Sports Miscellany, 12th August, 1912

West of Scotland Harriers will be represented in the relay race at Leith on Saturday, and the team will probably be JH Douglas, WS Stewart, jnr, AB Kerr and WB Unkles.   Maryhill Harriers will hold a confined meeting at Ibrox Park on Wednesday evening, and as the membership is particularly rich in pedestrian talent, ranging from George Hamilton in the sprints to J McFarlane in the mile, the sport should be highly interesting.   There will be either three or four flat races, and a high jump.   All handicaps.


After breaking quarter mile record at New Brighton on Bank Holiday, Van Johnston whose riding on Saturday was one of the glowing features of the Celtic FC Sports returned to his home in Birmingham, and there won three Midland championships – quarter, Mile and Five Mile – on Tuesday.   He had practically no opposition, the other cracks being engaged elsewhere.   Johnston has had an extraordinary run of success this season, and the fact that he has been in the forefront of British riders for so long is proof of the assiduity with which he train sand the care with which he nourishes his form.


With regard to the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1916, it has been decided that there shall be a congress in Paris of all the Olympic committees in 1914to consider such questions as the desirability of a common programme and Standard regulations including the limitation of entries.   Questions regarding the organisation and management of the Games will be discussed,   and a proposal in favour of a considerable reduction in the number of entries will come from Britain.   The question of judging will also ne dealt with at the Paris congress, and it will be decided whether an international panel of judges will be drawn up, from whom alone the country in which the sports are held will be entitled to select the judges for the various events.


That of the Ardrossan Athletic Club is the only “seaside” meeting in the West of Scotland.   With the passion for amusement that is now everywhere a characteristic of coast life, we are surprised that there are not more athletic meetings at watering resorts on the Clyde.   The Ardrossan meeting is gaining in popularity every year, and there is no reason why it should not in time become a rival to the great Glasgow Fair functions at Ayr.   The present committee have that ideal before them, and that they are fast realising it is the opinion of all who have followed the stages of progress which have marked the Ardrossan meeting.   For Saturday first, the entries are large and as this is practically the last meeting of the season the runners may be expected to display all their powers.


One of the features of the Rangers supplementary sports, was the brilliant running of HJ Christie, West of Scotland Harriers, in the 300 yards handicap.   He won his heat in 32 2-5th sec and the final in 32 1-5th sec – both excellent performances, considering that he was not pushed in either race.   As a matter of fact he palpably slowed in the last 30 yards of the final, and even at that beat his club companion Stewart by a yard.   Christie, owing to a slight accident, opened the season inauspiciously, but since the beginning of July he has figured weekly in the prize-list, except at Kilbirnie, where he only finished fourth in the final of the 100 yards.   In all he has won four firsts, three seconds and two fourths, which is a splendid return for his exertions.


Irish runners have been playing “skittles” with a number of handicaps lately.   Little more than a trot enabled J Wickham (Donore Harriers) to win the Rangers FC 100 yards handicap, but in this case there was something so obviously wrong with the “form” that the SAAA decided to make some enquiries.   At the Royton Sports on Bank Holiday, J Baird, East Antrim Harriers  (7 yards),  and I McCormich Queen’s University AC (8 1/2 yards) were first and second in 10 sec; and at Stoke on Tuesday, S McComb, Queens University AC (3 yards) and J Baird with a handicap reduced from 7 yards to 4, were first and third in the 100 yards in 10 1-5th sec, while at the same meeting WR McComish Cliftonville AC (10 1/4 yards) captured the 120 yards handicap in 11 4-5th sec.   In 1900 McComish was  Booth Hall Plate winner  and in the light of that fact, 10 1/4 yards is a very generous concession.    Irish handicapping is undergoing a very severe test at the moment not only in Scotland but in England as well, and unless the International Board takes the matter in hand we shall be treated one of these days to a repeat of the Ibrox incident.


