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Irish Cup Winners 1881 - 128th Anniversary PDF Print E-mail
Written by True Blue   
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Believe it or not but on the 9th April 2009 it will be the 128th Anniversary of our little club from Castledawson lifting the first ever Irish Cup.
Moyola Park FC - Castledawson:
Back, l. t. r. Thomas Houston, William J. Houston, George Hewison, Robert Mackerill, Francis McLernon, P. Sloan;
Middle, l. t. r. A. Gaussen, Daniel McKenna, William J. Morrow (with ball), Patrick McSwiggan, Robert Redmond;
Front, l. t. r.
Mitchell Redmond.

As association football developed in Ireland, so too did the need for a tournament. On Thursday, November 18, 1880, the representatives of seven clubs met at the Queens Hotel in Belfast to form the Irish Football Association. These clubs were Avoniel, Cliftonville, Distillery, Knock and Oldpark from Belfast; Moyola Park from Castledawson; and Alexander from Limavady. It was decided that a cup would be contested by the seven founding clubs. The highest scores in the first cup competition was the 11:0-win of Knock FC Belfast against the local rival Distillery in the first round on February 5, 1881.

The semi-finals saw the meeting of two provincial clubs, Alexander from Limavady (a small town up north near the Lough Foyle) – who were unfortunate to have one of their best players leave the field injured early in the game – and Moyola Park. The latter, who were known for their robust play, won 3:0. Moyola Park, a rather recent club, had acquired several experienced players, including captain William J. Morrow from Ulster FC (Belfast), who had been playing for Ulster since 1874. Castledown also surprised in the final by fielding two sets of brothers: Robert and Mitchell Redmond, and „Willie“ John and Thomas Houston. The winning goal was scored by captain ”Bill” Morrow. Moyola Park won the first Irish Cup competition without conceeding a single goal.

At the time, Irish teams still used a 2-2-6 system, the referee stayed outside of the pitch and the umpires on it. In this final, the umpires were the Belfast players Johnston (Oldpark) and Saunders (Distillery). The player injured during the semi-final had a broken leg, and on March 16, 1881, the Irish Football Association ruled that he was to be paid £1 in compensation. This was a substantial amount in those days, considering that the Cup entry fee paid by each team was one shilling (12 pence). This payment appears to be the first compensation payment ever made to a footballer.

12.3.1881 (Stadium, Castledawson)
Moyola Park FC Castledawson - Alexander FC Limavady 3:0

12.31881 (Avoniel, Belfast)
Knock FC Belfast - Cliftonville FC Belfast 2:2

26.3.1881 (Avoniel, Belfast)
Cliftonville FC Belfast - Knock FC Belfast 2:1


9. April 1881
Moyola Park FC Castledawson - Cliftonville FC Belfast 1:0 (0:0)
Referee: W. Bryans (Belfast/1)
Attendance: 1.500, Cliftonville Ground, Belfast

1:0 ( .) Morrow

Mayola Park FC Castledawson:
(Trainer: none)
Robert Mackrell (1) –
George Hewison (1),
Dowd (1) –
Francis J. McLernon (1),
Patrick McSwiggan (1) –
Robert Redmond (1),
Daniel McKenna (1),
William John Houston (1),
Thomas Houston (1),
Mitchell Redmond (1),
William James Morrow (1)

Cliftonville FC Belfast:
(Trainer: none)
Robert M. Kennedy (1) –
A. Howell (1),
John McCredy McAlery (1) –
Donald Cargill Martin (1),
J. Baird (1) –
Renwick McCarroll Potts (1),
Dr. John Robert Davison (1),
F. Beyer (1),
R. Williams (1),
H. McKeague (1),
David Hannay (1)

Captain: William James Morrow (1)
David Hannay (1)



Last Updated ( Sunday, 12 April 2009 )
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