Football Programmes Centre

League of Ireland v Welsh League, 1923-24
AlbumAlbum   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   My Wants ListMy Wants List   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
League of Ireland v Welsh League, 1923-24

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Football Programme Forum Index -> Everything and Anything Irish
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
seand



Joined: 07 Jan 2009
Posts: 593
Location: Dublin

PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:31 am 
Post subject: League of Ireland v Welsh League, 1923-24
Reply with quote

Here's a very old photo of the League of Ireland team from one of their very first Inter-League ties, against the Welsh League in 1924. The captain, front and centre, is Mick 'Boxer' Foley of Shelbourne, previously with Leeds City.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Wants List
Sir Moses Hill



Joined: 13 Oct 2014
Posts: 133
Location: New York

PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:20 pm 
Post subject:
Reply with quote

Boxer Foley certainly dominates the front row.

I've been spending quite a bit of time (and money) recently collecting Irish League representative programmes. The Saint Patrick's Day fixture against the League of Ireland from the late 30's to early 60's seemed quite the occasion with very large crowds, although today largely forgotten in Northern Irish football history. Here's a post from another forum I recently wrote on this side:

I have recently been looking into the history of the Irish League representative side. This is a team that has largely ceased to exist: it having had only three outings to date this century – in 2002 versus League of Ireland XI; 2007 versus Football Conference XI; and 2012 versus Manchester United in Harry Gregg’s testimonial game. However, for much of the 20th century the Irish League XI, and its equivalents from elsewhere in the British Isles, formed a significant part of the football landscape.

In total, the Irish League XI has played 219 games from its first in 1893 to its most recent in 2012. Its heyday was the period from the 1920’s to 1960’s before European competition became the dominant form of cross-border domestic football, peaking in the 1950’s when the Irish League XI played 44 times, including seven games in calendar year 1956 alone – more than double the number of games played by the Northern Ireland national side. Regular opponents were the Football League, Scottish League and League of Ireland. The St. Patrick’s Day game against the League of Ireland at Dalymount Park in Dublin was an almost-annual fixture from 1938-1964, often attracting crowds in the 20,000’s and 30,000’s. From the 1960’s onwards a few more bizarre fixtures crept in, such as two games against an Italian Semi-Pro League XI (1962 and 1963) and matches against Canada (1980), Yugoslavian League XI (1982), Hibs (1989), a four-game tour to the United States (1989), Kilmarnock (1991), Everton (1992) and several against Manchester United (1987, 1990 and 2012).

Consistently, down through the ages, the playing record of this side is ugly. It includes many epic thumpings, like a 12-0 defeat to a Football League XI that included World Cup winners Bobby Moore, George Cohen, Martin Peters, Jack Charlton and Geoff Hurst in front of 35,458 in Plymouth in September 1966. The record goes a long way to dispel any myths that the Irish League was ever, in any way, close to par in standard with top flight domestic football in England or Scotland. Yet for inexplicable reasons, and in what was a totally different football era to today, the Football League and Scottish League still turned out against us almost every year for decades, often several times a year, fielding strong teams, in front of large crowds, in top flight venues such as Anfield, Goodison Park, St. James Park, Ibrox and Celtic Park.

The team’s record against our near neighbours is:

Football League P63 W3 D6 L54 F72 A278

Scottish League P62 W5 D1 L56 F62 A228

League of Ireland P60 W25 D13 L22 F122 A92

Welsh Football League P3 W0 D1 L2 F5 A11

Are there any merits in resurrecting this side? It should be motivating for local players to win representative honours. Michael O’Neill has been fairly clear that he’d rather play the lowliest bench warmer from a pro side in England or Scotland rather than a prolific Irish League star. And Michael O’Neill is not anti-Irish League, certainly not in the Nigel Worthington mould – indeed, he began and ended his playing career in the Irish League with Coleraine and Glentoran respectively. He just seems fairly clear in his view that part-time players will never cut it at international level, regardless of the level of underlying talent. It’s very unusual for a player to be playing in the top flight of domestic football yet for international selection to be out of reach. Perhaps an Irish League representative team could fill this void. Further, it would enable our top players to challenge themselves against a higher level of opposition. This can only improve them. The days of playing a full strength Football League XI are gone, but an annual game against the League of Ireland, Welsh Premier League, Scottish Semi-Pro XI or English Football Conference would stretch our best players in a positive way. It would also put the league’s high performers in the shop window – given the number of cross-channel transfers from Irish clubs of late, we could expect that a reasonably competitive Irish League versus League of Ireland representative fixture would attract a large number of English and Scottish scouts and potentially help generate some transfer fees for our clubs. There would be practicalities to overcome, of course. The training, travel and playing time would be difficult to allocate, especially for part-time players with packed domestic schedules. And all sides would need to take it seriously for the games themselves to be worthwhile and for fans to take an interest.

Should there be a future for this team?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
seand



Joined: 07 Jan 2009
Posts: 593
Location: Dublin

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 4:44 pm 
Post subject:
Reply with quote

Likewise, SMH, I've picked off most of the more reasonably priced League of Ireland programmes. Great little collecting niche.

By all accounts they were massive games in their day. It's hard to see any future in them really though. Obviously the big leagues have bigger fish to fry, but even among the likes of the NI, ROI, Welsh leagues there's considerable fixture pressure.

With European football starting in early July, and with the League of Ireland playing a summer league now it's hard to see when it'd be fitted in even if there was an appetite for it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Wants List
| More
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Football Programme Forum Index -> Everything and Anything Irish All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum