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18 vs. Ireland

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23 vs. Ireland

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

Ireland 1 England 8 [0-4]

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'.

Ireland kicked-off England won the toss
Goal times generally not known. Both the second and sixth goals, and the Irish goal, were objected too on the grounds of them being offside. [0-1] Edward Johnson 15
'from a scrummage in front of goal Johnson sent the ball thro'
[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
[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
Match Summary
Ireland Party

England Party
Team Records
"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

Match Summary

Officials [umpires and referees are of equal relevance]





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
Scottish F.A. Vice-President

Ireland Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 4th
Colours: St. Patrick blue shirts, white shorts.
Capt: Jack Davison Selectors: Team chosen by Committee;
Ireland Lineup
  Hunter, Robert J. nk not known G Cliftonville FAC 3 19 GA
  Crone, William 19/20 1864 RB

Distillery FC

4 0
  Wilson, Matthew 41/42 1842 LB

Distillery FC

3 0
  Hastings, John 25/26 1858 Half

Ulster FC

5 0
  Molyneux, Thomas B. 15/16 1868

Cliftonville FAC

3 0
  Gaussen, Arthur D.A. 21 1863 OR

Moyola Park FC

2 0
  Davison, Dr. John R. 23
304 days
25 April 1860
in Leeds, England

Cliftonville FAC

5 0
McWha, William B.R. 23/24 1860 Centre

Cliftonville FAC

5 1
  Johnston, Samuel J. 17
158 days
18 September 1866

Distillery FC

3 1
  Spiller, Edward A. 21
154 days
22 September 1861 IL

Cliftonville FAC

3 0
  Dill, Alexander H. 20
241 days
27 June 1863 OL Cliftonville FAC 6 0


not known

team notes:

Matthew Wilson, was nicknamed 'Daddy', and was famed for his 15 inch long ginger beard.  He was either 41 or 42 at the time of this match.
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.


Age 22--23 Appearances/Goals 3.8 0.1


England Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 2nd
Colours: White shirts, navy blue knickerbockers
Capt: Norman Bailey
(sixth (15) captaincy)
Selectors: The Football Association Committee following trial games, with Secretary Charles W. Alcock having the primary influence, on Saturday, 26 January 1884.
most captaincies so far
England Lineup
109   Rose, William C. 22
84 days
1 December 1861 G

Swindon Town FC & Swifts FC

1 1 GA
  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
  Bailey, Norman C. 26
215 days
23 July 1857 Half

Clapham Rovers FC

10      0
first player to achieve ten appearancesx most apps  & experienced capt
  MacRae, Stuart 28
78 days
7 December 1855
in Bengal, India

Notts County FC & Corinthians FC

4      0
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
Johnson, Edward 24 early 1860 Centre

Stoke FC

2 1 final app
  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 first to
ten goals
fourth hat-trick scored by England most goals
Cursham, Henry A. 24
88 days
27 November 1859 OL

Notts County FC & Corinthians FC

8 5 final app
fifth hat-trick scored by England


not known

team notes:

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 Fred Dewhurst (Blackburn Olympic  FC) were replaced by Johnson and Holden.
Arthur and Charlie Bambridge were brothers. Charlie was injured and taken off the field of play after approximately 75 minutes; England played on with ten men.
The team stayed at The Imperial Hotel in Dublin.


England's first competive match, albeit, retrospective.
2-2-6 Rose -
Dobson, Beverley -
Bailey, MacRae -
A.Bambridge, Johnson, Dunn, C.Bambridge, Cursham.


Age 24 years 317-334 dys Appearances/Goals 3.9      1.0
oldest & youngest competitive XI so far


Match Report - Sporting Life, Monday, 25 February 1884 In Other News.....

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.

  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.

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.

"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 Times, 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." - Monday, 25 February 1884, The Belfast News-letter
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
Stephen Carr & Kevin Powell
Belfast news-letter, 25 February 1884