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Match By Match: FAI Cup & League Double 1987/88

Cork City 0-2 Dundalk
13th September 1987 Turner’s Cross League

Cork City had started the 1987/88 campaign in fine style with seven wins and one draw in their Munster Cup & League Cup campaigns. Dundalk had been eliminated from the League Cup by St Pats one week earlier after a desperately poor performance and were also without appendicitis victim Martin Lawlor and Barry Kehoe who withdrew following a family bereavement. The Dundalk supporters who made the long trip were rewarded with a fine display that yielded a comfortable three points.

Alan O’Neill was called into early action when he somehow kept out a powerful left footed shot by Cork player-manager Eamon O’Keefe. Dundalk made the breakthrough after eight minutes when a Gino Lawless free-kick was headed on by Harry McCue to Terry Eviston who headed home into the top corner. Eviston nearly scored a spectacular second goal when his looping header struck the top of the crossbar. However, Dundalk wrapped up the points after 65 minutes when a huge clearance by O’Neill found Dessie Gorman who finished with a low left-footed shot.

Cork City: Kelly, Neiland, Healy, Murphy, Long, Caulfield, O’Keefe, Harrington, Bowdren, Myers, Barry. Sub: Freyne for Harrington
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, McCue, Malone, Shelly, Wyse, Cleary, Murray, Gorman, Eviston, Newe. Sub: O’Toole for Gorman.

Dundalk 2-1 Limerick City
20th September 1987 Oriel Park League

Dundalk returned home from Amsterdam having performed well against Johann Cruyff’s Ajax Amsterdam in the European Cup Winners Cup. For 65 minutes Dundalk held a team featuring stars such as Frank Rijkaard and Frank Stapleton before falling to a 4-0 defeat. Back to Oriel Park for this league tie, Dundalk found it hard to break the Limerick defence down. After 33 minutes Limerick took a shock lead. Johnny Mul•lane gathered a clearance and ran through the Dundalk defence to shot past O’Neill. Turlough O’Connor changed formation to allow Martin Murray to join the attack which served to unsettle the Limerick defence in the second half. After prolonged pressure Dessie Gorman equa•lised after 69 minutes. The winner came when Limerick keeper Josh Moran took Gorman down in the box with 13 minutes remaining and John Cleary sealed the three points from the spot.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Connell, Shelly, Murray, McCue, Malone, Lawless, Kehoe, Cleary, Gorman, Newe
Limerick City : Moran, Daley, Duggan, Lynch, Coll, O’Halloran, Mullane, Tuite, Jenkins, Walsh, Hamilton.
Shelbourne 0-2 Dundalk
27th September 1987 Harold’s Cross League

Dundalk warmed up for the return leg with Ajax with a fine 2-0 win over Shelbourne at Harold’s Cross. Shels keeper Fred Davis had denied Paul Newe with a superb full stretch save after 19 minutes. From the resulting corner Martin Murray scored with a close range header. Dessie Gorman wrapped up the points when he fired home from a Terry Eviston corner after 48 minutes.

Shelbourne: Davis, Mackey, McCabe, Tierney, Reynolds, Brown, Gaffney, O’Brien, Barrett, Joyce, Murray.
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Shelly, Malone, Cleary, Murray, Kehoe, Wyse, Eviston, Gorman, Newe. Sub: Gannon for Eviston.


Outside the league campaign, Dundalk were eliminated from the League Cup after a terrible performance at home to St Pats (6th Sept).

Having qualified for Europe after finishing runners-up to Double Winners Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup in April 1987, Dundalk were drawn to play against Ajax Amsterdam. The Dutch side had won the Cup Winners Cup in May 1987 with a 1-0 win over Locomotiv Leipzig thanks to a goal by Marco Van Basten who had moved to AC Milan during the summer. Ajax were booed by their own supporters against Dundalk but rallied to win with four goals in the last 25 minutes. A spectacular own-goal by Paul Newe and a Meijer tap in finished the job two weeks later in Oriel. Some of the famous names that played against Dundalk (some of whom would finish the season as European Champions with Holland at Euro 88) were Stanley Menzo, Danny Blind, Frank Rijkaard, Johnny Bosman, Van’t Schip, Jan Wounters, Arnold Muhren, Aaron Win•ter and Irish International Frank Stapleton. Ajax progressed to the final with wins over SV Hamburg, Young Boys Berne and Marseille before losing to Belgian side Mechelen in the final.

In the news: Reports suggest that the UDA had drawn up plans to assassinate Charles Haughey, the Irish Government pressurise the British Government over Sellafield, Cyclist Stephen Roche becomes the 58th Freeman of Dublin after his success in the Giro D’Italia, Tour De France and World Championships.

On the TV: If you were old enough by September 1987 you were probably watching Bread (Sunday nights, BBC1), The New Stateman (Sunday nights, UTV), a new series of Blankety Blank with Les Dawson (Friday nights, BBC1), Dear John & Lovejoy (Monday, BBC1), Falcon Crest (Mondays, RTE1), The Roxy (ITV version of Top of the Pops – Tuesdays UTV), The Equalizer (Tuesdays, RTE1), Telly Addicts, Allo Allo, Bob’s Full House, Russ Abbot Show (Saturday Tea Time on BBC1)

Dundalk 0-0 Bohemians
4th October 1987 Oriel Park League

Dundalk followed up their exciting European night against Ajax Amsterdam with this bleak scoreless draw against Bohs in Oriel Park. Bohs had the best chances with Jackie Jameson unable to make the most of a number of opportunities. Barry Kehoe had Dundalk’s best chance when he forced Dermot O’Neill into a fine full stretch save.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Shelly, Malone, McCue, Cleary, Wyse, Kehoe, Murray, Newe, Eviston.
Bohs: O’Neill, Kinsella, R Murphy, B Murphy, Duffy, Byrne, O’Brien, Murray, Jameson, Lawless, McGee.

Sligo Rovers 2-2 Dundalk
11th October 1987 Sligo Showgrounds League

Dundalk had to come from behind twice to rescue a point at the Showgrounds. Sligo took the lead when Martin Bayly created the opening for Johnny Glynn to score. Dundalk equalised just 32 seconds into the second half from Terry Eviston. Sligo went back into the lead after 64 minutes when Bayley again supplied the cross for Glynn to head powerfully home past Alan O’Neill. Lally made a superb save from Larry Wyse before Dessie Gorman equalised with a fine dipping shot with thirteen minutes remaining.

Sligo Rovers: Lally, O’Connell, Scanlon, Burke, Chubb, Maher, Savage, Bayly, O’Kelly, Glynn, O’Toole. Sub: McLoughlin for Bayly
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Shelly, Murray, Cleary, Malone, Wyse, Kehoe, Eviston, Gorman, Newe. Sub: Lawlor for Newe

Dundalk 1-0 Waterford United
18th October 1987 Oriel Park League

Dundalk moved back to the top of the table thanks to a 78th minute goal from Terry Eviston. This match also marked the debut of former Athlone and Shamrock Rovers striker Michael O’Connor. Martin Lawlor, Dessie Gorman and Martin Murray all had close range efforts blocked in the first half. After the break Gorman shot wide and Wyse set up O’Connor who forced Quinlivan into making a great save. After 78 minutes Joey Malone swept a free-kick wide on the right to Gino Lawless who appeared to miskick his cross into the area. However the spin on the ball deceived Quinlivan and Eviston headed into the empty net

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Malone, Cleary, Lawlor, Wyse, Murray, Shelly, O’Connor, Gorman, Eviston.
Waterford United: Quinlivan, O’Mahoney, Storan, Wright, Nolan, Donnelly, Cashin, O’Neill, Bennett, Morley, Reid. Subs: D O’Neill for Morley, Power for Nolan.

