14 matches, 682 runs @ 26.23 (best: 143), 6 catches
As an opening batsman and captain of England, Frederick Fane enjoyed reasonable success. His sole century came in a losing cause in Johannesburg, and he also top-scored in a win in his final Test outing. He played most of his cricket for Essex, where he scored over 18,000 runs in 20 seasons, once leading them to a victory over the Australians; a feat that he would later repeat for England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground around two years later. After the death of his brother, another F. L. Fane, Wisden mistakenly printed Frederick's obituary, meaning that he may be the only man ever to have read his own Wisden obituary.
2 matches, 64 runs @ 21.33, 1 catch
Reputed to be one of the best fielders Australia had ever produced (although this may have been less of an accolade in 1877), Thomas Kelly left Ireland in his late teens and went on to represent Victoria regularly from that point onwards. He was a strokemaking opener, and all but three of his highest Test innings came from hits to the fence. This was not particularly conducive to building big innings, though, and he never hit a first-class hundred in over twenty years of trying. Perhaps more significant than his contribution to cricket in Australia was his contribution to fashion: he is widely accepted to be the man who introduced them to the blazer.
3 matches, 76 runs @ 12.66, 1 wicket @ 4.00, 3 catches
The eccentric Robert Poore had taken no real interest in cricket for most of his adult life until he joined the armed forces, but taught himself largely from textbooks to be a proper and able number-three batsman. After some hearty debate about which side he should actually play for, Poore played all three games in what turned out to be a horrible 1896 series for South Africa against England. He then made a career for himself in county cricket, and made his greatest impression in 1899, when he averaged 116.58 for Hampshire, including 304 of a record 411-run sixth wicket partnership. He continued to play first-class cricket until almost fifty, and was a respected, if baffling, coach.
15 matches, 471 runs @ 18.84 (best: 124), 11 wickets @ 13.00 (best: 6/40), 6 catches
After being born a Munsterman, Tom Horan moved to Victoria while still young and became one of the leading cricketers in the state. He was an automatic choice for the very first Test in 1877. Excellent at working the ball on the leg side, Horan was considered to be a far better batsman than his figures suggest. As his career progressed, his stock as a round-arm bowler rose. His best spell with ball in hand was at the SCG when he took six for 40, bowling mostly in tandem with 'Demon' Spofforth for 37 four-ball overs. Horan also has the most spectacular facial hair in this team, unless Johnson or McMaster had grown something truly extraordinary.
16 matches, 700 runs @ 30.43 (best: 130), 11 catches
Ireland's most famous cricketing son, 27-year-old Eoin Morgan made his mark in green before crossing the Irish sea to try to break into the English Test side, which he soon managed. He has made his mark all over the world with his audacious stroke-play, but he is at his best against a white ball, not a red one, and his Test career stalled two years ago as a result. All the same, he has time and talent on his side, and he may still forge a successful Test career for England - perhaps even as their next captain when Alastair Cook has had enough.
5 matches, 59 runs @ 7.37, 4 catches
A cavalier amateur batsman and Oxford graduate who played cricket "in the right way" in the nineteenth century, Tim O'Brien was a popular veteran of the county circuit in a career that spanned four decades. He was in and out of the England team, and his final re-call, on the back of a destructive 202 for Middlesex against Sussex, came a dozen years after he had made his debut as a 22-year-old. Arguably his finest performance, though, came in his final first-class match: aged 52, he took the Oxford bowlers to the cleaners as he hit 90 and 111 in the match, although the most memorable was when he went from 15 to 100 not out in 35 minutes to defeat Yorkshire.
1 match, 10 runs @ 5.00, 0 wickets,1 catch.
After enjoying a prolific cricket career in his youth in Ireland, Johnson emigrated to South Africa upon completing his studies at Dublin University. He represented the Transvaal, as well as the South African national team, as a good fast bowler and good batsman. In his only Test match, at the old Wanderers ground in Johannesburg, he bowled economically at third change while batting in the middle order. It was his only Test appearance, although he did well to restrict the likes of CB Fry while his team-mates were attacked. He continued to represent the Transvaal until 1899, but did not resume his career after the Boer War.
1 match, 13 runs @ 6.50, 2 catches
Leland Hone became the first man to represent England without first playing county cricket when he was selected to tour Australia in 1879. He was well known from his Rugby School days for being a good middle-order batsman who knew how to use the 'keeper's gloves. He played intermittently for the MCC, and when it was realised that Lord Harris had failed to select a gloveman, it was Hone who was called in. His Test debut was his third first-class match, and his entire career took place on only three grounds: the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Sydney Cricket Ground, and Lord's Cricket Ground. Not a bad selection, really.
1 match, 0 runs, 0 catches.
Born in Gilford, County Down, McMaster played in his country's second Test on South African soil, although with the Test match not designated as such until later, it is possible that he never knew. Certainly, he was not among the best eleven available to the English selectors: an incisive opening bowler for Harrow in his school days, his bowling was no longer of use by the time he went on RG Walton's tour. He was out to the only ball that he faced in Test cricket, and finished with no runs, wickets or catches in his two-day Test career. His solitary Test appearance was also his only first-class match.
3 matches, 11 runs @ 4.20, 6 wickets @ 65.00, 1 catch.
Known for being an Australian who played for England, Martin McCague was actually born in Ireland. His final Test appearance was painful for all who watched it, and it also detracted from the fact that at his best he was capable of bowling the kind of pace that would get up the nose of even the most gifted of batsmen, often with devastating results (see his debut Test, or his first-class best nine-wicket-haul). Ultimately, though, he had the misfortune of being labelled "the rat who joined the sinking ship" by the media. Outside of cricket, McCague is best known for sinking 72 pints of Guinness on his stag weekend in Dublin.
1 match, 13 runs @ 6.50, 1 wicket @ 81.00, 0 catches.
The last of the three modern players in this team, the burly Ulsterman has one of the more tragic England careers. After being pressured to retire from Irish duty by his county, he scaled the slippery slope all the way into the England side for the final Ashes Test a few months ago. Unfortunately, England were already four-nil down at that point, and Rankin's performance was a fair reflection of the entire series for the England team. It may not be the end of Rankin's international career, though, with Warren Deutrom indicating that Irish fans may not have seen the last of him.
Given the obscurity and mediocrity of some of the players on this list, it seems pretty odd that Ed Joyce, who has compiled almost 15,000 first-class runs at an average of 46.82 never played Test cricket. He played for England, of course - making his debut against his home nation in 2006 - but for some unfathomable reason was never seen as anything more than a one-day opener. He may have suffered from the likes of Andrew Strauss and Marcus Trescothick blocking his opportunities, but when there was a vacancy in the top three, it was filled first by Owais Shah, then by Alastair Cook.