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Saturday, 23 February 1884
British International Championship 1883-84 (1st) Match

Ireland 1 England 8 [0-4]
No competition was inaugurated in 1883-84. The 'beginning' of the British Championship competition was added years later

Ulster Cricket Ground, Ormeau Road, Ballynafeigh Park, Belfast, County Antrim
Kick-off (DMT): 'at THREE o'clock sharp' 3.00pm GMT

3,000. 'before several thousand spectators'.

"Johnson scored the first goal, E.C. Bambridge took the second. Before half-time, Cursham put the ball through twice more. On the recommencement, Johnson, EC Bambridge, Cursham and A.L. Bambridge were each instrumental in registering goals." -
Wednesday, 27 February 1884, The Athletic News
England's first visit to Ballynafeigh, second visit to Belfast, and Ireland
Jack Davison kicked-off Norman Bailey won the toss
Goal times generally not known.

England's 24th goal vs. Ireland is now the most against any country>
[0-1] Edward Johnson 15
'from a scrummage in front of goal Johnson sent the ball thro'
appeal for offside declined by the referee
[0-2] Charlie Bambridge c18
after a splendid run on the left'
[0-3] Harry Cursham ?
'Johnson sent in a sharp shot which was fisted out by Hunter to be returned by Cursham'
[0-4] Harry Cursham
'from a cross from the right'

Billy McWha 88
 a shot out of a scrummage impossible to save
[0-5] Charlie Bambridge ?
'after a fast run by Cursham and Charlie on the left, the latter sending in a hot shot'
[0-6] Charlie Bambridge ? HAT-TRICK
'the ball had been scarcely re-started when he repeated the operation'
appeal for offside declined by the referee
[0-7] George Holden ?
'after Johnson sent in a low shot which Hunter intercepted, Holden rushing sent both ball and man between the posts'
[0-8] Harry Cursham header 75
'rushing up' to head in a Bailey cross
Charlie Bambridge injured - ten men 75
"The weather was rather dull."

Match Summary

Officials [umpires and referees are of equal relevance]


Team Records



Ireland had one shot on goal
Nicholas Lane Jackson
34 (1 November 1849)
West Hackney, London
(F.A. Secretary)
Robert M. Kennedy
Cliftonville, Belfast
Thomas Lawrie
(21 October 1854), Gorbals, Lanarkshire
Scottish F.A. vice-President

Ireland Team

Rank No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 4th
Colours St. Patrick blue shirts, white shorts.
Captain Jack Davison Selection Irish Selection Committee
P 4 of 5, W 0 - D 1 - L 3 - F 2 - A 20. team chosen at some point after their match against Scotland on 9 February 1884
Ireland Lineup
  Hunter, Robert John 21/22 1862 G Cliftonville FAC 3 19ᵍᵃ
final app 1884
  Crone, William 20
176 days
31 August 1863 RB Distillery FC 4 0
  Wilson, Matthew 41/42 1842 LB Distillery FC 3 0
final app 1884
  Hastings, John 25/26 1858 Half
Ulster FC 5 0
  Molyneux, Thomas Bryson 26
219 days
19 July 1857 or 1868 Cliftonville FAC 3 0
  Gaussen, Arthur David Ash 21
69 days
16 December 1862 OR Moyola Park FC 2 0
  Davison, Dr. John Robert 23
304 days
25 April 1860
in Hunslet, England
IR Cliftonville FAC 5 0
McWha, William Barrie Ritchie 21/22 1862 Centre
Cliftonville FAC 5 1
=mst gls
  Johnston, Samuel James 17
158 days
18 September 1866 Distillery FC 3 1
=mst gls
  Spiller, Edward Ashley 21
93 days
22 November 1861 IL Cliftonville FAC 5 0
  Dill, Alexander Harrison 20
241 days
27 June 1863 OL Cliftonville FAC 6 0
mst apps
reserves: not known
team notes: Matthew Wilson, was nicknamed 'Daddy', and was famed for his 15 inch long ginger beard.
Ireland become the first opposition team not to field any debutants.
2-2-6 Hunter -
Crone, Wilson -
Hastings, Molyneux -
Gaussen, Davison, McWha, Johnston, Spiller, Dill.
Averages: Age 23 years 267 days
-24 years 34 days
Appearances/Goals 4.0 0.1


England Team

Rank No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 2nd
Colours White shirts, navy blue knickerbockers