Those who won prizes at Hampden Park on Thursday night are the possessors of plate which from an artistic and value point of view is far ahead of anything that has been put up for competition this season, and possibly those who attempted to boycott the meeting are now sorry they lent themselves to such unsportsmanlike conduct.   The Queen’s have always given prizes that are worth running for and this characteristic was more than maintained on Thursday night.    JM Taylor, West of Scotland Harriers, 9 1/2 yards, won the 100 yards by inches from R Raeburn, winner of the Kilbirnie sprint; while RC Duncan was third.   WA Stewart, the Scottish champion won his heat, which was composed wholly of novices; but in the semi-final he was caught napping, for which it is just possible the easy win in the first heat was to blame.   Anyhow, the final lost something of its interest by his defeat, while at the same time it deprived many of an opportunity of balancing the respective merits of the past and present holders of the sprint championship.   The half-mile racing was the finest we have seen anywhere this season.   There were three heats, all of which produced remarkable finishes, while the final was as close a race as the 100 yards.   George Dallas, Maryhill Harriers 15 yards, was the winner and his time was 2 min 1 sec.   He just beat F Thomson, Paisley Junior Harriers 60 yards, by inches and JS Matthews, West of Scotland Harriers 50 yards, who was leading 20 yards from home was third.   In other words, the virtual scratch man just beat the limit man, and it is not often this is witnessed in a distance handicap.   R Hales, the Irish champion was a spectator and he expressed himself greatly delighted with the racing.


The Celtic FC are holding a supplementary meeting tomorrow night.   It is with a view to providing a treat to those who participate in the shop-keepers half-holiday that Celtic are extending their sports over tomorrow, and no doubt many will find their way to Parkhead, and will be amply repaid for doing so, Mr Maley has persuaded the American runners to wait over for this meeting.   Meredith and Sheppard will will run in the 1000 yards handicap.   The former may not feel at home over this distance but Sheppard, to whom any distance from a quarter to a mile seems to come quite freely, will perhaps do a big performance.   The all-comers time is well within his powers, and if there is to be any record smashing it should be over this distance.   Those in the handicap, anyhow,  will pull him out and records can only be made with the help of others.   A two miles handicap will figure in the programme with R Hales, the Irish champion, scratch.   Hales, it appears has been specially training over two miles.   He requested the Rangers to put up a  race at this distance which they did but he did not appear at Ibrox.   Over 20 runners have been invited by the Celtic to take part in this handicap.   Then Meredith, Sheppard, and perhaps Braun, are to have a quarter mile for their special delectation.   All are great runners over the 440, and it is said they are going to make an attempt to lower Lieutenant Halswell’s  record of 48 2-5th sec.   That will take some shifting, as the saying goes.   Lippencott will appear in the 100 yards and possibly he may give us a glimpse of the pace he disclosed in Stockholm.   His two appearances over 100 yards have been a little disappointing, but there is always hope where there is life, so there is always a chance of a sprinter so talented as Lippencott doing something big.


Sports Miscellany: 4th August, 1912

The Celtic FC are holding supplementary sports on Tuesday evening next week.   They are appealing thereby to those in the city who participate in the weekly half holiday, and the response is certain to be generous.   Shopkeepers have few opportunities of seeing first class sport, and the fact that Celtic are catering specially for this section of the public is further proof of the business instinct of the Parkhead directorate.   The semi-final and final ties of the five-a-side football competition are one of the attractions, and there will be others in the form of flat handicaps, which may possibly betaken part in by the American athletes now on a visit to our city.


The Queens Park FC are holding a modest meeting at Hampden Park on Thursday evening.   Besides a number of confined races, there are two open handicaps – 100 yards and 880 yards.   Capital entries have been received, and though these lack the Olympic glamour the racing will be none the less interesting  on that account.   Hampden has been the scene of much bustle lately, and there is evidently a desire on the part of all to take a higher position in league football than has been the lot of the premier club for some years.   They have the best wishes of a loyal public in their endeavour to make amends for past failures, and that is always an inspiring and refreshing asset for any team to have.


