Thurs Sep 8, 1977 – Bohs 9 St Brendans 0
Thirty years ago today, Bohs played a Leinster Cup game against St Brendans. The junior side held out for half an hour, and went into the interval only two goals down. But Bohs’ fitness showed in the second half with seven more goals, including two long-range shots from substitute Niall Shelley. Turly O’Connor, Eddie Byrne and Gerry Ryan also scored two each, with Pat Byrne adding the ninth. Many sports fans will testify that there is no pleasure in such a one-sided game, where the outcome is in no doubt. But not me. I have always loved to see Bohs and Leeds score goals, the more the better.
One of my top childhood memories is watching Leeds beat Southampton 7-0 in 1972. After the seventh, Leeds manager Don Revie was embarrassed for his Southampton counterpart Ted Bates, who was a friend of his, so Revie told his side to take it easy. The players responded by switching to an audacious display of twenty-pass sequences, resplendent with clever flicks and back-heels by Johnny Giles and Billy Bremner. The Match of the Day commentator, Barry Davies, summed it up best: ‘It’s almost cruel!’ I was eleven at the time, on the day that I first realised that cruelty could be so entertaining.
More to the point, Bohs had now scored sixteen goals in the last three games. And there was every prospect of more of the same as the season continued. We had five potentially prolific scorers in Turly O’Connor, Eddie Byrne, Gerry Ryan, Niall Shelley and Pat Byrne. And no doubt Joe Burke would add a few piledriver free kicks into the mix. Okay, so we were only scoring against sides like Cork Albert and Saint Brendans, but the reason that we had lost the league the previous season – by just one point! – was that we had failed to put away teams like these.
The next week would show if we could also beat better teams. We were away on Sunday to Waterford, who were level with us on three points from two games. Then came the big one in the middle of next week – a floodlit home tie against Newcastle United in the UEFA Cup.