Galway United 1-0 Dundalk
25th October 1987 Terryland Park League

The start of a terrible bank holiday weekend for Dundalk. A Paul McGee goal gave Galway the points. This weekend ended with Galway United at the top of the table after a further 3-1 win at Bray.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Malone, Cleary, Lawlor, Wyse, Murray, Shelly, O’Connor, Gorman, Eviston.
Galway United: Blackmore, Nolan, Lambert, Bonner, Carpenter, Mullen, Mernagh, Mannion, McDonnell, McGee, Clarke

Dundalk 0-2 St Patrick’s Athletic
26th October 1987 Oriel Park League

Dundalk slumpted to their second defeat of the Bank Holiday weekend. Paddy Dillon scored with an opportunistic strike after 25 minutes. Dundalk had two penalty appeals turned down (the second a clear handball). Brian Kerr’s side made the points safe after 85 minutes with a goal from Martin Morrisson.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Malone, Cleary, Lawlor, Wyse, Murray, Shelly, O’Connor, Gorman, Eviston. Subs: Kehoe for Shelly, Newe for Gorman
St Pats: Henderson, Fleming, Moran, McDonnell, Byrne, Treacy, Moody, O’Driscoll, Dillon, P Masterson, Meagen. Sub: Masterson for Moran, Fenlon for Dillon


In the news: The major news story in Ireland in October 1987 was the kidnapping of 38 year-old Dentist John O’Grady by a gang led by ex-INLA figure Dessie O’Hare. The gang had planned to kidnap O’Grady’s millionaire father-in-law, Dr Austin Darragh. Having cut off two of O’Grady’s fingers, he was eventually rescued after a shoot-out in Cabra; 23 people are killed during severe storms in Britain; Death of “This Is Your Life” presenter Eamonn Andrews, Lestor Piggot is jailed for three years for tax evasion.

On The TV: Blackadder The Third (Thursday, BBC1) , Alas Smith & Jones (Thursday, BBC2) , Only When I Laugh, Strike It Lucky (Thursdays, UTV)

Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Dundalk
30th October 1987 Tolka Park League

Dundalk got back on track in this Friday evening match against reigning champions Shamrock Rov•ers. Joe Hanrahan, signed from Manchester United in the close season, had twice gone close with long range efforts in the first half. However, with Mick Byrne already absent Rovers were dealt a crushing blow when Noel Larkin was forced to retire with a hamstring injury. Dundalk scored what proved to be the winning goal after 51 minutes. Martin Murray split the defence open and Dessie Gorman skilfully evaded the challenge of Harry Kenny and Peter Eccles to score with an angled shot which Jody Byrne could not prevent entering the net. Larry Wyse then set up Gorman for what nearly was a second. Rov•ers came to life near the end of the match with Alan O’Neill saving well from Mick Neville. Then, with just five minutes to go, Pat Byrne struck a superb free kick against the Dundalk crossbar.

Shamrock Rovers: Byrne, Kenny, Neville, Eccles, Brady, Carlyle, Doolin, P Byrne, McCarthy, Larkin, Hanrahan
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Malone, Cleary, Murray, Wyse, Kehoe, O’Connor, Gorman, Eviston

Dundalk 2-0 Derry City
8th November 1987 Oriel Park League

The match that kick-started the league winning campaign. A tense atmosphere existed in Oriel Park as the match took place hours after the Enniskillen Bombing. The Derry fans, enjoying their first season in the Premier Division, travelled in huge numbers and broke the record for gate receipts for a league game at Oriel Park (£6500). Played in non-stop rain, the match was a superb advertisment for the league. Derry Keeper Stuart Roberts scrambled a thunderous 35 yard effort around the post from Barry Kehoe. Owen De Gama set up John Cunningham who miskicked six yards out while Larry Wyse also fluffed a great chance. Dundalk took the lead after 72 minutes. Dessie Gorman sent a cheeky right-footed free-kick over the wall past Roberts at his near post. Dundalk enjoyed a let off two minutes later when Paul Dixon’s free-kick from the right was headed against the crossbar by Ray McGuinness. Dundalk sealed the points on 77 minutes when Kehoe turned his marker on the left wing and slotted a perfect chip into the top far corner. Dundalk ended the day back at the top of the league, much to the delight of Turlough O’Connor: “We were under a lot of pressure from Derry at the start but I thought we showed a lot of character”.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Malone, Cleary, Murray, Wyse, Kehoe, O’Connor, Gorman, Eviston. Sub: Connell for Cleary
Derry City: Roberts, Nixon, Keay, Curran, Quigg, Mahon, McGuinness, Healy, Cunningham, Da Gama, Speake.

Sub: Hegarty for Healy, Quigley for Mahon

Dundalk 2-0 Bray Wanderers
15th November 1987 Oriel Park League

A tactical masterstoke from Turlough O’Connor sealed the points against Bray in front of a poor crowd (the match clashed with a Man Utd-Liverpool match on TV). Gino Lawless was moved into midfield when Dave Connell replaced Larry Wyse after 60 minutes. Connell broke down the right after 68 minutes and his cross found Lawless who dispatched a low shot from 22 yards past Devlin. John Cleary sealed the points with a 72nd minute penalty.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Malone, Cleary, Murray, Wyse, Kehoe, O’Connor, Gorman, Eviston. Sub: Connell for Wyse
Bray: Devlin, Craig, Matthews, Philips, Ruane, McKeever, Whelan, Gormley, Cullen, McDermott

Bray Wanderers 2-3 Dundalk
22nd November 1987 Carlisle Grounds League

Dundalk got a big fright in this match in the Carlisle Grounds against struggling Bray. Dundalk took the lead after 18 minutes when Larry Wyse scored with a left-footed daisy cutter after Barry Kehoe’s shot was blocked. Kehoe added the second after 25 minutes when he headed home from Gino Lawless’ free-kick. However, Bray fought back with two fine goals. Dermot Judge scored a superb 30 yard dip•ping effort that gave O’Neill no chance. Then they equalised with an even more spectacular strike after 52 minutes. Derek Gough picked out Tommy McDermott who evaded Dave Connell’s tackle and scored with a low cross-shot. Dundalk had to dig deep and finally snatched the points in the 81st minute when a Dessie Gorman corner from the left was headed home past Chippy Devlin by Martin Murray.

