Dundalk Great Northern Railway Football Club

October 22, 2007 at 9:35 pm 3 comments

Our ninth League game of the 1977-78 season was against Dundalk, one of Ireland’s oldest clubs. The Great Northern Railway Association Football Club was founded in 1903. They joined the Leinster Senior league in 1922 under the name Dundalk GNR, and were elected to the Free State league four years later, replacing Pioneers. They changed their name to simply Dundalk when they first became league champions in 1933. They won the cup twice in the 1940s, and twice again in the 1950s. Their breakthrough second league title came in 1963, exactly 30 years after their first, under club captain John Murphy. Their forward line included Francie Callan and the one-armed Jimmy Hasty, whose favourite trick was to lean his stump on the shoulders of jumping defenders, knowing that referees would be reluctant to give a free against him.

In 1964 Dundalk became the first Irish team to win a European Cup match, but went out on aggregate to Swiss champions FC Zurich. They won the league again in 1967, and the following year beat Dutch side Utrecht to reach the second round of the European Fairs Cup. It was a bittersweet victory, as defender Patsy McKeown had his career ended by a broken leg in the away game, which ended with the sides level. Dundalk replaced McKeown for the home game by re-signing John Murphy, who had captained the club to the league title five years previously. They claimed the historic victory in extra time, when defender Jimmy Morrisey, from the edge of the penalty area, headed home a cross from Tony O’Connell.

After a fallow period, Dundalk had once again become a top side in the mid-seventies. They won the league in 1976, losing only once throughout the season, and followed up with a remarkable performance against PSV Eindhoven in the European Cup. Fans descended on Oriel Park, chartering coaches from Dublin and a flight from London. An early goal by Seamus McDowall put the Louth side ahead against the Dutch champions, who had eight internationals from the home of ‘total football’. A late Eindhoven equaliser failed to spoil a great night for the club, though they were beaten comprehensively in the away leg. Dundalk went on to win the FAI Cup in 1977, beating Limerick in the final thanks to two goals from former Bohemians striker Terry Flanagan.

They had a poor start to the 1977-78 season, and were languishing in mid-table when Bohemians travelled to Oriel Park with some confidence.


Entry filed under: Football, League of Ireland.

The Law of Leeds and Bohs Weekend Results Sun Oct 23, 1977 – Dundalk 2 Bohs 2

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alan byrne  |  January 6, 2009 at 1:35 am

    Hi Michael – great site.

    John Murphy mentioned in your piece is now a commentator with Dundalk’s Community Radio – Dundalk FM – and as manager and Lilywhites fan, I can say that we are looking forward to commentating on the Bohs-Dundalk matches from Dalymount this year.


    Alan Byrne

  • 2. Terry  |  March 24, 2009 at 11:59 am

    could this postcard be from the early football team

    Take a look

  • 3. Zuerich  |  June 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    You could definitely see your skills within the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time follow your heart.


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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.


October 2007
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That’s Ireland

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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