Patrick Augustine Neville

  • Born 22 June 1920 Donabate, Co Dublin
  • Died 16 July 1977 Dublin
  • Educated O'Connell's CBS, Dublin
  • Occupation Psychiatric nurse
  •  Debut 25 August 1956 v Sussex at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 476
  • Style Right hand bat
  • Teams Leinster; Malahide, Portrane

Paddy Neville, a fine all round sportsman who was also capped by Ireland at hockey, was, for a number of years one of the best batsmen in Leinster, if not Irish, cricket. Burly and thick set, he had a wide range of strokes when well set.

In a 25 year career in LCU senior cricket, he scored 5655 runs at 35.59, hitting 8 centuries and 31 fifties. His highest score was 142. In his very first season in 1941, when a Leinster CC player, he played a decisive part in the Senior Cup Final against Dublin University.

Facing hostile pace bowling from Stanley Barnes, younger brother of Bobby and Jackie, he made 52 out of Leinster's 217, Frank Connell weighing in with a top score 57. No one else achieved much against Barnes and his disconcerting bouncer. He finished with 5-65.

Paddy was, according to the Leinster CC History (1977) one of their outstanding batsmen in the 1940s. Most of his cricket, however, was to be played with Malahide. I have a personal recollection of Paddy, late in his career, playing a remarkable innings for Malahide against Dublin University in the League in 1963.

Those who saw or who have read about the state of the College Park wicket against the West Indies in that year, can imagine how difficult batting was as the wicket was very much the same. Against an attack which was much the same as that which won the University three successive Cup Finals, Paddy never looked in trouble and played some excellent shots.

For Ireland he scored 229 runs in his 12 innings at 20.82. This may not seem to justify the claims made about him above. However all of his matches were against first class opposition, though only three were actually given that status.

Having seen him bat on several occasions, I have no doubt, that had Paddy played in today's set up, he would have been one of Ireland's leading run makers. His defensive skills were shown on debut, when Sussex came to Rathmines in late August 1956.

Their captain, the off spinner Robin Marlar, later a highly eccentric cricket correspondent of the Sunday Times and, even later, President of MCC, used eight bowlers, of whom he and the medium pacer Ted James were the best, to bowl Ireland out for 85, on a freshly cut wicket, as the prepared one was waterlogged. Paddy, at 4, came in at 14-2 and batted the innings out, remaining undefeated on 13. Rain intervened when Sussex were 25-2.

Paddy was seen at his best in the one day match against New Zealand in College Park in 1958, an innings which, having escaped from boarding school for the afternoon, I was able to see most of. New Zealand were put in on a miserable day with intermittent drizzle, they declared on 182-4.

Batting at 3, Paddy went for his shots, adding 54 for the second wicket with Kevin Quinn. He had been very fortunate to survive his first over from Tony McGibbon, one of the few bowling successes of what was, for New Zealand, a disastrous tour of England. I had, under duress, left the ground by the time of the final over which began with Paddy 47*. He lost the strike, then regained it as Noel Cantwell ran himself out in order to give Paddy the bowling. A single of the last ball saw him to his goal which was well deserved.

Later that summer, on one of the few good days it provided, Paddy was seen to some advantage against the full Worcestershire side, again in College Park. The wicket was drying under a strong sun, and Worcestershire's future and former England spinners, Martin Horton and Bob Berry, were far too much for Ireland in both innings. However Paddy hit a brisk 22, striking Berry for three successive 4s, which led to the left armer being temporarily withdrawn from the attack. He was replaced by fast bowler David Pearson, later to be forced out of cricket because of doubts about his action. Paddy hit him to the boundary as well, but then mistimed an on drive off Horton and was caught at mid wicket.

Though he batted well against Scotland, in the first innings of the 1960 match at Whitehaugh, Paisley and was one of the few to show resistance in the second innings of the rain affected draw with MCC in College Park the same year, his final really impressive performance had come against Leicestershire at Grace Road the previous year.

Ireland did very well in this match until an unfortunate second innings collapse. The match is now remembered mostly for two monumental efforts from Stan Bergin who finished with 54 runs in the match from 390 minutes batting. Paddy played a few more shots! His first innings brisk 20 helped Mike Stevenson add 53 for the third wicket, before both were undone by the new ball ( then due at 65 overs ), Paddy was caught by wicket keeper and future long term umpire Ray Julian, off the medium pace of Jack van Geloven, later well known as Phoenix coach.

In the second innings the collapse followed his dismissal for 34 with 5 fours - mistiming an on drive off spinning all rounder David Kirby, who was soon to abandon the first class game for a teaching career.

The Neville Cup, played every year In Dublin on 26 December, despite turkey and plum pudding, commemorates the hockey skills of Paddy and his brother John, who also joined Paddy on the cricket field at Malahide. Another brother, Dick was a hockey, football and BAA player.

Paddy gained seven hockey caps for Ireland, scoring a vital goal against England at Old Trafford in 1947 to give Ireland the Triple Crown. His sportsmanship was highly praised in the Leinster Cup Final for Portrane against Dublin University in 1951. The score was 0-0 just before half time when he appeared to have scored. However he told the umpire that the ball had gone through a hole at the side of the net, his honesty was rewarded, Portrane scoring 4 in the second half.

He missed an 8th cap because he was keeping goal for Drumcondra in a key League of Ireland cup match. HIs 14 stone and 6 feet 3 frame made him a formidable opponent "between the sticks", he also played for Dundalk and won 4 League of Ireland caps, besides being reserve for the full Republic of Ireland side on a further four occasions.

Paddy also found time, until he fell foul of "The Ban" to be a prominent Gaelic Footballer, a medal winner with Parnells in Dublin.

I am indebted to an article by Ger Siggins in the 2013 Railway Union Handbook and to the Fingal Times for an article about the Neville brothers, published in 2004. for much of the hockey, football and GAA information.

Edward Liddle, December 2010, updated November 2012, April 2013, February 2016