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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Thomas Quinn
  • Born
  • Educated
  • Occupation Employed at Vice Regal Lodge
  • Debut 10 September 1855 v Gentlemen of England at Phoenix CC, Phoenix Park, Dublin
  • Cap Number 9
  • Style Right hand batsman
  • Teams Phoenix, Vice Regal

Tom Quinn was one of the best bowlers in Irish cricket in the 1850s and early 1860s. When he, Arthur Samuels and Charles Lawrence were all available, they made up a formidable attack both for Ireland and for Lawrence's United Ireland XI. When they were, at times, reinforced by the all round skills of future Royal Chaplain Joseph McCormick they could border upon the unplayable.

Little is known of Tom's early life and it has proved impossible to definitely identify him from at least thirty others of the same name and approximate age. However he was in the Phoenix side which won a famous victory over the All England XI in 1854, though he made little contribution himself. Among his performances for the Club against strong opposition, two against I Zingari may be mentioned, though neither brought victory to the hosts. Thus in 1862, with four wickets in the first innings and two in the second he had a six wicket haul, numbering several of the top order amongst his victims.

The following year's match saw him go one better capturing seven, including, in the second innings, Robert Marsham, an Oxford Blue and member of a family two generations of which played first class cricket and RAH Mitchell, whose devotion to teaching the game at Eton probably deprived him of an extensive and highly successful first class career. Tom was also seen to the fore for Lawrence's United XI, taking a leading part, for example as an all rounder in a 47 runs victory over XXII of Dublin in July 1857 at Rotunda Gardens. Together with McCormick and the professional Peter Doyle, he ran through the XXII, who were bowled out for 105. However the XI also found batting difficult, owing much to a typically robust 75 from McCormick. Doyle (24) and Tom (18) were the only other double figure makers. Tom then took a further three wickets in the second innings. It may be noted that, though he often batted up the order, scores such as this were a comparative rarity for him.

Another good match with the ball was the North v South game of 1863. It must be said that geographical location does not appear to have been among the selection criteria, with Dublin players making up the bulk of those involved. Tom had six second innings wickets including his club team-mates GF Barry, William Hone snr and Arthur Samuels, playing this match under his alias of S Arthur, not that this deceived anybody! The North won by 6 wickets.

For Ireland Tom played 12 times and took 30 wickets, three of these being in odds matches will not be found in his statics on this site but match scores may be seen by following the links in the statszone. Unfortunately, full bowling figures were not always kept at this time, so it is impossible to work out his bowling average. From the scores, however, it would appear to have been fairly low.

His debut match, also the first ever played by Ireland, was also his best. He routed a weak Gentlemen of England side taking six in each innings to set up a 107 runs victory. The visitors were stronger the following year emerging victorious by 39 runs. Tom had a first innings "5 for", but failed to take a wicket in the second, a possible reason for the visitors' success.

He had a 9 wicket haul against I Zingari at the now built over ground of Coburg Gardens in late September 1861. He included the wicket of Captain Frederic Marshall in both innings. Marshall was later to become a general and take a prominent part in the Zulu War of 1879, having the gruesome task of leading the party which returned to the battlefield of Isandlwana, some weeks after the slaughter. He was a good batsman, who had played for Ireland in odds matches, and was later President of Surrey. Back at the battlefield he must have been moved to find a cricket bat amongst the scenes of death.

Thomas Quinn is now an almost forgotten figure in Irish cricket. His performances warrant him being more than that. We would, of course, be only too pleased to hear from anyone who can fill in some - or all - of the missing biographical details.