AS a new year and decade beckons, the Cork Business and Shipping League has enjoyed some of its most memorable moments in years ending in one.
Beginning back in 1960/61 when only nine teams competed for league, cup and shield honours, the fledging league which only came into existence nine years beforehand in 1952/53, threw up its eight championship winner in Grain Silos. The Silos pipped Murphy’s Brewery to the title despite the Brewery only dropping three points.
In the cup semi-finals, Lunhams overcame Steampacket and Murphy’s had the opportunity to finish the season on a high by beating Fords to set up a final against Lunhams at Marina Park on Thursday, May 25. In a tight contest, Murphy’s edged home 2-1 to win their first silverware after earlier in the season finishing runners-up to Guys in the shield.
Ten years later only Fords, Lunhams and Guys remained with the division now extended to 14 teams. A brace from Denis Galvin sealed Irish Steel’s one and only title success in a play-off with Lunhams after the bacon factory had earlier won the shield for a third time with victory over Cork Shoe Company.
The cup final between holders CIE Athletic and CSC was a repeat of the previous season’s encounter.
Despite going behind to a 10th minute Phil O’Leary goal for Postal Workers in the last four, goals from Christy O’Neill and Noel Kelleher in the last minute of extra-time set CIE up for a sixth final appearance in seven seasons.
CSC got the better of Postal Workers courtesy of a goal by Billy Falvey 10 minutes from time.
In the final John Dorgan fired Athletic ahead at Church Road number one pitch before Falvey beat John O’Keeffe to take the tie to extra-time. Dorgan’s winner gave CIE their never since repeated fourth cup win in-a-row leaving CSC to finish as runners-up in cup and shield.
Dorgan, Dommie Murphy, Noel Kelleher and Vivien O’Brien impressed for Athletic with Falvey, keeper Jimmy Hurley, Jack O’Brien and Liam Holland the pick for the Shoe Company.
Postal shook off CIE to claim their third successive top-flight title while Byrnes, with goals from Denis O’Sullivan, Martin Cremin and Harry Speight in a 3-0 win over Bank of Ireland, made sure of the second division title over Cork Examiner who trailed four points behind with a game in hand.
Penn Chemicals edged out early leaders WF Rational in the race for the third division title. A solitary goal from prolific striker Pat Downey gave CIE a second shield success in a row with victory over Youghal Yarns A.
Second division promotion rivals Byrnes and Cork Examiner contested the cup final at Hickey Park on Sunday, June 1. Byrnes were on top in the early exchanges but fell behind to a Kevin Hayes header from a Pat O’Callaghan cross before half-time.
The normally accurate Harry Speight missed a last-minute penalty with his father watching to bring the curtain down on a memorable opening to the new decade.
Speight was determined to leave his mark on the season when he was one of the stars of the representative team who would go on defeat the Munster Junior League U21s, the Cork AUL and the Cork Youth League in the Wembley tournament with Pat Downey hitting five of his side’s seven goals in what remains the best ever finish to a domestic season in the league’s history.
Ten years on, with the League at the height of its popularity, have risen to 36 teams, Cork Examiner swept the boards by becoming only the third team to win the treble by finishing ahead of Postal in the championship and accounting for Roches Stores in the cup (3-0) and Postal in the shield (4-2).
The divisional league winners included Centra in the first and CIE Utd in the second with cup honours going to ESB in the first and Apple Computers in the second.
The first season in the millennium,(2000/01), belonged to Cork Plastics who captured the fourth premier title along with the shield and Premier Cup while Tile King were the team who lit up 2010/11 winning the league and shield and finishing runners-up to Marlboro Trust in the cup and Premier Cup.