Category: Uncategorized

Blast from the Past: Joey Cunningham nets hat-trick on Newry debut

Joey Cunningham (centre), pictured with Ollie Ralph and Marty Magee at a club reunion night in 2013. Photo courtesy of Tony Bagnall.

By Jim Campbell

Down through the last century of years there have been many brilliant footballers who donned the blue and white vertical stripes of Newry Town/City/ City AFC .

One of the most talented and skilful however, must have been Joey Cunningham from Forkhill in South Armagh.  Joey was also a brilliant GAA performer with his native County Armagh.

Joey’s soccer career began with the Dundalk youth academy, and following a recommendation from Newry’s legendary Ollie Ralph, he signed for The Town at the beginning of the 1985-86 season for the first of his two spells with our club.

Joey made his debut against Ballymena United in a Ulster Cup match on Saturday 17th August 1985 – and this match report taken from The Ireland Saturday Night tells us that “Joey Blasts Off With A Cracker”.

Depleted Newry Town, missing six first team regulars, rocked Ballymena United by snatching a shock 14th lead in their Lombard Ulster Cup match at the Ballymena Showgrounds.
And it was Joey Cunningham, the Armagh County GAA star and one of the Border club’s debutants who grabbed the glory early.
The winger latched on to a pass from Ollie Ralph, brushed of a feeble challenge from left back Michael Smyth and slotted the ball past the advancing and previously unoccupied Ricky Adair into the corner of the net.
Newry’s new look team made a lively beginning and they should have extended their lead two minutes after Cunningham’s opener.
Eugene McInerney picked up the ball inside the penalty area, but with the goal at his mercy, he drove a left foot shot against the far post. The ball rolled along the goal line and was knocked to safety by Stevie Conville.
Ballymena, with suspended midfield star Colin O’Neill watching from the Grandstand struggled to put their game together but newcomer Davy McAlinden produced an out of the blue equaliser in the 21st minute.
The former Cliftonville striker accepted a short pass from Jonathan Speak and beat keeper Kieran Harding with a shot from 25 Yards that squeezed inside the right hand post.
Harding was caught well off his line and was not blameless for the goal, but the keeper made amends in the 29th minute when he finger tipped away a fierce shot from Ronnie Burns.

Half Time: Ballymena 1 – 1 Newry Town

It took Newry just seven minutes to regain the lead – and again it was Cunningham who delivered the goods.
The United defence failed to clear a cross from the left. McInerney found himself unmarked inside the box and when Adair parried his drive, Cunningham was on the spot to tap home.
The home side did have an equalising chance midway through the half but McAlinden’s header from Speak’s cross flashed past a post.
Newry introduced another newcomer Stephen Gracey who went close to wrapping up the points with ten minutes left.
However, with four minutes to go Joey Cunningham put the seal on a brilliant and memorable personal performance by completing his hat-trick. He was left with the simple task of knocking the ball into the net after the tricky McInerney had burst through and sent a shot crashing against the crossbar.

Full time: Ballymena United 1 – 3 Newry Town

Man Of The Match: Joey Cunningham

Newry Town: Harding, Saulters, Mallon, Wilson, Cinnamond, Ralph, Cunningham, Moran, McInerney, Fearon, Farson.
Sub: Gracey

Please follow and like us:
error

Blast from the Past: 1972 AGM Report

AGM Report Culled From Newry Reporter dated 4th May,1972
Town’s 1972 AGM was “Bright, Breezy, And Constructive” 
“Considering the serious civic disorders in our midst throughout the season and our own poor results on the field of play, it was in my opinion a tremendous feat to incur such a small loss of  £7.27 during the past season”, stated Jim Campbell, Newry Town’s Hon Treasurer at the club’s annual meeting which was held on Monday night.
There was quite a good attendance of members despite the fact that there were many other sporting attractions held throughout the district that night and the meeting itself was informative and constructive.
 
