University Track & Field: 1935

Inter-Varsity hurdles race : photo from The Scotsman of Monday 10th June

 

The first University Sports to be held in 1935 were in Glasgow on 10th May with the report in the “Sunday Post” being headed RECORDS GALORE AT GLASGOW ‘VARSITY SPORTS.   Before looking at the results, we will; draw your attention to Ian Lapraik who was second in thehalf mile and mile, and third in the three miles, and AW McAulay’s two victories in Mile and Three Miles.

Glasgow, as before, sent a small squad to the British University Championships at the White City on 18th May.   AF McDonald won the high jump for them with a best on the day of 5′ 8″, one inch higher than the second placed man.   Although there were no individual medals won by the University, the team finished fifth of the thirteen competing.   

The other universities back in Scotland were also busy that weekend.   Edinburgh University defeated Glasgow at Westerlands by the narrow margin of one single point (48 to 47)  and St Andrews University beat Dundee Hawkhill Harriers at UCD by 55 points to 20.   And as described below, the Aberdeen University championships were held at King’s College.   All four universities were in action with an eye on the Inter-Varsities in June.

Aberdeen held a preliminary meeting two days before their annual sports championships in 1935 on Thursday, 17th May.  Events covered were the 120 yards hurdles where four runners qualified for the Final – JA Robbie, IR Smith, JC Cowan and WJ Whyte; the Broad Jump: IL Smith, J Craig and L Sharp; One Mile Final – 1.  DM Annand 4:53.6; 2. WJ Whyte; 3. HR Kellas (Annand won by 8 yards); and the Final of the Putting the Weight – 1. DM Mathieson 32′ 5 1/2″; 2. AJ Taylor 32′ 2″; 3. CA Macgregor 30′ 1″.   

Of the day of the sports, the report in the Press & Journal read:   “Conditions were all against good times at the Aberdeen University Sports at King’s College on Saturday.   The ground was heavy after a week’s almost incessant rain, and a strong wind blew across the ground.   In the sprint races however, the wind slightly helped the competitors.   One record was broken, the record-breaker being J Watson, an Australian student who, for the second year in succession, reduced the time for the 440 yards dash.   On Saturday Watson clipped one-fifth of a second off his last year’s time.   Watson completed the “double” by winning the 100 yards but this was not enough to earn him the Dean’s Medal for pure athletics which was shared by DM Annand IL Smith with 12 points each.   

“WOMEN’S EVENTS.   Miss MR MacKenzie practically “scooped the pool”  in the women’s events and won the Trail Cup for most points in these events.   Miss MacKenzie’s winning effort in the women’s high jump competition was the lowest in the history of the sports.   

AJG Taylor, a last year’s Gordon’s College boy, was the winner of the Nelson Keith medal for heavy events.”   

  

The Edinburgh University Sports preliminary meeting was held on 22nd May with three events being decided.   The Three Miles title was retained by WH Whalley in 15:53.4, DWBoyd retained the Hamme with 122′ 10 1/2″ and PM Ewen won the Discus with 112′ 3 1/2″ (9 feet further than second placer).

The remainder were held on 25th May and the report in “The Scotsman” on 27th May read as follows.   

“DRS MILNE BEATS HURDLES RECORD.   ANDEAN’S SPRINTS DOUBLE.   Several excellent returns were made at the Edinburgh University Sports which were held at Craiglockhart on Saturday.   The Rosebery Cup for the best all-round display went to DRS Milne.   A Wiesen won the Fahmy Cup, a new award presented to the athlete showing the best style.   The Donovan Cup was won by W Botha.   Milne won the Rosebery Cup with a first in the 120 yards hurdles and high jump, second in the broad jump and third in the javelin which gave him a total of 13 points, and the runner-up was PM Ewen who gained 10 points from firsts putt and discus and a second in the hammer.

The “Glasgow Herald” was fulsome in its praise of the standard in Edinburgh, giving W Botha space because of his quarter- and half-mile double, JK Andean, Scottish schools champion of two years earlier, and Milne were also praised for the standard and progress made.   It was also suggested that they would do well in the Inter-Universities to be held in June.

Meanwhile, St Andrews took on Aberdeen at St Andrews and were defeated in both Men’s (33 to 31) and Women’s (21 – 7) matches.   The men were actually leading 31 – 29 with only the relay remaining, Aberdeen won, took the 4 points, and won the competition.   

Passing the baton in the Women’s Relay in the St Andrews  v  Aberdeen

Finish of the 100 yards in the St Andrews  v  Dundee Hawkhill match.  Winner was EDO Campbell, St Andrews

All the Universities had been preparing assiduously for the championships with their own championships and with selected matches against each other before the inter-varsity meeting came up.   The championships were well covered in The Scotsman and the report will be reproduced in sections below.

 

Scoto-Irish Internationals: 1911, 1912, & 1913

The International of 1911 was on 16th July at Ball’s Bridge in Dublin and the Irish team was hopeful of victory after the big defeat of 1910.   The cartoon above was in the “Scottish Referee” on the day before the match.   The “Glasgow Herald” report after the match began as follows: “The seventeenth annual amateur athletic contest took place in lovely weather but the attendance of barely 1500 was extremely disappointing, and the apathy as regards amateur athletics would seem to have spread to the Sister Isle.   It was anticipated by experts that whichever side won should only do so by the narrowest of margins but Scotland gained an unexpectedly easy victory by seven points to four, this being their first success in Dublin, their second in Ireland and their seventh in all, as against Ireland’s ten.”

Results:

100 yards: 1. WA Stewart (S) 10.2 seconds; 2. JH McVea (I); 220 yards: 1. RC Duncan (S) 23.6; 2. WR Sutherland (S)

440 Yards: 1. RA Lindsay (S) 53.4 sec; 2. R Burton (S); 880 yards: 1. JT Soutter (S) 1:59.4; 2. R Burton (S)

Mile: 1. DF McNicol (S) 4:25; 2. JT Soutter (S); Four Miles: 1. GCL Wallach (S) 20:27; 2. FJ Ryder (I)

120 yards hurdles: 1. E O’ Brien (I) 16.5 seconds; 2. P Kirwan (I)

High Jump: 1. D Campbell (S) 5′ 8 1/4″; 2. MJ Creede (I); Broad Jump: 1. P Kirwan (I) 23′; 2. WF Watt (I)

Putting the Weight: 1. J Barrett (I) 44′ 4″; 2. TR Nicolson (S); Throwing the Hammer: 1. JJ Flanagan (I) 170′ 5″; 2. TR Nicolson (S)

SCOTLAND 7 EVENTS : IRELAND 4 EVENTS

The cartoon from the Scottish Referee of 19th July, 1912

The match, held at Powderhall on 20th July, resulted in a five and a half points each draw.   Not what either side was expecting as the athletes selected by both sides were all very good.   Ireland in particular was looking for a victory to redeem themselves after the previous year’s contest.   The Irish paper, the Sport of Saturday 27th July, commented as follows afterwards.

The “Scotsman” had a different take on the event and preceded its report with this.


