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Match by Match: 1981 FAI Cup Winners

Mick Fairclough – Hero of 1981

FAI Cup Third Round // Sunday 8th February 1981 // Dundalk 1-0 Hammond Lane // Oriel Park

Hammond Lane, from the Leinster Senior League, took the plaudits as they battled bravely against Dundalk in the opening round of the FAI Cup proper. Their star was Eddie Wallace who produced several superb saves to keep the match alive. Dundalk squeezed through thanks to a 27th minute Martin Lawlor goal when he headed home from Sean Byrne’s cross. Leo Flanagan came closest to increasing the lead when he struck the crossbar.

Dundalk: Blackmore, McConville, Lawlor, Keely, Dunning, O’Doherty, Clarke, McKenna, Fairclough, Flanagan, Byrne. Sub: Archbold for McKenna

Hammond Lane: Wallace, Paisley, Murphy, Matthews, B Leech, Hendrick, Murray, Lyons, Shields, Barber, McCourt. Sub: M Leech for Hendrick, Hayborne for Murray.

FLASHBACK – 8th February 1981

In the News: Minister for Transport, Albert Reynolds, receives a request for £25 Million from Aer Lingus to overcome trading losses; Paisley
announces a new DUP campaign to “thwart and destroy the process of all-Ireland integration”; An RUC reservist is shot dead by the
IRA while closing his sweet shop in east Belfast; Terry Waite returns to Iran to negotiate the release of four British hostages; Arguments
over Afghanistan, Cambodia and the Iran-Iraq war mark the opening day of the Non-Aligned nations conference in New Delhi; the Irish
media criticise the Irish rugby team after they lose 13-20 to France in the Five Nations in Dublin.

On The TV: The Muppet Show, Monte Carlo Show (RTE1); Buck Rogers (RTE2); The Making of Superman, Hart to Hart (UTV); Match of the
Day, Sense & Sensibility, Solo, That’s Life (BBC1); Rugby Highlights, Robert Kee’s History of Ireland (BBC2).

FAI Cup Fourth Round // Wednesday 18th February 1981 // St Patrick’s Athletic 1-1 Dundalk // Richmond Park

“It’s never easy to win on this ground. I am pleased that we have another chance. That’s what cup football is all about” said Jim McLaughlin
following this weather delayed cup match in Richmond Park. Dundalk looked as if they were in for an easy afternoon when Brian Duff scored from 25 yards after just ten minutes. Earlier, Mick Fairclough attempted a cheeky overhead kick that went just wide. However, Dundalk lost their grip on the match and St Pat’s dominated. Tommy Barron, Tony Higgins and Tommy Hynes won the midfield battle and maintained constant pressure on the Dundalk defence. Richie Blackmore was not overworked but saved well from Hynes and Derek Carthy who had been set up by Jackie Jameson. Pat’s equalised in the 62nd minute with a Jim Mahon penalty after Dermot Keely had fouled Jim Mahon.

FLASHBACK – 18th February 1981
In the News: The fallout from the Stardust fire disaster continues with many funerals throughout Dublin; Five soldiers are injured following
an accident at a quarry in Dungloe, Donegal; Strict censorship laws preventing Sinn Fein from speaking on RTE were suspended
temporarily to allow Joe Cahill to take part in Robert Kee’s Irish History TV Programme;

On The TV: Bosco, MASH, Today Tonight (RTE1); This Is Your Life, Ireland’s Eye, Taxi (RTE2); Rainbow, Crossroads (UTV); Pebble Mill, Take
Hart, Triangle, Sportsnight, Parkinson with guests Goldie Hawn & Thora Hird (BBC1); Play School, Charlie Chaplin, Sons & Lovers (BBC2).

FAI Cup Fourth Round Replay // Thursday 26th February 1981 // Dundalk 2-0 St Patrick’s Athletic // Oriel Park

Dundalk progressed to the ¼ Finals after a match played in a gale force wind in Oriel Park. Dundalk were victorious due to their ability
to use the conditions to their advantage. Dundalk took a third minute lead from Tommy McConville when he nipped in to send a powerful
header past Pat Grace from Jerome Clarke’s cross. St Pat’s failed to threaten Dundalk following the goal and substitute John Archbold sealed the win when he converted Martin Lawlor’s cross.

Dundalk: Blackmore, McConville, Keely, Dunning, Lawlor, Flanagan, Byrne, McKenna, Clarke, Duff, Fairclough. Sub: Archbold for Clarke,
O’Doherty for Fairclough.