Michael McKevitt

Look Forward Now With Confidence – Chairman 

Mr Michael McKevitt, Chairman who presided, welcomed the attendance and said that getting over a very difficult period in the Club’s history they could now look with great confidence to the future as there was a great abundance of talent in the locality. He thanked his energetic Committee for giving him their magnificent support during the time he was in the Chair.
Luck Deserted The Team On Many Occasions 
Mr William McVicker, the Hon Secretary in his report dwelt mainly on the playing performances of the team during the season. He said that on many occasions luck had completely deserted the side and in many games they had just failed by the odd goal.
Their poor performances however in the cup competitions was a bad blow to the club. He thanked the players for their great loyalty during the season in which upwards of 40 games had been played.
Treasurer’s Report 
“It took £1,272.87 to run the club during the season”, stated Jim Campbell in his Treasurers Report. “We had a net working loss over the period of £7.27. Deficiency of Capital with the Bank on the 22nd March of this year was £199.40. The Management Committee had succeeded in slashing expenses in many ways during the season but perhaps there could be further economies in such items as laundry and fuel/ light.”
He drew the members attention to the fact that approximately 25% of the total expenditure on the balance sheet presented belonged to debts accrued from previous seasons which included the upkeep of Ground, players outfit, printing and fuel/light.
The cost of operating the 2nd Eleven in The Mid Ulster League was also included in the expenditure sheet . The improved financial state of the club was made possible thanks to another generous and substantial contribution from The Newry Town FC Supporters Club which coming as it did after the 31 st March was too late to be included in the current balance sheet. The most notable achievement on the income side of the Balance Sheet came from the Supporters Club and The Treasurer thanked John Grant and Jim Weir most sincerely for their magnificent work and leadership in the fundraising efforts of the Supporters Club.
He also thought it right and proper to record that the great majority of the Club Management Committee had stood solidly behind Newry Town FC throughout the season and also had played a big part in the fundraising efforts of the Supporters Club.
It is now apparent that the finances of Newry Town FC are in much better shape than they were a year ago but it will take a lot more hard work and sheer dedication to put the club back where it belongs in the top flight. The Treasurer added this was not however an impossible task and in his opinion their Salvation in the future regarding a safe guaranteed financial income depends entirely on the success or failure of The Social Cub Project at The Showgrounds. This project has an estimated cost of £ 8,000 and if it succeeds then Newry Town FC can march forward with a new confidence which could be rewarded with Irish Senior League and European Football. If it fails, he said, they must be realistic and conclude that Newry Town FC was doomed, certainly as far as big time football was concerned. Therefore it was imperative that more and more football minded people in Newry should come forward to help The Social Club Project.
Newry Town FC as a football club belongs to all the local people – It is their club, they should not be content to stay out and criticise but they should be prepared to come in and help to shape it’s future, a future that could reap the rich rewards mentioned and fully utilise the wonderful facilities existing at The Showgrounds.
Election of Officers and Committee
The Election of Officers and Committee resulted as under:
President – Mr F Whitcroft
Chairman – Mr M McKevitt
Vice Chairman – Mr J Weir
Secretary – Mr Wm McVicker
Treasurer – Mr J Campbell
Committee – Messrs R Holmes, S Campbell, H Poyntz, W Murphy, N McCullough, F Harrison, H McAlpine, R Johnston and M Turley
TRIBUTE 
Before the meeting got underway, the Secretary referred to the passing of Mr Billy Heather who had been a great friend of local football down through the years and most particularly of Newry Town FC.
A short silence was observed in memory of the late Mr Heather.
Please follow and like us:
error

Blast from the Past: Remembering Robert ‘Bud’ Hamilton

By Jim Campbell

Robert Hamilton was a local lad who was rated by many neutral observers to be the best full-back in Ireland when playing for Newry Town FC.

Robert or ‘Bud’ as he was affectionally known by many of his friends, first came into prominence when playing for Damolly Rovers during the 1924-25 season.

The Town’s local scout quickly recognised the young defender’s ability and persuaded him to sign up for The Marshes club towards the end of that season.

Newry’s management decided that it would help Robert’s development if he was loaned out to Portadown Reserves, whilst still remaining a signed senior league player with the Frontiermen.

Robert Hamilton

After six months or so ‘Bud’ was back in harness with The Town and at the beginning of the 1926-27 season he signed professional forms becoming an automatic choice at left full-back in the senior side.

His form in the early part of that season was absolutely magnificent and helped to catapult The Town into a top six Irish Senior League spot.

Interesting to note that Robert’s younger brother David, was also, by this time, an automatic choice at centre half in Newry’s very solid rearguard.

After a run of outstanding games in the senior league, 20 year old Robert was selected to play for The Irish League Representative Team against The Free State League at Windsor Park on Saturday 5th March 1927.

The game attracted a massive crowd in excess of 15,000 plus a host of cross channel scouts. Hamilton had a fine game, attracting the attention of Liverpool, Hearts and Glasgow Rangers. Rangers won the race for his signature but they had to increase their original offer to keep him away from Hearts or Liverpool.

The Town completed his transfer to Rangers on Thursday 10th March 1927 for an undisclosed fee and ‘Bud’ made his debut for the Glasgow club on Wednesday 16th March 1927 against Greenock Morton.

The Ireland’s Saturday Night newspaper commenting on Hamilton’s transfer to Glasgow Rangers said “Hamilton’s future is now in his own hands. He has the ball at his feet as it were and with him alone depends how high up the ladder of football fame he will climb. He has gone over to one of the best managed clubs in the land, a club that is known to give youngsters every opportunity to make good. He has everything on his side to make good. Youth, Height and Weight are assets which combined with ability should make any player feel comfortable in the best company.”

