It’s sixty years since we made our debut on the European stage against FC Zurich in the preliminary round of the European Champions Cup.
The tie, which was played in front of 23,000 – the official figure of 17,000 was widely disputed – at Dalymount Park on Wednesday, September 11th 1963, saw Dundalk wear the colours of local Summer League side Arsenal to accommodate the visitors, who lined out in white.
Before the first leg, the Irish Independent declared: “It’s a great occasion for this, our oldest provincial club who must not underestimate the magnitude of their task.”
Against a Zurich side that contained three internationals, Dundalk produced a nervy display with the visitors’ game plan centred on soaking up whatever the League of Ireland champions could throw at them and then hitting on the break.
For the first 20 minutes, Dundalk were on top but they couldn’t find a breakthrough and Zurich punished them when their excellent left winger, Meyer, dribbled past John Murphy and sent over a cross to the back post which was headed home by Feller.
While Dundalk had plenty of possession, Jimmy Hasty and Dermot Cross were kept well shackled and it was Christy Barron who was the busier goalkeeper for the remainder of the half.
The second half was very similar to the first. Dundalk attacked from the outset but could not find any way through although Francie Callan and Billy Kennedy went close.
Zurich added a second on the break when Von Burg broke through the Dundalk defence and fired a low shot past Barron and the visitors added a third in the 68th minute when another piledriver from Feller was deflected past Barron by Patsy McKeown.
It could have been worse. Meyer missed an open goal and Von Burg hit the post as Zurich threatened to put the tie beyond Dundalk’s reach.
The final whistle ended with Dundalk beaten but proud of their efforts. Two weeks later, the Lilywhites almost produced a sensational comeback…
DUNDALK FC: Christy Barron, Tommy Rowe, Timmy Lyons, Patsy McKeown, John Murphy, Mick Dalton, David McArdle, Billy Kennedy, Francie Callan, Jimmy Hasty, Dermot Cross.