WITH the lack of activity on the playing fields during these winter months, it’s not surprising that sporting conversations across the county have been nostalgic.
In the faded pages of League of Ireland history, Christmas meant mid-season. Cork City, founded in 1984, rang in the 1985 new year in good spirits having just beaten Dundalk at Flower Lodge thanks to a goal from Dave Waters.
It meant back-to-back wins for new manager Tony Allen, who had taken over from Bobby Tambling in December.
By the time the team appeared again at home two weeks later, there was very much a new look to the line-up.
City’s 2-1 defeat away to Waterford on January 6 continued what had been a very much up and down start to their new life. Immediate action was taken to strengthen the squad.
Allen joined directors Jim Hennebry and Kieran Lynch on a trip to England following that defeat at Kilcohan Park.
They returned a few days later to announce the signing of former Liverpool and England star Terry McDermott along with two other professionals — goalkeeper Ian Douglas and centre-forward Trevor Parr.
Thus, the home fixture against Shelbourne on January 13 became something of a novel clash with a big crowd turning out to see the new recruits.
Just six years before his arrival on Leeside he had become the first player to be named PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year in the same season.
On his Cork City debut, McDermott who had been suffering with a chest infection made a limited impression with Parr catching the eye, scoring the opening goal and Waters adding two more to leave City comfortable 3-1 winners.
Parr and Douglas (who had cheered on McDermott from the Kop in his younger days) became regular fixtures in the side over the coming weeks.
As for Terry Mac, who was signed on a five-week contract, his parting shot was a brace of goals in City’s 5-3 February midweek FAI Cup defeat against Drogheda at Lourdes Stadium — the second a typical marquee long-range strike from outside the box.
City’s season never really caught fire thereafter. although they won away to Bohs and Home Farm (both 1-0) and defeated Galway 2-1 in their concluding fixture; home defeats to Drogheda and Sligo left their end of first season report reading as average.
The club won 10 of their 30 league games, drawing eight and losing 12 to leave them ninth of the 16 teams.