Bray Wanderers: Devlin, McKeever, Matthews, Philips, Ruane, Craig, Whelan, Judge, McDermott, Cullen, Gough. Subs: McEvoy for O’Brien, O’Brien for Craig
Dundalk: O’Neill, Connell, Lawlor, Cleary, Malone, Lawless, Kehoe, Wyse, Murray, Eviston, Gorman

Dundalk 3-1 Cork City
29th November 1987 Oriel Park League

A magnificent Gino Lawless display inspired Dundalk to retain their place at the top of the league with this excellent win over Cork City. Dundalk started brightly and had a goal ruled out for offside when Dessie Gorman headed home. Cork took a suprise lead when a long range shoot from Eamon O’Keefe took a deflection to beat Alan O’Neill. Dundalk equalised after 37 minutes when Alan Dodd appeared to handle a harmless looking effort by Larry Wyse. With the Cork defence expecing a penalty to be awarded Terry Eviston nipped in to score. Dundalk took the lead after 51 minutes with a cracking effort from Michael O’Connor that went in off the crossbar. The points were settled in the 69th minute when a cross from Martin Lawlor found Wyse outside the area and he scored with a beautifully placed shot to the corner of the Cork net. O’Neill was called into action to maintain the two goal lead with great saves from O’Keefe and Dave Barry.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Connell, Lawlor, Cleary, Malone, Lawless, Kehoe, Wyse, Murray, Eviston, Gorman
Cork City: Kelly, Neiland, Long, Dodd, Murphy, Freyne, Barry, Bowden, Ahern, O’Keefe, Caulfield. Sub: Healy for Ahern


29/08/87 – 03/10/87 Rick Astley Never Gonna Give You Up

03/10/87 – 17/10/87 M/A/R/R/S Pump Up The Volume

17/10/87 – 14/11/87 Bee Gees You Win Again

14/11/87 – 19/12/87 T’Pau China In Your Hand

19/12/87 – 16/01/88 Pet Shop Boys Always On My Mind

16/01/88 – 30/01/88 Belinda Carlisle Heaven Is A Place On Earth

30/01/88 – 20/02/88 Tiffany I Think We’re Alone Now

20/02/88 – 26/03/88 Kylie Minouge I Should Be So Lucky

26/03/88 – 09/04/88 Aswad Don’t Turn Around

09/04/88 – 30/04/88 Pet Shop Boys Heart

30/04/88 – 14/05/88 S’Express Theme From S’Express


IN THE NEWS – 18 people killed in a fire in the London Under•ground; 11 people killed at a rememberance day bombing in Enniskillen; President Reagan condemned in report into the Iran-Contra Affair; North Korean agents plant a bomb on South Korean Air flight 858 from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok. It explodes over the Andaman Sea killing 115 people.

ON THE TV: Blockbusters, 3-2-1, Copy Cats, Blind Date, Home To Roost & Magnum (UTV’s Saturday Night line-up on 7th November 1987).

Limerick City 0-3 Dundalk
6th December 1987 Rathbane League

Dundalk continued their impressive form with an excellent victory against Billy Hamilton’s Limerick City. Michael O’Connor began the scoring after eight minutes. Terry Eviston’s corner was touched on by Martin Murray at the near post and O’Connor converted with a diving header. O’Connor continued his good form in the 24th minute when he linked up with Martin Lawlor to set up a fine goal for Paul Newe. Dundalk went 3-0 up before half-time and O’Connor was again the architect. This time the midfielder split the defence open with a perfectly timed through-ball that allowed Larry Wyse to race in to score. Dundalk took their foot of the gas in the first half but were able to play out the match to remain at the top of the table. “The goals we saw today were as good as you will get anywhere” said a delighted Turlough O’Connor after the match.

Limerick City: Moran, Coyle, King, Coll, Lynch, Mullane, Hyde, Daly, Walsh, Hamilton, McGonagle. Subs: Duggan for Coyle, Behan for McGonagle
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Cleary, Malone, Wyse, Murray, Newe, O’Connor, Eviston

Dundalk 3-1 Shelbourne
13th December 1987 Oriel Park League

Dundalk extended their lead at the top of the table to three points after this hard fought win over Shelbourne. John Cleary broke the dead•lock on the stroke of half-time. Martin Lawlor crossed from the left and after a goalmouth scramble Cleary sidefooted home. Then in the 55th minute a move started by Barry Kehoe ended with Terry Eviston scoring from close range. Shelbourne came back into the match and Philip Power latched onto a long ball to shoot past Alan O’Neill. Shelbourne went all out for an equaliser but Dundalk broke free on 80 minutes with Michael O’Connor racing down the right before pulling the ball back to Joey Malone who blasted past Fred Davis.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless,Lawlor, Malone, Cleary, Murray, Wyse, Kehoe, O’Connor, Eviston, Gorman
Shelbourne: Davis, Mackey, McDermott, Burke, Reynolds, Browne, Gaffney, Meegan, Barrett, Joyce, Kealy. Sub: Power for Joyce
Bohemians 3-2 Dundalk
20th December 1987 Dalymount Park League

Dundalk’s winning run came to an end at Dalymount Park when Bohs secured a deserved win. Bohs went two goals up through Derek Murray and Joe Lawless. Michael O’Connor glanced Martin Lawlor’s free-kick past Dermot O’Neill to make it 2-1 before Dessie Gorman equalised. However, Paul McGee headed an 86th minute winner to give Bohs the points.

Bohemians: O’Neill, Kinsella, Reynor, Murphy, Duffy, Byrne, Murray, Conway, Jameson, Lawless, McGee
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Cleary, Malone, Wyse, Murray, Kehoe, Gorman, O’Connor, Eviston. Sub: Shelly for Murray, Newe for Gorman

Dundalk 1-0 Sligo Rovers
27th December 1987 Oriel Park League

A Terry Eviston goal seperated the sides in this match in Oriel Park. No match report available.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Cleary, Malone, Wyse, Murray, Kehoe, O’Connor, Gorman, Eviston.

Waterford 2-3 Dundalk
28th December 1987 Kilcohan Park League

Dundalk went into 1988 with a four point lead at the top of the league after a fantastic Dessie Gorman hat-trick in Kilcohan Park. On a horrible afternoon, Gorman scored the winner in the 87th minute. While Waterford had produced on of their best performances of the season the two points deservedly went to the visitors. Dundalk opened the scoring after eight minutes when a cross from Michael O’Connor on the right was side-footed home by Gorman from close range. Waterford equalised just three minutes later when Noel King set up Pat Morley to lay a perfect pass to Mick Bennett to score. Dundalk went back into the lead after 18 minutes when Gorman scored a fine goal following a mazy run. Morley levelled matters again just after the interval following a Paul Cashen corner. There was near misses at both ends but Gorman sealed the points with his third goal when he latched onto a pass by Larry Wyse to give Quinlivan no chance. The winning goal came in semi-darkness on a day when even a 2.30 pm kick-off turned out to be too late.

Waterford United: Quinlaven, Power, Storan, Wright, Hale, King, Cashen, Reid, D O’Neill, Bennett, Morley, Subs: K O’Neill for Hale, Synott for Morley
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Cleary, Malone, Wyse, Murray, Kehoe, O’Connor, Gorman, Eviston. Sub: Newe for O’Connor


IN THE NEWS: The Court of Appeal in London grant an injunction prevented Channel 4 from broacasting a re-enactment of the Birmingham Six Appeal heardings, Loyalist politician George Seawright who was best known for saying that “Catholics should be burned”, is murdered by the INLA, the Extradition Bill, which provided safeguards for Irish citizens wanted for terrorist style offences in Britain was passed in the Dail causing a detorioration of relations between Charles Haughey and Margaret Thatcher; the first Intifada begins in Gaza by Palestinians; US backed Contra rebels launch their biggest offensive to topple Nicaraguan Government; Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagon sign the Intermediate Nuclear Missile Treaty.

