Michael Joseph Dore

  • 1Caps
  • 66Wallaby Number
PositionHalfback
Date Of Birth28 May 1882
Place Of BirthBrisbane
SchoolSt. Joseph's Christian Brother's College, Gregory Terrace
Debut ClubNorth Brisbane
ProvinceQLD
Died12 August 1910
Debut Test Match1905 Wallabies v New Zealand, Dunedin
Final Test Match1905 Wallabies v New Zealand, Dunedin

Biography

Mickey Dore was born in Brisbane on 29 May 1882, son of Irish immigrants Robert John and Sarah (née Creagan) Dore. He was the brother of Edmund (Eddie) Dore (q.v.). He attended St. Joseph’s Christian Brothers’ College, Gregory Terrace, from 1896 and played halfback and five-eighth for the North Brisbane Club. A saddler’s clerk and later a public servant in the State Labour Government, Dore represented Queensland from 1903 to 1907 as a “star halfback”. He was a “brilliant and fearless player, and possessed of remarkable grit for one so light”. Like his brother, Eddie, Mickey was considered to be courageous “in tackling bigger opponents, and going down on the ball to stop the dribbling rushes”. One commentator remarked: “As an attacker he would be welcome in any team, and as a defender he would go down to stop a train”.

When he was selected to play for Queensland against the visiting British team in 1904 the press described him as “the best defensive half in Queensland, being an [sic] adept at tackling, stopping rushes, and screw kicking”. Internationally, he played for Australia in one Test match, as halfback against New Zealand at Dunedin on 2 September 1905. He also played in four other matches throughout New Zealand against local clubs during that tour. Dore was named to the “Gallery of Great Players” on the occasion of Queensland Rugby Union’s jubilee in 1932 for representing the State on more than ten occasions. Mickey’s total was 23 matches: 20 against NSW as a forward, one against Great Britain and two against New Zealand. He captained Queensland in eight of those games. In 1907 Dore switched to League, and was elected to the first general committee of the Queensland Rugby League along with other Queensland Rugby international players Sine Boland, Jack Fihelly and George Watson. He played in Queensland’s first League game in 1908, and participated variously as a referee and coach.

He also served as the Queensland selector for the first Australian rugby league team. He married Margaret Josephine Guilfoyle in Brisbane on 31 December 1907, but died – “passed in his checks” – on 13 August 1910 “after a lingering illness” at his father’s house in Spring Hill. He was only 27 years old. His brother, Eddie, blamed the death on pneumonia aggravated by exhaustion from playing Rugby League in inclement weather in order to help maintain momentum for the new sport and ensure its survival. He left an infant son, Vince Dore (b. 17 September 1909), who became a member of the Brothers’ Club who later played Rugby Union for Queensland in 1933 and 1934.

Howell and Howell had this to say about Dore in The Greatest Game Under the Sun: “M.J, (‘Mickey’) Dore was an outstanding halfback, renowned for his safety in defence. He played 23 times for Queensland in Rugby Union in 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906 and 1907, and captained the State eight times. He only played for Australia once, in 1905 against New Zealand at Dunedin. From a working class background, he was a saddler’s clerk and played for the North Brisbane club. He went to school at Gregory Terrace, as did his brother, Edmund (‘Eric’) who ...represented Australia once, in 1904. They both played Rugby League, but Edgie did not gain representative honours, whereas ‘Mick’ was one of the foundation stones of the new movement, as a player as well as an administrator. He was the second most capped representative League player in 1908, playing 10 times.

He appeared a certain selection for the 1908 Kangaroos to tour England and, indeed, became- along with Jack Fihelly and Bob Tubman- one of the first three Queenslanders selected to play Rugby League for Australia. It was said that Dore ‘ has been guaranteed a trip to England with the Australian professional team and in consequence, has applied for and been granted, eight months leave of absence from the Railway Department.’ Unfortunately, he later declared himself unavailable and died when he was aged about 28.” The 1905 Australian team to New Zealand, captained by Stan Wickham, was the first fully representative Australian team to travel overseas. There were 23 players for the seven games, 14 from NSW and nine from Queensland. Dore played in five of the seven games, the last one as five-eighth, the others at halfback.The games in which he played were Wellington-Wairarapa-Horowhenua (7-23), Canterbury-South Canterbury (3-8), New Zealand (3-14), Wanganui-Taranaki (18-13) and Auckland (10-8). As there was only one Test, he has to be considered the number one halfback on the tour.

Michael Joseph Dore