Great win for Ireland over Wales last weekend, the same match held 100 years ago has a UCC connection

10 Feb 2014


Held in Belfast in March 1914, ‘The Balmoral Brawl’ became known as the most violent match ever held between Wales and Ireland.





The centenary is the subject of recent reports in The Irish Examiner and BBC News:

‘Grudge match’ has nothing on The Great War -

Wales v Ireland: Rugby's 'most violent game' re-told -


You may possibly be delighted to know that there were two UCC men in the middle of it all, wearing the green jersey – Vincent McNamara and Henry Walter (‘Harry’) Jack: .  Known as ‘Macky and Jacky’, they were playing partners from their school days in Cork and continued as the 9/10 pairing for UCC, Munster and Ireland in Feb. 1914 against Scotland and Wales (Vincent also played against England that year with a different 10).

 Vincent was studying engineering when the First World War broke out and was commissioned into the Royal Engineers.  In 1915 he was serving in Gallipoli - on the 29th November he was asphyxiated when he went into a tunnel too soon after setting off a mine under a Turkish position.  He was 24.  His 1914 Ireland jersey is on display in Mardyke Pavilion (upstairs) as part of the growing network of heritage displays across campus.

Harry Jack survived the war and was selected once more for Ireland, in 1921 v Wales.  He was an economic botanist and went into British colonial service after UCC, working mostly in what is now Malaysia and playing an important role in the development of rugby there.  He published articles on economic crops and received an OBE in 1941, ending his career as Director of Agriculture in Fiji, no less!

The Malaysian Rugby union website says of him:   “Dr. H. W. Jack, … one of the finest players who ever appeared on a Malayan rugby ground and one of the selected few who achieved international honours at home (Ireland) was the first Honorary Secretary and Treasurer and fulfilled those duties for six years..”  

After retirement he returned to Ireland, joined Lansdowne RFC and was Club President in 1960:

Kind Regards, Michael Holland, University Curator.      

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