ON THE TV: On the box on Christmas Day 1987: Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom (RTE 1 & BBC1); Glenroe, Eat The Peach (RTE 1); Christ•mas Morning with Noel Edmonds, Porrdige, Russ Abbot Christmas Show, Only Fools & Horses, Christmas Night with the Two Ronnies, Miss Marple, In Sickness & In Health, Terms of Endearment (BBC 1); The Spy Who Loved Me, Bedknobs & Broomsticks, Blind Date, It’ll be Alright on Christmas Night, Inspector Morse, Airplane II (UTV); The Golden Girls, The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross, Dire Straits Live (Channel 4)

Dundalk 1-1 Shamrock Rovers
4th January 1988 Oriel Park League

Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers served up a treat in this clash at Oriel Park. Dermot Keely’s side were six points behind Dundalk before the match and the former Dundalk captain went all out for victory by playing three up front with Joe Hanrahan, Mick Byrne and Noel Larkin in the Rovers attack. Dundalk, however, performed superbly in the first half. Dessie Gorman’s 37th minute goal was scant reward for Dundalk’s domination with Rovers thankful for the defensive prowess of Peter Eccles and Mick Neville. Tensions spilled over to the crowd also.

Shamrock Rovers were going through the painful re-location to Tolka Park and their “KRAM” (Keep Rovers at Milltown) group abused the Kil•coyne family sitting in the director’s box. On the pitch, Michael O’Connor revelled on the wing as he proved Rovers wrong with their decision to allow him to leave. Alan O’Neill made an early outstanding save from Vincent McCarthy while Jody Byrne saved well from a Dessie Gorman header. Gorman’s headed goal came from an excellent O’Connor cross that went in off the crossbar. Terry Eviston and Barry Kehoe combined to scramble an Eccles shot off the line in the 58th minute. Gorman came close to making it 2-0 when his shot was deflected onto the base of the post with Byrne beaten. Rovers piled on the pressure in the closing stages and were rewarded with a John Toal goal in the 89th minute.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Cleary, Malone, Wyse, Shelly, Kehoe, Gorman, O’Connor, Eviston.
Shamrock Rovers: Byrne, Kenny, Eccles, Neville, Brady, McCarthy, P Byrne, Toal, M Byrne, Larkin, Hanrahan. Sub: Carlyle for Hanrahan
Derry City 3-0 Dundalk
11th January 1988 The Brandywell League

Disaster! Dundalk’s lead was cut to two points after this resounding defeat at the Brandywell. It took Derry City 75 minutes to break the deadlock and begin a goal-rush. John McDaid opened the scoring by finishing off a terrific move with a powerful header. A minute later and Jonathan Speake capitalised on an error by John Cleary to score from six yards. One minute later again…and Speake stabbed the ball home following a goal mouth scramble.

Derry City: Roberts, Vaudequin, Quig, Curran, Hegarty, McGuinness, Mahon, McDaid, Speake, Gauld, Healy
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Cleary, Malone, Wyse, Shelly, Kehoe, Gorman, O’Connor, Eviston.

Dundalk 2-1 Galway United
18th January 1988 Oriel Park League

Dundalk kept ahead of St Pats with this crucial victory. Richie Blackmore missed out on facing his old team due to a back injury and his replacement Michael O’Toole was at fault for the opening goal. On the stroke of half-time, John Cleary hoisted a free-kick into the penalty area and when Terry Eviston headed on Michael O’Connor was able to knock the ball past O’Toole who was slow coming off his line. Eviston almost made it 2-0 but his effort smashed off the upright. Dundalk’s second goal came in the 52nd minute when Larry Wyse diverted a way•ward O’Connor effort. Alan O’Neill was forced to make a great save from Noel Mernagh before Paul McGee scored a late consolation when he converted from the rebound after O’Neill had saved his penalty kick.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Cleary, Malone, Wyse, Shelly, Kehoe, Gorman, O’Connor, Eviston.
Galway United: O’Toole, Rodgers, Bonner, Lambert, Nolan, Lally, Deacy, Mullen, Mannion, McGee, Mernagh. Sub: McLoughlin for Deacy

24th January 1988
St Patrick’s Athletic 2-2 Dundalk              Richmond Park

On a day when both Bohs and Shamrock Rovers kept up the pressure with wins over Shelbourne and Derry City, Dundalk produced a magnificent fight back to retain a two point lead over biggest challengers St Patrick’s Athletic. Dundalk had the better of the early exchanges and Dave Henderson did well to tip a Terry Eviston header over the bar before Dessie Gorman missed a good chance after being set up by Gino Lawless. However, St Pats struck after 12 minutes when Paddy Dillon deflected Masterson’s shot past O’Neill. Dillon then set up Mark Ennis for a simple tap in after 19 minutes. At this point Dundalk were about to lose their long-standing lead at the top of the league. Indeed, it could have been worse had Dillon finished a fine move. Dundalk got to grips with proceedings and then after 40 minutes Barry Kehoe scored an outstanding goal from a 20 yard free-kick. Within four minutes of the re-start, Dundalk were level. Gino Lawless, outstanding all afternoon, delivered an inviting cross and when Eviston headed back across the goalmouth, Kehoe swept the ball home into the roof of the net. Within a minute Dundalk could have been in front. Lawless set Michael O’Connor clear but his shot smacked off the crossbar. Henderson denied O’Connor with a fine save on 75 minutes before St Pat’s began to re-assert their authority. Having recovered from their earlier nerves, the Dundalk defence held firm. They did have one almighty scare when Dillon converted from eight yards but referee Pat Kelly disallowed the goal.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Henderson, Fleming, Moody, D Byrne, Kelch, Morrison, O’Driscoll, P Byrne, Masterson, Ennis, Dillon. Sub: Treacy for Morrisson

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Cleary, Malone, Wyse, Murray, Kehoe, O’Connor, Gorman, Eviston.

January 1988
In the news:
The Irish & British governments clash over the British refusal to implement the findings of the Stalker report into shoot-to-kill operations in Northern Ireland; Sinn Fein and the SDLP deny that an IRA truce was discussed during talks in Belfast; Israel bars a UN envoy from examining living conditions in Palestinian refugee camps; It is reported that 20,000 Irish people will head for West Germany for the European Championships in June; A huge Donegal arms find confirms Libyan involvement in IRA gun running operations.

31st January 1988
Cork 1-0 Dundalk (match abandoned after 63 minutes) Turner’s Cross

A farcical afternoon ended in bitter recriminations when referee Pat Daly called a halt at Turner’s Cross due to a waterlogged pitch. Cork fans, sensing a rare and vital win, were furious at the decision while manager Eamon O’Keefe stated “I am bitterly disappointed for I did not think the conditions were bad enough to pose a health risk. If the referee thought the conditions were dangerous then why not call it off earlier? We had the game under control….we deserve the points and we aim to get them”. Referee Daly was unapologetic: “It is one thing to pontificate from the sidelines, but I was the person who carried the ultimate responsibility for players getting seriously injured and I was not prepared to take that risk”. While some had sympathy for Cork, it was clear that the referee had made the right decision. Alan O’Neill had protested earlier due to his goalmouth being completely water logged. The pitch had turned into a river by the 63rd minute by which time Cork were 1-0 up thanks to a Patsy Freyne goal. It could have been 2-0 and possibly have made the decision to replay the match more difficult if Joey Malone’s wayward backpass that beat O’Neill had not got stuck in the mud before it crossed the line. Cork’s attempts to keep the points were overruled with the match rescheduled for March. In a further boost for Dundalk’s title hopes St Patrick’s Athletic were beaten 2-0 by Shelbourne and Bohemians went down 1-0 at home to Galway United. Meanwhile, Shamrock Rovers moved within three points by beating Limerick 4-0 in Rathbane.