Results:

100 yards: 1. RC Duncan (S) & S McComb (I) equal in 10.2 seconds; 220 yards: 1. RC Duncan (S) 23.4; 2. FRS Shaw (I)

440 yards: 1. J Gray (I) 52.0; 2. RA Lindsay (S); 880 yards: 1. R Burton (S) 2:05.2; 2. R Hales (I)

Mile: 1. R Hales (I) 4:27.4; 2. DF McNicol; Four Miles: 1. FJ Ryder (I) 20.40; 2. T Jack (S)

120 yards hurdles: 1. IA Clarke (S) 16.8 seconds; 2. P Kirwan (I)

High Jump: 1. T Carroll (I) 5′ 10 1/2″; 2. D Campbell (S) & J O’Donoghue (I); Broad Jump: 1. JHD Watson (S) 22’9″; 2. P Kirwan (I)

Putting the Shot: 1. P Quinn (I) 41′ 8 1/2″; 2. TR Nicolson (S); Throwing the Hammer: 1. TR Nicolson (S) 165′ 1″; 2. G Lindsay (S)

SCOTLAND 5 1/2 EVENTS;  IRELAND 5 1/2 EVENTS

The 1913 meeting was held at Celtic Park in Belfast on 19th July and the Edinburgh Evening News looked forward to it with this.

So we were optimistic on our way to Dublin with logic on our side.    But as so often, we were disappointed with the actual result.   The Irish paper “The Weekly Freeman” reported with these words.

Results

100 yards: 1. FRS Shaw (I) 10.0 seconds; 2. WA Stewart (S); 220 yards: 1. WR Sutherland (S) 22.2 sec; 2. FRS Shaw

440 yards: 1. JM Hill (I) 53 sec; 2. RA Lindsay (S); 880 yards: 1. JM Hill (I) 2:01.4; 2. G Dallas (S)

Mile: 1. D McPhee (S) 4:34.4; 2. WM Crabbie (S); Four Miles: 1. P Flynn – only one competitor finished

120 yards hurdles: 1. WL Hunter (S) 16.4 seconds; 2. TH Darwell (I)

High Jump: 1. TJ Carroll (I) 6’1″; 2. D Campbell (S) & WL Hunter & AL Colquhoun;Broad Jump: 1. WF Bennett (I) 21’8″; 2. O Galbraith (I)

Putting the Weight: 1. P Quinn (I) 42′ 11″; 2. PF Ryan (I); Throwing the Hammer: 1. TR Nicolson 161′ 6″; 2. PF Ryan (I)

IRELAND 7 EVENTS ; SCOTLAND 4 EVENTS

This contest was the last of the series of Scottish-Ireland internationals –  the War which followed made many changes to athletics and this was one of them.   In 1914 the match became a Triangular with England being added to the mix.   From 1920 the match became a regular triangular meeting until 1930  and thereafter there were two more Scotland-Ireland internationals in 1931 and 1932 when they finished altogether.

 

Scoto-Irish International: 1909 & 1910

In 1909 the International was held in Balls Bridge, Dublin on 17th July.   Scotland had won two out of the last three matches but Ireland had won in Edinburgh in 1908 and were looking to make it two on the trot.   

The report on the meeting on the following Monday in the Belfast Telegraph read as follows: “At Balls Bridge on Saturday the 17th inst., the annual contest between the representatives of Ireland and Scotland were held in delightful weather.   The result was a win for the Irish athletes by 8 events to 3.   The feature of the day was the running of R Kerr, the Irish Canadian sprinter who made such a prominent show at the Olympic Games. He won both the 100 and 220 yards and in the latter event created a new Irish record.”

In the 1908 Olympics, Kerr, running for Canada, had won his Heat of the 100 metres in 11.0 seconds, won his semi-final in 11.0 seconds, and finished third in the Final in 11.0 seconds – a remarkable consistency of times.   In the 200 metres, he won his Heat (with JP Stark third) in 22.2 seconds, won his semi-final in 22.6 and then won the Final in 22.6 seconds.   The Final was described as follows: “The final was held on 23 July 1908. The top three were within two feet of each other, as Kerr’s early lead evaporated in the straight. He was able to hang onto nine inches, however, and defeated Cloughen by that small margin.”

Another Irishman won gold at the Games when Tim Ahearne won the Triple Jump with a leap of 14.92 in the Final.   Report reads: “At first Tim Ahearne set a new Olympic record with 14.72 metres. Then Garfield MacDonald improved the record to 14.76 metres and finally Ahearne took the new Olympic record with 14.92 metres.”   McDonald was an American who finished second in the Final with 14.76m.

That was two Irish gold medal winners out in the Scoto-Irish match in 1909 and there were other Olympians in both teams.  Kerr’s teammate George Newcomen Morphy also ran in the London Olympics but for Great Britain but was unplaced in both 800 and 1500 metres.   Denis Horgan also competed for Britain in the Shot where he was second to win the silver medal.   

John McGough ran for Great Britain in the 1500m in the same Olympics but was also unplaced.   Tom Nicolson was an unlucky fourth in the Hammer and 12th in the Shot.   It was a very high quality international that day at Balls Bridge.

Kerr winning the Olympic 200 metres final for Canada

100 yards: 1. R Kerr (I) 10.2 seconds; 2. RC Duncan (S); 220 yards: 1. R Kerr (I) 22.2 seconds; 2. RC Duncan (S)

440 yards: 1. D Dickson (S) 51.4 seconds; 2. GW Young (S); 880 yards: 1. R Burton (S) 2:00.8; 2. GN Morphy (I)

Mile: 1. GN Morphy (I) 4:33.4; 2. J McGough (S); Four Miles: 1. M O’Neil (I) 20:12.8; 1. J Murphy (I)

120 yards hurdles: 1. CE Kinahan (I) 16.8 seconds; 2. A Halligan (S)

High Jump: 1. TJ Ahearne (I) 5′ feet 8 3/4″; 2. GH Wilson (S); Broad Jump: 1. TJ Ahearne (I) 22′ 10″; 2. G Stephen (S)

Putting the Weight: 1. D Horgan (I) 44′ 6 1/2″; 2. J Barrett (I); Throwing the Hammer: 1. TR Nicolson (S) 160′ 2″; 2. D Rose (S)

IRELAND 8 EVENTS; SCOTLAND 3 EVENTS

Robert Kerr (Ireland)

1910

The competition was held on 9th July at Ibrox Park in Glasgow and on paper the Scottish team looked the stronger despite the absence of several very good athletes.