No one can keep HJ Christie from winning the aggregate prize in conjunction with the evening meetings of the West of Scotland Harriers.   He is far ahead of all in the matter of points, and it would seem to be almost impossible to handicap him out of the races in which he takes part, b they sprints or middle distances.   On Wednesday of last week he won the 100 yards with an allowance of half a yard from RC Duncan.   In open handicaps he and Duncan are on the same mark, so there would seem to be little difference between the two from whatever point of view one estimates their worth.   WS Unkles, the Obstacle champion, won the 600 yards after a punishing finish with WS Stewart, junior,  Eric R MacDougall being third.   Four teams took part in the relay race, made up of four 220’s, and the winning quartet were JS Ritchie, AB Kerr, FM Stoddart and J Bird.   In some respects last Wednesday’s meeting was one of the most interesting of the series, and the good these series is accomplishing is to be seen in the frequency with which the magic letters W.S.H appear in the list of prize-winners.


 Mr William Maley is well advanced with his arrangements for the great meeting on Saturday first.   His programme contains several novelties that were not in the Rangers’… For the first here is the cycling which always appeals to ones imagination.    It is a thrilling sport, and rivets the attention even to a greater extent than flat racing, not matter how interesting.   This sport has been allowed to go into decline in Scotland for various causes, and what was at one time the ‘peoples sport’ is now almost a thing of the past.    Thanks, however, to the Celtic we are to have several cycle races at Parkhead on Saturday.   These will be taken part in by several of England’s foremost riders, among others Victor Johnson and Ernest Payne, both of whom have frequently appeared at Scottish meetings.   Johnson is riding as vigorously as ever, and although Payne has gone back a little, which is only natural in view of growing years, he is still a first class rider.   Ireland will be represented by WP Murray and R Kerr, both of whom are little short in power, speed and and track intelligence to Johnson and Payne.   We expect refreshing sport in the cycle races.    Then Harry Martin will give speed displays on his motor.   These scarcely come under the category of sport, but are nevertheless an interesting departure from the orthodox sports entertainment.   Another novelty is the steeplechase with water jumps.   S Frost, the English champion, will figure in this event.   He is R Noakes’s successor and a most accomplished one too.   There is humour in the steeplechase, and it would be well if there was more of this element in modern athletics.   There will be several invitation handicaps for our American visitors, and in the meantime, everything points to a meeting superior to anything yet held by Celtic FC, and to those who can recall past functions of this club a remark of this kind implies immense possibilities in the way of recreative enjoyment.


If tradition goes for anything – and it means a lot in the athletic realm – the running at the Rangers continuation meeting this evening should be an advance in some respects on what was witnessed at Ibrox on Saturday.   For evening sport in the western district has the reputation of being better than is usually witnessed on a Saturday afternoon.   It comes natural to our men to run then, coinciding as it does with their practice hours, and there is an abandon and a sprightliness which are sometimes wanting at other times.   The Rangers are putting up an interesting programme this evening.   The distances are a departure from orthodox lines, being 120 yards, 300 yards, 1000 yards and a mile and a half, all handicaps, in addition to which there will be two special handicaps for those who lent such a charm to Saturday’s proceedings.   The entries for the open handicaps  are considerably in advance of last year, there being 72 for the 120 yards, 61 for the 300 yards, 52 for the 1000 yards and 39 for the mile and a half, for which E Owens and R Hales adorn scratch mark.   McNicol has 15 yards, A Kerr 90, J McFarlane 60, D McPhee 85, SS Watt 80 and T McTurk is the limit with 200 yards.   There are familiar names in the sprints, WA Stewart the SAAA champion being scratch in both.   HJ Christie in the 300 yards has 6 yards, J Sandilands has 7, JB Sweet 10, RC McFarlane 13, JH Rodger 13, W Law 11 and TC Wright 11, while the limit is 28 yards.   We look for good racing in this event.   Douglas McNicol is scratch in the 1000 yards.   A few days ago at Ayr he ran a fine race over this distance finishing second in 2 min 17 1-5th sec or a shade worse than the Scottish record.   He will have to do as well tonight to win judging by the starts which are on a tolerably liberal scale.   For example, JH Rodger has 18 yards, WF Taylor 30, D McPhee 40, John Giffen 38, ER MacDougall 29, A McPhee 38, and Frank Stoddart 35.   The five-a-side competition will be completed tonight.