Cork City: Kelly, Neiland, N Healy, O’Keefe, Long, P Healy, Barry, Murphy, Freyne, Caufield, Aherne: Sub: Morgan for N Healy
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Cleary, Malone, Lawlor, Wyse, Murray, Kehoe, Eviston, O’Connor, Gorman. Sub: Shelley for Eviston.

February 7th 1988
Dundalk 4-0 Limerick City             Oriel Park
Dundalk routed Limerick at Oriel Park to take another step towards their first league championship since 1982. After surviving the rain of Cork, Dundalk had to contend with sleet and snow on a freezing afternoon. Dundalk went ahead after 16 minutes. Gorman crossed from the right wing for Terry Eviston to head past Forde. O’Neill saved from a Declan Daly snapshot before Dundalk went further ahead on 53 minutes. Barry Kehoe was the architect – supplying the cross for Gorman to head against the crossbar with Larry Wyse pouncing on the rebound to score. Martin Murray added a third with a sweetly struck shot from 20 yards after 59 minutes. Eviston added a fourth late on.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Malone, Cleary, Lawlor, Wyse, Murray, Kehoe, O’Connor, Gorman, Eviston. Sub: Gannon for Gorman.
Limerick: Forde, Duggan, Cowper, O’Halloran, Lyons, Daly, Lynch, Tuite, Walsh, Hamilton, McGonigle. Sub: Behan for Walsh. Mullane for Hamilton.

February 14th Sligo Rovers 1-1 Dundalk
Sligo Showgrounds              FAI Cup

It took a late Michael O’Connor goal to rescue a replay for Dundalk in their opening FAI Cup match in Sligo. Even after the equaliser Dundalk came a whisker away from being eliminated when Derek Walsh crashed a tremendous 30 yard shot off the crossbar with O’Neill beaten in the 92nd minute. Sligo had taken the lead after O’Neill had fouled Mick Savage. Having parried the initial penalty, O’Neill was powerless to prevent Andy Spring from converting the rebound. Sligo had a great chance to kill off Dundalk in the 68th minute. Willie Clinton picked out O’Kelly who forced O’Neill into an excellent one handed save. Eviston had forced Lally into a fine save in the 70thminute but finally Dundalk levelled matters on 78 minutes when Eviston set up O’Connor to score. Thankfully the crossbar rescued Dundalk in the dying seconds to set up a replay.

18th February 1988
Dundalk 3-2 Sligo Rovers                   FAI Cup Replay

A classic cup tie at Oriel Park. After 19 minutes Dundalk were two goals down with Sligo looking likely to inflict a shock defeat on the league leaders. John Lynch had given Sligo a 16th minute lead with a deflected effort. Within three minutes, Lynch provided the cross for Savage to score with a glancing header. The 3,000 strong Oriel crowd were shocked. Terry Eviston pulled one back for Dundalk before the break when he outjumped Enda Scanlon to head past Lally. Paul Newe, given a chance in the starting line-up in place of Dessie Gorman, capitalised on an error by O’Connell to score from close range to make it 2-2 in the 59th minute. Dundalk piled on the pressure with Barry Kehoe going close with a 20 yard free-kick. The winning goal came in the 67th minute. A move involving Larry Wyse, Martin Murray and Michael O’Connor culminated in Eviston somehow finding space in a packed goalmouth to squeeze home a shot from ten yards.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Malone, Cleary, Wyse, Murray, Kehoe, Newe, O’Connor, Eviston.
Sligo: Lally, O’Connell, Spring, Dixon, Scanlon, McLoughlin, Walsh, Clinton, Savage, Lynch, O’Kelly. Sub: Dykes for Walsh.

February 21st 1988
Shelbourne 0-1 Dundalk                     Harold’s Cross

A terrible game was settled with an 84th minute winner from Martin Murray after some neat link up play with Terry Eviston. Former Lilywhite Paddy Joyce had Shelbourne’s best moment when he flashed a shot narrowly wide. John Cleary had earlier wasted a great opportunity having been set up by an O’Connor back hell.

Shelbourne: Davis, Mackey, McDermott, Tierney, Barret, Gaffney, Burke, Gorman, Browne, Joyce, Yeates
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Cleary, Malone, Wyse, Murray, Kehoe, Eviston, O’Connor, Newe

February 28th 1988
Dundalk 0-2 Bohemians                                 Oriel Park

Dundalk suffered a setback after Derek Swan scored twice to give Bohemians a deserved win. Paul Newe had Dundalk’s best chance when his shot was brilliantly parried by Dermot O’Neill and John Cleary struck the foot of the post from the rebound. Michael O’Connor also struck the crossbar from a 20 yard free-kick. Tom Conway also scored a spectacular own goal when he sliced his effort badly with the ball bouncing clear via the underside of the Bohemians crossbar. Swan opened the scoring in the 22nd minute and owed a lot to the wind swept conditions as he latched onto Ronnie Murphy’s clearance to shoot past O’Neill from the edge of the box. Swan sealed the win with a close range effort after 88 minutes. Again, Dundalk were let off the hook with results elsewhere going their way. St Pats lost 2-0 at home to Waterford allowing Shamrock Rovers to move into second place after a 2-0 win over Sligo Rovers.

February 1988

A report shows that up to 68% of farms in Co Donegal have been contaminated by the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster; An Anglo-Irish conference ends in stalemate after the British Government stick by their decision not to prosecute RUC officers who broke the law in relation to the “shoot-to-kill” policy; President Ortega of Nicaragua welcomes the defeat of a bill in the US Congress to send more aid to the Sandinista Contras; Mikhail Gorbachev announces that Soviet forces would begin to withdraw from Afghanistan in May; RTE news programme Today Tonight profiles Dublin criminal Martin Cahill and cause controversy when revealing he is receiving social welfare. Cahill’s payments are stopped after the show was broadcast; Vice-President George Bush wins the New Hampshire Primary beating Bob Dole; The Irish Government protests following the shooting of a 23 year old man in the back by a British Soldier as he walked to a football match in Tyrone.

March 6th 1988
Dundalk 2-0 Bray Wanderers                         FAI Cup

Dundalk were less than convincing as they qualified for the FAI Cup ¼ Finals with a win over Bray. Dundalk got off to an ideal start when awarded a penalty for handball after just nine minutes. Derek Sullivan saved John Cleary’s initial effort but was unable to stop Cleary slamming home the rebound. Dundalk sealed the win when Paul Newe latched onto Alan O’Neill’s clearance and dispatched a fine swerving effort past Sullivan into the top corner.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Murray, Cleary, Malone, Wyse, Kehoe, Eviston, Newe. Sub: Shelly for Kehoe, Gorman for Wyse.
Bray: Sullivan, Craig, Ruane, McKeever, Whelan, Philips, Cullen, Gough, McEvoy, O’Neill, McDermott. Subs: Calms for Philips, Matthews for Gough.

March 9th 1988
Cork City 1-1 Dundalk                       Turner’s Cross

Dundalk were happy to settle for a point in this re-arranged match in Turner’s Cross. Dundalk took the lead with a goal that spoke volumes for their determination to bring the title to Oriel Park. Martin Murray split the defence open and Terry Eviston raced in to poke the ball past Timothy Dalton to open the scoring. It was one of the bravest goals of the campaign as Eviston had to have a number of stitches inserted into a gashed eye as a result of the incident. It did not affect his game however, as he struck the crossbar with a header from a Michael O’Connor cross soon afterwards. Ironically given the circumstances of this re-match, Cork’s equaliser was due to the wind swept conditions. Within 45 seconds of the second half Jim Caulfield’s long speculative cross from 40 yards was caught by the wind that deceived Alan O’Neill and entered into the net off the upright.

