George Frith Barry

  • Born: circa 1837,Co Cork
  • Died:  14 February 1891, Dublin aged 54
  • Occupation: Civil Servant
  • Debut:  28 June 1858, Birkenhead Park at Phoenix Park
  • Cap No. 32
  • Style: Right-hand bat, Round-arm bowler
  • Teams: Leinster, Phoenix, Vice Regal XI

George Barry was one of the most important figures in early Irish cricket. Captain of Leinster CC from 1856 to 1890, he also captained Ireland at least 10 times, if matches where there were more than 11 players a side are included. Not all of the captains for Ireland's earlier matches are known. Away from the cricket field, he was a Civil Servant in the administration in Dublin Castle, owing this to a cricket loving Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Carlisle. His return for this job for life was to turn out for the Vice Regal XI when required, often against I Zingari. He was also one of Ireland's leading chess players whose writings are still studied by the game's enthusiasts and historians. The game he played against GB Fraser, the Scottish champion, in the 1888 UK Championship, was ranked one of the top 50 of all time in a recent book. His involvement in chess was the subject of one of the lectures and discussions at the Annual Conference of Sports History Ireland at Galway in 2007. His brother Samuel, who played two 11-a-side matches for Ireland and two other matches, was also a leading chess player.

Apart from the twelve 11-a-side Irish matches shown in his statistics, Barry played in a further 10 matches which were either odds matches or 12-a-side, the latter being the case in some I Zingari fixtures, which were also social events in the Dublin Calendar. In these matches, he scored a further 120 runs at an average of 7.05. It must be remembered that the standard of wickets was often poor, and that in the matches against the English professional XIs, the Irish were pitted against the best bowlers of their time. Barry did achieve some good bowling figures in these matches in 1869. Thus at Rathmines he took 4-15 for XXII of All Ireland v the All England XI at his home ground, Rathmines, and later in the same month, September, had 3-15 in a 12-a-side v I Zingari. Combining figures for all matches he played for Ireland, he scored 304 runs at an average of 8.00, with a highest of 43 v I Zingari in the second innings of the 1860 match, which was not enough to prevent IZ winning by 4 wickets. Bowling he took 22 wickets, 19 of them for 217 runs. Full figures are not available for the remaining 3.

In 1890, as his playing career drew to a close, he was involved in the second attempt to set up an Irish Cricket Union during a week's Interprovincial cricket in Dublin. Chairing the second of a series of meetings, Barry was asked to nominate the ICU's first committee. All seemed on track, but the Leinster Branch took precipitate action which upset both Phoenix and the Ulster clubs and the initiative eventually died. Barry, himself, did not survive much longer.

A profile of him may be found in Siggins and Fitzgerald's Ireland 100 Cricket Greats.