📝 Finbarr Buckley

In the year ending in zero, December threw up a number of mouth-watering fixtures which will live long in the memory. The highlight of the three matches played on Sunday, December 18th 1960 was Grain Silos 2-1 win over defending champions Guys at Marina Park. Dan O’Leary gave the champions a 15th minute lead when he turned a cross in at the near post. Silos secured the vital two points with two second-half goals inside a minute midways through the half. The result would go a long way to deciding the destination of the eleven team league title in their favour later in the season. Other results included Steampacket’s goal-less draw with Heaslips and Lunham’s 2-2 draw with Examiner.

Ten years later, shield fixtures were down for decision on Sunday December 20th 1970. Lunhams fired four past Sunbeam Wolsey, Fords also hit four against Spar, while cup holders CIE got the better of Doyles 2-0 at Blackpool Pk. At Marina Park Hornibrook could only manage a score less  draw with Health Authority. There was no doubting the result of the day belonged to Cork Shoe Company who put five past Southern Mills at Marina Park. The previous season’s league and cup runners-up led two-nil at the interval courtesy of goals by captain Billy Falvey and Denis Lahive. Centre-forward Tom Beecher grabbed two more in the second-half with Jack O’Brien completing a comprehensive victory with a fifth, five minutes from time. Unfortunately, Cork Shoe Company’s exciting brand of football would not reap the rewards it deserved as they would fall at the final hurdle in the cup to CIE for the second year in a row later in the season.

The weekend of Saturday/Sunday December 13th/14th  1980 turned up an array of fixtures with teams involved in shield, league and junior cup action. The growing status of the league was now reflected in the number of teams competing at 24. Fords defeated Cork Examiner 3-2 at Central Pk. in the highest-scoring affair in division one. John Herrick (2) and  Brendan Mulcahy netted for the winners, with Pat Hawkes and Pat O’Callaghan on target for Examiner. AIB rifled eight past True Temper at Bishopstown also in the top division.

On the weekend that Cliff Richard replaced Vanilla Ice at the top of the UK charts with Saviour’s Day, December 16th /17th 1990, Cork Examiner took a huge step towards winning the first division title for the first time by defeating defending champions CIE Athletic  2-1 in the match of the day at Midleton.  A record eleven matches were played in the three divisions which had by now been extended to 28 teams. Examiner failed to take three scoring chances in the opening quarter which allowed the visitors to dominate and it was all they deserved when  Der O’Leary’s free-kick in the 41st minute was knocked down by Ray O’Sullivan for the incoming Brian Gleason to coolly finish. Athletic continued to dominate in the early stages of the second-half, but were caught on the hour by Dave Higgins’ quickly taken free to Sean Murphy who fired under Peter Gregson. With time almost up, Murphy added a second when released by Peter O’Callaghan to seal the points for the hosts. Other results in the division featured Irish Steel’s 2-2 draw away to Youghal Yarns, Bank of Ireland’s back-four had to endure a pounding to hang on to a one-nil win over Garda at the Regional Park, Peter Lambert converting Finbarr Lyons’s pass five minutes into the second-half.

Centra extended their lead at the top of division two with a 3-0 win over ESB at Killeady, Donal Murray with a first-half hat-trick. Nearest rivals AIB failed to close the gap by losing away to Liebert 2-1 in a repeat of the previous season’s cup final which the home side  also won after a replay. John O’Sullivan’s cross was turned in by John O’Neill in the 20th minute to open the scoring for the hosts. Despite making a number of fine saves, Liebert’s keeper Derek Barnes couldn’t prevent Leo Whelan finishing off Mick O’Driscoll’s right-wing cross ten minutes into the second-half. Sean Hanafin restored the home side’s lead in the 61st minute with a 20-yard free-kick to settle the contest. Other results included Ridge Tools 5; Co. Council 3, SHB 2; Hickey’s 4 and OLH Utd. 0; True Temper 1. Naval Services defeated CIE Utd. 2-1 in the top match in division three, newcomers GSI beat Garda Utd. 2-1 in Macroom, while Apple had a best of three-goal win over Old Mill.

The match of the weekend on December 9/10th 2000 was newly promoted premier leaders McSweeney’s’ impressive three-nil win away to CIE Utd. Joe Monaghan netted twice with Pat McSweeney adding a third. Third placed Cork Plastics had a fourth win in five outings by overcoming Co. Council 4-2 in Killeady, Gavin Quinlan claiming a hat-trick with Niall Kelleher also on target. Pfizer Utd. surprised Pfizers 3-0 in the local derby clash in division two, with Super Valu Utd. securing all three points in their tussle with McGuires, winning 2-0. For the record season 2000/01 had a high of 32 competing teams which reflected the growing popularity of the league at the start of the millennium.

The League wishes all clubs, supporters and referees a Very Happy Christmas and a successful New Year 2020. The league returns after the annual two week holiday break on the weekend of January 4th/5th .We remember our loved ones both on and off the field of play who passed away during the last twelve months. Ar Dheis go raibh a n-anaim!