Very quickly Robert settled in at Ibrox Park and just as he was at Newry he became an automatic choice at left back in a great Rangers team that was sweeping all before it in Scotland.

In 1928 he was a member of the first Rangers team to tour America and also was a member of their 1929-30 clean sweep team winning the League Championship, Scottish Cup, Glasgow Cup and Glasgow Charity Cup. ‘Bud’ played in a further three Scottish Cup Finals ( Winning Two) and claimed three more Championship and Charity Cup Winners Medals.

Whilst at Rangers he added five full Irish International caps to the Inter League honour he had won at Newry.

Hamilton left Rangers in 1933 to sign for English Div 2 Club, Bradford City FC where he spent two seasons. He then moved North of The Border again to join Third Lanark and later went to Morton as his trophy-laden career came to a close.

After Robert signed for the Ibrox club in 1927 his younger Brother David continued to play for The Town in the Irish League but David’s career in football was halted when he emigrated to Canada.

Another of Robert’s brothers, Sammy ran two successful businesses on the Belfast Road in Newry for a number of years, namely Rockfoot Service Station and Rockfoot Carpets.

Married to a Welsh Lady, ‘Bud’ passed away in Cardiff on the 7th Feb 1964.

Please follow and like us:
error

Blast from the Past: 10,000 fans at the Showgrounds for 1957 Irish Cup Tie

By Jim Campbell

In this article I recall the day almost sixty three years ago, when Newry Town played an Irish Cup second round tie against a powerful Glenavon side at the Showgrounds, in front of a record breaking 10, 000 crowd. The gate receipts of £525 (worth £12075 in today’s money) was also a record.

The date was Saturday, March 2, 1957 and the memories of that historic cup tie became permanently engraved in my schoolboy mind at that time.

Newry had qualified to play in the Irish Cup for the first time since 1940 and the town was buzzing with excitement for weeks ahead of the game.

Could Newry shock the football world and beat this fantastic Glenavon team with all its superstars such as Cush, Jones, Elwood, Corr, Campbell and McVeigh?

I vividly remember standing outside Woolworths’ front door in the town centre with a dozen or so other students from Newry Technical School when town star Pat Curtis came along and we were literally over the moon when our hero took the time to stop and talk to us about the game. He told us that the team was confident of success and reminded us that another Alliance League club Dundela had beaten Glenavon in the final of the Irish cup just two years earlier.

The town had a pre match defensive problem with Jimmy McKinven doubtful on the injured list so an urgent transfer of Teddie Harte was arranged with Banbridge Town FC (There was no such thing as transfer windows in those days).

There was a severe shortage of petrol, particularly in the Newry area so dozens of town fans living in the outlying hinterland had to use bicycles to get to the game.

The huge contingent of Glenavon fans travelled to the Showgrounds by bus, car and train.

One of the entrance gates at the Showgrounds collapsed under the pressure from the huge crowd before kick off and I reckon a hundred or so fans got in free of charge before the town management got the situation under control.

The town opened brightly and took the lead in the 15th minute of the game. The home fans erupted when NI Junior International star Pat Curtis collected a brilliant pass from the diminutive Jimmy Gallagher and slammed a magnificent twenty five yarder into the top corner past Roy Rea in the Glenavon goal.

But thereafter this star studded Glenavon side upped their game and ran out 4-1 winners – although this match was much closer than the scoreline would suggest. The battle between the two hard men – Wilbur Cush for Glenavon and Gerry Robinson for Newry in the midfield area was a feature. The two of them kicked lumps out of each other for almost the entire 90 minutes.

Newry Town’s panel for the historic game was: Jim Parkhill, Albert Black, Teddie Harte, Stanley Kidd, Jimmy McKinvin, Jackie Bowers, Gerry Robinson, Jimmy Gallagher, Billy Hewitt, Jimmy Edgar, Pat Curtis, Stevie Mallon, Derek O’Brien, and Eddie McGivern.

Glenavon: Rea, Armstrong, Lyske, Corr, Davis, Cush, Wilson, McVeigh, Jones, Campbell, and Elwood.

Referee: Mr C Flanagan (Sheffield)

Please follow and like us:
error

Night at the Races this Saturday

Come along and join the craic at Newry City AFC’s Night at the Races this Saturday night (October 12) in the Social Club from 8pm.

If you would like to sponsor a horse there is still an opportunity to do so at £10 per horse or £50 to sponsor a race. Please contact Gary Wilson on 07745112320 asap

 

Please follow and like us:
error