Hugh’s Photos, Clippings and Memorabilia

Hugh Barrow’s collections of photographs, pictures and memorabilia receive many visits each week and these are the new additions of items of interest to us all.   First, from the Australian Sports Museum in Melbourne we have the plaque at one of Herb Elliott’s items – read it and wonder!   I talk frequently about ‘our heroes’ – one of mine used to start  us off with ‘I mind one time when …’ – and probably the athletes of the 21st century think it’s an old man being sentimental.   It isn’t.   We did have particular athletes that we looked up to and Herb Elliott was the supreme runner, certainly for any miler; the nonpareil as the really old runners used to say.   Unequalled – then along came Peter Snell and the debates started.   Zatopek was ‘the man’ for long distance runners although Alain Mimoun was also a superb athlete who was fated to be the Merv Lincoln to Zatopek’s Elliott.  Note Michel Jazy’s comments below. However here is the plaque –

… and here is The Vest …

If you want to see more of Herb and his coach, Percy Cerutty, scroll down the page.


 Westerlands in the 1920’s:

WHB Westerlands

Programme of the Australian ‘Ten Mile Championship of Victoria’.   Have a look at the Dressing Room arrangements!

WHB Victoria Dressing Room

Now a reminder of the good old amateur days with a letter to Alf Shrubb.


Next, a public letter to John Landy – signed too!



The race that got Peter Snell (25) to Rome: Herb Elliott (50) in there too.

Next is the plan of Parkhead at the start of the twentieth century when major athletic meetings, including SAAA Championships, were held there.   But note the two tracks: the inner for runners, the outer was of concrete for (1) cycle racing: separate races were held for hard tyres, cushion tyres and pneumatic tyres.   (2) the Celtic Sports were the only one that had motor cycle trials, which had motor cycle records set, and these were held on the outer track.

WHB Parkhead tracks

WHB Herb Zat

It wouldn’t be Hugh Barrow without a Herb Elliott picture: two greats – Herb with Zatopek

Below is a report on a race which Herb didn’t win

WHB Herb 8th


Above is a very interesting cutting indeed.   Hugh says:

“It was 1869 – Many of these athletes were involved in the birth of international rugby in 1871
Arthur and Robertson signed the famous challenge letter in Dec 1870 that led to the first game v England in March 1871.   Arthur ,Cross ,Robertson all played and Cross scored the first ever recorded in international”
Below is the letter referred to above
WHB Letter

WHB Shawfield

Another athletics venue of old:  Clyde FC’s Shawfield Park which was the venue for such big events as the Lanarkshire Police Sports.   There was an inner and outer track here too – the outer for dog racing.

Below:   Herb Elliott training in Rome


The grouping below has one of the most unique medals I have ever seen. Then there are several clippings and other things from the past, followed by some more modern photographs (ie from after 1960).   First of all – the medal from cross country races at Flanders Field in 1917.   Note the hallmark on the medal.

WHB Flanders CC

In this post-amateur era, it is difficult to realise how serious the founders of amateur athletics were in the beginning.   Just read ‘Fifty Years of Athletics’ elsewhere on this site to get the picture.   The clipping below is self explanatory.

WHB Suspensions

Below is from an early Rangers Sports at Ibrox

WHB Rangers Sports

Extract from an Australian programme for a race including Alfred Shrubb: note the nutrition advice!

WHG Shrubb Race Start

Rangers were not slow to experiment or to let their supporters witness top class sportsmen and women form other sports: this is from a tennis demonstration at Ibrox.

WHB Tennis Ibrox

Then Stanley Matthews came on a one-day contract to play in an exhibition match – here he is in a Rangers jersey.

WHB Matthews at Ibrox

No comment!

WHB Waitress Walk Ronnie Delany’s spikes, worn in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics 1500m final.   Now in the National Sports Museum in Melbourne.   Why can’t we do things like that?   eg The NZ museum in Dunedin has Shirley Strickland’s long jump measured out in a sand pit, Bob Charles’s winning putt is laid out on a putting green in the museum, etc.

WHB Shoes

WHB Ireland 1961

Ibrox Sports: Note the runner from Auchmountain Harriers on the right

 WHB Auchmountain Ibrox
Extract from an international programme: note the autograph!