FLASHBACK – 26th February 1981

In The News: British Northern Secretary, Humphrey Atkins, raises the prospect of an Anglo-Irish defence agreement which causes protests
relating to the implications for Irish neutrality; President Reagan meets Margaret Thatcher at the White House; Strikes held by Oil Tanker
drivers leads to residents of Ballymun having their hot water cut off;

On the TV: Sesame Street, Garda Patrol, Here’s Lucy, Morecambe & Wise (RTE1); Tales of the Unexpected, Sing Country (RTE2); The Sullivans,
The Incredible Mr Tanner, Counterpoint, Hill Street Blues (UTV); Bod, Top of the Pops, Hi-De-Hi, Partners, Tomorrow’s World (BBC1);
Russell Harty Show, The Mike Harding Show (BBC2).

FAI Cup 1/4 Final // Sunday 8th March 1981// Drogheda United 0-0 Dundalk //United Park

A very poor match ended scoreless in this Louth Derby at United Park. The match was marred by fouling – 58 free kicks were awarded with only six offside related. Players to emerge with credit were Tommy McConville and Richie Blackmore for Dundalk and a certain Martin Murray for Drogheda. Brendan Flynn in Drogheda’s goal made several great saves from Leo Flanagan, Brian Duff and Tommy Bryce. He also prevented a certain own goal from Fergus Ferguson in the 59th minute. Blackmore’s best moment came when he made a great save from Ray Treacy.

Drogheda United: Flynn, Byrne, Cameron, Kerr, Ferguson, Bradley, Byrne, Martin, Treacy, Murray, Daly. Sub: Conway for Treacy.

Dundalk: Blackmore, O’Doherty, Lawlor, McConville, Dunning, Flanagan, Clarke, McKenna, Fairclough, Byrne, Bryce. Sub: Duff for Bryce.

FLASHBACK – 8th March 1981
In The News: Charles Haughey paves the way for an election with a speech stressing progress being made with Margaret Thatcher and
a new deal for farmers; Three children die in a fire in Fatima Mansions; A hijacked Pakistani Boeing 707 lands in Syria; 14 youths were
arrested and 10 people injured following a riot at the Limerick v Waterford United FAI Cup match at Market’s Field; Protests continued at
Ireland’s impending Rugby Union tour of South Africa.

On The TV: Pat’s Hat, By This I Live (interview with Austin Currie), Ken Dodd Variety Show (RTE1); Masters Snooker, Doctor’s Daughters,

FAI Cup 1/4 Final Replay // Thursday 12th March 1981 // Dundalk 1-0 Drogheda United // Oriel Park

Another tough encounter saw Dundalk progress to the semi final following a dour match at Oriel Park. The deciding goal came from Brian Duff who started the match due to the absence of Mick Fairclough and Tom Bryce. Leo Flanagan’s free-kick was met by Duff’s downward header that bounced out of Brian Flynn’s reach into the top corner. Drogheda’s best chance to equalise came on the 72nd minute when Gerry Martin badly missed when put through by Terry Byrne. Damien Byrne was denied at the last moment by Tommy McConville while Dundalk could have extended their lead when Vinny McKenna’s shot was saved by Flynn. The tough contest reached a boiling point when Sean Byrne and Martin Murray were both shown red
cards in the 75th minute.

Dundalk: Blackmore, McConville, Dunning, Keely, Lawlor,Clarke, Flanagan, McKenna, Duff, Crawley, Byrne. Sub: Archbold for Crawley, Mick Lawlor for

Drogheda: Flynn, T Byrne, Kerr, Ferguson, Cameron, Bradley, Murray, Martin, Daly, D Byrne, Treacy. Subs: Conway for Treacy, Nugent for Martin.

Flashback – 12th March 1981
In The News: Price increases affecting petrol, cigarettes, gas, electricity and transport cause trade unions to seek pay talks; 450 people lose
their jobs in Wrangler in Galway; A student protest invade the stage at a production of “Galileo” at the Abbey Theatre in support of the Hunger Strikers; The Israeli Government oppose the move to open a PLO office in Dublin; Pakistan agree to release 55 prisoners to end the Pakistani 707
On The TV: Yes Minister (RTE1); Little House On The Prairie, Emmerdale Farm, TV Eye (UTV); Sorry (BBC1);

