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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Philip Forth Casey
  • Born 1847, Dublin
  • Died 11 October 1928 Lewes Hospital, Lewes, Sussex.
  • Educated Nutgrove School, Co Dublin; Dublin University
  • Occupation Physician and Surgeon (English Census 1901)
  • Debut 11 September 1867 v I Zingari at Vice Regal Ground, Phoenix Park
  • Cap Number 99
  • Style Right hand bat, bowling style and pace unknown.
  • Teams Dublin University, Phoenix, Malahide

Philip Casey was a free scoring middle order batsman whose elegance at the wicket was much admired. Educated at Nutgrove School in Rathfarnham, he followed his elder brothers Tom and Edmund to Dublin University, entering in November 1865. Tom gained a wide fame as an all rounder and his biography will also be found on this site. Edmund, however, did not attain fame on the cricket field. Philip was five years in the University XI, being captain in the last three. His reputation was considerable, but his actual achievements were somewhat unspectacular. His bowling figures have not survived, but, as a batsman, he scored only 780 runs in his five seasons at an average of 14.44, his highest score being 66.

He did, however, turn in some impressive performances against the professional XIs. Thus in 1871, playing for the University Past and Present XI (XXII) against the United South of England XI, he topscored - not just for the hosts but in the match - with 48 in the University's only innings as a historic victory by an innings and 7 runs was recorded. In the total of 243, there was only one other score of note, 34 by Robert O'Brien, whose nephews, the Gwynn brothers were to win a greater fame in College Park. Philip lost his wicket to James Lillywhite, the only one to fall to the man destined to become England's first Test captain. Principal destroyer of the hosts' batting line up was James Southerton, who at 49 years and 119 days remains England's oldest Test debutant, though he lost the overall record to Pakistani Miran Bux by 165 days in 1954/55. In the match at College Park, the host's victory was sealed by some remarkable bowling by their professional coach Jesse Richards, well supported by the underarm lobs of JP Mahaffy. Philip also made an important contribution in the field, catching the visitors' captain, GF (Fred) Grace in the first innings, just as the youngest of those three remarkable brethren was getting into his stride.

Fred holds one melancholy record which can never be taken from him. On 22 September 1880, just a fortnight after helping England defeat Australia at The Oval in the first Test played in England, he became the first Test cricketer to die. He had made a pair in the match, but, by catching the mighty Australian hitter GJ Bonnor, off a shot that went so high that the batsmen ran three, made a key contribution to the victory.

In 1873 the USE returned to Dublin, this time shored up by WG. The innings victory that resulted was theirs, but Philip again distinguished himself with the bat, making a first innings 24 before being run out.

Philip made seven appearances for Ireland, though as four were in matches involving more than eleven players on at least one side, only three of his matches will be found in his statistics on this site. Scores and reports of the other games may be found by following the links on the Statszone.

His debut came in an XI a side match v I Zingari at the Vice Regal Ground in September 1867. Though failing to score in the second innings, he was one of the few batsmen to impress, his first innings 39 at No 3 being easily the top score for the hosts who were shot out for 87 by the lobs of William Rose who returned the remarkable figures of 29.2 - 10 - 35 - 9. Ireland collapsed again in the second innings with Rose, who had Philip twice in the match, taking 7-38. Rose's first innings figures might have been even more impressive, he dropped two caught and bowled chances both from Philip, who, however, attracted much praise for his free and stylish play.

His best score for the national side came for XXII of Ireland v The All England XI at Rathmines in June 1869. This was the fourth and last match between the two sides and was marked by criticism of the selection of the Irish side as containing several players who as "birds of passage" should not have been chosen. Ireland gained a two runs lead in the first innings. This was largely due to Philip who topscored with 42 before being out hit wicket, which was considered most unlucky. Again his free style of play and fast scoring attracted much favourable comment. The match was badly rain affected but Ireland was, in the end, lucky to escape with a draw.

He did not appear in major cricket after the mid 1870s. Leaving the University without a degree, he finished his medical studies at the Royal College of Surgeons and, after some years in practice in Dublin, he emigrated to Australia together with his wife Isabella, ten years younger than he was and their daughters. He was the general surgeon in the growing outback town of Hay in south west New South Wales for several years but by 1901, he and his family had left Australia and settled in London, living near Kew Gardens, where he seems to have been in general practice. He eventually retired to Lewes in Sussex where he died, having (as his brother Tom was to do) outlived most of his contemporaries, in 1928. He was survived by his two daughters, one of whom was already widowed.

Research into the missing parts of Philip Forth Casey's life continues, meanwhile any further information would be gratefully received.