Sun Sep 18, 1977 – Bohs 0 Thurles Town 0

September 18, 2007 at 12:01 am 29 comments

Thirty years ago today, the crowd of 25,000 who packed Dalymount for the game against Newcastle must all have had something else to do on this beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. A pitifully small crowd turned up to see Bohs face Thurles Town, who had been surprisingly elected to the league ahead of Bray Wanderers. I had a bad feeling as I got on the 19A to Dalymount. After our awesome performance against Newcastle, today should have been Goliath’s angry big brother against David’s pacifist twin. But I was also a Leeds fan. And the last three weekends results were: Leeds and Bohs both won, Leeds and Bohs both drew, Leeds and Bohs both won. Ominously, Leeds had drawn with Derby the previous day, so it looked as if the football Gods had decreed a similar outcome today.

The game illustrated the utter futility of defying the football gods. Thurles had lost all three games so far, and were the only team on zero points. They had conceded three a game, while we had scored three a game. And yet, solely because Leeds had drawn the previous day, we were destined to do the same today. In other circumstances we would have got two penalties, when Jimmy McGeough fouled Turly O’Connor, and when Mick Coughlan injured Eamon Gregg with a vicious tackle. And Thurles might have scored late in the game, when Francis Burns hit the post and Dave Kirby got to the rebound, but Padraig O’Connor cleared Kirby’s shot from the line. Then my acceptance of our fate turned to anticipation as we got a last-minute free-kick. The ball fell to Eddie Byrne, just a few yards out. Yes! The jinx was be shattered! But, of course, he shot over the bar.

In fairness, Thurles were better than their league position indicated. They had won two out of three pre-season friendlies, losing only to English side Stoke City. Manager Jimmy McGeough, the former Waterford wing-back, had signed Dave Kirby from Limerick to augment a mostly local team. They had a good young midfielder in Martin Ryan. And when the final whistle blew, a small piece of football history had been made: Thurles Town had won their first ever league of Ireland point. Pity they couldn’t have done it somewhere else. And we had seen another Bohs player today, with Austin Brady replacing Niall Shelly as substitute.

Luckily, the draw didn’t damage us too badly, as the two teams ahead of us were playing each other. Finn Harps beat Sligo Rovers, thanks to a stunning twenty-yard volley by teenager Jim McGroarty, who luckily for us had just been transferred to Stoke City. And other results conspired to set up the tightest league chase I had seen. The top six teams were now Finn Harps on eight points; Bohs, Sligo Rovers, Cork Alberts and Shamrock Rovers all on six points each; and Drogheda United on five. We also had the away leg to Newcastle coming up. Could we nick an early away goal? And Johnny Giles had called up former Bohs star Ashley Grimes into the Ireland squad for a unique game the following Wednesday – Ireland versus the League of Ireland, at Dalymount Park. That meant two big midweek games, floodlit, in eight days. This was a good month to be a Bohs fan.

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Entry filed under: Bohemians, Football, Leeds United, Match Reports.

Fri Sep 16, 1977 – Marc Bolan Dies in Car Crash What Does it Mean to Be an Irish Sports Fan?

29 Comments Add your own

  • 1. D16 Gypsy  |  September 18, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    I remember going to Thurles in January 1978 by train, we arrived there about 10.30 and nowhere was open in the god damn place. The match was at 2 or 2.30. Bohs were banging in goals for fun that season but had failed to score against Thurles Town in Dalymount.

    The same thing happened again , we failed to score but they did in the last few minutes. I think it was their only win. After the match it was back to the station to wait for the train at about 7. This was the best part of a miserable day as we had a waiting room to ourselves with a turf fire. We played cards in that cosy waiting room until the train came.

    We went and won the league that season, our last until that great day in Kilkenny. I got to another game in Thurles which we won handy enough. I think Thurles Town gave up not long after. To those who only know seeing Bohs on Friday nights, back then all the games were on Sunday afternoons and I travelled to many away games by train. The team would usually travel by train for the longer trips.

    [Reposted from TheBohs.Com Forum]

    Reply
  • 2. paddy medley  |  June 24, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    This was a wonderful day to be a Thurles Town supporter. We plodded through a dismal first season losing game after game by five or six goals. Our saviour that day was Pat Dunne, then in the twilight of his career. Pat Doran was another hero and of course local boy, Noelie Jordan. Sean Sheehy planted the winner in the 92nd minute from 30 yards out on the hospital side of the pitch. My vivid memory is of Philip Greene, who was in the middle of the crowd commentating on the game for RTE, losing his microphone in the melee after the ‘town’ had scored. It was our only win that season but we were the only ones who beat Bohs! They had a really gifted team that year.

    Reply
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A Blog by Michael Nugent

Welcome to my blog about following Bohs in the 1970s. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I also write That's Ireland, a blog about living in the maddest country on earth.

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As mentioned above, if for some strange reason there is more to your life than football, I also write That's Ireland, a blog about living in the maddest country on earth.

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