FAI Cup 1/2 Final // Sunday 5th April 1981 // Dundalk 1-0 Finn Harps // Milltown

Mick Fairclough, bravely overcoming injury yet again, settled this semi-final with an expertly taken goal in the first half of this FAI Cup Semi Final. Fairclough was passed to play very late in the day with a recurrence of the knee injury that nearly ended his career four years earlier. Jim McLaughlin’s gamble and Fairclough’s determination paid off after just 13 minutes. Harps keeper, McDermott, had parried a Willie Crawley effort, but before the ball could be cleared Fairclough converted the rebound. Harps had no real answer as Dundalk settled to defend their lead. Blackmore dealt ably with Logan’s effort in the 36th minute while Vinny McKenna came close to extending Dundalk’s lead with a fiercely driven shot that shaved the crossbar. Harps had one last chance when Blackmore scampered across his line to save from McGroarty. By this time, Harps had been reduced to ten men when McLoughlin was sent off after a dispute with Dermot Keely.

Dundalk: Blackmore, McConville, Dunning, Keely, Lawlor, Byrne, Flangan, McKenna, Crawley, Fairclough, Archbold. Sub: Duff for Crawley.

Finn Harps: McDermott, McIwaine, Sheridan, McNally, Boyle, Logan, McDowell, McCool, Minnock, McLoughlin, Harbison. Sub: McGroarty for Harbison.

Flashback – 5th April 1981
In The News: Census Day in Ireland; Census forms are burnt in support of the Hunger Strikers, The IRFU are featured on a blacklist after
travelling to South Africa; Official Unionist Harry West is declared a clear favourite to beat Bobby Sands in Thursday’s Fermanagh/South Tyrone
by-election; Leonid Brezhnev orders more Warsaw Pact troops to Poland to face the “counter-revolution”.
On The TV: The Muppets, Your 100 Best Hymns, Rising Damp, Hart to Hart (UT V)

The 1981 Team at their 25th Anniversary Reunion, Lansdowne Road, FAI Cup Final 2006.

FAI Cup Final // Sunday April 26th // Dundalk 2-0 Sligo Rovers // Dalymount Park


Dundalk won their seventh FAI Cup Final in a row with a facile victory over Sligo Rovers at Dalymount Park. In terrible windy conditions, Dundalk achieved their success with goals from John Archbold and Mick Fairclough. Victory was the bright point of an overall disappointing season: “I regard this as more of a consolation prize than a major victory and yet I have never felt as much pressure in all my years in the game. Defeat would have turned the whole season sour on us and while I don’t pretend that this was anything other than a mediocre match, the result, in the end, justified everything”.
The afternoon didn’t start too well for Dundalk when, with the ball swirling in the wind, Tommy McConville and Dermot Keely clashed heads. Both men required stitches but – unsurprisingly given the two men concerned – they played on leaking blood from their wounds for the remainder of the match. Sligo wasted a great chance after 13 minutes when Vinny McKenna’s back pass was intercepted by Harry McLoughlin. Richie Blackmore sprang off his line and saved the day. Neither keeper was further troubled when a poor back pass from Doherty gave Dundalk a corner. John Archbold swung in a corner into the strong wind. To the astonishment of everybody the ball curled into the top corner of the net without a player touching it. The legendary Brendan Bradley wasted a chance and Charlie McGeever mistimed a header when given a good opportunity by Fagan’s cross. Blackmore then saved very well from McGeever and Bradley struck a post with the ball running tantalisingly across the fact of the goalmouth.
Dundalk needed a second goal and it came on 78 minutes. Sean Byrne’s clearance was held up by the wind that allowed Mick Fairclough to shake off the challenge of Sheridan to shoot past Declan McIntyre. Paddy Dunning won the £350 match of the match award after dominating the defence along with Keely, McConville and Lawlor.

Dundalk: Blackmore, McConville, Dunning, Keely, Lawlor, McKenna, Flanagan, Byrne, Crawley, Fairclough, Archbold.
Subs: O’Doherty for Lawlor, Duff for Crawley.

Sligo: McIntrye, Ferry, O’Doherty, Sheridan, McGeever, McGroarty, Fagan, Doherty, McLoughlin, Bradley, Patton. Subs: Coyle for Patton, McDonnell for

Flashback – 26th April 1981
In The News: Bobby Sands is reported to be close to death on the 57th day of his hungers strike; Charles Haughey is urged to make a
direct personal approach to Margaret Thatcher to resolve the Hunger Strike; 15,000 people attend a H-Blockl rally in Belfast;
On The TV: Eurovision Song Contest Highlights; Sportscene featuring highlights of the FAI Cup Final (RTE1); Christy Moore, Roots (RTE2);
Match of the Day, Tora! Tora! Tora! (BBC1); Irish Cup Final highlights of Ballymena v Glenavon (BBC2).