Gardiner, Frederick Thomas (1874–1921), rugby footballer, was born 31 May 1874 at Tullyglush, Co. Armagh, son of William Gardiner, merchant, and Mary Gardiner (née Coulter). Educated at Lurgan College in the late 1880s, he moved to Belfast to play club rugby for the North of Ireland Football Club and work as a linen manufacturer. His first of twenty-two caps for Ireland was against England at Richmond (1900). Playing in the backline for Ulster, he was a forward for Ireland at a time when field positions were generally interchangeable. His versatility was rewarded in the 1906 Triple Crown decider against Wales in Belfast, when both Irish halfbacks were lost to injury. He took up one replacement position, taking turns to feed the scrums and, despite never kicking for his club, converting a try from between the goal posts when his teammates lost their nerve. Ireland won 11–6 and shared the championship with Wales. At Easter 1908 he played for a Barbarians side that played four matches in five days in Wales against Cardiff (twice), Newport, and Swansea. Captain of Ireland three times in the 1908–9 season, he made his last appearance in Ireland's first international match against France, held at Lansdowne Road (20 March 1909). He scored a try that he converted in a 19–8 victory. Referee of Scotland versus England in 1912, he took charge of Ireland against South Africa the same year after the original official, J. Tulloch, retired from the field. A member (1909–11) of the Ireland selection committee, he was also devoted to golf, cricket, motor sport, and yachting. Continuing in his trade as a linen merchant, he died on 7 June 1921 at home at Thornhill, Malone Road, Belfast, after a hospital operation, and was survived by a wife and three children.
Times, Belfast News Letter, 9 June 1921; Sport (Dublin), 11 June 1921; E. H. D. Sewell, Rugby football up to date (1921); id., Rugger (1944); Sean Diffley, The men in green (1973); Edmund Van Esbeck, One hundred years of Irish rugby (1974); Terry Godwin, The international rugby championship (1984); Edmund Van Esbeck, The story of Irish rugby (1986); Terry Godwin, The complete who's who of international rugby (1987)