Brief history





Like most regiments, the North Irish Horse was active on the sporting field. Reports of some of their matches are below.



Wounded Soldiers Entertained.

The entertainment for the wounded soldiers located at the Royal Victoria Hospital, promoted by the Cliftonville Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club, at Cliftonville on Saturday was a great success, fully 70 wounded soldiers accepting the invitation and hospitality of this well-known club. The arrangements were admirably carried out by a strong committee, and among those who took an active part may be mentioned Messrs. H. C. McCleery, J. G. Blair, J. C. Picken, A. Lowe, H. E. Wood, J. H. D. Millar, H. Stevenson, A. Picken, and the genial and indefatigable secretary, A. T. Reeves. Friends of the club kindly supplied motor conveyances. The programme was varied and attractive, and included cricket, lawn tennis, quoits, golf-putting, sack races, ladies’ races, and tug-of-war (ladies), the last-mentioned creating much amusement. Through the kindness of Mr. Henry T. Downs and the directorate of the Royal Hippodrome, a high-class entertainment was given by the principal artists appearing at that well-known place of amusement, and, needless to say, their efforts were most highly appreciated. During the afternoon cigars, cigarettes, strawberries, and a variety of other good things were dispensed to the guests, who were in charge of Sisters McMahon and Hayes, of the Royal Victoria Hospital. The prizes for the different events were presented by the members and friends of the club, and in some competitions the results were of quite an exciting character. Those who presided at the tea tables included Mrs. H. C. McCleery, Mrs. S. McComb, Mrs. Henry, Mrs. Reeves, Mrs. Millar, and Mrs. Sutherland. The cricket match was keenly followed, and a rousing finish resulted in Cliftonville winning by five runs. Scores:--

G. Forsythe b Hamill
J. Quinn c Hargraves b Moore
J.G. Murphy b Hamill
J. Hamill c Jackson b Hargraves
T.A. Hargraves b Hamill
Pte. Holmes b Hargraves
H.E. Wood c Lyons b Bell
Lt. E.T.C. Sherman run out
J. Moore c Bell b Hamill
Capt. Stewart-Richardson b Moore
H(?) McCully run out
Tpr. Bell b Moore
S. McCully b Hamill
Tpr. Cowell b Hargraves
J.S. Jackson c Harrison b Bell
Sergt.-Major Harrison not out
A. Lowe run out
Tpr. Lyons b Moore
H. Stevenson b Stewart-Richardson
Tpr. Wheelhouse b Hargraves
A. Picken b Stewart-Richardson
Tpr. McClure b Hargraves
H. Erskine not out
Tpr. Westropp b Moore

(Belfast News-Letter, 12 July 1915)



The Muckamore cricket ground, with its beautiful green sward, was seen at its best on Thursday, when on it one saw khaki, tartan, and plaid, while the ladies' dresses and cricketers' flannels made a nice setting for the picture. Four hundred and fifty convalescent men from Randalstown came in a special train to Muckamore, and headed by their fife and drum band, marched to the ground, where they were received by Lady Massereene, Col. Maude, Major Richardson, and officers of the N.I.H. At intervals the band provided enjoyable items, and a cricket match was played, the N.I.H. antagonising the depot command from Randalstown. Her ladyship during the afternoon provided tea and smokes for the men, and a very enjoyable evening was spent. The O.C. thanked Lady Massereene at the end, and after cheers were given the men marched off to the station. Score:--

Private F. Fullerton lbw b Turner
Trooper Turner b Pilon
Private F. Spencer b Turner
Private Bowner run out
Private V. Wheeler b Hamill
J. G. Entwistle c Fairclough b Pilon
Corporal Westhall b Hamill
Major Stewart-Richardson c and b Russel
Private G. W. Pilon b Turner
B. Hamill lbw b Pilon
Capt. Davidson b Turner
Lieut. Wright run out
Lieut. Walker b Turner
Lieut. Forrest st Fairclough b Pilon
L. Corp. Russel b Hamill
Trooper Loton b Pilon
Private Fairclough b Hamill
Sergeant-Major Crump b Russel
L. Corp. Anderson b Hamill
Sergeant McKinley c Fairclough b Pilon
Private Pickett not out
Sergeant Hanley run out
Private Rodgers b Turner
Trooper McCormick not out 14

(Ballymena Weekly Telegraph, 26 August 1916)




On Saturday afternoon last teams representing the above met at Summerfield's grounds, Ballymena, in a friendly competition. A fair crowd of spectators witnessed the game, which was in charge of Mr. E. Staunton.

