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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Michael James Dargan
  • Born 9 September 1928 Dublin
  • Educated Belvedere College; Clongowes Wood College; University College, Dublin
  • Occupation Pharmaceutical Chemist
  • Debut 4 September 1954 v MCC at College Park, Dublin
  • Cap Number 469
  • Style Right hand batsman; right arm medium pace.
  • Teams Phoenix

Mick Dargan, who was better known as a rugby footballer, was a very useful cricketer. A sound right hand opening batsman, he was also a capable performer with the new ball, and - a relic of his schooldays - could keep wicket in an emergency. He was to use his wicket keeping experience to become a safe first slip. He developed his skills for the game at Belvedere College, which had already produced a host of talented cricketers, notably Jimmy Boucher and Eddie Ingram, but also the remarkable Quinn brotherhood, to name but four! Showing his talents as a batsman and a wicket keeper, Mick captained the Junior Cup Team (JCT XI), the Under 15 side, before his parents removed him to the green pastures of Co Kildare sending him to Clongowes, where he had some of the best cricket facilities in the country to hone his skills.

On entering UCD to read pharmacy he joined Phoenix, Old Belvedere not then being a senior side, and was soon established in the 1st XI. He was to play 158 matches for them and total 3087 runs at 19.05, with a highest score of 82. He was President of the Club for three years from 1970 to 1972.

A good season in 1954 brought him into the Irish team to play MCC in Dublin in early September. He was, perhaps, unlucky to be selected only for this match. Coming as it did at the end of the season, it meant hat failure was unlikely to be forgiven and that there would not be a second chance. This was not a match for batsmen, though the wicket was far from bad, and the visitors included two former and one future Test centurion in their ranks, namely George Mann, Bob Wyatt and Raman Subba Row. Ireland were to win by two runs thanks mainly to a superb spin bowling performance by Scott Huey who became he first man to take more than 12 wickets in a match for Ireland, finishing with 14/98. Ireland had batted first but soon lost Mick caught by AWH Mallett, father of current Italy Rugby coach Nick Mallett, off the fast medium of JHG Deighton.

Deighton was a very good new ball bowler, whose first class appearances were limited by his military duties. He still managed to take 127 wickets in 35 matches. He and his fellow opening bowler George Chesterton shared almost all the Irish wickets in this match. George was another very good bowler, whose life spent in teaching, similarly restricted his first class career to 263 wickets in 75 matches. Ireland were saved by the tail and by MCC, helped by the great Wyatt being bowled by an Alf Cooper long hop ("That," said the ungracious RES, "is the worst ball that has ever been bowled to me."), struggling against Huey. Mick held two smart slip catches off the Eglinton spinner, the first to dismiss left hander NCF Bloy, who turned up in a POW camp in 1945, when his family believed him to be dead, while the second catch disposed of Deighton. Unfortunately, he failed again when Ireland batted a second time, being bowled for 7 by DCPR Jowett, an off spinner. "Jumbo" Jowett played 50 first class matches and was only once on the winning side. Mick did not play for Ireland again. Despite his failure he must be counted unlucky not to have received another chance.

His rugby career had begun at hooker, where he distinguished himself in the Belvedere JCT and for Clongowes at 1st XV level. On joining Old Belvedere when he returned to Dublin to study at UCD, he "reinvented himself as a flanker", to gain first team selection as the Ireland- and future Lions' captain - Karl Mullen was the man in possession of the No 2 shirt. Though only 5 feet 9 inches and weighing less than 12 stone Mick gained selection for Ireland v Scotland and Wales in 1952. He excelled in the Scots match which Ireland won 12-8 being singled out by "The Irish Times" for the constant harassment of the defence. However the Welsh match ended in an 11 - 0 defeat with Mick among those who did not survive the result. Nor did several others, including Mullen.

Michael James Dargan was a fine all round athlete, who might have been shown more consideration, by at least one panel of national selectors.