Rugby Memorabilia Society

John Joseph Cotton
Wales v Ireland 1889

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Honours Caps awarded to John Joseph Cotton of Ireland
Wanderers Cap (left) & Ireland International Cap (right)
The manufacturers label on the Ireland Cap stated it was made by W Laird, 13 Corn Market, Belfast.

John Joseph Cotton who was awarded the above Caps was born in 1863 and was the son of Alderman William Francis Cotton "Lord Mayor of Dublin" the story goes that his father disliked his son playing rugby so much that John Joseph played under the name of William to avoid any embarrassment to his father. He made his only appearance for Ireland in the International against Wales in Swansea on the 2nd March 1889.

South Wales Echo - 1889 Monday 4th March (Rugby Memorabilia Society)
Illustration from the South Wales Echo (Monday 4th March 1889)

Match report of the 1889 Wales v Ireland International

Ireland defeated Wales at Swansea by two tries and six minors to one minor. Without doubt the better team won. An immense crowd of spectators witnessed the match and outside the St Helen's field every vantage point was occupied by devotees of the game. The game was most pleasantly contested from start to finish and with an entire absence of rough play. The first half was entirely in favour of the visitors who frequently threatened the Welsh goal line. Gould made some good attempts to relieve, but only for a minute as the Irishmen played up with wonderful dash and carried all before them. Nevertheless they failed to register anything decisive in the first half. Strange to say, although Wales played a much better game in the second half, yet two tries were recorded against them. At the start the home team pulled themselves together and made every effort to score. For a time the Irishmen were baffled and had to work hard in or near their quarters. Then an unlucky piece of play by Wales allowed the visitors to score. Biggs threw the ball over his head to Gould and Macdonald smartly took possession and scored a try, which was not converted (although the attempt was praiseworthy). Ireland playing in splendid style were soon again near the Welsh goal line, where a tight and exciting scrimmage was formed. The Welshmen failed to raise the siege and Cotton obtained a second try, which was not converted. Wales played with spirit and towards the end of the conflict gave the Irishmen a lot of work to defend their quarters. This brought forth loud cheers and led to the hope that something substantial would accrue. But alas! The visitors were not to be beaten. The inevitable Pedlow kicked well into the open and then it was evident the Welshmen had lost the game.

The Final score:
Ireland - 2 tries, 6 minors
Wales - 1 minor

South Wales Echo
Bonhams Auctions

Rugby Memorabilia Society
Peter Douglas-Davies