“The photographs above are from the ‘Scottish Referee’ of Monday, 11th July, and accompanied the report under the headline “IT WAS A GLORIOUS VICTORY!” which began:  “The sixteenth annual athletic between Scotland and Ireland was held at Ibrox on Saturday and ended in a win for Scotland by nine events to two,   This is a record score for Scotland although Ireland has equalled the performance twice – in 1888 and 1902.   Brilliant weather favoured the contest and the lover climatic conditions were such as recalled the meeting of 1907, held on the same ground.”   The actual results which led to the glorious event were as follows: 

100 yards: PJ Roche (I) 10.4 seconds; 2. RC Duncan (S);   220 yards: 1. RC Duncan (S) 22.8 sec; 2. W Murray (I)

440 yards: 1. GRL Anderson (S) 50.8 sec; 2. R Burton (S);  880 yards: 1. R Burton (S) 1:58.8; 2. JT Soutter (S)

Mile: 1. DF McNicol (S) 4:26; 2. J Bill (I); Four Miles: 1. A McPhee (S) 20:29.4; 2. T Jack (S)

120 yards hurdles: 1. GRL Anderson (S) 16.2 seconds; 2. CE Kinahan (I)

High Jump: 1. D Campbell (S) 5′ 8 1/2″; 2. PJ Leahy; Broad Jump: 1. FG Buchanan (S) 21′ 5 3/4″;  2. WF Bennett (I)

Putting the Weight: 1. J Barrett (I) 45′ 2″; 2. WF Bennett (I);  Throwing the Hammer: 1. TR Nicolson (S) 159′; 2. D Carey (I)

SCOTLAND 9 EVENTS; IRELAND 2 EVENTS 

The score was emphasised in a cartoon on the front page of the paper –

In the SAAA Championships earlier that year (24th June), titles were won by RC Duncan (100 & 220), GRL Anderson (440 & hurdles), R Burton (880), A McPhee (Four Miles), FG Buchanan (Broad Jump), D Campbell (High Jump) and TR Nicolson (Shot & Hammer).   Probably the strongest team that could have been turned out, and a victory maybe predicted but not by the massive score of 9-2.   The Irish team also had some very good men in their team.   The report in the   Weekly Irish Times started 

“Scotland achieved an easy victory over Ireland on Saturday, the Scotsmen winning by the convincing margin of nine points to two.   Such a resulted was quite unexpected for on the performances in the championships of the respective countries the teams appeared evenly balanced; if anything a victory for Ireland was anticipated.      The Irish team was strengthened by the addition of GM Hill, a King’s County man, who won the English half-mile championship; PJ Brabazon of the Clonliffe Harrierswho defeated GN Morphy in the 440 yards championship of Leinster, and PJ Roche, the ex-100 yards champion, none of whom however had figured in the Irish championships. …. It was the heaviest defeat sustained by a Hibernian team in any of the sixteen contests, and the score has only been equalled on two occasions.”     

Clearly the Irish journalists went into the match with a different result in mind to the Scottish ones.   How did the men named perform on the day?   First, Hill in the 880 –

Then Brabazon:

And finally Roche:

All good races, maybe better from the Scottish point of view but it was interesting to note that the Irish athletes concerned had not run in the national championships.

Scoto-Irish International: 1907 & 1908

The 1907 international was back in Scotland, and in Glasgow again, at Ibrox Park on Saturday 29th June.   The team was a good one with Stronach in the hurdles, Nicolson and Kirk wood in the two throwing events McGough in the Mile and Tom Jack in the Four Miles.   Ireland had Con Leahy in the jumping events as well as Fairbairn-Crawford in the 880 yards and PJ Roche in the sprints so it was always going to be a close match.   The Glasgow Herald Notes on Sports column the following Monday commented –

The results:

100 yards: 1. PJ Roche (I) 10.4 seconds; 2. D Murray (I); 220 yards: 1. PJ Roche (I) 22.8; 2. RC Duncan (S) 

440 yards: 1. JF Kennedy (I) 51 seconds; 2. WD Anderson (S); 880 yards: 1. IF Fairbairn-Crawford (I) 1:57.2; 2. J Vallance (S)

Mile: 1. J McGough (S) 4:22.2; 2. GN Morphy (I); Four Miles: 1. T Jack (S) 20:22; 2. T Hynes (I)

120 yards hurdles:  1. RS Stronach (S) 16.6 seconds; 2. TF Kiely (I)

High jump: 1. C Leahy (I) 6′ 0″; 2. GM Mayberry (I); Broad Jump: 1. C Leahy (I) 21′ 9 3/4″; 2. RF Twort (S)

Putting the Weight: 1.  T Kirkwood (S) 44′ 3″; 2. J Barrett (I); Throwing the Hammer: 1. TR Nicolson (S) 153′ 7″; 2. T Kirkwood (S)

IRELAND 6 EVENTS; SCOTLAND 5 EVENTS

The match couldn’t have been closer.   You have to go back to 1901 to get as even a contest.   The next contest was also in Scotland – at the Exhibition Grounds at Saughton in Edinburgh – on 11th July, 1908.   The Scottish Referee summarised the past results since the fixture was inaugurated in 1895.

There was pessimism about the chances of the home team.   Stronach was not available, A Duncan was a non-starter in the Four Miles, John McGough had been ‘off colour’ for the previous several weeks.  On the plus side, Halswell was available, as was Sam Stevenson in the Four. Meanwhile Ireland had ‘man of might’ JJ Flanagan, holder of the world’s amateur hammer throwing record, and the brothers Murray were in the sprints, Horgan in the Weight Putt and the famous ‘Irish leppers’ , the Leahy brothers.    That was the bill of fare two days before the match and several of those named would not appear.   

The summary of the contest as it appeared in the Northern Whig

The actual results of the events were as follows.

100 yards: 1. PJ Roche (I) 10.6 seconds; 2. JP Stark (S); 220 yards: 1. RC Duncan (S) 23.2; 2. PJ Roche (I)

440 yards: 1. W Halswell (S) 51.8 seconds; 2. D Dickson (S); 880 yards: 1. GN Morphy (I) 2:00.8; 2. R Burton (S)

Mile: 1. HT Jamieson (S) 4:34; 2. GN Morphy (I); Four Miles: 1. J Murphy (I) 20:46.8; 2. S Stevenson (S)

120 yards hurdles: 1. TJ Ahearne (I) 16.8 seconds; 2. CE Kinahan (I)

High Jump: 1. C Leahy (I) 6′ 0″; 2. TJ Ahearne; Broad Jump: 1. TJ Ahearne (I) 22′ 5 1/2″; 2. WH Bleaden (S)

Putting the Weight: 1. D Horgan (I) 45′ 10″; 2. T Kirkwood (S); Throwing the Hammer: 1. C Walsh (I) 162′ 7″; 2. TR Nicolson (S)

IRELAND 8 EVENTS; SCOTLAND 3 EVENTS

Another victory for Ireland butit should be remembered that Scotland had lost the services of RS Stronach and other top flight athletes while McGough was well below par being third in the Mile.   Of the Irish team out that day, PJ Roche (200 metres), TJ Aherne (hurdles, long jump and high jump), CE Kinahan (as Aherne), GN Morphy (400 m, 800m and 1500m ), J Murphy (Five Miles), C Leahy and J Leahy (high jump and long jump) were all selected after the match as part of the Irish team to compete in the Olympic Games that year.   Recent competitors also selected were D Horgan, the Murray brothers in the sprints, JF Fairbairn-Crawford (800 and 1500) and LA Kiely (hammer and hurdles).

While Ireland was a country on its own for selection purposes, Scotland was part of Great Britain and the athletes were competing with the best of the Englishmen for places on the team.   Nevertheless Sam Stevenson, Tom Nicolson, and Halswell were all selected that year.   

The standard of competition was very high indeed.  Con Leahy of Ireland is pictured below after winning the silver medal at the 1908 Olympic Games.   The Irish ‘leppers’ were world famous and the country certainly produced many international class long and high jumpers.   About Con Leahy, Wikipediea has this to say (it also mentions several other top Irish jumpers of the time):

“Leahy was born in Cregganen the County Limerick-County Cork border.  He was one of seven brothers, all of whom were sportsmen. His brother Patrick won the British high jump record in 1898 and went on to win Olympic medals in 1900. Another brother, Timothy, also jumped competitively.

