The cricketing horse
It was a great day for Dublin. The West Indies cricket team had agreed to play
an exhibition match against a select XI made up of sportsmen from all over Ireland.
The setting was Lansdown Road, the weather was beautiful, a packed crowd breathlessly
waited for the first ball to be bowled. And then the news came like a bombshell.
O'Hanlan, the great batsman, had been involved in a car crash en route to the
ground and had broken his leg.
What to do? Who to replace him? Where could they turn? Suddenly - inspiration!
Dillon the tinker, the greatest all-round sportsman in Irish history. Dillon would
play. Quickly they rang him and just as quickly he declined.
'My legs have gone,' said he. 'I'd be no use to yez. But I tell you what.
I've a horse that could do the job.'
'A horse!' exclaimed the captain. 'A horse! The man's gone mad!'
'Nevertheless,' said Casey the wicketkeeper, 'we are desperate.'
In a trice Dillon arrived with the ugliest old grey horse you've ever seen.
'Can he field?' asked the captain.
'Field?' exclaimed Dillon. 'He's the greatest slip fielder in the world.'
The horse was put at first slip and he caught out six players off the first
six balls bowled. Leaping here, leaping there.
'Can he bowl?' asked the skipper eagerly.
'Bowl?' smiled Dillon. 'He's the greatest fast bowler you ever seen. Put the
ball in his hoof.'
Whack, whack, whack, whack. Down went the stumps, four times off the horse's
first four balls. West Indies all out for nought. A miracle - nothing less.
'Can the horse bat?' asked the captain expectantly.
'Bat? Bat?' beamed Dillon. 'He bats like the second coming of Don Bradman.'
So the horse was padded and gloved, a cap placed between his ears and held
down with sellotape and out it strode to the wicket. Down came the first ball.
Crrrack! The ball left the bat like a bullet.
'Run!' shouted the skipper. 'Run! Run!'
'Don't be stupid,' said Dillon. 'If he could run he'd be at Leopardstown!'