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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Joseph Whiteside Coskery
  • Born 22 July 1895, Ballynahinch, Co Down
  • Died 24 September 1965, Bangor, Co Down
  • Educated Masonic Boys' School, Dublin; Queen's University, Belfast
  • Debut 19 July 1924 v Scotland at Forthill, Broughty Ferry
  • Cap Number 326
  • Style Right-hand bat
  • Teams Queen's University, Cliftonville

Joe Coskery was a sound middle order batsman who, like so many other cricketers of his generation, lost his best years to the war. After learning the game at Masonic School, which had a justifiably high cricket reputation, he returned to Belfast, turning out first out for Queen's University. Tall, thin, and with the fashionable 1920s toothbrush moustache, he became a mainstay of the Cliftonville batting, besides being a valued and effective captain. He was a member of the Cliftonville side, which won the League in 1920, but lost the Cup Final to North Down by 10 wickets, a match that Coskery did not play in. The side's strength was its bowling rather than batting, Joe was fifth in the batting averages with 172 runs at 17.20, separated by decimal points from three players above him.

In 1922, Cliftonville had a memorable Cup Final victory over Waringstown, largely due to opening bowlers L Walker and RB Bowers who skittle the Villagers for 32 to win by 68 runs when 100 were needed to take the Trophy. In a low scoring match all runs were vital, hence Joe's first innings 22 was an important contribution to success. He was captain from 1924 to 1927, taking his side to a League title in 1926, when they were unbeaten, winning eleven and drawing three of their matches. The previous season, Cliftonville had again reached the NCU Challenge Cup Final but had lost to North by 10 wickets. Coskery was again captain in 1932, but during a rebuilding period little was achieved.

His two matches for Ireland were in 1924, during an era that saw five Cliftonville men capped, though none became permanent members of the side. Against Scotland, on debut, he was at 6 in a strong batting side that collapsed against the medium pace of Scotland's captain, Edinburgh lawyer Gilbert Hole. However it was another Scottish legal expert who dismissed Joe, googly bowler CD Scobie. He was 4*, in the second innings, having been demoted in the order to 9. Rain probably saved Ireland as they were only 94 on with three wickets left, but Bob Lambert was the other not out batsman! Cookery's second cap was later in the summer in a two-day match v MCC at Ormeau. Rain again intervened, though, Joe had been denied an innings when Lambert, in full cry himself, declared on 216-6.

The fact that he was not a consistently heavy scorer in the NCU area suggests that Coskery may not have been quite of International class: however a combination of rain, selection policy and, possibly Bob Lambert's negative view of his batting abilities, denied him the chance to prove himself.