Full name Lucius Henry Gwynn
Born May 5, 1873, Ramelton, Co Donegal
Died December 23, 1902, Davos Platz, Switzerland (aged 29 years 232 days)
Major teams Ireland, Dublin University, Gentlemen of England
Batting style Right-hand bat
Education St Columba's College; Trinity College, Dublin
|First-class span||1895 - 1902|
Lucius Gwynn was arguably the finest cricket produced by Ireland and had he played more often one can but guess as to his career record. As it was, he was good enough to be asked to play for England in an Ashes Test - he declined because of exams at Trinity College - and finished with an impressive career average. An attacking middle-order batsman and , his cricket was limited to eight first-class matches in three seasons but he also played 11 times for Ireland
Gwynn came from a sporting family and received a top education - he excelled academically and at sports. Initially a bowler, his batting came on in leaps and bounds and in 1893 he scored his maiden hundred. At club level he flourished - and opposition included Oxford University and touring county and national sides.
In 1895 he topped the national batting averages with 455 runs at 56.00 - usurping WG Grace who had enjoyed a remarkable Indian summer. Touring England with Dublin University he scored 63 and 106 at Cambridge and then a career-best 153 not out at Leicester - he also took 11 wickets in the two games. He ended the summer by being asked to play for the Gentlemen against the Players at The Oval, one of the premier fixtures of the season, where he scored 80. He had been selected on the personal recommendation of Grace who described him as "one of the most finished bats I have ever played against". Of his 80, The Times purred: "He has a steady and finished style, which yesterday he exercised for three hours and a quarter. His defence, too, came at an opportune time for the Gentlemen, ... and it was his batting which laid the foundations for the big total."
He was invited back in 1896 but did not repeat his heroics; however, he scored three hundreds for Dublin University and passed 1000 runs as well as taking 93 wickets. That summer the Irish Times reported he had declined an invitation to play for England against Australia at Old Trafford. He finished his Trinity College career in 1897 with 3,195 runs and 311 wickets.
He worked at the college and continued playing for Ireland - more off than on - until 1902 in which year he toured England with Gentlemen of Ireland, although he had to return early because of academic commitments.
That summer he again passed 1000 runs for the college side although he was increasingly unwell. He was eventually diagnosed with tuberculosis. As was the norm for patients with money, he travelled to Switzerland where the clear air was supposed to help sufferers but he died two days before Christmas. "There can be little doubt that if he had had regular opportunities of playing in first-class matches in England he would have earned a high place among the batsmen of his day," Wisden noted.
Gwynn was also a top rugby player, representing Ireland seven times and being part of the 1899 side which won the Triple Crown. He was also in that season a national selector.