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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Michael Kennedy
  • Born 1836, Co Clare
  • Died Unknown
  • Educated Ballinsloe School
  • Occupation Schoolmaster (probable)
  • Debut 7 October 1861 v Military of Ireland at Coburg Gardens
  • Cap Number 62
  • Style Hand unknown; wicket keeper
  • Teams Dublin University; Phoenix; Holyville Park

Michael Kennedy, described by the press of the time as "A rigging young player" was a useful tail end batsman and a good wicket keeper, who appears - after the fashion of the time - to have stood up to bowlers of pace. The son of another Michael Kennedy, whose occupation is given as "Private Gentleman", the younger Michael attended school at Ballinsloe in Co Sligo but was 21 by the time he entered Dublin University in 1857, Michael, senior had died by this time.

Michael junior played for the University v I Zingari in 1861, but was not a regular member of the XI until 1862 when he received his colours, in a side whose star player was William Hone (senior). Unfortunately averages were not kept for the season. Otherwise he turned out for Phoenix and, after leaving the University, evidently without taking a degree for Holyville Park. Holyville was, for a short period, one of the best cricket schools in Ireland, and also ran a powerful club side for which staff and old boys played as well as current students. As Michael was at school in Co Sligo it is fair to assume that he had, at least briefly, a post at Holyville. His cricket skills would have secured him the position, Holyville though it had numerous capable cricketers among its alumni was not noted for its academic record.

The match between the University and IZ was played at the Vice Regal Ground in early October 1861. No doubt College Park was not in good condition in early autumn. In the end the University were lucky to draw the match but some good cricket was seen. IZ were dismissed for 116 after winning the toss. Michael began the innings by holding two smart catches off the lobs of JP Mahaffy, one of several past members of the XI in the side. He also batted well at N 8 in the University first innings, making 13 before being bowled by HW "Lightning" Fellows, though the pace which had made this round armer so formidable, was now a thing of the past. As Michael allowed no byes in the IZ second innings of 191, he could be said to have had a good match.

Ireland's match v The Military of Ireland, at Coburg Gardens, began shortly after the I Zingari game just described. Despite the game not starting until 7 October, the latest date on which Ireland has ever played a home fixture, the weather was glorious, but the crowds were very disappointing. The Military had just beaten the Zingaros but were overwhelmed by the bowling of Charles Lawrence, taking 11 wickets in his last match for Ireland, and Arthur Samuels, arch apostle of underarm bowling, who had 5 in the second innings. Michael kept wicket well, making one stumping in each innings off Lawrence. If Charlie - as he was usually known - was operating in his faster style this was remarkable glovework indeed.

Michael Kennedy did not play for Ireland again and it has - unsurprisingly considering his name - proved impossible to find any further details of his life outside cricket.

I am, as on several previous occasions, much indebted to Ms Aisling Lockhart of the Trinity College Manuscripts Room for her help and prompt manner in dealing with my requests.