Norman Bailey Selection Following the trial match, The Football Association Committee, with Secretary Charles W. Alcock having the primary influence
most captaincies so far
P 6 of 15, W 2 - D 0 - L 4 - F 20 - A 20. P 20 of 31, W 8 - D 2 - L 10 - F 64 - A 52.
  team chosen at 23 Paternaster Row on Saturday evening, 26 January 1884
England Lineup
(eight changes to the previous match)
15   Rose, William C. 22
84 days
1 December 1861 G Swindon Town FC & Swifts FC 1 1ᵍᵃ
109 youngest player to represent England competitively so far the first Swindon player to represent England
  Dobson, Alfred T.C. 24
332 days
28 March 1859 RB Notts County FC & Corinthians FC 2 0
110   Beverley, Joseph 27
103 days
12 November 1856 LB Blackburn Rovers FC 1 0
the fifth Rover to represent England
  Bailey, Norman C. 26
215 days
23 July 1857 Half
Clapham Rovers FC 10 0
most experienced captain & most apps
  MacRae, Stuart 28
78 days
7 December 1855
in Bengal, India
Notts County FC & Corinthians FC 4 0
oldest player to represent England competitively so far
Holden, George H. 24
140 days
6 October 1859 OR Wednesbury Old Athletic FC 2 1
  Bambridge, Arthur L. 22
252 days
16 June 1861 IR Swifts FC & Corinthians FC 3 0
final app 1881-84
Johnson, Edward 24
87 days
28 November 1859 Centre
Stoke FC 2 1
youngest competitive scorer so far final app 1880-84
  Dunn, Arthur T.B. 23
195 days
12 August 1860 Cambridge University AFC & Old Etonians AFC 2 2
Bambridge, E. Charles, injured off 75th min. 25
208 days
30 July 1858 IL Swifts FC 8 10
13th brace scored by England - fourth hat-trick oldest competitive (& 2&3) scorer so far mst gls
Cursham, Henry A. 24
88 days
27 November 1859 OL Notts County FC & Corinthians FC 8 5
twelfth brace scored by England - fifth hat-trick final app 1880-84
reserves: not known
team changes: The original eleven had Percy de Paravicini (Old Etonians AFC) starting, his place going to Beverley. Cursham replaced Nevill Cobbold (Old Carthusians AFC & Cambridge University AFC). Dunn replaced Kenneth Wilson (Hendon FC). Clem Mitchell (Upton Park FC) and Tom Dewhurst (Blackburn Olympic  FC) were replaced by Johnson and Holden. The first four players were unavailable, whereas Dewhurst was dropped because of his misconduct in a match between Blackburn Olympic FC and Northwich Victoria FC on 9 February.
team notes: Harry Cursham's brother, Arthur, also played for England 1876-82.
Arthur and Charlie Bambridge are the second set of brothers to play in the same team twice after the Cursham's did so last year. Their brother, Ernest (1876) also played for England.
appearance notes: Harry Cursham and Charlie Bambridge are the third/fourth England players to make eight appearances, whereas Stuart MacRea is the eleventh to make four appearances.
23 players have now played for England three or more times, and 49 have done so more than once.
records: England's first competitive match, albeit, retrospective.
Second time two hat-tricks have been scored in a single match.

Harry Cursham becomes the second England player, after Billy Mosforth, to make seven consecutive appearances.
Norman Bailey continues his record of being the most experienced England player to have not scored a goal.
The team stayed at The Imperial Hotel in Dublin.
2-2-6 Rose -
Dobson, Beverley -
Bailey, MacRae -
A.Bambridge, Johnson, Dunn, C.Bambridge, Cursham.
Averages: Age 24 years 328 days Appearances/Goals 3.9 1.0
oldest competitive XI until next match
youngest competitive XI until Wales match


       Match Report Sporting Life, Monday, 25 February 1884

The annual meeting, under Association rules, between the representatives of the two countries, came off on Saturday, in the Ulster Ground, Belfast. The attendance was very heavy, a very fast and high class exposition of the game was witnessed. England won the toss, and elected to play down the hill. Scarcely had the sphere been started, than fine runs by Johnstone, C. Bambridge, and Cursham threw the home team on their defences, and though Hunter saved his charge very cleverly on several occasions, it was not long till a low swift shot from G. Johnstone scored the first goal for England. In a few minutes, E. C. Bambridge took the second, and ere the termination of a half Cursham put the ball through twice more. On the recommencement of play the visitors continued to act on the aggressive, and G. Johnstone, E. C. Bambridge, Cursham, and A. L. Bambridge were each instrumental in registering goals. In about the middle of this period, however, E. C. Bambridge's bad leg again gave way, and he was compelled to retire. After some capital play by Davison and Gaussen, Dill, M'Wha obtained the only point scored for Ireland, and when the referee's whistle announced the termination of the game, England were thus victorious by the substantial majority of eight goals to one.

       Match Report The Times, Monday, 25 February 1884

Notwithstanding the fact that five of the original team elected to represent England in this international association encounter at Belfast on Saturday were unable to play, the English eleven secured a somewhat easy victory over their opponents. The weather was rather dull, but this did not prevent a large number of people visiting the Ulster ground to watch the contest. During the first portion of the game England obtained four goals, through the agency of Cursham (two), E. C. Bambridge, and Johnson. After positions had been reversed, the visitors still had matters much their own way, and Cursham, E. C. Bambridge, Johnson and A. L. Bambridge each scored a goal. M'Wha kicked the ball between the posts for Ireland, who were beaten by eight goals to one.

       The Belfast News-letter, Monday, 25 February 1884

It may be mentioned that before the match the teams met at the studio of Mr. Seggons, Castle Place, where capital photographs of the contestants were taken.
              In Other News....
It was on 22 February 1884 that it was announced that the town of Tokar in Sudan had been surrendered by British forces to the slave trader, Osman Digna.
Other Football Results (23 February 1884)
Friendly Matches:
Notts County 2 Aston Villa 0
   Old Trent Bridge Ground, Nottingham
Chaman, Emmitt
County were without Dobson, MacRae or Harry Cursham
Notts County, who had reached the F.A. Cup semi-finals for the second year in succession, defeated Aston Villa, 2-0 at Trent Bridge.
Preston North End 2 Blackburn Rovers 0
   North End Ground, Deepdale, Preston
Belger (2)
Rovers were without Joe Beverley

      Source Notes

Jonny Dewart at Northern Ireland's Footballing Greats
Cris Freddi's England Football Factbook
Andy Mitchell's research on Kenneth Plumpton Wilson
  The Football Association Yearbook
Original Newspaper Reports Belfast news-letter, 25 February 1884
Stephen Carr & Kevin Powell