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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Ray Declan Anthony Daly
  • Born 1 April 1942 Malahide Co Dublin
  • Educated Belvedere College, Dublin; University College, Dublin
  • Occupation Accountant
  • Debut 27 August 1971 v Denmark at Aalborg
  • Cap Number 521
  • Style Right hand bat; right arm medium pace.
  • Teams Old Belvedere; Malahide

Ray Daly was a sound upper order batsman, who usually opened the innings, and a useful medium pacer. This latter aspect of his cricket, however, was rarely seen at representative level. Learning the game at that powerhouse of Leinster and Irish cricket, Belvedere College, where he also excelled on the rugby field, Ray, who was fair haired and strongly built, made his debut for Old Belvedere while still at school, where he gained representative honours.

In all, Leinster senior cricket both for the Cabra side and, subsequently, Malahide, he scored 6442 runs, at an average of 23.17. This included one century - 116 - and thirty three 50s.

He had the unusual distinction of leading two sides to victory in the Leinster Cup Final. In 1966 he was in charge when Old Belvedere defeated Malahide at Phoenix by 145 runs, largely thanks to yet another remarkable bowling performance from Alec O'Riordan, while five years later, in the last non overs limit final, he lifted the trophy for Malahide at Castle Avenue, as Clontarf fell 29 runs short of a modest target. In 1970 he was the leading fielder in the LCU, if wicket keepers are discounted, holding 17 catches. As time went on, his appearances at senior level became more spasmodic, though he was still scoring half centuries for the Seconds in 1986. He also turned out for the Leprechauns on many occasions, taking part in several English tours. His best score in these matches, always played against strong opposition, was 37 against the Metropolitan Police at Chigwell in 1972.

He had already represented Leinster in the old style Interprovincials before the advent of the Guinness Cup. He was to be ever present for the first nine years of that competition in the North Leinster XI, generally going in first with David Pigot. In his first match, the pair put on 63 for the first wicket v Ulster Town at Cliftonville before Ray was caught and bowled by Given Lyness for 36. Rain later intervened with the visitors on top.

His one century in the competition came the following year in a drawn match against the same opponents at Castle Avenue. Together with Pigot, he put on 213 for the first wicket, before the Phoenix man was out for 107. The declaration came one run later when Ray had reached his hundred. There proved to be not quite enough time to bowl the visitors out.

Rescue acts against Munster were not generally needed in the Guinness Cup in its early years, but at The Mardyke in 1969, the hosts had a strong opening attack in the two English league cricketers, Dennis Leng (Bradford) and Wally Booton (Birmingham). Ray was the only early batsman to make a showing against them, reaching 31 out of 50-3, before Booton had him caught. Paddy Tynan and Pigot - this time at 3 - had failed. In the end Robin Waters and David Ensor saw the visitors to a winning score in excess of 200, but the Munster reply of 167 suggests that, without Ray's opening knock North Leinster would have been in trouble. Against Ulster Town at Ballygomartin Road in May, he was the only batsman who offered prolonged resistance to a powerful attack, though Pigot and Enda McDermott each passed 20. Ray reached 57 out of 92, before being sixth out. North Leinster eventually totalled 122. This was insufficient to prevent a four wicket home win, but without Ray's contribution the margin of defeat would have been much higher.

Ray Daly (left) with Tom Prior and David Williams at an interpro game

One innings the following season may also be recalled. In July he played a leading role in a seven wicket victory over Ulster Country. The visitors fell for a hardly par score of 109, finding Mike Halliday's off spin hard to counter, their demise being hastened by Ray holding three catches. Any possibility of a collapse by the home side was averted by Ray's 41, ended when he gave a return catch to Mike Reith's medium pace. By then however victory was almost achieved.

A rather different innings came at the same venue in 1971. A rain affected match left North Leinster chasing a North West score of 124-5 in very limited time. They got to 80-7 in 13 overs before rain again intervened. That they had manage to come within striking distance of their target, was mostly due to Ray, who hit a quick 41 before being caught off Roy Torrens.

Ray was unlucky that his sole Irish cap came at the end of a season 1971 in unfamiliar surroundings - Denmark - and in appalling weather, which prevented him batting twice and which condemned the match to a draw. Batting first at Aalborg in late August, Ireland found themselves bowled out by medium pacer Henrik Mortensen - not to be confused with Ole Mortensen who was to take over 400 wickets for Derbyshire - for a mere 66. Ray escaped the demon bowler's clutches, falling instead to another medium pacer JS Larsen, who was playing his penultimate match for his country, but later became a well known umpire. Batting at 5 Ray was out for 4, but he had done little worse than most of his team-mates. Alec O'Riordan also found the conditions to his liking and, in their second innings, Ireland did much better, but Ray had not batted by the time of the declaration. Skipper Goodwin's enterprise in trying to force a result when so much time had already been lost was not rewarded, the rain returning just as the hosts' run chase had begun.

Perhaps Ray Declan Alexander Daly would have had another chance for Ireland had his debut match come at the season's end. As it was he returned to Leinster cricket with Malahide, continuing to score runs with freedom and consistency. He was later prominent in coaching programmes.