The 1970s – Irish International Bohemians
To give a flavour of the type of players who wore the red and black of Bohs in the decade of glam rock, disco and punk, here is a team of 1970s Bohemians who represented Ireland. Between them they accumulated 185 full caps, and scored 24 international goals: Gerry Daly 13; Mick Martin four; Turly O’Connor and Mick Leech two; Gerry Ryan, Ashley Grimes and Johnny Fullam one. Their manager is Seán Thomas, who led Bohs from 1964-73, apart from a brief spell with Boston Shamrocks. In June 1973, between the reigns of Liam Tuohy and John Giles, Seán also managed Ireland to a 1-1 draw in Norway. Their trainer is Mick Byrne, who went on to be physio for the Irish team under several managers. Arguably, he could claim to be an Irish manager himself, as Jack Charlton says that Mick picked the team for Jack’s first game against Wales in ’86!
Goalkeeper: Mick Smyth. A tall, elegant keeper, Mick played once for Ireland before wearing Bohs old-style plain green keeper’s jersey. Superb in our ’76 Cup Final win against Drogheda, he was Irish Football Personality of the Year in ’77. Mick previously played for Drums, Barrow and Shamrock Rovers, and later for Athlone.
Right Back: Eamon Gregg. A solid defender who could tackle, overlap and cross, Eamon was a Bohemian for five years before his Irish debut in Poland in ’78. He won seven more caps in the next two years, and later played for Dundalk, Pat’s, Rovers and Kilkenny. He managed the Bohs side that won the ’92 FAI Cup.
Centre Back: Johnny Fullam. An experienced playmaker and precise passer, Johnny joined Bohs just before the last of his eleven Irish caps, against Czechoslovakia in ’69. As club captain until ’76, his central defensive partnership with Joe Burke was legendary. Johnny also played for Preston, Rovers and Athlone.
Centre Back: Mick Martin. The most-capped former Bohemian, Mick won the first seven of his 52 caps as a Bohs player, debuting in Austria in ’71, before Man United signed him for a then-Irish-record £20,000. He went on to play for WBA under John Giles, Newcastle, Vancouver, Cardiff, Peterborough, Rotherham and Preston.
Left Back: Fran O’Brien. An attacking full back tracked by several English clubs, Fran (with Eddie and Pat Byrne) sensationally joined Philadelphia Fury just before we won the ’78 league title. The next year, in Czechoslovakia, the first of Fran’s three caps made him the first ever US-based Irish international.
Right Wing: Pat Byrne. An energetic and skilful player, Pat spent five years as part of a formidable Bohs midfield with Padraig O’Connor, Tommy Kelly and Eddie Byrne or Gerry Ryan. He later played for Philadelphia Fury, Shelbourne, Leicester and Hearts before winning eight Irish caps while playing for Rovers.
Midfield: Ashley Grimes. A gangly midfielder with a strong shot, Ashley first came to prominence as a teenage substitute in our FAI Cup Final win against Drogheda in ’76. The next year Man United bought him for £35,000. He won eighteen Irish caps, and also played for Coventry, Luton, Stoke, and Spanish side Ossasuna.
Midfield: Gerry Daly. A skilful midfielder and trusty penalty taker, Gerry won 48 Irish caps. He debuted in Poland in ’73, a month after Tommy Docherty paid Bohs £12,500 to take him to Man United. He later played for Derby, Coventry, Leicester, Birmingham, Shrewsbury, Stoke, Doncaster, New England and Telford.
Left Wing: Gerry Ryan. A fast, old-style winger who could dribble, cross and score goals, Gerry first played for us in ’75. After a stunning display against Newcastle in ’77, he moved to Derby for £50,000. The next year he won the first of his eighteen Irish caps. Playing for Brighton in ’85, a broken leg ended his career.
Forward: Turlough O’Connor. Our record scorer and captain from ’76-79, Turly was a Bohemian for the last two of his eight Irish caps, against France and Poland in ’72-73. He scored his hundredth league goal for Bohs against Home Farm in ’78. He also played for Fulham, Dundalk and Athlone, and managed Athlone, Dundalk and Bohs.
Forward: Tony O’Connell. Our Honorary Life President played for Rovers and Dundalk before becoming Bohs’ first professional in ’69. The next year, Tony’s goal against Sligo won the FAI Cup, our first major trophy since the ’30s, and he won his second Irish cap at home to Poland. His Jodi firm also sponsored Bohs.
Substitute: Mick Leech. A consistent striker for Rovers and Waterford, Mick had already won eight Irish caps before joining Bohs near the end of the ’78 league winning season. He later played for Drogheda, Pat’s and Dundalk.