A Cork soccer resource. This is an archive of mini club histories that I have published over the years. To find your club, check the label list on the left side or else use the "search the blog" box above. If you spot any errors (esp. in dates) contact

Monday, October 5, 2009


File created Dec 2004



Western Rovers, after a few years of near misses, came good on the double in 1983-84 with triumphs in the league (Tom O'Kelly 2A) and in the Enterprise (nowadays the City) Cup.

The league title was the highlight. Here Buttevant took them to a play-off and then a replay. The first game ended scoreless and, two minutes from the end of the Buttevant replay, poacher supreme Frankie McCarthy scored the golden goal to give Western a 1-0 win and the championship.

McCarthy, with 28 goals, was the team's leading scorer while Hugh Cooney was next best with 26. Right back Mick McGregor played with the Cork AUL in the Tayto Cup win in Dunlin and, in the following season, John Horan played with Gerry Geaney's Munster team in an inter-provincial against Leinster. Tony Murphy was the manager and he had invaluable help from colleagues Tim O'Neill and Denis O'Driscoll (now with the AUL, MFA and FAI).

A goal by Sean Walsh, who later went on to a trophy laden career with Temple United and Greenmount Rangers (he is still involved at the ESB Grounds), put Western trough to the Enterprise Cup final, as it was enough to beat scoreless Ringmahon Rangers.

The final opposition was provided by first division Tramore Athletic but this southside derby failed to sizzle and the Rovers scored a surprisingly easy 3-0 victory, their goals by Coughlan, Crowley and McCarthy.

The Western Rovers panel that season was: L. Ryan, M. McGregor, B. Nagle, P. Crowley, A. O'Shea, B. O'Donovan (captain), S. Walsh, K. Ruddy, F. McCarthy, G. Coughlan, H. Cooney, J. Punch, N. Tobin, L. McKenzie, J. Horan and J. Geaney. The first eleven listed provided the starting line-up in the Enterprise final.

Western Rovers took their place in AUL 1A the following season. There was just one automatic promotion place available and that went to champions Ballinlough Rovers. Ballinlough, who had merged with Victoria Athletic before the season, had an instant reward. Donie O'Leary and Dan Cullinane (later to achieve so much with Hibernians) were the managers; Joe Hegarty was captain and John O'Brien the vice-caption.

It seemed that Western's bid for promotion for the second season running had failed. But then came news of a vacancy in the Premier because of the unexpected withdrawal of Cobh Ramblers, a withdrawal that meant 1984/5 was the first season since the founding of the league that Ramblers would not have a team in the AUL.

The vacancy triggered a three team play-off and that involved the three first division runners up: Ballyvolane, Waterloo and Western Rovers. Western played Ballyvolane in the semi-final and the southsiders won a good game 2-1. The final though was a bore. "There was more excitement in watching the grass grow at Turner's Cross than in watching the disappointing final" was one comment at the time. Western though weren't too bothered as they won promotion in the penalty kick shootout that followed the scoreless draw.

Our picture, taken on August 29th, 1984, shows the Western Rovers, starting their AUL 1A campaign in August 1984. Back row (l to r): Sean Walsh, Pat Crowley, Liam Ryan, Kieran Ruddy, John Horan and Aidan O'Shea. Front: Frank McCarthy, Barry Nagle, Ger Coughlan, Mick McGregor, Bernard O'Donovan and Liam McKenzie.

This particular game was against Hibernians, a game that Western deservedly won 3-2, even if one of their goals was hugely controversial. Scores by Liam McKenzie and Pat Crowley had Western 2-1 up against Hibs who had scored through Robert Smyth.

Then, much to the amazement of all present, the referee judged that a Sean Walsh shot had crossed the Hibs line. True, the keeper had been beaten all ends up but the ball hit both posts before bouncing back weakly infield. To add fuel to the fire, the next Hibs attack yielded a goal by sub Richard Jordan. It has to be said though that Western, who had Frankie McCarthy twice denied by the bar, deserved the two points.

And the good news continued for Western in their next game when they finished strongly to beat Kilreen 3-1. Walsh, McCarthy and Ruddy were in top form for the winners who were one down at the start of the final quarter.

Western Rovers were originally founded in 1941 but the unit featured here, based in the Togher and Glasheen areas, was re-formed in 1972 and, by 1981, was regarded as one of the most progressive underage clubs in the city, catering for all ages up to junior in the AUL.

Tony Murphy, now the chairman of the Munster Senior League, had been there since the 1972 start and, at the club's annual dinner in 1982, a special presentation was made by the club to Tony in appreciation of the work and dedication shown by the chairman since the re-forming of the club.

Western Rovers AUL honours: 1980/1, runners up to Castleview in Youths 2; 82/83, runners up to park Utd in junior 2A; 83/84, won 2A and the Enterprise (City) Cup; 84/85, second to Ballinlough Rovers in 1A, winners of play-off for place in Premier League.

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