WHB F Dick International

Competitors at Rangers Sports

WHB Rangers Sp

Rangers 7

Sports Miscellany: 29th July 1912

The Queen’s Park will run two open handicaps – 100 yards and 880 yards – in connection with their club sports on Thursday evening first.

Dr JL Huggan – the Edinburgh University and Jed-Forest rugby three-quarter back – is due congratulations on passing tenth among the thirty successful candidates for commissions in the Royal Army Medical Services.

F Boor, who was one of the ‘stars’ at the recent sports of Ayr United FC, has got himself into trouble with the National Cyclists Union and in consequence has been ordered the ‘rest cure’ till the beginning of the year.   Boor was to have taken part in the Celtic Sports but that arrangement will now fall to the ground.

Maryhill Harriers are holding confined sports at Ibrox Park on August 14th.   The programme is of modest dimensions.   There are a number of first-class runners at this club, among others G Dallas, G Hamilton, J McFarlane, JA Coyle and D Fulton.   The decision to hold confined sports should help to increase the membership.

Ralph Craig, who won the 100 and 200 metres at the Olympic Games, has now retired from athletics; he has conquered all that is worth conquering and believes it better to retire with an unsullied reputation.   At one time it was thought that Craig would run at the Celtic Sports but he has returned to America and the last has been heard of him in connection with amateur athletics.

JG Brock (Clydesdale Harriers) won no fewer than four firsts at the Young Men’s Christian Association’s camp at Ardgoil during the Fair holidays.   The sports were a great success there being over 500 entries.   HJ Christie first caught the racing fever at the YMCA Camp two years ago and from a modest beginning has developed into one of the speediest amateurs in Scotland.   Mr William Gardiner has organised these camp sports for several seasons, and their success is to be measured as much by the unalloyed enjoyment they afford as by the number of recruits they give to open athletics.

Although JT Soutter’s leg is now quite sound again, it is stated on most reliable authority that he has now retired from the track.   If such be the case, British athletics will be much the poorer in the near future for the Aberdeen University divinity student, with a distinct personality of his own, has been an ornament to the track since his debut in open competition in 1910.   He shares the Scottish native half-mile record of 1 min 58 2-5th sec with R Burton, and each has beaten the other thrice on level terms, but Soutter’s best performances were accomplished last year in England where he ‘clocked’ 1 min 57  sec at Birmingham, 1 min 57 1-th sec at the British Press Charity Sports, and 1 min 56 1-5th sec in the AAA Relay Championships at Fallowfield, Manchester.

Local sprinters are debating eagerly the respective merits of RC Duncan, George Sandilands and HJ Christie, all of whom are on the same mark in the 100 yards – viz. 1 yard.   Duncan and Sandilands, it will be remembered, put up a great race at the SAAA Championships, and although the former was accounted the better man, not a few thought Sandilands was slightly in advance of the West of Scotland Harrier.   Still, there was little between them, and now that Christie has worked his way to the same mark as Duncan and Sandilands, many would like to see either the Rangers or Celtic extending an invitation to each to run a level race.   It might lack the electrifying effect of a race composed of Olympic and other champions, but from a local point of view it would be infinitely more interesting.

Mr JE Sullivan, secretary and treasurer of the American Athletic Union, is indignant at the accusations of semi-professionalism in connection with international sport.   In an interview he says:-

“There is no call for the introduction of this argument.   There no doubt are, and always will be, isolated cases of men in amateur sport who are not pure amateurs.   Doubtless you can think of some on your side of the water, although I do not doubt that the Amateur Athletic Association and its kindred bodies do their best to deal repressively with any breaches.   We are in the same position in America, and our record shows that we also do much to keep semi-professionalism down.   The difficulty will arise with greater force in Sweden, Germany, Finland and other countries which have not the advantage of years of organisation which America and England have enjoyed.   We made no imputations on the cleanness of British amateur sport, although in my long experience there are plenty of instances of British champions turning professional.   As to international sport generally, we do not allow our athletes to race abroad without our permission, and I think it could be better regulated if there was agreement between the various nations on this point.”