Teams:-- N.I.H. – Cathcart; Archibald, Bingan; Coffee, Huston, Perry; Jamison, Dunseith, Gibson, Hunter, and McKee.
Broadway Rangers – Woodcock; Shanks, Boyle; J. Barclay, R. Thompson, McMaster; W. Thompson, Cahoon, Wylie, Bonnar, and Robertson.

The game opened out in favour of the home team per Bonnar, and a corner was forced in their favour, but proved unproductive. Subsequently Bonnar had a plucky try, sending over. The game lacked enthusiasm almost throughout, and fluctuated considerably. Cathcart saved cleverly from W. Thompson, and from the clearance the military laid seige to their opponents' citadel, this effort culminating in a fruitless corner. Woodcock effected a magnificent save from Hunter, at the expense of a corner, which was not materialised. Woodcock again saved well from Hunter, and on the rebound the keeper again saved from this player at the expense of a corner. Following the flag kick Gibson drew first blood in favour of the N.I.H. This enlivened matters a little, the soldiers still pressing. Rangers broke the pressure and came away, Cathcart saving from Bonnar. Robertson picked up near the flag post and equalised with a neat shot. No further scoring took place in this period. Half-time—
N.I.H ..................................... 1 Goal.

Throughout the larger part of the second half play was of a desultory character, and class football was conspicuous by its absence, few incidents of note taking place. The soldiers attacked on several occasions, and were repeatedly dangerous, good work by Boyle at back, however, who cleared splendidly, saving many dangerous situations. The visitors worked well, and following a good run by McKee, Rangers conceded a corner. The flag kick was not remunerative, Boyle clearing. The balance of play ruled in favour of the military, and following some good play Gibson gave them the lead with a well-deserved goal. At the other extreme Thompson was left with a good opening, but missed badly, and Wylie also let several good opportunities slip. No further scoring took place up to the finish, and the game ended. Full time:--
N.I.H ..................................... 2 Goals.

(Ballymena Weekly Telegraph, 28 October 1916)



24 September 1916. Flesselles. 9.a.m. Football match between the Regt and M.M.G. Battn resulted in 1 goal each (association).



Summerfield ... "A" team travelled to Donegal Avenue, Belfast, and met linfield Rangers in the Alliance Competition, and were defeated by the solitary goal of the match; while "B" team played off a friendly fixture at Warden Street with the North Irish Horse, but fared better than their senior team, the result of the game being two goals each. The evening was fine for the popular pastime, and the strong sun transformed the pitch into a fairly bearable state. ...

There was a big crowd at Warden Street. Both teams were strongly represented, and rendered a not too bad account of themselves, but at the same time the play was by no means of a high order, although towards the end of the game the contest was more interesting than at any other period of the game. After five minutes' give and take play the homesters attacked in fine style, and from a pass from Torbitt, Moore headed through for the first goal. From this time up to the interval neither team could be counted the superiors, and when they crossed over Summerfeild was still leading by one goal.

About ten minutes after the re-start the N.I.H. applied renewed pressure, and after a good run McCarley scored the equaliser amidst the applause of his spectator comrades. This put new life into the home forwards, who, immediately the kick-off had been taken, made one irresistible run, which terminated in Moore finding the leading goal. A penalty awarded later to the N.I.H., owing to Surgenor fouling one of the military, was entrusted to McCarley, who made no mistake with the kick, leaving Woodcock not the ghost of a chance. Play was lively up to the finish, the score still being two goals each. Teams:--N.I.H.--Love, Archibald, Annesley, Perry, Gillan, Murray, McCarley, Cupples, Smith, Munroe, Robinson. Summerfield--Woodcock, Craig, Surgenor, Thompson, McPherson, Cahoon, Torbitt, Barclay, Moore, Bonnar, Cunning.

(Ballymena Observer, 27 April 1917)



A friendly between the North Irish Horse and Summerfield was played off at Warden Street Grounds last Saturday. A fair crowd was present to witness the game, which turned out a victory for the homesters by the only goal of the match. Mr. Montgomery, the popular secretary of the Summerfield club, was not to be envied on Saturday in his task of getting together a team, which, although not of the first order, succeeded in defeating the visitors.

