In this the centenary year of the LCU, Ger Siggins looks at what was happening 100 years ago on the first weekend of the season.
May 10th, 1919 was a glorious day, fittingly, as that was the day the first games were played in the inaugural Leinster Senior League. Although there were eight teams, only two matches were played, Leinster v University College and Civil Service v the Royal Hibernian Military School.
Keen eyes will note that only Leinster remain in the top division, as both UCD and the RHMS dropped out within five years and Service in 1943. The other sides in the first league, Trinity, Pembroke, Railway Union and Phoenix, made their debut over the next month, Phoenix as late as June 9th.
One happy side effect of the staggered start to the season was that all six of the clubs that are still in existence can look back on their debut appearance as a winning one!
On May 10th there was little fanfare, and both games were disappointing: RHMS were bowled out for 47 in ninety minutes, while in the other game Bob Lambert took 6-12 as Leinster won by nine wickets before they batted on – as was the tradition of the time – to record 166-9.
Leinster had a professional, Alec Skelding, but he bowled only three overs before being forced off with a thigh strain. Then 33, he turned out twice for Leicestershire during the summer, resuming his career with the county which once saw him named fastest bowler in England.
The highest score of day one was made by Civil Service opener Freddie Buxton who made 32 out of his team’s total of 74 which was still 27 too many for the Military School.
The RHMS educated the orphaned children of members of the British armed forces in Ireland from 1769, and moved into its 33-acre home in the Phoenix Park two years later. With the withdrawal of the British military apparatus in 1922 the school moved to Kent and the buildings now house St Mary’s Hospital.
Trinity didn’t turn out a side, the new era also coinciding with the end of another one with the funeral of the Provost, Sir John Pentland Mahaffy who had also played five times for Ireland in the 1860s.
In the Intermediate League YMCA beat Civil Service 2nds, and UCD 2nds lost to the Great Southern and Western Railway. Merrion 2s beat Old Belvedere 2nds in the Junior League, with O’Donnell scoring 102no.
Merrion 1sts played a friendly, losing to Railway Union.