H. O’Neil was a Norwood junior who did not progress after he made the same mistake three times when promoted to play against the Victorian team Hotham at Kensington Oval early in the 1885 season.
Norwood’s performance disappointed many in the crowd of 6,000. The South Australian Advertiser said: “Two members of the team which defeated the Adelaides the previous week were absent, and O’Neil and Turner, who filled their places, by no means compensated for their absence.”
Soon after the start, O’Neil took a mark in front of the sticks but, instead of going back for a shot at goal, tried to pass the ball off to a teammate. The pass was intercepted and ball was carried to the other end of the ground, where Hotham posted the first goal after three minutes’ play.
Because of Hotham’s inaccuracy, Norwood was still in the game at half-time, but when play resumed O’Neil twice repeated his earlier error and the visitors went on to win 5.17 to 3.7 (behinds not counting).
In 1886, O’Neil joined the local Hotham team in the Adelaide & Suburban Football Association. He made the best players in the Adelaide & Suburban side which went down to Geelong, 6.10 to 1.3, at Adelaide Oval on Thursday 8 July 1886. Hotham won its second successive premiership that year and was admitted to the SA Football Association in 1987, with O’Neil on the playing list. He was not there in 1888 when Hotham was renamed North Adelaide.
P. Robins November 2021