Cork City: Dalton, Neiland, N Healy, Murphy, Long, P Healy, O’Keefe, Barry, Freyne, Windridge, Caulfield.
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Malone, Cleary, Lawlor, Wyse, Murray, Shelly, O’Connor, Eviston. Sub: Gorman for Newe.

March 13th 1988
Sligo Rovers 0-0 Dundalk                               Showgrounds

Dundalk suffered a setback with this scoreless draw with  bottom of the table Sligo Rovers. Dundalk pounded the Sligo goal in search of a winner in the second half but found their goalkeeper in heroic form. This was all the more remarkable considering that in goal that day was Sligo striker John Lynch after Tom Lally had gone down ill only a few hours before kick-off. Lynch made several superb saves, the pick of which was a block on Terry Eviston’s 69th minute effort. Alan O’Neill also had to perform to his highest standards to deny Johnny Glynn while Nigel O’Connell’s shot from 20 yards hit the woodwork. Dundalk’s lead at the top of the table was thereby cut to two points from Shamrock Rovers who won 1-0 at Waterford. St Pat’s lost a two goal lead at Galway to only draw 2-2.

Sligo: Lynch, Dykes, Spring, Scanlon, Johnston, McLoughlin, Rooney, Clinton, O’Connell, O’Kelly, Glynn
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Malone, Cleary, Lawlor, Wyse, Murray, Shelley, Newe, Eviston, O’Connor. Sub: Gorman for Newe.

March 17th 1988
Dundalk 1-1 Waterford United                       Oriel Park

Dundalk’s disappointing recent form continued on this St Patrick’s Day encounter at rainy Oriel Park. For so long Dundalk had headed the table but supporters feared that their lead would soon be withered away. The match ended in a tense atmosphere as some Dundalk supporters vented their frustration. Mick Shelly set up Dessie Gorman to give Dundalk an early lead. Larry Wyse, Michael O’Connor and Gorman all wasted good chances to extend the lead. Waterford salvaged a point when Gino Lawless hit a bad back pass that was intercepted by Pat Morley who rounded Alan O’Neill to score. Dundalk remained on top of the table however thanks to Galway holding Shamrock Rovers. However, St Pats closed the gap after a 1-0 win over Derry City and Bohs were also just two points behind after a 1-0 win at Turner’s Cross.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Cleary, Malone, Wyse, Shelly, Murray, O’Connor, Eviston, Gorman. Sub: Newe for O’Connor.
Waterford: Quinlivan, Kelly, Storan, Wright, Hale, Keane, O’Neill, P McCarthy, V McCarthy, Bennett, Morley. Subs: Synott & Arrigan for Hale and P McCarthy.

March 20th 1988
Galway United 2-0 Dundalk              Terryland Park

Dundalk’s prolonged spell as league leaders came to an end after this defeat at Terryland Park. Bohemians took over the mantle after a 2-0 win over Limerick City at Dalymount Park and St Pat’s moved into second place after a 2-0 win over Shamrock Rovers. Dundalk missed a host of chances. Pat O’Toole cleared Martin Lawlor’s downward header off the line and Martin Murray’s shot beat Richie Blackmore only for Denis Bonner to make a last-gasp clearance. Blackmore saved at the feet of Michael O’Connor and Paul Newe also squandered a number of chances. Inevitably, Galway took the lead after 80 minutes. A corner by Mannion was deflected into the path of Noel Mernagh of scored from 15 yards. Dundalk were still cursing their bad luck when, two minutes later, Paul McGee scored from a 25 yard free-kick.

Galway: Blackmore, Lambert, Cassidy, Bonner, Nolan, Mernagh, Mannion, McLaughlin, O’Toole, Mullan, McGee. Sub: Lally for O’Toole
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Malone, Cleary, Lawlor, Wyse, Murray, Shelley, O’Connor, Eviston, Gorman. Sub: Newe for Wyse.

March 27th 1988         Dundalk 0-0 Cork City
FAI Cup ¼ Final        Oriel Park

Dundalk and Cork City were forced to settle for a replay after a physical encounter ended with two men sent off, one carried off and three others booked. After recent results Turlough O’Connor decided to recall Harry McCue who proceeded to have a great game in defence. Martin Murray had an early effort ruled out for offside. However, disaster struck after ten minutes when Paul Newe received a red card for hitting Phil Long. Dundalk took control of the game after the break and only fine goalkeeping from Tim Dalton kept his side in the game. Cork substitute Norman Kelly was sent off after a wild tackle on Gino Lawless. Dessie Gorman was then rushed to hospital after suffering from concussion. Long hit the Dundalk crossbar with a free-kick on 83 minutes. With time running out Michael O’Connor forced Dalton into the best save of the match.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Murray, Malone, McCue, Cleary, Kehoe, Eviston, Gorman, Newe. Sub: O’Connor for Gorman.
Cork City: Dalton, Neiland, Long, N Healy, Murphy, Freyne, Barry, Bowdran, P Healy, O’Keefe, Caulfield. Sub: Kelly for Bowdren.

30th March 1988
Cork City 0-1 Dundalk                       FAI Cup ¼ final replay

A brave and disciplined performance allowed Dundalk to qualify for the semi-finals of the FAI Cup in this Wednesday afternoon match in Cork. Dundalk survived 45 minutes of almost constant pressure in the 1st half. In the 51st minute, Terry Eviston crossed from the right wing to the edge of the six yards area. Martin Murray, who enjoyed a superb match, measured his run perfectly and glided a magnificent header past Dalton. Cork’s attempts to force the match into extra-time were thwarted by another fine performance of Alan O’Neill. In particular, his 88th minute save from Pat Healy’s powerful shot from 12 yards was vital. But even then he was helpless as Cork player-manager Eamonn O’Keefe somehow contrived to  blast the rebound wide.

Cork City: Dalton, Neiland, N Healy, Murphy, Long, P Healy, Barry, O’Keefe, Freyne, Cauflied, Morgan,
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, McCue, Malone, Shelly, Wyse, Cleary, Kehoe, Gorman, Murray, Eviston.


16 people are killed when Iraqi warplanes bomb Tehran in reprisals following a missile attack on Baghdad; Archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested at a protest march in Cape Town; A High Court case ends in which Barry McGuigan and former promoter Barney Eastwood finally part company; Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes denies that his party is in crisis; Three IRA members were shot dead in Gibralter. The IRA claimed that all three were unarmed while the British Government denied the accusations that they were shot while attempting to surrender; The Prince of Wales narrowly escapes death after an avalanche in Switzerland; The Austrian government apologises for crimes committed by Austrians during World War II; Loyalist gunman Michael Stone kills three men after a grenade and gun attack on the Gibralter IRA funeral at Milltown cemetery;

Saturday 2nd April 1988
Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Dundalk                   Tolka Park

With four teams competing for the title, Dundalk entered the Easter Bank Holiday period knowing that only full points would do. Dundalk had a let off when Noel Larkin missed what would have normally been an easy finish. Dundalk’s breakthrough came when Peter Eccles misjudged the bounce of the ball and was enticed into a risky challenge that resulted in a foul on Dessie Gorman. John Cleary dispatched the penalty past Jody Byrne. Cleary was outstanding as he was employed as a striker for long periods before been withdrawn to the centre of defence to tighten up the Malone-McCue combination. In the end, Dundalk held out for the win quite comfortably. Terry Eviston, however, did not feel too comfortable when elbowed in the face by Peter Eccles – an act that went punished with a red card. This was the third time in recent weeks that Eviston received cuts to his eyes.