In 1906, Leahy, Peter O’Connor and John Daly, were entered for the Intercalated Games in Athens by the Irish Amateur Athletic Association (IAAA) and Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), representing Ireland.   However, the rules of the games were changed so that only athletes nominated by National Olympic Committees were eligible.   Ireland did not have an Olympic Committee, and the British Olympic Council claimed the three. On registering for the Games, Leahy and his fellow-athletes found that they were listed as United Kingdom, not Irish, team members.   Leahy was subsequently involved in the protest at the flag-raising ceremony for the long jump when O’Connor scaled a flagpole in the middle of the field and waved the Irish flag.   Leahy won the gold medal in the high jump with 1.775 metres, beating Hungarian Lajos Gönczy by 2.5 cm. After his victory was certain, Leahy still tried to reach 1.83 meters, but he failed at this height twice. Leahy then took part in the hop, step and jump, which O’Connor won with 14.075 metres with Leahy coming second with 13.98 meters.

In the 1908 Olympic Games, Leahy again took part in the high jump. Three jumpers, Leahy, Géo André and István Somodi, shared second place with 1.88 meters behind the American Harry Porter, who won with 1.90 metres.”

Of those mentioned above, Patrick Leahy and Peter O’Connor also both competed in the Scoto-Irish series.

Scoto-Irish Internationals: 1905 – 1906

Wyndham Halswell

The 1905 Scoto-Irish international was back at Powderhall on 15th July and saw the debut in the match of Wyndham Halswell who had won the SAAA 440 yards a month earlier (24th June) at Ibrox and followed it with a third in the 880 yards.   He was to go on to have a wonderful career including the famous Olympic medal in 1908.

The results above are from the Londonderry Sentinel on the Monday after the competition.   Note that Scotland won every single running events with JP Stark (who had won the 100- and 220-yards at the SAAA championships) having a double in the 100- and 220-yards sprints.   The Four Miles race had a superb Scottish double with Olympians Sam Stevenson and Tom Jack filling both first and second and Con Leahy having a double (High- and Broad-Jump) for Ireland.   As in all athletic contests are is one performance that the spectators all talk about on the way home.   In this one it was Halswell.   The Scottish Referee had this to say about it.

The winning margin of 8 – 3 to Scotland was their third in seven years and the results were being shared between the two rivals on a year about basis. 

SCOTLAND 8 EVENTS; IRELAND 3

The next head-to-head was on 14th July, 1906, at the Ulster CC Ground in Belfast.   The Scots had a good team out – Halswell in both 220- and 440-yards, Sam Stevenson in the Four Miles, RS Stronach in the hurdles and TR Nicolson in the throws.   BUT – and there’s always a but – they had never won in Ireland.   Could they pull it off this time?   The Irish team had two or three familiar names from previous contests and here it is as printed in the Dublin Daily Express of June 25th.

Murray, Muldoon, Kiely, Leahy led a very good Irish squad.   Nevertheless the Belfast Evening Telegraph started its report on the match as follows

‘North Britons’ indeed!   However he did say that it was ‘the finest all round team that ever represented her.     How did the match go?   The Glasgow Herald report is below with results accompanied by a short account of the event.

Two consecutive victories for Scotland although McHough was defeated twice by the Irish opposition and Kiely turned out in the hurdles, where he was beaten by Stronach, and not in the Hammer where Tom Nicolson won for Scotland.

Scoto-Irish International: 1903 & 1904

The notice above is for the 1903 version of the international and it is of interest for several reasons.   For many of us the fact that tickets were on sale at Lumley’s in Edinburgh brings back memories of collecting tickets or entry forms for races all over the country in the Glasgow Lumley’s in Sauchiehall Street.   Life was easier, and therefore more pleasant, when you could just go into a shop, buy your ticket and then a few days later head for the sporting fixture of your choice.   Much simpler than going into the whole online rigmarole.   Second, a good seat in the Stands could cost up to four times the cost of entry to the ground.   

John McGough

On 18th July, 1903, at Powderhall Grounds, Edinburgh, Scotland had another victory over Ireland: 7 – 4 this time round with McGough taking revenge for his two second places in 1902, and Nicolson beating Kiely in the Hammer.   The weather early in the day was miserable and wet but it cleared up –  the track was left wet and heavy – although not enough to make it a big crowd.   Top events were:

Mile: McGough took the lead right at the start with Daly just half a yard or so behind him.   It stayed like this until the last half lap when Daly tried to pass.   It was a great tussle all the way home with McGough never headed, winning by about a single yard against a top class athlete.

Hammer: This was only the second time that Scotland had won the event.   The first ytime was in 1895 when the Scots style was followed, thereafter the Irish hammer and style was used and they had won every contest since.   Nicolson broke his own Scottish record by almost two feet.

440 yards: Watson and McKenzie neck and neck until the final 10 yards with Watson winning by inches.

Results:

100 yards: 1. D Murray (I) 10.4 seconds; 2. J Ford (S); 220 yards: 1. D Murray (I) 23..4; 2. RL Watson (S)

440 yards: 1. RL Watson (S) 52.2; 2. JJ McKenzie (I);  880 yards: 1. J McGough (S) 2:03; 2. W Roxburgh (S)

Mile: 1. J McGough (S) 4:40; 2. JJ Daly (I); Four Miles: 1. JB Cowe (S) 20:23.4; 2. H Muldoon (I)

120 yards hurdles: 1. GC Anderson (S) 17 sec; 2. D Carey (I)

High Jump: 1. C Leahy (I) 5′ 10″; 2= JB Milne (S) & R Murray (S); Broad Jump: 1. PJ Leahy (I) 22′ 5 1/2″; 2. C Leahy (I)

Putting the Weight: 1. TR Nicolson (S) 41′ 7 1/2″; 2. J Barrett (I); Throwing the Hammer: 1. TR Nicolson (S) 149′ 4″; 2. TF Kiely (I)

SCOTLAND 7 EVENTS; IRELAND 4 EVENTS.

RS Stronach

16th July, 1904, at Ulster CC Grounds, Belfast were the date and time for the next international between the two teams.   

Results first:

100 yards: 1. D Murray (I) 10.25 seconds; 2. JP Stark (S); 220 yards: D Murray (I) 24.2; 2. JP Stark (S)

440 yards: 1. WH Welsh (S) 52.2; 2. JJ McKenzie (I);  880 yards: 1. JJ McKenzie (I) 2:03.4; 2. J McGough (S)

Mile: 1. J McGough (S) 4:27.6; 2. M Hyman (I); Four Miles: 1. H Muldoon (I) 20:37.2; 2. JJ Daly (I)

120 yards hurdles: 1. RS Stronach (S) 16.2 seconds; 2. GC Anderson (S)

High Jump: 1. C Leahy (I) 6’0″; 2. JB Milne (S); Broad Jump: 1. PJ Cusack (I) 22′ 3 1/2″; 2. C Leahy (I)

Putting the Weight: 1. D Horgan (I) 41′ 7 1/4″; 2. TR Nicolson (S); Throwing the Hammer: TR Nicolson (S) 158′ 11″; P Ryan (I) 

IRELAND 7 EVENTS; SCOTLAND 4 EVENTS

The detailed report below is from the Cork Examiner of the following Monday: interesting to note that the Irish expected Scotland to win the match but eventually won by the same score as the Scots at Powderhall the previous year.

