We were saddened to hear of the passing of 77-year-old Ben Hannigan on Thursday afternoon. Ben played 91 times for Dundalk FC, scoring a mightily impressive 51 goals, and also picked up a Top Four and Shield winners medal during his three seasons at Oriel Park. Padraig McGowan looks back at a League of Ireland legend.

Ben enjoyed a 20-year career in senior football and had two spells with Dundalk FC. His first period with the club saw him play an instrumental part in the league winning 1966/67 season. 

In total, Ben made 42 appearances in all competitions, scoring 26 goals, including a stunning return of 14 league goals in just 20 games. 

Ben’s scoring exploits that season were a headline writers’ dream as the line ‘Big Ben Strikes Again’ became a firm favourite with the print media! Supporters of a certain vintage may also recall Ben and Dundalk goalkeeper of that season Kevin Blount’s, song/ditty entitled ‘Dundalk Calypso’

After a brief stay with English side Chelmsford City, Ben returned to Dundalk and stayed until the end of the 1968/69 season. He also spent time at Sligo Rovers, Shamrock Rovers, St Patricks Athletic, Cork Celtic and had three separate stints with Shelbourne. 

He was a well-decorated player, winning three league titles with Shelbourne (1961/62), Dundalk (1966/67) and Cork Celtic (1973/74) along with two FAI Cup medals with Shelbourne (1963) and Shamrock Rovers (1969).

In more recent times, Ben was regularly seen at League of Ireland games sporting his trademark wide-brimmed hat with Oriel Park one of his regular venues.

On behalf of Dundalk FC, I would like to pass our heartfelt condolences on to Ben’s family and friends.

Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam dílis.