Shamrock Rovers: Byrne, Neville, Kenny, Eccles, Brady, Doolin, Nolan, Toal, Hanrahan, Larkin, Mooney.
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Shelly, Malone, McCue, Cleary, Wyse, Murray, Kehoe, Gorman, Eviston.

Monday 4th April 1988
Dundalk 3-2 Derry City                  Oriel Park
At 5.02 pm on Easter Monday 1988, Dundalk’s league challenge appeared to be in ruins. Bohemians, having played one game extra, were on the way to beating Sligo Rovers while St Pats had beaten Cork City at Turner’s Cross. Dundalk were 2-0 down at Oriel Park in front of a huge crowd at Oriel Park. This would have left Dundalk three points behind Bohs (two points for a win remember…) with a game in hand and two points behind St Pats who had played the same amount of games. Not only would defeat have finished any hope of winning the league title, but even European qualification would have been difficult and depended upon winning the FAI Cup.
Dundalk had gifted Derry City the lead after 13 minutes. John Cleary attempted to pass back to Alan O’Neill but Owen De Gama stepped in to side foot into an empty net. Dundalk came back into the match strongly and Derry keeper Stuart Roberts produced four outstanding saves to deny Terry Eviston, Larry Wyse, Dessie Gorman and Joey Malone. Derry were dangerous throughout on the counter-attack and a break started by Paul Carlyle in the 56th minute culminated in Jonathan Speake firing a shot against the post with De Gama again on hand to knock in the rebound.
The supporters listening in to the 5pm RTE Radio sports news heard the bad news from Dalymount Park and Turner’s Cross. The Dundalk title challenge was hanging by a thread. Despair turned to hope in the 77th minute. Eviston, having recovered from “Eccles Elbow”, had posed constant problems for the Derry defence throughout, delivered an inswinging corner that found the head of Gino Lawless and gave Roberts no chance. The mood in the stadium changed completely as Dundalk increased the pressure. In the 83rd minute a magnificent three man move involving Wyse, Barry Kehoe and Martin Murray ripped open the Derry defence. With the ball loose in the penalty area Kehoe swept home past Stuart to send Dundalk fans into raptures. If that was unbelievable what followed was simply astonishing. Dundalk forced Derry back but could not make the most of a number of corners. With the Derry fans whistling for the final whistle, Ray McGuinness failed to clear a long ball out of the Dundalk defence which gave Dessie Gorman the chance to shoot past the advancing Roberts with a low shot. Oriel went crazy. The final whistle arrived just sixty seconds later which was greeted with some of the most jubilant and emotional scenes ever experienced in Dundalk football club history. To this day, Dundalk supporters mention this particular match up with any of our European nights or FAI Cup successes. It was, as one Dundalk supporter yelled exuberantly after the match, “the greatest comeback since Lazurus!”.

10th April 1988
Dundalk 1-0 St Patrick’s Athletic      FAI Cup ½ Final 1st Leg

The first of three hugely important games between Dundalk and St Pats ended with a slender 1-0 win for the Lilywhites after a goal by Dessie Gorman early in the second half. St Pats were confident of turning around the deficit in the second leg in Inchicore. Terry Eviston’s inswinging corner was headed on by Harry McCue and Gorman swooped in at the far post to steer his header past Henderson after 48 minutes. Maurice O’Driscoll forced Alan O’Neill into a great save in the 70th minute. From the resulting corner O’Driscoll headed goalwards but Mick Shelly managed to make a goal-line clearance.
Meanwhile, Bohemians league hopes were hit when they were held to 1-1 draw in Waterford United.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Malone, Cleary, McCue, Wyse, Murray, Shelly, Kehoe, Gorman, Eviston.
St Pats: Henderson, Fleming, Kelch, D Byrne, McDonnell, Treacy, O’Driscoll, Moody, Fenlon, Dillon, Ennis.

April 13th 1988
Dundalk 5-1 Bray Wanderers                         Oriel Park

The scene was set for a final day showdown with St Pat’s after both sides played their games in hand on a sunny Wednesday evening. St Pat’s easily defeated Limerick by 3-0 while Dundalk swept aside the challenge of Bray Wanderers. Bohemians remained at the top of the table with 45 points and a superior goal difference but they had finished their campaign. Dundalk and St Pat’s had still to face one another at Oriel Park with the Louth side one point ahead in the table.
A Bo McKeever own goal gave Dundalk a ninth minute lead. Terry Eviston made it 2-0 after twenty minutes when he rounded the keeper to score with ease. It was 3-0 after 23 minutes after O’Sullivan failed to hold  a rasping shot by Larry Wyse and John Cleary was on hand to knock in the rebound. Bray pulled one back from the penalty spot through Eugene Davis but the match was over as a contest thirty seconds into the second half when Eviston headed in Gorman’s corner. Michael O’Connor, on as a substitute, scored Dundalk’s fifth in the 88th minute.

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Cleary, McCue, Malone, Wyse, Kehoe, Eviston, Gorman, Murray. Sub: O’Connor for Eviston, Newe for Gorman.
Bray: O’Sullivan, Craig, Ray Whelan, Matthews, A Whelan, Philips, Davis, McKeever, McEvoy, Gough, Cullen. Sub: Mulhall for McKeever.

April 17th 1988
St Patrick’s Athletic 0-3 Dundalk                  FAI Cup

Dundalk took a giant step towards the Double with possibly their best performance of the season and perhaps the greatest performance of the entire Turlough O’Connor era. This was a comprehensive victory over a great St Pat’s side. Brian Kerr’s hopes of overturning the 1-0 1st leg deficit were dealt a serious blow after Barry Kehoe’s finely executed goal within ten minutes. There was some criticism of Pat’s keeper Dave Henderson for not saving Kehoe’s shot but his powerful drive was struck so hard that it zoomed over Henderson’s head before he even realised the threat. The chance of breaching the Dundalk defence twice was low and Pat’s were denied even a sniff of a comeback. Larry Wyse dominated midfield and Kehoe simply majestic. The only sour point was an ankle injury that was to contribute to his absence from the league decider. Dundalk went two ahead when Mick Moody’s error allowed Dessie Gorman to sprint clear and shoot beyond Henderson. Dundalk wrapped up a fantastic performance when Martin Murray lost his marker to head home a superb cross from Terry Eviston. By this time the match was over…and the RTE cameraman had already buggered off home.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Henderson, Fleming, D Byrne, McDonnell, Kelch, Treacy, Moody, O’Driscoll, Fenlon, Dillon, Ennis. Subs: Byrne for Treacy, Masterson for Ennis.
Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Lawlor, Cleary, McCue, Malone, Wyse, Kehoe, Murray, Eviston, Gorman. Sub: O’Connor for Kehoe.