Scoto-Irish International: 1901 & 1902

Into the new century and the first meeting of the two nations was on 29th June, 1901, at the Exhibition Grounds in Glasgow.   The score from the previous six matches was 6 – 1 to Ireland.   Could the Scots do better this time round?   The team included new man RS Stronach in the 120 yards hurdles, middle distance and cross-country champion J Paterson and WH Welsh in the quarter mile.   That the meeting was a success there can be no doubt.   But from the Irish perspective there was some head shaking over their prospects.   The following pessimistic preview in the Waterford Evening News was a fairly accurate forecast.   

The meeting was held ‘in splendid weather’ before a large attendance estimated at 10,000.  Despite the apprehensions of the writer above, the Irish team had some star performers such as Kiely and P O’Connor who had set a world’s record for the long jump that summer of 24′ 7 1’2″.    O’Connor was another wonderful Irish athlete.   Born in Millom, Cumberland in England, he grew up in County Wicklow.   In 1899 he won All Ireland medals for long jump, triple jump and high jump, he later set a world record for the long jump and won two medals in the intercalated Olympic Games.   The interesting thing about the Olympics is that was asked to represent Great Britain but he chose to compete for Ireland.   The world record was set in Dublin at the Royal Dublin Society’s grounds on 27th May 1901.   He stayed in athletics after he ceased competing and actually returned to the Olympics as a judge.

 The “Glasgow Herald” of 2nd July commented: “History is difficult to make sometimes but it was made at the Exhibition on Saturday in the great athletic contest between Ireland and Scotland – a contest which, as regards sustained interest, spontaneous enthusiasm and brilliant competition, has never been equalled in this city.  Every event riveted the closest attention, and when DW Mill of Greenock won the four mile and with it the match, there was a demonstration of enthusiasm which will not readily fade from the memories of those who witnessed it.”   The results:

100 yards: 1. D Murray (I) 10.2 sec; 2. J McLean (S); 220 yards: 1. J McLean (S) 23 sec; 2. D Murray (I)

440 yards: 1. RL Watson (S) 51.4 sec; 2. WH Welsh (S); 880 yards: 1. JE Finnegan (I) 2:02; 2. J Paterson (S)    

Mile: 1. J Paterson (S) 4:15; 2. WR McCreath (S); Four Miles: 1. DW Mill (S) 20:47.6; 2. JJ Daly (I)

120 yards hurdles: 1. RS Stronach (S) 16.6 sec; 2. GC Anderson (S)

High Jump: 1. P O’Connor (I) 6′ 0 5/8th; 2. JB Milne (S); Broad Jump: 1. P O’Connor (I) 23’9″; 2. PJ Leahy (I)

Putting the Weight: 1. MN McInnes (S) 43′ 2″; 2. J Galavan (I); Throwing the Hammer: 1. TF Kiely (I) 145′ 4″; 2. TR Nicolson (S)

SCOTLAND 6 EVENTS; IRELAND 5 EVENTS.

John McGough

The 1902 international was back in Ireland, back at Ball’s Bridge on Saturday 19th July.   Ireland was looking to re-establish their superiority over the Scots following the defeat in Glasgow – team and individual revenge.   The report on the event in the Dublin Daily Express started … “The eighth annual athletics contest between teams representing Scotland and Ireland was held on Saturday at Balls Bridge under most unfavourable circumstances, rain falling heavily from an early hour.   It had lightened somewhat near three o’clock, the hour for starting, but a steady drizzle was still coming down when the first event was put in motion.   The bad weather had kept away the public and there was only a handful of people at the opening.   Out of the previous events, Ireland claims five and Scotland two, last year’s contest at Glasgow having gone to Scotland by the odd event.”   Before we comment on any of the athletes or events, we will show the results.

100 yards: 1. D Murray (I) 10.8 seconds; 2. J McLean (S); 220 yards: 1. D Murray (I) 23.8; 2. J McLean (S)

440 yards: RL Watson (S) 52.8); 2. H Thrift (I);  880 yards:  1. JE Finnegan (I) 1:59.6; 2. JN McCormack (S)

Mile: 1. JJ Daly (I) 4:27.8; 2. J McGough (S);  Four Miles: JJ Daly (I) 20:41.8; 2. J McGough (S)

120 yards hurdles: 1. TF Kiely (I) 17 sec; 2. P Harding (I)

High Jump:  1=  C Leahy (I) & PJ Leahy (I)  5′ 11″;   Broad Jump:  1. PJ Leahy (I) 21′ 8″; 2. C Leahy (I)

Putting the Weight:  1. H Nicolson (S) 42′ 7 1/2″; 2. TR Nicolson (S);  Throwing the Hammer: 1. TF Kiely (I) 139′ 2″; 2. TR Nicolson

IRELAND 9 EVENTS; SCOTLAND 2 EVENTS

Given the scale of the defeat one might be forgiven for thinking that Scotland had put out a poor team when that was far from the case.  Note the following:

TR Nicolson: Throwing the Hammer –  21 SAAA champion; Shot Putt – 14 championships; Throwing the 56 lb Weight – 4 championships; Throwing the Hammer (Scots Style) – 3 championships.   Scottish Records set: Shot Putt – 1; Hammer Throw – 13; 56 lb Weight for Distance – 1.   + Olympian (1908)

J McGough: Half-Mile Champion – 3; Mile Champion – 7; Four Miles – 2; `Scottish Records set: 1000 yards – 2: Mile – 1; One Mile and a Half – 1; Four Miles – 1  +  Olympian; Irish Mile and Two Miles champion in 1905 and Irish Mile champion in 1907.

Both top class athletes and although the others were not quite in that bracket they were all good athletes.   On the Irish side the man who defeated McGough – JJ Daly – was second in the 1904 Olympic steeplechase and stayed in North America for a while thereafter winning the Canadian Mile and Two Mile championships.

Scoto-Irish International: 1899 & 1900

 

One of the names appearing with regularity throughout these international meetings was Denis Horgan of Ireland – Throwing the Hammer and Putting the Weight were his events and he formed a formidable partnership with TF Kiely in them.   He had an interesting life away from the athletics arena and it is covered by Wikipedia as follows – 

Denis Horgan (18 May 1871 – 2 June 1922) was a champion Irish athlete and weight thrower, born in Banteer, County Cork, who competed mainly in the shot put.    Shortly after setting a world’s record of 48 feet 2 inches with the 16 pound shot at Queenstown,] in County Cork, Ireland in 1897, Horgan visited the U.S., and in 1900, he joined the Greater New York Irish Athletic Association, the predecessor of the Irish American Athletic Club for a brief period.  In 1905, he joined the rival New York Athletic Club.   In 1906, Horgan set the world’s record for the 28 pound shot, with a distance of 35 feet, 4.5 inches at the Ancient Order of Hibernians games held at Celtic Park in Queens, New York.   He competed for Great Britain in the 1908 Summer Olympics held in London in the shot put, where he won the silver medal.  Denis Horgan won a total 42 shot put titles during his athletic career, including 28 Irish championships,] 13 English championships (all for the 16 pound shot)[ and one American championship.   Horgan was “usually so superior to his fellow competitors that he seldom trained in any sort of systematic way, yet he showed a marked consistency of performance, in all conditions, over a period of twenty years.”

