IN the chartered 70-year history of the CBSL only six clubs have managed to win the treble of league, cup and shield in the same season: CIE Athletic, Postal Workers, Cork Examiner, Youghal Yarns, Marlboro Trust and Doolan’s Cow.
And two of the six reaching the summit of taking away all four competing trophies, Youghal Yarns and Doolan’s Cow.
Back in 1957/58 Steampacket lifted the league championship and shield competition but were denied the chance to become the first team to win all three competing trophies by the league management committee who cancelled the blue ribband competition of the league’s calendar, the cup.
Four years later in 1961/62, Lunham's were next to go close, winning the league and cup but missed out by losing to Grain Silos in that season’s shield final. However, CIE emerged after only four years of existence to go through the 1968/69 domestic season unbeaten and be justifiably called the first of the great teams.
The club was founded by Jackie Carroll, Steve Murphy, Larry Murtagh and Paddy Gilley. In their first season (1964/65) the club made an immediate impact by winning the league and shield at the first attempt.
In the World Cup year of 1965/66 the cup was won for the first time. A second cup followed in 1967/68 after victory over Fords to set up the all-conquering campaign of 1968/69.
The bus and railwaymen got their shield campaign off to a flyer by hitting Heasips on Sunday, September 1, 1968. Thomas Hawkins, brother of St Mary’s star Noel, grabbed a hat-trick with Tommy and Steve Murphy along with Joe Long and Paddy Busteed also finding the net.
After Ford's were put to the sword, 5-1, a week later, Lady’s Well Brewery fared no better two weeks later again at Marina Park. Hawkins, Long, Murphy, Mick Joyce and an own goal registered the goals for the winners. The month ended with a win over Postal Workers, who despite scoring twice through the late Liam Hurley and Peter Walsh, lost out by the odd goal in five to goals from Hawkins, Busteed and former Cork Celtic ace Donal O’Leary.
Athletic made it four wins on the trot with a 5-0 win over Guys, Hawkins (2), O’Leary, Busteed and captain Denis Sheehan scoring the goals.
Before the final shield group tie against Examiner, CIE took their unbeaten run into the two junior cup competitions, first overcoming Olympic Utd 4-2 in the Munster Junior Cup and the following week an eye catching 2-1 over AUL outfit St Christopher’s in the FAI Junior at Church Road’s famous number one pitch, Hawkins and Joyce scored the decisive goals.
Examiner were no match for Athletic who romped to a comfortable 6-0 win courtesy of goals from O'Leary (3), Tommy Murphy, Hawkins and Joyce. A narrow one-nil replay win over Blackpool Celtic in the FAI Junior sent Athletic into their opening league contest with Aer Lingus, a Joyce penalty deciding the destination of the points.
AUL Division 2 opposition Botanic were comfortably dispatched 4-0 in the second round of the Munster Junior before Lady’s Well Brewery succumbed to a second defeat to CIE, this time in the league. Goals by Tommy Murphy (2), Steve Murphy, Patsy McCormack and Hawkins made it two wins out of two in the league without conceding.
Defeat to Everton in the Munster Junior was followed by wins in the league over Spinning Co (4-2) and Postal Workers (8-1) with five players among the goals. A full calendar month passed between a second league win over Guys, 3-1 this time, on February 2 and a 3-2 victory over Olympic Utd which was followed by the Shield Final at Marina Park on March 9 against Spinning Company. Tommy Murphy (2) and Donal O’Leary cancelled out Pat Lynch’s penalty opener for Spinning Co with Noel Kelleher adding a fourth in the second 45 to seal Athletic’s third Shield success in five years.
Fancied Castleview were dispatched 2-1 from the FAI Junior and despite Hawkins and Henry O’Connor scoring in the 3-0 win over Examiner in the league, Bohemians knocked the underdogs out of the National Cup at the quarter-final stage. Wins over Spinning Co (3-0), Guys (3-2), Heaslips (4-0) kept Athletic’s relentless charge to the title going with the 5-0 cup semi-final win over OWB on Sunday, May 11 making sure the season was going all the way to the wire.
The second cup semi-final went to a dramatic replay at Marina Park where underdogs Olympic Utd with first-half goals from Harry Speight and David Higgins took the contest to Fords who pulled one back through Charlie Crowley.
Somehow, Olympic rallied against a strong breeze to go 3-1 up through Speight but in one of the best matches played at the iconic venue, Fords rallied to score three in the final quarter through Crowley, John Walsh and Sean McNamara to set up a final duel with CIE at Turner’s Cross on Friday, May 23.
Tommy Murphy broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute and added a second on the hour to guarantee Athletic’s second trophy success of the season.
A 4-1 win over the same opposition on the Sunday sealed the treble and what a way to finish a season unbeaten in Business League competition, scoring a whopping 118 goals and conceding just 21... a truly momentous achievement!