Fifty years on: Caledonians FC claim 1970 FAI Junior Cup crown

Pat Sheehan


Pat Sheehan


Sunday June 7 marked the 50th anniversary of Caledonians FC success in the FAI Junior Cup.
Bringing the National trophy to Limerick proved an elusive thing at the time with Fairview Rgs being Limerick’s only success, five season’s earlier.
Ironically, Cals were League champions in 64/65, the year of Fairview’s success, in a run of League titles that saw ‘Cals’ win five in six seasons.
However it was the FAI Junior Cup that was the goal of the Edward Street club and they got their reward with a 1-0 win over Tolka Rvs.
After controversy within the FAI , Caledonians FC had hoped that the game with take place at the Markets Field , the game was originally planned by the football association of Ireland for a Friday Night with an 8pm kick off which would not have favoured the Limerick.
After an objection it was unanimously decided that the game take place on the Sunday as ‘Cals’ players wouldn’t be able to field with work commitments for a Friday.
The game was to take place in Dublin no matter what at Tolka Park the home of the opponents Tolka Rovers .
Caledonians FC beat Ballynanty Rovers at the start of their FAI Cup Run after a attacking masterclass in a 4-0 win .
In the second round, described as a convincing win, the team were 4-2 winners over Fairview Rangers .
A week later, to book a place in the Local Area Final, Caledonians FC brushed aside Bedford beating them 3-0 .
This booked a place with arch rivals Geraldines which Caledonians disposed of with two goals without reply for a 2-0 win .
In the ‘out of town section of the cup’ Caledonians started off in style with a 5-0 win over Dublin side Botanic.
Cals moved onto the Quarter Final and were nearly shocked by Bohemians of Clonmel who nearly caused an upset of the season but the Limerick hero’s progressed .
For the semi final Cals headed to Cork to face St Mary’s and John Ryan and Austin McInerney blueprinted a magnificent 3-1 Caledonians win .
In the final, Johnny Ryan, who was presented with a Limerick Junior Soccer hall of fame award last season, scored the only goal of the game topping off a trophy laden decade for Cals.

Match Report

John Ryan Goal brings FAI Cup back to Limerick

Versatile Limerick man Johnny Ryan — he also plays senior rugby with Young Munster — scored the lone goal just on half time in the F.A.I. Junior Cup Final at Tolka Park yesterday to give Caledonians victory and their first ever win in this competition.
Ryan's goal was one of the few bright moments in a game which saw two magnificent defences share the honours under a broiling sun which had Tolka Park in a rock-like condition, with both players and ball alike leaving spurts of dust after every contact with the ground.
The Limerick players and spectators went wild with delight at the end of the game, and no man more so than club president Mr. Simmington.
Club selector Tommy Burke expressed the feelings of the majority when he said afterwards: "This Cup is for Mr. Simmington. Were it not for his work through the years we would never have reached this final".
Caledonians certainly deserved their win. In the middle of the field Brendan Meagher dominated and their distribution was more precise and Ryan, in particular, was fed with a number of excellent passes.
And, unlike their opponents, the Caledonian forwards were always willing to have a shot from around the box, a number of which brought some excellent saves from Tolka "keeper Mick Somers.
Ryan's goal was a delightful individual effort. Latching on to a long ball down the left he turned masterfully and from a seemingly impossible angle volleyed the ball home.
This goal on the stroke of half-time spurred the losers to an all out attack in the second period, but their continuous efforts came to naught in the superb tackling covering of the Caledonians' defence where Austin McInerney showed himself to be a bright prospect.

CALEDONIANS: V. Prendergast: J. Rahilly, T. O'Callaghan, S Carter, A McInerney, B. Meagher, T. Forde; G. Brennan, G. Hough, J. Ryan. 0. McCarthy, substitute — P. Madden for Carter.