One hundred years ago the first recorded soccer “competition” was held in Limerick when a local band donated a cup which attracted four entrants.
The semi finals were played in the Markets Field when St.Michaels went down 2-1 to Dalcassians and Limerick beat Weston 2-0.
The final was never played, however, as the cup disappeared from the shop window where it was on display!
Limerick Leader correspondent Pat Sheehan has compiled a history of junior soccer in Limerick from those humble beginnings to the current day in a new book to be released at the end of this month.
The 400-page record goes into incredible detail listing the winners of the Lawson, Cromer, Leonard, TSB Premier, Saxone, North Munster, Tuohy, FAI Area, FAI Junior, Munster Junior, Munster Youth, FAI Youth, FAI Under 17, Oscar Traynor and Inter County Youth cups as well as all the League winners from their inception.
It goes further by reprinting the match reports and team pictures from the various finals wherever they were available. A rich tapestry of characters emerge from the pages; Mick Crowe, John O’Brien, Gerry Cronin, Brian Hanrahan, Seanie Byrnes, Finbar Ryan, Pa Storan are just a handful of the hundreds of stars whose story unfolds over the years.
Pat has been involved in soccer all his life as a player and mentor with Hyde Rangers. Taking up coverage of junior soccer for the Limerick Leader has forced a separation but he still keeps tabs on his old club.
Growing up in Careys Road, the LDMC’s decision to buy Jackman Park in 1972 was a godsend for the soccer fans in the area with the best of the action now on their doorstep. Memories of the great Hyde v Geraldines games of the 1970s, the great Star and Balla teams of the 1980s, Fairview of the 1990s and 2000s and the Pike side of the last couple of seasons give an indication of the talent that has graced the venue.
Most of the material for the book originated in the Limerick Leader and Limerick Chronicle as well as some of the other publications available at the time. The idea for the book stemmed from the 2010/11 Lawson Cup final (celebrating it’s 60th year) for which the LDMC chairman, Michael Noonan provided the author with an updated list of all the previous winners of the prestigious trophy.
It sparked a curiosity regarding the list of previous winners of the other cups which took the next 18 months to finalise. Pat was generous in his praise of local soccer historian Brian O’Brien, who gave kindly of his time and archives as did Michael McNamara, a founder member of Rossa Villa, now resident in Dublin.
Liam Burke and Press 22 also came in for praise for their generosity along with a virtual who’s who of the junior soccer world who supplied bits and pieces to help complete the puzzle.
Priced at €20, the book is superb value as it brings to life generations of footballers.
Readers could spend hours searching for grandfathers, fathers, uncles, brothers and neighbours and find many surprises along the way.
This will be a limited publication and if anyone wants to pre-book a copy e-mail , alternatively text or phone 086 1945611.