21st April 1988
Dundalk 1-1 St Patrick’s Athletic                  Oriel Park

After an incredible season, a first half goal by Dessie Gorman delivered the result to bring the League trophy back to Oriel Park after a six year gap. St Pat’s travelled in great numbers and produced a fine performance as they were within reach of their first league title since 1956. It was an evening of incredible tension. After the 3-0 defeat in the FAI Cup, Brian Kerr re-shuffled his pack by leaving out John McDonnell and Mark Ennis to accommodate Martin Morrison and Paul Byrne. Pat Fenlon was deployed as an out and out striker alongside Paddy Dillon. Within seven minutes the new signing from Chelsea had outdone Dundalk. Fenlon first skilfully evaded a tackle from Mick Shelly, in the side due to Barry Kehoe’s late withdrawal, and crossed the ball into the box. The ball appeared to bobble in front of Gino Lawless and the referee decided that that Dundalk player had handled the ball. After the game Gino  said “When the referee blew, I looked around to see who had committed the foul and I was absolutely astounded to see that the finger was pointing at me. I never touched the ball in that incident”. The penalty was strongly contested but Fenlon was to hold his nerve to score from the spot.

Soon Dundalk regained their composure. In the 22nd minute Martin Lawlor crossed into the box and Dessie Gorman headed downwards and the ball bounced into the net from six yards. Henderson then saved bravely at Terry Eviston’s feet before Paddy Dillon intercepted a poor back pass and shot goalwards. With O’Neill stranded Joey Malone came to the rescue with a goal line clearance.

As Martin Lawlor explains in this interview in this magazine, the Dundalk trademark was to allow the opposition to have the initiative as they knew that they could soak up as much pressure that came their way. This may have been an excellent tactic…but it is not good for the supporters who had to sit through a heart-stopping 45 minutes in the second half. St Pat’s held the initiative for the majority of the second period as they surged forward to find a winning goal. Pat Kelch tested O’Neill with a free-kick after 48 minutes. Mick Shelly had Dundalk’s best moment in the second half with a great run and shot that just went wide.

The pivotal moment came after 77 minutes. St Pat’s won a free-kick on the left and Kelch delivered an inswinger towards the six yard box. The Dundalk defence were confident that O’Neill would claim comfortably. To the shock of O’Neill and the 6,000 Dundalk fans present, Paddy Dillon appeared to glance the ball into the net. There can be little doubt that the linesman put his flag up within a second of the incident to indicate that Dillon had punched the ball into the net…but it was as if time stood still. I’m sure I was not the only Dundalk supporter to feel physically sick…but then soon the crowd started to react to the flag…and any confusion or doubt was removed when Dillon received a second yellow card for his actions and made the walk of shame down the tunnel. From that point on Dundalk defended superbly and there was no last gasp chance for the visitors.

The final whistle went and the pitch invasion began. Dundalk were the Champions at the end of one of the most dramatic league campaigns in League of Ireland history.
”What made tonight so good was the fact that St Patrick’s came looking for a win and played accordingly. I thought we were magnificent for that early penalty was a real sickener and might have unnerved lesser teams. This compares with either of the championship wins I was lucky enough to experience with Athlone.”

1st May 1988              Dundalk 1-0 Derry City                     FAI Cup Final Dalymount Park

”Looking at Dundalk’s team, I think the biggest danger to us will come from Des Gorman, Barry Kehoe and Terry Eviston. But if they hold all the aces in experience, I think we have the legs to run them out of the game” – Owen De Gama, April 28th 1988.


The brilliant South African Owen De Gama was the centre of press attention in the lead up to the game. The FAI Cup final was receiving big coverage back in South Africa thanks to De Gama’s explots. It was to be his last game for Derry City as he had joined Spanish Second Division club, Figeuras, in the lead up to the game.

Jim McLaughlin stated before the match of the need to strike first as it would be an “enormous challenge” to retrieve the match if Dundalk went ahead. These words proved to be prophetic. Derry came under attack within 40 seconds of the kick-off. Stuart Roberts was required to go down at the feet of Dessie Gorman. After four minutes, Terry Eviston failed to convert with a header from a cross by Gino Lawless. Derry came back into the match and Barry Kehoe came to his sides rescue by clearing a Calvin Plummer header off the line. Martin Bayley tested Alan O’Neill with a 25 yard drive.

In the 19th minute, a foul on Bayley by Eviston went unnoticed and required Roberts to make a fine save to deny Gino Lawless. Within 45 seconds of that incident came one of the most controversial incidents in the history of the FAI Cup Final. Larry Wyse burst into the box and Martin Bayley “pushed” the Dundalk midfielder in the back with both hands. Contact was not strong enough to either a) make Wyse go down b) make Wyse stop to protest or c) cause any protest from any player or any supporter! However, Wyse’s honesty in staying on his feet should not hide the fact that it was a foul, even it was a soft one, and the decision was correct. Probably.

The coolest man in Dalymount Park at this point was John Cleary. He held his nerve to dispatch the spot kick past Roberts. While Cleary made the right decision when placing the ball low past Roberts, his decision to seek the acclamation of the Derry City fans behind the goal was probably not the wisest move of his career. That section of the 14,000 Derry fans present were kind enough to re-direct the Penalty King to a more appropriate section of Dalymount Park.

Turlough O’Connor’s decision to change from his normal 4-4-2 to a futuristic 3-5-2 formation appeared to catch the Derry team out as they failed to find any serious rhythm to their play. Alan O’Neill enjoyed a relatively trouble free afternoon. Cleary and Harry McCue marked De Gama and Jonathan Speake out of the game. Martin Lawlor, the only survivor from the 1979 double winning team, was outstanding. At the other end, future Dundalk captain Paul Curran and Stuart Gauld had exceptional games against Gorman and Eviston. Gauld was to provide Derry’s finest moment when his shot beat O’Neill but struck the crossbar and rebounded to safety. Martin Murray and Larry Wyse won the battle in the centre of midfield against Felix Healy and the newcomer to the Derry set up Calvin Plummer. There was a huge roar from Mr Spillane to level things up when they claimed Malone had stopped Speake’s shot with his arm. Derry’s final chance came in the 84th minute when Murray made a timely interception to deny Speake.

Unlike the unsavoury scenes of the 1987 FAI Cup Final, the supporters of both club’s made it an unforgettable experience. The 21,000 in attendance made it one of the most colourful Cup Finals in years. The Derry fans generously gave Dundalk a round of applause as they performed their lap of honour.

Jim McLaughlin was sporting afterwards but clearly upset over the penalty decision: “This was an awful way to lose a game. I’m shattered. In my mind the goal that decided it was no penalty. But that’s football. We must be gracious in defeat and I give Dundalk full credit for bringing off the double. Dundalk are the best team in the League of Ireland scene and congratulations to them on the double”.

Turlough O’Connor said: “This is a marvellous end to a fantastic season. You have to admire the players who had put so much effort into the League and then came out and showed  that sort of character. I was never really worried at any time. I felt by playing John Cleary in the middle of the back alongside Harry and Joey would mean that whatever Derry produced up front would be met with the stiffest of resistance.”

Joey Malone said: “I suppose the penalty decision was a bit harsh. I have seen worse fouls being ignored. But once in front I knew we were going to do it.”

Dundalk: O’Neill, Lawless, Cleary, McCue, Malone, Lawlor, Wyse, Murray, Kehoe, Gorman, Eviston. Sub: O’Connor for Wyse
Derry: Roberts, Vaudequin, Curran, Gauld, McGuinness, Carlyle, Bayly, Healy, Plummer, De Gama, Speake. Sub: Cunningham for Healy.

1988 Team Reunion, Oriel Park, 1st May 2008.