Play was evenly divided in the first half, and Montgomery brought off several good saves. A notable player for the North Irish Horse was McStey of Belfast Celtic at back, who formerly played for Glasgow Celtic and Ayr United, being at present in training at Antrim. Archibald, at back also, played for Ballymoney against Summerfield in the recent game in connection with the Steel & Son's Cup; while Cupples and Perry are familiarly known in Ballymena. Both sides had notable exchanges, but up to the interval there was no scoring.

In the second half, as far as the play was concerned, it did not favour any side. McDonald scored the only goal from close range, but the visitors were unable to equalise, although they made good attempts. Teams:-- North Irish Horse -- Mairs, Archibald, McStey, Lt. Hunter, Sergt.-Major Carson, Corpl. Jones, Cupples, Perry, Lt. Austin, Shanks, Reilly. Summerfield -- Montgomery, Brown, Taylor, McPherson, Boyle, McDonald, Bonar, Barclay, Torbitt, Marks, McIlwaine. Referee, Mr. M. Killough.

(Ballymena Observer, 26 October 1917)



A Squadron football team, Vignacourt, France, 1919.


Horse racing


A card of five events comprised the programme of the point-to-point steeplechases brought off at Oriel Lodge, Antrim, promoted by the Killultagh and Old Rock and Chichester harriers' Hunt Club. In pre-war days this annual fixture was one of the principal features of the northern programme, and always attracted large crowds of sportsmen and of the general public.

... Amongst others who took a prominent part in to-day's proceedings were Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, who acted in the capacity of starter.

... Donors of cups were Sir Thomas Dixon, Captain A. N. V. Hill-Lowe ... the race confined to officers of the North Irish Horse was without doubt the most sporting item on the programme.

... A lot of interest centred in the concluding race, for military riders, each of the eight being owner-ridden. Sloper and Nora Crean were joint favourites and the first-named scored a popular win for Lieutenant W. E. Jones.

4.30 – THE VICTORY CUP – Presented by Capt. A. N. V. Hill-Lowe, for horses ridden by officers of the N.I. Horse during the past season, who are at present [in] service with the regiment. Riders – Officers qualified to enter. About two miles and a half.

13 0 Lieutenant J. A. O'Neill's NORA CREAN Lieut. O'Neill 1
13 0 Captain V. Hill-Lowe's BRONCO Captain V. Hill-Lowe 2
13 0 Lieutenant W. E. Jones's SLOPER Lieut. W. E. Jones 3
13 0 Lieutenant M. S. Hornidge's Dick Lieut. Hornidge 0
13 0 Lieutenant G. H. Baird's Lady  Lieut. G. H. Baird 0
13 0 Lieutenant J. B. Young's (M.C.) Tickletoe Lieut. J. B. Young 0
13 0 Lieutenant J. Pollock's Whatahope Lieut. J. Pollock 0
13 0 Lieutenant J McSherry's Jazz Lieut. J. McSherry 0

Betting 3 to 1 each agst Sloper and Nora Crean, 4 to 1 agst Bronco, and 7 to 1 agst any other.

Won by two lengths, with a length dividing the second and third.

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 3 May 1919)




A team representing the North Irish Horse stationed at Antrim are due this afternoon at Ormeau to meet a local fifteen of those Rugby players who have not yet joined Kitchener's new army. The visitors have a fairly good side, and expect to put up a good fight. The locals are far from what a representative Belfast side might be, as the Rugby players have responded largely to their country's call. However, the teams fielding to-day are evenly matched, and spectators should witness a close contest. As is usual the gate proceeds will be devoted to a war fund in connection with the branch, and it is hoped followers of the game will patronise the match in large numbers. The kick-off will take place at 3.15 o'clock, and Mr. W. A. Daish will act as referee.

The following are the teams:--

North Irish Horse -- Full-back, H. Copeland, three-quarters, C. R. Boyd, E. A. Dallas, H. McManus, L. Brennan; half-backs, J. O'Neill, J. H. Alexander; forwards, R. Matchett, H. E. Craig, W. S. Smyth, W. McHugh, S. Mercier, S. McCreary, W. Mercier, and C. Wilson.

Belfast -- F. P. Montgomery; B. C. Hardy, A. R. Wheeler, M. Ireland, Brady; J. E. Rea, C. Wood; J. Hamilton, W. Kennedy, B. McGown, J. McKay (Collegian), J McKay (Queen's), G. Mahoney, F. Ewart, and A. N. Other.