In the Scoto-Irish Internationals up to 1900 he had won the Shot Putt  5 times in 5 competitions and in theHammer he had four second places behind team mate TF Kiely.

*

The International had been won by Ireland on every one of the first four meetings but this time, on home soil at Powderhall the result was reversed, Scotland winning by six events to five.   The events won were the 220 yards (W Callendar), 440 yards (WH Welsh), 880 yards and one mile (H Welsh), Four Miles (J Paterson) and Broad Jump (H Barr).  Barr was a superb long jumper who had already won the SAAA Championship five times (1893, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898) and the International once (1896) so it was not entirely a surprise when he won this one but the superb record that he set was.   The ‘Scottish Referee’ reported on the match as follows.

For the first time since the institution of this contest Scotland can claim a victory.   Powderhall Grounds presented a fine appearance on Saturday, and the cinder path had been especially looked after for the occasion.   Half an hour before the commencement, the crowd began to assemble and there appeared every sign of a great gate.   The officials were not disappointed as the ‘gate’ turned out to be the largest of any past international in Scotland.   A stiff wind blew directly down the straight and affected the times in all races except the hurdles which were run with the breeze.   

The Irishmen had a good passage across and, as usual with them, were all in the very best of spirits.   After the photographing of the teams and the officials had been gone through, excitement began to rise in view of the racing.   Proceedings began with the Mile ….”

There followed an account of every event but we will only reproduce Barr’s record in the long jump as the reports were all quite lengthy. Going in to the event Scotland was one down to Ireland with only the broad jump and four miles events to come.   If Barr won, then the score was 5 events each with the whole match depending on the four miles.  Of the broad jump, it had this to say.   “The long jump was looked upon as a certainty for the Ritish champion, WJM Newburn.   After an effort however he broke down and had to retire.   He would have had to beat his best to have beaten Hugh Barr who proved to be in grand form.   P O’Connor (Ireland) cleared 22′ 11″which is 8″ further than Newburn’s Scotch record made in the same event at Powderhall in 1897.   Hugh Barr started by equalling his native record of 22′ 1″, and then with a grand effort put in a lovely jump, and it was at once seen from the stand that something exceptional had been done.   A great burst of cheering went up when it was found that he had beaten all Scotch records doing 23′ 2″.   He had a few more tries but could not further improve on this.   So Scotland won an event least expected and brought the two countries once again on level terms.”  

The match had indeed been hard fought with the lead changing hands all the way through.  Scotland won the first event (Mile), Ireland the second (Shot) to make it one apiece, Ireland then won two more (100 yards and high jump) to make it  3 – 1 but Scotland came back with two of their own (220 yards and half mile) to be equal with 3 events each.   Ireland then won the Hammer and the hurdles to make it 5 -4 before Scotland won the quarter-mile and the long jump.   Into the Four Miles, three a side for this race, which Paterson won by 30 yards to take the match for Scotland.   .

The’ Coatbridge Express’ on Wednesday 19th July 1899 said –

 

The results:

100 yards: 1. WJM Newburn (I) 10.8 sec; 2. WE Callendar (S);  220 yards: 1. WE Callendar (S); 2. JB Auld (S)

440 yards: 1. WH Welsh (S) 52.4 sec; 2. J McKenzie (I); 880 yards: 1. H Welsh (S) 2:03.8; 2. J McKenzie (I)

Mile: 1. H Welsh (S) 4:32.6; 2. JE Finnegan (I); Four Miles: 1. J Paterson (S) 20:34; 2. F Curtis (I)

120 yards hurdles:  1.  D Carey (I) 16.8 sec; HN Fletcher (S)

High Jump: 1. P Leahy (I) 6′; 2. P O’Connor (I);  Broad Jump: 1. H Barr (S) 23′ 2″; P O’Connor (I)

Putting the Weight: 1. D Horgan (I) 45′ 10 1/2″; 2. MN McInnes (S); Throwing the Hammer: TF Kiely (I) 141′ 4″; 2. D Horgan (I)

SCOTLAND 6 EVENTS; IRELAND 5 EVENTS

The matches had been a success, of that there is no doubt, and the taste for them was growing.   The Coatbridge Express of the same date as above – 19th July 1899 – picked up on this and reported on it.

 The Triangular International would come to pass but not until 1914.   

*

TF Kiely has been mentioned in almost all the international matches, usually in the hammer but he also won the 120 yards hurdles for his country.   He was a quite amazing athlete whose story has been told in the following book.

Tom Kiely strode majestically through the Irish sporting scene, brushing aside all challengers, collecting championships by the score, smashing Irish, Scottish, British and European and world records on all sides. He created a blazing chapter of sporting history that still burns as brightly today as it did in the early years of the century’ (David Guiney, Ireland and the Olympic Games)  

Thomas F. Kiely was widely regarded as the greatest all-around athlete in the world in the 1890s and early 1900s. He was never beaten in an all-round competition and many would regard him as the father of the modern decathlon. His career is interwoven with a range of events and issues in Ireland – he played a seminal role in helping the GAA establish itself before hurling and football were really widespread, and in shaping how Ireland coped with the dark days of the Parnellite split. In many respects, Kiely became a national hero at a time when the country needed one – a sort of blend of Cuchulainn and ‘Mat the Thresher’he was intrinsically linked to the rise of cultural nationalism. He was nicknamed ‘Erin’s Champion’. Kiely played a major role in establishing Irish identity in international sport and was the first Irish sporting superstar. Kiely’s story is full of wonderful anecdotes and details of his personality, capturing his status but also his humanity.

The sixth match in the series took place on 30th June 1900 at Cliftonville Park in Belfast.   Scottish hopes were a bit higher than for the previous visit to Ireland and the team looked good with a stronger squad in the more technical disciplines plus Paterson and Mill in the distance events on the track.   The report in the Cork Examiner on the Saturday began – “Belfast is bathed in sunshine today, a welcome change to the heavy rain that fell yesterday.   The track at Cliftonville is not in favour with the Scots, the surface is loose, and as it is only 370 yards in circuit, four and a half laps are required for the Mile.   McInnes is an additional absentee from the Scotch side but this makes no difference as Kiely and Horgan were certain of the heavy events.   A heavy burst of rain fell before the start and made the ground sodden.   The crowd was affected, about two thousand being present chiefly in the covered stand.   The last race is the four miles, timed for half past five Irish time, so that it will be nearly half past six before the meeting finishes.”

The ‘Glasgow Herald’ lamented the performances of Paterson who was running in the half-mile and mile and finished second in the mile and was unplaced in the half mile.   They pointed out that if he had won his two encounters, Scotland would have run out winners in the contest.   Of the newcomers to the team, RS Stronach in the hurdles was praised highly despite being beaten by a very small margin.   Another talking point was the selection of JJ McCafferty for the Irish team in the Four Miles.   McCafferty was a member of West of Scotland Harriers.

