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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Gerard Andrew Kirwan
  • Born 1 July 1942 Dublin
  • Educated St Paul's National School; Castleknock College; University College Dublin
  • Occupation Solicitor
  • Debut 21 July 1983 v Wales at Neath
  • Cap Number 550
  • Style Left-hand bat, left arm medium fast
  • Teams Clontarf

Gerry Kirwan was a bowler of high quality. Swinging the ball at around medium pace, he was for three decades among the most formidable opponents in Leinster senior cricket. The Clontarf Centenary Brochure (1976) noted that "he pegged an accurate length" before adding "and his fielding was superb." One of nature's No 11s, he was, however, praised for his batting in the same publication. "He will be remembered in the Club as an unsurpassed No 11 bat. He batted as though he was opening in a Test Match and was full of courage." When he was eventually, at the age of 42, selected for Ireland, Derek Scott commented that he had been the best bowler in Dublin for five years.

He played 391 senior matches for Clontarf taking 1033 wickets at13.93, thus joining Jimmy Boucher and Railway Union's Niall McConnell in passing the four figure mark . He had 55 "5 fors" besides winning the O'Grady Cup on two occasions. In 1982 he took 82 wickets at 10.85 and the following season 67 at 8.26. He was, commented LCU secretary John Dawson in the 1983 Irish Cricket Union yearbook, "another popular winner who contributed much to the game with his attitude and wholehearted enthusiasm." He was the fourth Clontarf bowler to win the coveted trophy but, as two of his predecessors, Sonny Hool in 1948 and Podge Hughes in 1963 had spent some of the season with other clubs, Gerry could be regarded as the second. The first apart from Hool? It could only be John Hill! Clontarf do not have an over impressive record in the Irish Senior Cup, particularly in its early stages when it was not until their fifth season in the competition that they recorded a victory. However, despite his limited chances, Gerry still took 30 wickets at a very respectable 21.26.

Captain of Malahide's winning JMA Trophy side in 1990

Also at club level we might note a game at Castle Avenue when UCD fielded a side against visiting Loughborough Colleges. Loughborough had come from a two day match against Dublin University in College Park where they had narrowly escaped defeat, despite some excellent bowling from Douglas Henderson, one of the best fast medium bowlers in Leinster cricket at the time and - in some baseless opinions - this writer's interpretation of the lbw law! Now, however, the visitors, expecting an easier time, came up against Gerry. He took 4-38 as they reached 113-7 before, with half an eye on the need to take taxis to Dun Laoghaire, declared. His wickets included that of Colin McManus, later a prolific run scorer with Norfolk in the Minor Counties' Championship. UCD were 35-9 at the close, Gerry having been run out for 3.

In Interprovincial cricket between 1966 and 1985 he played 26 times for North Leinster, there being a long hiatus in his appearances after the first year of the competition. Nevertheless he took 40 wickets at 22.17, with several noteworthy performances. His best figures came in his last match against South Leinster at Castle Avenue in July 1985. SL, a strong batting side, were held to 190-9, largely thanks to Gerry who had figures of 16-2-32-4, his wickets including those of Ginger O'Brien and Jonathon Garth. Good batting by the hosts resulted in victory by 5 wickets.

He often bowled well in tandem with Mike Halliday. Thus against the North West at Cabra in 1981, he had analysis of 26-11-36-4, while the off spinner had 5-46 as the match ended in a tense draw. He had three other four wicket hauls, one other of which may be mentioned here as it shows his ability to take wickets on the rare occasions in which batsmen "got after" him. This was against Ulster Country in 1982. SL had declared on 202-4, owing much to an undefeated hundred form Alf Masood. The northern batsmen then set about the bowling with both Gerry and Halliday coming in for some punishment. However they continued to take wickets and to see their side to a 20 runs victory. Halliday had 5-84 while Gerry finished with 11.3-4-50-4.

His eventual selection for Ireland in 1983 was widely welcomed but probably came too late. Derek Scott recorded in Wisden that he "did well" but the two matches were at the end of the season and he was not asked again. Ireland were on a three match tour and had given a good account of themselves against Gloucestershire at Bristol. After the game, Simon Corlett and Ivan Anderson had to return home so Gerry and Mark Cohen came into the side against Wales at Neath. Wales were dismissed for 190, after being 127-2. Most of the damage was done by Dermot Monteith (6-67) but Gerry, the sixth bowler to be tried bowled 12 tight overs for 29 runs and two wickets. He went wicketless in the second innings of this three day match, in which the first day had been lost to rain. A draw was the inevitable result. Moving eastwards to play MCC at Roehampton, Ireland were overcome by the pace of future Cambridge Blue Angus Pollock, despite a second innings fight back. Bowling only in MCC's first innings of 220-2 declared, Gerry had figures of 11-4-31-0, as economical as any of his team-mates.

As mentioned above Gerard Andrew Kirwan did not play for Ireland again. he continued, however, to ply his trade for Clontarf for a further eight seasons and will long be remembered, not only for his highly successful bowling career but for his popular personality and whole hearted approach to the game.