(Belfast-News-Letter, 27 February 1915)


These teams met at Ormeau, Belfast of Saturday, in cold and miserable weather, rain and sleet falling practically throughout the whole afternoon. The Belfast team was a weak one, still they succeeded in winning. Owing to the slippery state of the ball good passing was out of the question, but what little was seen came from the home side. Ireland [sic] scored an unconverted try in the first half, and in the second Hamilton and McKay added tries, McGown goaling the former's effort. The North Irish Horse players put up a good fight, and were many times near scoring, so that the score does not by any means give a fair idea of the play. Result:-- Belfast--1 goal 2 tries (11 points). North Irish Horse--Nil.

(Irish Times, 1 March 1915)



This match was played on Saturday, at Ballymena, before quite a large crowd of spectators, and resulted for the school team by 1 goal (5 points) to nil. The game was keenly contested throughout. In the first half, the play was fairly even, all attempts on either side to score being nullified by fine tackling on the other. In the secord half the Academy had rather the better of the play, forcing the Horse to touch down more than once. Five minutes from time the soldiers were penalised for off-side, and Watt made a magnificent try at goal from a difficult position. The ball rebounded off the cross-bar and McClelland, the school captain, following up, fielded cleanly and forced his way over for a fine try. Watt made no mistake in adding the major points. Towards the end of the game darkness set in, which rendered it rather difficult to locate the ball. The Academy boys are to be congratulated on defeating the military, as the latter were much the bigger and heavier lot. A feature of the match, which was ably refereed by Mr. McShane, was the good spirit which prevailed right through. We have rarely seen on Ballymena grounds a more gentlemanly set of visitors than the soldiers. Altogether, it was a very fast and exciting game, and the Academy fully deserved their victory, which was in a large measure due to the good play of H. Carson, replacing his brother at half. If the Academy could strengthen their half-back line, they would have a really good team. Surely some of the bigger boys, who so far have cried off playing, will step into the breach before the School Cup ties come round.

(Ballymena Observer, 30 November 1917)


Lawn Tennis


This match took place at Muckamore on Saturday. The N.I.H. had the assistance of two members of the home club. The game ended in a win for the horsemenby 4 matches to 1, 8 sets to 2, or 61 games to 31. The tennis club (Muckamore) provided tea, and a very enjoyable evening was spent. Croquet and friendly games filled up the remaining time. Details:–

Lieutenants Wright and Forrest (N.I.H.) beat Private B.G. Bonner and Lance-Corporal Russell (S.C.D.) – 11-9 and 6-3.

J.G. Entwistle and J. Malcolm (N.I.H.) beat Withers and Jones (S.C.D.) – 6-1 and 6-0.

Sergeant McKinley and Trooper Smith (N.I.H.) beat McIntosh and Patterson (S.C.D.) – 6-1 and 6-2.

Troopers Loton and Pyke (N.I.H.) beat Ritchie and Johnston (S.C.D.) – 6-0 and 6-3.

Troopers Walton and McDaniel (N.I.H.) lost to Kaye and Young (S.C.D.) – 4-6 and 4-6.

(Ballymena Weekly Telegraph, 2 September 1916)



A very attractive hockey fixture between the North Irish Horse and Ballymena, took place on Wednesday evening last, in the Demense, Ballymena, before a good attendance. The proceeds were in aid of the funds of the Ballymena War Working Party (comforts for soldiers), which should be considerably added to by the takings. Ballymena took up the running, and McConnell, after a good run, scored the opening goal. Mercer, with a nice pot, scored the equalizer. Both teams struggled hard for the lead, the Horse being finally rewarded by Alexander scoring. Half-time --

North Irish Horse ... 2 goals.
Ballymena ... ... ... 1 goal.

The second half started favourably for the homesters, and it looked as if they would come on equal terms with the military. The venue suddenly changed, and the horsemen, after a short attack, scored per Copeland. Mercer showed particular brilliancy in his fast rushes, Ballymena occasionally had several good runs, Jackson and Murphy making fine attempts to score. There was no further scoring, the North Irish Horse remaining the winners. Teams -- N.I.H. -- Shaw, Jackson, Hamilton, Torrens, McDonnell, McCartney, Bradley, Alexander, Mercer, Copeland, Dean. Ballymena -- Brown, Brabazon, McClean, Cathcart, Murphy, Jackson, McConnell, Millar, Hatton, Armstrong, Elliott. Referees -- Moore and Millar. Result --

North Irish Horse ... 3 goals.
Ballymena ... ... ... 1 goal.

(Ballymena Observer, 2 April 1915)