Vale John O’Reilly (1930-2024)

The NSW cricket community is in mourning following the passing this week of former Blues player, John O’Reilly, aged 93.

O’Reilly played Sydney Premier Cricket for Mosman, Petersham and most notably St George, before going on to play seven Sheffield Shield matches for NSW.

He was NSW Blues player number 491, making his First Class debut in February 1954 against Western Australia at the SCG.

In his first two matches in the 1953/54 Shield season, O’Reilly scored 77 runs at 77 and took two wickets at 24.5. He finished his seven match career at that level having scored 190 runs at 38, and taken 13 wickets at 24.9.

Even prior to his First Class career, O’Reilly had been a prodigious talent. Aged just 15, in his first game of grade cricket with Mosman third grade he made a most memorable debut. He took seven wickets for 10 runs on a perfect Mosman Oval batting wicket. The team captain reported that the young spinner was only brought on for one over to enable the opening bowlers to change ends. As it happened, O’Reilly bowled two batsmen out in that one over but was taken off, only to be brought back later on when the fast bowlers failed to have any real impact, to take another five wickets for seven runs.

Cricket NSW CEO Lee Germon said O’Reilly’s passing had left the NSW cricket community saddened.

“John had a distinguished career in Sydney grade cricket, particularly at St George in some of their greatest teams, and then played seven Sheffield Shield matches over several summers for NSW,” Germon said.

“I know I speak for many within the cricket community in offering our deepest condolences to his family, former teammates and friends.”

O’Reilly will be laid to rest in a private ceremony next week.

Official Partners