100 years on, the Munster Senior Cup is still going strong

1922 will mark the 100th anniversary of the competition, which has existed in two versions
100 years on, the Munster Senior Cup is still going strong

Riverstown's Gary Qulligan heads clear from Midleton's Leon Hennessy during the Munster Senior Cup at Riverstown. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

NEXT year will be the 100th anniversary of the revived Munster Senior Cup, which was restarted in 1922 after the War of Independence.

Two versions of the tournament have existed under two organisations.

The first Munster Senior Cup was run by the Munster Football Association. This ran from 1901 until 1914 and it featured a number of British army sides. After the outbreak of the First World War, the tournament and organisation were abandoned.

The revival of the competition can be attributed to Harry Buckle. In 1920, he had been working in the Protestant-dominated Harland & Wolff shipyard, while playing part-time football for Belfast Celtic. One evening after work, he was attacked and thrown into Belfast Lough.

Buckle moved to Wales and a few months later he went to Cork to work in Fords Motor Company. He saw a massive interest in football in Cork, but no structures to manage the game.

This was reflected in the makeup of teams in Cork. In a soccer column, ‘ Centre-Half’, it was noted that ‘with the near approach to Christmas, the local civilian clubs find it difficult to field representative XIs, many of their prominent players being engaged up to a late hour on Saturdays’.

Buckle set out to rebuild football in Munster. First, Fords FC was set up as the work football team. Next, the South Munster Football Association and North Munster Football Association were formed. This gave structure to the game in Cork, Tipperary, and Limerick.

The Munster Senior Cup was revived as the top-level tournament for clubs across the province.

The first final was played in 1923, with Fordsons (Fords changed their name in 1922 to advertise the new Fordson Tractor) beating Shandon in the final. The competition proved popular, with crowds of 6,000 people turning up to the 1926/27 final, between Cork Bohemians and Cahir Town at Turner’s Cross.

This edition of the Munster Senior Cup has been played since 1922.

Cork City are the most successful team in the history of the competition, with 19 titles. Waterford are second, with 15 titles.

The next games in the competition are scheduled for February 2022. The tie of the next round is a League of Ireland clash between Treaty United and Waterford. Defending champions Rockmount will face the winners of Everton and Cobh Wanderers. Cork City will play Riverstown or Midleton. Bandon or Avondale United will face Cobh Ramblers.

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