1881 – 1947
“One of the greatest sportsmen that County Monaghan or indeed Ireland has ever produced”
James Cecil Parke was born at Clonboy, Clones, County Monaghan in pre-independence Ireland. He was a splendid all round sportsman and emerged as one of the great figures in the history of tennis, his favourite sport. He was a scrupulously fair player.
Parke was an Irish Rugby International, capped 20 times from 1903 – 1909 and captaining the team on three occasions. He was also a first class cricketer, an international golfer and had been a noted sprinter at the Trinity College Races. At the age of nine he represented his home town at chess.
James Cecil Parke won his first tennis trophy at the age of 19 at Clones Lawn Tennis Club.
Proud to be Irish, he nursed his own luck by pinning two sprigs of shamrock to his tennis shirt before his matches.
And it obviously worked…
He represented the British Isles in the Davis Cup six times until 1920. This was at a time that travelling to Australia for the Davis Cup would have taken six weeks by sea. He was Irish Men’s Singles Champion in 1905 & 1906 followed by winning streak that lasted for six consecutive years from 1908 – 1913. In 1908 he won a Silver Medal at the London Olympics in the men’s doubles and reached the pinnacle of his career by winning the Mixed Doubles at Wimbledon in 1912 and 1914. The 1912 Olympics were held in Sweden at the same time as Wimbledon but the noted players of the day refused to attend the Olympics and went to Wimbledon instead. He was also the winner of the Irish Men’s singles eight times, Doubles four times and Mixed Doubles twice.
This feats are made all the more remarkable when you consider that he fought in the First World War during this time, winning the Military Cross for bravery and rising to the rank of Battalion Commander.
He went on to practice as a solicitor in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, where he died on February 27th 1947. He is buried in Llandudno his grave is marked by a Celtic cross and states his place of birth, “Born at Clones, County Monaghan”.
James Cecil Parke