History, it is fully expected, will be made at the Rangers Sports on Saturday, and that is equivalent to saying that there will be some sensational running.   Hannes Kolehmainen is their trump card, though possibly the best running will be seen in the half-mile if Melvin Sheppard, JE Meredith and H Braun are among the competitors.   A few days ago at Berlin Braun scored a notable victory over the Americans.   The Bavarian is a beautiful runner, and the public will be charmed with his style as much as by his speed qualities.   Sheppard we have seen before, and many must still have vivid recollections of his “all-comers” record set at Ibrox.   Meredith is the American holder of the 800 metres.   He is only 19 years of age, and it may interest some to know that he was trained by an old Scottish runner, Jimmy Curran.   As to Kolehmainen. whose brother by the way was running at the Clyde’s ground on Saturday, Little need be said beyond the fact that he was the most striking figure at the recent Stockholm games, winning no fewer than three distance events, and making time in each which gives him an incomparable position among present day runners.   Kolehmainen won the English four miles championship last season and his performance on that occasion will not be forgotten by those who had the pleasure of witnessing it.   There will be lots of crack runners, besides the ones we have mentioned, and if the anticipations of the Rangers committee are realised, the meeting on Saturday will be one of the best they have yet held.

Two Army records were lowered last week in the Army Championships.   Lieutenant HE Blakeney, Royal Sussex, won the hurdles in 15 2-5th sec, or a fifth faster than CRL Anderson’s time in the English championships.   This is Lieutenant Blakney’s best performance, and it is one that elevates him to a very high position as a hurdles performer.   Then in the three miles Sergeant O’Neill, Connaught Rangers, was first in 14 min 45 sec, which is excellent travelling, and accentuates one’s regret that the Irish crack was not at Stockholm, not that he would have made any impression against Hannes Kolehmainen but he would certainly have acquitted himself better than several who represented Great Britain.   Corporal Hutson ran second to O’Neill in the mile, the time for which was 4 min 28 1-5th sec.   These two wins are among the finest O’Neill has to his credit in open competition.   Sergeant Gray, who ran such a plucky race in the Scotland  v  Ireland international, was beaten by Lieutenant Alan Patterson in the quarter-mile in 51 1-th sec, which was a shade too good for him, as on Powderhall, which is greatly superior to the track at Aldershot, his time was 52 sec.   Patterson also won the half-mile, beating among others MC Harrison, an old Irish international runner.    In the officers 100 yards, Patterson was first in 10 4-5th sec and Captain Dugmore, ASC, cleared 21 feet 9 inches in the broad jump.   Lieutenant R Simson, the old Edinburgh Academy boy, took part in several of the events but could not breast the tape first in any.   On the whole, the performances were an advance on last season, and Army athletics, if not all that they might be, are in a fairly satisfactory condition.

Scotland v Ireland: A Retrospect


By DA Jamieson

In July 1891 a special meeting of the General Committee of the Scottish AAA was convened to consider a proposal which had been received from the Irish AAA inviting a team of representative Scottish athletes to take part in a series of races against selected representatives of the Irish Association.   The distances suggested for competition were 100 yards, 440 yards and One Mile, and it was further suggested that this series of races should form the crowning feature of the Irish All-Round Championship Meeting which was to be held at Balls Bridge, Dublin, on 15th August of that year.   The proposed conditions of the contest were that the Irish Association should provide the prizes, whilst the Scottish body were to defray their own expenses.

In spite of its allurement, however, this invitation was declined by the Scottish AAA; but the potentialities of such a contest were perceived by the Scottish executive, and accordingly the Honorary Secretary was instructed top open negotiations for the institution of an international contest on a broader basis than the original suggestion – namely, to embrace all championship events.   The question of guarantees was also raised, and it was suggested that these should be given by each country in turn.   In this manner, then, was laid the foundations of an International athletic contest with Ireland, which was to continue without interruption for nearly twenty years.   But although the foundations were truly laid in 1891 through force of circumstances the edifice itself was not erected until four years later.

It was not until December of 1894 that overtures were again made by the IAAA to the SAAA with regard to instituting an annual athletic contest between the countries on the lines of the Oxford  v   Cambridge match, in which the odd event in eleven items was to decide the winner.

