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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
James Henry Foley
  • Born 1 November 1889 Macroom, Co Cork
  • Died 30 March 1969 Cork
  • Educated University College, Cork
  • Occupation Doctor
  • Debut 26 June 1926 v Wales at Ormeau
  • Cap Number 341
  • Style Right-hand bat, right arm bowler.
  • Teams Cork County

James Foley was a good bowler in Munster club cricket who was never really given a chance to prove himself at international level. This was partly because of his medical practice, which limited his appearances for the County, where he was a prominent committee man.

He played in both matches v Dublin University in 1926, with little success. In College Park, a game in which a superb second innings hundred by Derrick Hall saw the visitors record an unlikely victory, he made 3 in his only innings, batting at 9, bowled by leading all rounder Tom Dixon. At The Mardyke, against the same opponents in 1927, he reached 11 in his only innings in a drawn match, which the visitors would have won, had Hall not played another outstanding innings, this time, to save rather than win, the match. James also had two wickets, including that of Bill Loughery, later to captain the University, and be capped by Ireland as a batsman.

James had also been in the County's side for the match against Cambridge University Crusaders at The Mardyke in 1925. This game, watched by a large crowd, including a very young Noel Mahony, and the novelist Frank O'Connor, was dominated by the brilliant Indian batsman KS Duleepsinjhi. Duleep, nephew of the great Ranji, was to score a brilliant hundred at Lord's on his Test debut for England v Australia in 1930, having been disgracefully left out of the team the previous season as it was believed that the visiting South Africans would object to playing against him, now dominated this match. In taking 12 wickets with his part time leg spin (including James in both innings), he made a magnificent 168*, an innings which helped Noel Mahony decide which game he really wanted to play! The County lost by an innings and 75 runs.

James also played several interprovincial matches for Munster. In 1925, he was one of the committee appointed by the County to have charge of the arrangements for the Ulster match at Mardyke, including selection. He justified his presence in the side with a first innings 21, which helped Munster to 231, thus keeping the visitors' lead within bounds and eventually forcing a draw in the two day match.

His one match for Ireland came against Wales at Ormeau in 1926. This was a high scoring match in which the hosts were lucky to avoid defeat. It was dominated by the visitors' captain, the Glamorgan amateur NVM Riches, who had made a century in the corresponding match at Llandudno the previous year. He went considerably better this time, carrying his bat for a wonderfully good seven and a half hour 239*, which stood unchallenged as the record score against Ireland until equalled by Mark Waugh, then a virtual unknown, playing for MCC at Castle Avenue sixty years later.

James had come into the match as one of no fewer than eight substitutes. His fellows included James MacDonald, an original selection, who had a very good match, and George McVeagh. Ireland batted first and made 299. At No 9 James was caught and bowled by Riches for 10, the master batsman was a handy medium pacer and also kept wicket! When Wales ran up their formidable 455, James, at first change, bowled 18 wicketless overs for 56. Ireland was left to bat out time. This they did, their last wicket falling when they had comfortably avoided an innings defeat and Wales had no time to bat again. This time James reached 16 before being caught off Henry Symonds, a slow left armer, who played 22 times for Glamorgan.

James Henry Foley returned to his medical practice. In company with fellow debutants Albert Anderson of North Down and Robert Bowers of Cliftonville, he was not seen in Irish colours again.