100 yards: 1. J McLean (S) 10.5 Sec; 2. WH Welsh (S);  220 yards: 1. WH Welsh (S) 23.6 sec; 2. BR Day (I)

440 yards: 1. WH Welsh (S) 51.4 sec; 2. RL Watson (S);  880 yards: 1. JJ McKenzie (I) 2:00.8; 2. JE Finnegan (I)

Mile: 1. JE Finnegan (I) 4:35.8; 2. J Paterson (S); Four Miles: 1. AR Gibb (S) 21:12.4; 2. JJ McCafferty (I)

120 yards hurdles:  1. D Carey (I) 16.8 seconds; 2. RS Stronach (S)

High Jump: 1. P Leahy (I) & P O’Connor (I)= 5′ 10 1/2″; Broad Jump: 1. P O’Connor (I) 23′ 5″; P Leahy (I)

Putting the Weight: 1. D Horgan (I) 44′; 2. TF Kiely (I);   Throwing the Hammer: 1. TF Kiely (I) 143′ 6″;  2. D Horgan (I)

IRELAND 7 EVENTS;  SCOTLAND 4 EVENTS

The following year was Empire Exhibition year in Glasgow and the match would be held at the Empire Ground, Gilmorehill, Glasgow on 29th June.

Scoto-Irish International: 1897, 1898

With two matches held and, despite some marvellous performances by Scots athletes, two matches lost, the third in the series was held on Saturday 17th July, 1897 at Powderhall in Edinburgh.   There were some changes to the original selections for both teams before the match which was not without incident as was noted in the following report from the Dublin Daily Express.

“IRELAND v SCOTLAND

IRELAND VICTORIOUS

Two Scotch Records Broken.

The third annual contest between the representatives of Ireland and Scotland was decided at Powderhall Grounds, Edinburgh, on Saturday and resulted in a very meritorious victory for the Irishmen by seven events to four.   Both teams suffered from absentees, and although the Irishmen were certainly not the least affected in this respect, they were expected to win.   The day was beautifully fine, while the track was in grand order, and everything favoured a close contest and good performances.   The start was fixed for a quarter past three, but it was a quarter of an hour later when the proceedings commenced, the attendance then being of fair proportions.   The first event was the half-mile which, as expected, fell to Dickinson, though a hundred yards from home it seemed doubtful if he could get up.   He did so, however, taking the inside, which was the cause of some jostling, which however, had no effect on the result.   Then came the shot, which in the absence of Horgan, fell to McIntosh of Scotland, the score then being one even each.   An unusual and rather unpleasant incident occurred in the 100 yards.   Newburn beat the pistol by a good three yards, and never being approached, won easily by about 4 yards in 10 2-5th seconds.   The crowd immediately started booing, and the Irishmen at once consented to run the race again.  They did so to their cost; for the second time the two Scotchmen finished first and second.   The quarter mile proved a second victory for Dickinson who came home with a grand spurt.   The hurdle race was a chapter of accidents, for all the combatants came to grief at one time or another, and in the end Timms, contrary to expectation secured the event for the Scots.   This rendered the result very doubtful; but in the later events the Irishmen performed splendidly, and won, as already stated.   Two Scottish records were broken.   In throwing the hammer Kiely beat the Scotch record by 19′ 10″  doing 137′ 1″; and in the long jump Newburn beat the previous record made by Kiely a couple of years ago by half an inch with a distance of 22′ 3″.   The Irishmen were subsequently entertained at dinner, and were generally most hospitably entertained.”

Results:

100 yards:  1.  H Barr (S) 10.2; 2. FW Sime (S); 220 yards:  H Barr (S) 23.2 seconds; 2. FW Sime (S)

440 yards:  1. CH Dickenson (I) 52.2 seconds: 2. J Donaldson (S); 880 yards: 1. CH Dickenson (I) 2:02.6; 2. MCC Seton (S)

Mile: 1. JE Finnegan (I) 4:31.4; 2. W Robertson (S).   Four Miles:  1. M O’Neill (I) 20:37.2; 2. J Paterson (S)

120 yards hurdles: 1. AB Timms (S) 19.4; 2. P Harding (I)

High Jump: 1. TE Wood (I) 5′ 10″; 2. P Leahy (I);  Broad Jump: 1. WJM Newburn (I) 22′ 3″; 2. H Barr (S)

Putting the Weight: 1. JD McIntosh (S) 42′ 9″; 2. MN McInnes (S); Throwing the Hammer: 1. TF Kiely (I) 137′ 1″; 2. JD McIntosh (S)

IRELAND  7 EVENTS; SCOTLAND 4 EVENTS

1898 in Ireland

Into 1898  and the international was back in Ireland, at Balls Bridge once again, on 16th July.   As in 1896, it was previewed in many Irish papers – the Irish Independent, Irish Times, the Dublin Daily Express and many others carried the story.   You will note in the advertisement above that the top name was a Scotsman although the Irish high jumper is also effectively the British champion.    Weather wise it was a good day for the event and it is interesting to look at some of the comments about the entertainment before the first race – the half-mile – was run.

The only illustration in the Irish Independent report on the match was that of Welsh which is reproduced below.  Welsh was now a magnificent middle distance athlete and probably the best track man in the team with only Hugh Barr challenging him.   

Results:

100 yards: 1. ND M0rgan (I) 10.5 sec; 2. H Barr (S);   220 yards: 1. JC Meredith (I) 23.4 sec; 2. JB Auld (S)

440 yards: JC Meredith (I) 51.2 sec;  2. J Donaldson (S);  880 yards: 1. H Welsh (S) 2:04; 2. CH Dickenson (I)

Mile: 1. H Welsh (S) 4:21.4; 2. C 20:19.4R Faussett (I);  Four Miles: 1. M O’Neill; (I) 20:19.4; HA Munro (S)

120 yards hurdles: 1. TF Kiely (I) 16.5 seconds;  2. D Carey (I).  

High Jump: 1. P Leahy (I) 6′ 0″;  2. JB Milne (S);  Broad Jump: 1. WJM Newburn (I) 24′ 0 1/2″; 2. H Barr (S)

Putting the Weight: 1. D Horgan (I) 45′ 5″; 2. JD McIntosh (S); Throwing the Hammer: 1. TF Kiely 146′ 10″; D Horgan (I)

IRELAND 9 EVENTS, SCOTLAND 2 EVENTS

It was now four matches and the Scots had not yet won even one despite being on the wrong end of some very close finishes but that situation was about to change.  The next meeting was to be at Powderhall on 15th July 1899 when a very different result was to be seen.

 

Scoto-Irish International: 1895, 1896

AR Downer

Athletes always want to test themselves against the best opposition that they can find.   The Scottish Amateur Athletic Association was founded in 1883 and it was natural that after testing themselves against the best in the country, the top athletes would want to go further afield in search of competition.   So it was that in 1891 the international with Ireland was born.   The full story is told in “Fifty Years of Athletics” at  http://www.anentscottishrunning.com/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.”   

The first international was contested on 20th July, 1895 in Glasgow and from the Scottish point of view, the star of the meeting was Alf Downer of the Scottish Pelicans AC.   Downer won the 100, 220 and 440 yards and in a contest where the winning team was decided by the number of events won, all three counted for the SAAA team.   The report in the “Glasgow Herald” read as follows.

