Our eighth League game of the 1977-78 season was against Cork Celtic. I’ve already gone over the Fordsons-Cork-City-United-Athletic-Hibernians-Albert half of the city’s football history. The other half began with Cork Bohemians, who played two league seasons in the early 1930s. After them came Evergreen United, who first played in the Free State Cup in 1937. They joined the league in 1951 and two years later lost the first all-Cork cup final against Athletic, despite Athletic’s centre-half Florrie Burke playing for Evergreen because of a contract dispute. By the end of the decade Evergreen were regular title challengers, and in true Cork tradition changed their name to Cork Celtic in 1959. A great local rivalry with Cork Hibernians quickly emerged. (more…)
Thirty years ago today in Lansdowne Road, I watched Ireland bow out of the World Cup campaign for Argentina 1978. Our fate had been sealed long before, thanks to two outrageous refereeing decisions in earlier games. Frank Stapleton had a perfectly good goal disallowed against France in Paris, and Johnny Giles had a perfectly good goal disallowed against Bulgaria in Sofia, both of which resulted in damage not only to our chances of qualifying but also to my fist and my television set. Now we were third in a three-team group, having to beat Bulgaria by perhaps a million goals, and also hope that France and Bulgaria drew their final match, if we were to feature in the 1978 World Cup Finals. (more…)
Thirty years ago today, Bohemians faced disaster. Leeds had lost the previous day to Bristol City, whose major contribution to British football was in the field of rhyming slang, and this meant that Bohs were destined to lose today against Finn Harps. I was unlikely to have traveled to Donegal anyway, but I was comforted by the fact that I would be missing a defeat instead of a win. And so I settled down in my living room for a marathon session of watching QPR playing Everton on the Big Match, then listening to radio updates on the Bohs game, then watching Felicity Kendall in the Good Life, Clive Dunn in Dad’s Army, and later on highlights of Shamrock Rovers against Sligo on Sportscene. (more…)
Thirty years ago today, Bohemians played host to Athlone Town in the Leinster Cup quarter-finals. We were two goals up at half-time, thanks to a header by Eddie Byrne and a shot by John McCormack, before Athlone’s Brian Dawson got a last-minute consolation goal. But the main talking point of the tie was the return of Fran O’Brien at left-back for Bohs, after his aborted transfer to Derby County. The upside was we were in the semi-finals of a pretty minor competition, along with Dundalk, Shelbourne and Home Farm. The downside was that we had now played two games every week for a month, and the players must be feeling the strain. I could only hope that Leeds would win on Saturday, which would ensure that we beat Finn Harps on Sunday.
Thirty years ago today, Bohs were 100% certain to end our four-match goal drought by beating Home Farm at Dalymount. This was not because of the quality of either team, but because Leeds had beaten Chelsea the day before, and Bohs had the same result as Leeds for the past five weekends in a row. As usual for the routine games, there was a very small crowd in Dalymount. That could have been because of a major publicity coup by Saint Pats: they were playing Shamrock Rovers that afternoon, and former England World Cup hero Gordon Banks was playing in goal for them. Or it could have been because Bohs crowds were crap for most minor games, which was not something I chose to dwell on. (more…)
Thirty years ago today, the fortunes of the two newly-transferred Bohemians could not have been more different. Gerry Ryan played for Derby against Middlesboro, and helped to make a goal in Derby’s first win of the season. But Fran O’Brien, originally pencilled in for Derby’s reserve team today, was instead told that his transfer had fallen through because he had failed a medical examination. (more…)
Our sixth league game of the 1977-78 season was against Home Farm, which was effectively a merger of two of Dublin’s oldest clubs. Drumcondra was founded in 1923, and four years later won the Free State Cup. They joined the league in 1928, the same year that Home Farm was founded as a schoolboy club playing in the Altar Boys league. Both clubs were based about a mile apart on Dublin’s northside, close to where I now went to school, and between them they helped to shape much of the tradition of Irish football history. (more…)