George Barry was one of the most important figures in early Irish cricket
George Frith Barry
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.
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.
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