“As a display of athleticism the contest between Scotland and Ireland is the richest of the season; indeed in some respects it will stand out as the most brilliant example of running and physical effort that has even been witnessed in Scotland.   For proof of this one only has to analyze carefully the results of the different competitions, and he will find four performances which surpass all amateur efforts in this country, and another two which tie with all-comers records.   The only regret with regard to these performances is that three were accomplished by Irishmen, the other one being the work of AR Downer who has done so much this season to raise Scottish athletics in the eyes of other nations.   The Scottish Pelican’s triple performance on Saturday is perhaps the first ever accomplished by an amateur athlete.   He won the 100 yards in 10 seconds, which ties with the Scottish record; in the 220 he reduced his own record – 22 2-5th seconds – which he made a week ago today at the Edinburgh University Sports by a fifth of a second; and in the quarter he equalled JM Cowie’s record – 51 1-5th seconds.   These performances speak for themselves; they are unique in the sense that they have never been equalled or even approached at one competition by any amateur in Britain.   TF Kiely, the all-round champion of Ireland, took part in three events – (1) the hurdles in which he ran third; (2) the hammer in which he was second with 100′ 6″; (3) the long jump in which he lowered the Scottish record by doing 22′ 2 1-2″, the previous best being 21′ 11” by T Vallance which stood since 1881.   As an individual effort, these three performances rank next to Downer’s for general excellence.

JJ Mullen of the Elysian Harriers comes next with a first in the four mile and a second in the mile.   H Welsh created a surprise by defeating Mullen in the mile; but as the Irishman was recovering from a sharp illness, it is evident that this, like the majority of events, would have fallen to our rivals.   We cut a poor appearance in the half mile; indeed but for Downer, we would have been very badly beaten in the track events.   It was he who saved Scotland from a very humiliating defeat.   Even in regard to second positions, Ireland showed to much better advantage than Scotland, in fact we may regard ourselves as exceedingly fortunate in only losing by 6 events to 5 as all round the Irish team disclosed greater ability than the Scots.   

The meeting we have only to add marks a new and interesting departure in International athletics, and from the impression which the whole display created on Saturday, we venture to predict a brilliant future to our match with Ireland.   The event on Saturday was shorn of much of its brilliance on account of the athletic rupture which deprived Scotland of several of our best men, but by next year it is to be hoped we will be living under happier conditions, and that with a thoroughly representative team we will be able to reverse Saturday’s result.   The SAAA scored an athletics success on Saturday at Parkhead, and although the financial returns were disappointing, it is well known that the holidays and political excitement kept many away who would otherwise have been present.”

The “Courier” had a slightly different slant on the day’s procedings:

The results on the day were:

100 yards: 1. AR Downer (S)  10.0 seconds; 2. P McNamara (I)  220 yards:  1. AR Downer (S) 22.25 sec; 2. JT Magee (I)

440 yards: 1. AR Downer (S)  51.2 seconds;  2, JT Magee (I);   880 yards      1. J Archer (I)  2:04.2; 2. J Stirton (S)

Mile: 1. H Welsh (S) 4:33;  2. JJ Mullen (I);   Four Miles: 1. JJ Mullen (I); P McMorrow (S)

120 y hurdles:  1. JAE Mulligan (I) 16.8 seconds;  2.  AL Graham (S)

High Jump:  1. JM Ryan (I) 6′ 1″;  2.  C Fenwick (S);   Broad Jump:  1. TF Kiely (I) 22′ 2 1/2″;  2. P McNamara (I)

Putting the Weight:  1. D Horgan (I) 44′ 7′;  2. JD McIntosh (S);  Throwing the Hammer:  1. D Ross (S)  101′;  2. TF Keily (I)

Hugh Welsh

The split referred to above was about a dispute within Scottish Athletics when there were two rival bodies – the SAAA and the SAAU – in existence in 1895 and 1896 with only SAAA athletes eligible to compete in this fixture.     The 1896 meeting between the two countries was held at Balls Bridge, Dublin on 18th July and the Scottish team was weaker in that Downer was not available.   With a year’s more running behind him, Welsh was running better but the final score was Ireland 7 Scotland 4 events.

The Irish papers previewed the event for the entire week leading up to it and it was an event that both countries were looking forward to.   The Cork Examiner not only had a short report on the meeting on Monday 20th but a short detailed account of every single event with every athlete’s times and performances noted.   The report read:

“INTERNATIONAL ATHLETICS

Ireland Beats Scotland

Yesterday the great Inter National contest between Ireland and Scotland was decided at Balls Bridge.   Last year at Glasgow when the countries met for the first time Ireland won by six events to five, and yesterday the victory was repeated when the Irishmen secured seven to the Scotchmen’s four.   The day was very favourable to the affair which was patronised by an excellent crowd.   It was almost a foregone conclusion that the Ireland would win, but still the contest was exciting to the very end.   The event which roused most excitement was the 1 mile at which the Scotchman Welsh beat Mullen last year and yesterday he repeated the performance in gallant style, proving himself a really wonderful runner, of which he gave another proof later on when he won the half-mile in rare fashion.   Mullen, it should be said, was not in good form, and consequently did not turn out in the four miles which saw the closest finish of the day.   O’Neill, the County Limerick man, ran a very plucky race, and it was only after a desperate set to that the Scotchman Hay beat him by about a yard; but it must be said that with a little more experience, O’Neill might have reversed the result.    Horgan, of Banteer, of course, won the shot, and Ryan, of Tipperary, gave a grand exhibition in the high jump.   It was his first appearance of the year, and in fact it is said to be his first time to wear a shoe.   For all he was almost at his very best, as evidenced by the fact that he cleared 6′ 2″, and it may be said that he actually cleared 6′ 3″, but the wind blew down the bar.   It was a great disappointment that Flanagan did not turn up for the Hammer, for so far he has never competed in Dublin.   In the quarter mile Meredith tied with the Irish record, which he also tied with on Whit Monday last.   The other events are dealt with in the details.”

As an example of the details of the events Welsh’s win in the Mile is reproduced below:

Every event was covered in the same fashion.   Mullen? The Irish Daily Express explained what had happened to Mullen in the Mile when it reported 

The Glasgow Herald however described the race as a very bad one from an Irish point of view with O’Neill repeatedly getting in front of Mullen and not letting him past.  It also described Mullen as ‘palpably unfit’ which maybe got nearer the truth of the matter.   Results :

100 yards: 1. ND Morgan (I) 10.6 seconds; 2. H Barr (S) ;   220 yards:  1. ND Morgan  (I) 23.4 seconds;  2.  H Barr  (S) 

440 yards:  1. JC Meredith (I) 51.0 sec; 2. GC Thomson (S);  880 yards:  1. H Welsh (S) 2:01.4; 2. JE Finnegan (I)

Mile:  1.  H Welsh (S) 4:33.0;  2. JJ Mullen (I);  Four Miles:  1. RA Hay (S)  22:19;  2. M O’Neill (I)

120 yards hurdles:   1. D Carey (I) 16.6 seconds;  2.  AB Timms (S) .

High Jump:  1.  J Ryan  (I) 6′ 2″;  2. W Grieve (S);  Broad Jump:  1. H Barr (S) 22′ 5″;  2. WJ Newburn (I)

Putting the Weight: 1.  D Horgan (I) 44′ 7″; 2. JD McIntosh (S);  Throwing the Hammer:  1. JS Reynolds (I) 128′ 1″; 2. D Horgan (I)

Scotland again put out a weakened team.   eg Hugh Barr was a very good long jumper (Scottish record holder and several times champion) and a good sprinter but not recognised as of the top flight.   He did well getting two seconds as well as the win in the broad jump.   

Two matches, two Irish victories.