Sun Aug 28, 1977 – Bohs 6 Cork Albert 0
Thirty years ago today, the first day of the 1977-78 season had finally arrived, and I had butterflies (or was it fizzle sticks?) in my stomach as I got on the 19A to Phibsboro. In fairness, we should be able to hammer Cork Albert. They had only been in the league for one season, and they finished second last, ahead of only Home Farm. Okay, they had signed Gerry Finnegan from Shelbourne, who should strengthen their midfield. And they did have the legendary Alec Ludzic in goal. But I was in an unrealistically optimistic mood, as any normal football fan always is on the first day of a new season (no matter how good or bad their team is), so I would have been surprised if we didn’t win by at least five. Particularly given that Leeds had beaten Birmingham the day before, so a Bohs win today would make this the first Perfect Weekend of the season.
The attendance, to be honest, was pathetic, but we stood proudly in the shed and cheered the players as they jogged towards us for their warm up: Mick Smyth in goal; Eamon Gregg, Joe Burke, Padraig O’Connor and Fran O’Brien in defence; Pat Byrne, John McCormack, Tommy Kelly and Gerry Ryan in midfield; Turly O’Connor and Eddie Byrne up front. Surely we would hammer this lot. And we did. Not by the five I had optimistically hoped for; but by six goals to nil.
Turly started the rout within minutes of the kick-off, having been put through by Eddie Byrne. Turly could have scored a second soon after, but instead passed to Gerry Ryan who scored into an open goal. We celebrated twice more before half time: after an own goal by Cork Albert defender Mick Tobin, who authoritatively headed home an Eamon Gregg cross, and a wonderful volley into the net from the edge of the penalty area by Bohs midfielder Pat Byrne. In the second half, man-of-the-match Eddie Byrne dribbled past a million defenders before scoring from just inside the penalty area. Then, just before the final whistle, Niall Shelley latched onto a long clearance from goalkeeper Mick Smyth to score the sixth.
Amidst the celebrations, we heard that there was one other massacre that day, as reigning champions Sligo Rovers beat Thurles Town by five goals to one. Sligo had beaten us to the title by one point the previous year. It looked like it could be us against them again this year. And, of course, Johnny Giles’ new Shamrock Rovers, who also won today against Dundalk in Oriel Park. But none of that mattered today, because we had won by six goals to nil on the first day of the season. And it doesn’t get much better than that.