the order in one innings.

His first appearances of which scores have been seen were for Dollymount CC in 1898. Though not doing much with the bat he took 7 wickets against the Great Southern and Western Railway CC and 8 against the stronger opposition of Leinster 2nd XI. He made several appearances for Merrion as well as turning out regularly for Pembroke, being a member of Merrion because of his post in the Land Commission. The record of one of his matches for the Anglesea Road survives thanks to the research of Alan Little and Danny Parkinson in their History of the Club. The match concerned was a low scoring draw in a friendly fixture with - as they were then styled - Railway and Steam Packet Union in 1906, the first year in which Merrion, previously the Land Commission played under their present name. This was a friendly fixture though Merrion were participating in junior leagues at the time. Railway began by being bowled out for 56 with Ernest taking 5 wickets. He then topscored with 26 out of 32-4 before rain intervened.

Thereafter most of his important cricket was played for Pembroke. His debut season for Pembroke was 1902 when he made his mark as a useful all rounder with 448 runs at 19.40 and 48 wickets at 12.20. He was also a good hockey player, appearing for Corinthians, a club which folded before the First World War, of which he was Secretary in 1902-3.

His debut for Ireland came at Raeburn Place in 1913, when he was one of four substitutes from the originally selected side. Batting down the order as Ireland took first use of a typically good Raeburn wicket, he made 11 as Ireland reached 224 thanks to half centuries from the painstaking Australian batsman Pat Quinlan and his fellow Dublin University man AC Bateman, like Ernest a substitute, and a swashbuckling knock by fast bowler Gus Kelly. Scotland equalled the Irish score but with four Irish batsmen passing 50 in their second innings, found themselves finishing well short with 8 wickets down. Some considered that Pat Hone, captaining the Irish side, had batted on too long before declaring.

There was another tight finish at Rathmines the following season, when Ernest again came into the side as a late replacement. Scotland began with 224, Ireland replying with 249. Ernest, who again had not been called upon to bowl, made 12* at No 8. Eventually, Ireland needed 183 but had to begin the chase without Quinlan, who had been injured in the first innings. This meant a rapid promotion up the order for Ernest who found himself at No 1. He made 11 before being bowled by the visitor's fast bowler Henry Nicoll, who in his sole first class match, took 7-64 being clearly Scotland's match winner. The final margin was 11 runs.

Ernest Rooney played no further major cricket but rose to a high rank in The Land Commission becoming its Acting Assistant Director.

I am much indebted to David Penney who unearthed the correct details of Rooney's forenames and date and place of birth, as well as information about his career for Dollymount and Pembroke.