Sometimes you just stumble across something interesting a this was just one of those times.
Back in the 1880’s the collection of cigarette cards began, but it was in 1901 when it really became popular, thousands of different sets were issued by over 300 tobacco companies. There is even a name for the collection of cigarette cards- Cartophily.
John Players were issuing rugby player cards, part of the 1927 collection was Michael J Bradley, Dolphin’s first international and from the 1928 collection, Charles J Hanrahan, another Dolphin international.
The two cards have been purchased, don’t worry, we are not starting a go fund me page, the total cost between the two cards and postage was €6.69.
We have just missed the 100th aniversary of Michael J Bradleys Ireland debut, it was on 13.03.1920.
Lets have a look into the interesting careers of both players.
Michael James Bradley 16.10.1897 – 14.07.1951
1919-20 was Dolphin’s 2nd season at Senior level. They captured their first trophy at this level, in what was then the Munster Charity Cup. In the front row was Michael J Bradley, that season he made his Munster debut and played against both Leinster & Ulster. He played 15 of the 16 interpro’s over the next eight seasons. He was credited with two tries, two penalties and a conversion.
Ireland Player Number 403
As already mentioned he made his debut on 13.03.1920 v Wales at hooker. When fellow Corkman Billy Dorgan, a centre, got injured early in the opening half, Bradley was moved to centre until half time. He earned 19 caps, 13 at prop and six at hooker.
He played in the four internationals in 1925-26 when Ireland were denied a Grand Slam by the post. They were 11-8 down v Wales in the final minute when a drop goal attempt (then 4 points) struck the posts.
In his final season he played v France on New Years Day at Stade Colombes, Ireland were playing well and 8-3 ahead and the crowd were extremely vocal. The referee sensed there maybe trouble ahead so he told the Irish the next time they got near the pavilion he would blow full time, then “they should run for it”, which they did. They were prisoners inside for nearly an hour, bricks, slates etc were being thrown before the referee was smuggled out in the back of a Renault. Ireland shared the championship that season.
Lions Player Number 223
Michael went over on the 10th British Isles Touring side but came back a Lion- the name originated on this tour but was not formally recognised until the 1950 Tour.
They were long affairs back in 1924 (first tour since 1910 due to the Great War). They played 21 games including 4 internationals over 10 weeks. The squads were smaller, they brought 31 players including 15 forwards, while the 2017 Side had 41 players including 22 forwards for 10 games.
He did not play in the Tests but played in 13/17 other games.
While doing all of this he also managed to represent Ireland 4 times at Waterpolo.
Charles J Hanrahan decd – 28.02.69
Charlie was a product of Castleknock College and a Banker by profession. He also played with the Cork Bankers Club. In 1923 he set his sights higher than playing Minor A with the Cork Bankers Club and played Senior Cup with Dolphin and was expelled from the Bankers Club for playing without their permission. He made up for it in earning a Munster Senior League Medal but lost to Garryowen in the Munster Senior Cup Final.
In 1924-25 Dolphin won the Charity Cup but were once again cup runners up to Garryowen. The following season they won the Munster Senior League again. Charlie did finally get a Munster Senior Cup medal in 1930-31.
Charlie made his Munster debut v Ulster in 1923/24 and played in every Munster interpro for the next eight seasons, a total of 16 games, kicking two penalties & three conversions.
He captained Munster v Ulster in November 1927, what was unique about this fixture was that it was the first time they had played in Cork- up to then all inter pros were played on successive Fridays & Saturdays in Dublin.
Ireland Player Number 461.
Charlie made his debut v Scotland on 27.02.1926, the outcome of that season is outlined above. His first two games for his country were at No 8, scoring in the 2nd one, he also played 17 times in the front row (once alongside M J Bradley). But what is very unusual is that he was capped in each row 17 front row, 1 2nd Row and 2 back row.
He went on to become an Irish Selector for 1946-49 and was the clubs first IRFU President in 1954-55.