This  proposal was cordially accepted by the SAAA executive with the following suggestions:   (1) That the first contest be held in Scotland;   (2) That a guarantee be given to the visiting team to cover expenses;   (3) That the programme of events to be decided should be the Scottish championship events – the Ten Miles excepted; each country to have two representatives in each event, with three in the Four Miles race;  and (4) that in Scotland the Hammer to be thrown in the Scottish style and in Ireland under Irish rules.

In the main, agreement was reached on all these points, save that the guarantee condition was waived on a counter-proposal from the IAAA that there be an equal division of the net proceeds of the drawings.   The way was now cleared for both parties to implement these proposals, and thus on 20th July 1895 the first International contest with the Irish AAA took place at Celtic Park, Glasgow, which resulted in a win for Ireland.

Many famous Irish athletes were introduced to Scotland through the medium of the Scoto-Irish contest, and it may prove of interest to recall those whose charm endeared them to their Scottish friends.   Throughout the years of these international contests no Irish sprinter stands out with such clarity in one’s memory as Denis Murray, probably the most graceful sprinter who ever pulled on a running pump.    The second of a trio of famous brothers which included John – a good all-rounder, and pre-eminent in field events, and Willie also a first class sprinter – Denis Murray won the 100 yards race four years in succession for Ireland, in addition to winning the 220 yards in three successive years.    His was the perfection of style, and he ran his races without the least suggestion of stress or strain.

It is a remarkable circumstance that fifteen years were to elapse ere Scotland was able to register a win in the High Jump event; but when one remembers the names of the “leppers” who wore the shamrock emblem during the years 1895-99 one’s feelings of disappointment give way to a mood of resignation.   Here is the list: JM Ryan, PJ and Con Leahy, P O’Connor and TJ Ahearne.   Truly these men rose literally to heights unattainable by the Scottish representatives – good jumpers though they were.

Similarly in the Broad Jump event, it was only the sterling performances of Hugh Barr (Scotland) which broke the monopoly of Irish victories on two occasions over a period of fifteen years.   One recalls with keen appreciation how Bar, with practically his last effort in the Broad Jump event, on the occasion of the fifth contest of the series at Powderhall Grounds, Edinburgh in July 1899, created a new Scottish native record, incidentally winning the event and the contest for his country.   It was in the fourth match of the series that WJM Newburn – a veritable giant of an athlete – created a world’s record of 24 feet 1 1/2 inches in the Broad Jump.   A remarkable feat also falls to be related in connection with a high jump performance by P O’Connor on the occasion of an International at the Exhibition Grounds, Gilmorehill, Glasgow.   The judges were so impressed with the prodigioud bound taken by O’Connor when clearing the height of 6 feet 6 5/8th inches that measurements were taken from his take-off to his landing spot and the distance was found to be 17 feet.   This was not only high jumping – it was literally a steeplechase performance!

Memory quickens also at the names of Denis Horgan, Tim Kiely, JJ Flanagan and J Barrett in the field events.   A great personality was Denis Horgan, who toyed with the putting ball in the most leisurely manner conceivable.   He, to the huge amusement of the spectators, often sought inspiration from a black bottle – carefully enwrapped with accompanying tumbler in the folds of his jacket – invariably placed at a convenient distance from the putting-circle.   This egg and brandy flip – for such it was – formed a most important item in the genial Irishman’s field equipment.

And what of the duels between Tom Nicolson, TF Kiely and P Ryan in the Hammer event!   How these great exponents used to hurl their implements through space until it seemed as if the confines of the ground itself would surely be exceeded in some of their mighty efforts.

Athletic horizons were extending however, and with the inauguration of the Triangular Contest between England, Ireland and Scotland, the Ireland  Scotland contests came to an end In July, 1913 at Belfast, when Ireland finished as she had begun by winning the match by 7 events to 4.

On 11th July 1914 was decided the first of the Triangular Series at Hampden Park, Glasgow.   England signalised her entry into this competition by a win, the scores reading:   England 6 pts;   Scotland   3 pts;   Ireland   2 pts.   Then followed the blight of was, and to the generations of that day athletic Internationals and such like distractions passed into the limbo of forgotten things.

Statistics: International Contests

Inter Scholastic Games