Football

Two Other Times Cork City And Dundalk Won The League In Dramatic Circumstances

Two Other Times Cork City And Dundalk Won The League In Dramatic Circumstances

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Remarkably, tonight is not the first time Dundalk and Cork City faced off for the League title on the final day of the season. Back in 1991, the pair met in Turner's Cross in a winner takes all decider. John Dodge has written about that famous game here (match highlights included).

The two sides have form when it comes to holding steady on the final day. Here are two other occasions on which both sides claimed League title victories in very dramatic circumstances.

1993 - Cork City

Cork City claimed their first ever League title (as Cork City at any rate) in curious circumstances. And while Pat Morley, John Caulfield and the late Noel O'Mahony definitely deserved a championship, they can partly thank the League's slowness to grapple with the concept of goal difference for that first League win.

There was a three way imbroglio at the top of the League as we arrived at the final day of the season. Bohemians, without a title win in 15 years, held the upper hand. They led by two points from rivals Cork and Shelbourne.

However, Bohs had a treacherous encounter to navigate up in Oriel Park against Dundalk, who sat nestled in fourth place. Cork and Shels had comparatively handy home games. Cork duly dispatched Limerick 3-0, while Shelbourne beat Derry City 1-0.

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Up in Oriel Park, a nervy, 0ff-colour Bohs were beaten 1-0 thanks to a goal on the hour from the ultimate big-game striker Tom McNulty. The trio now sat on the same number of points.

A playoff would be needed. That Bohemians still boasted a far superior goal difference to the other two was irrelevant (something that still riles Pat Fenlon).

In the resultant two-legged three way play-off, Cork beat Bohs at home, Bohs beat Shels at home and Shels beat Cork at home. The return fixtures were all drawn. The three teams finished on three points.

Another play-off would be required.

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This time, home and away was scotched. They each faced each other once. Cork beat Bohs 1-0 down in Turner's Cross, and then in a topsy-turvy match made sure of the League title with a 3-2 win over Shelbourne in the 'neutral' RDS.

A disappointed Bohs roused themselves to beat Shelbourne 1-0 and they headed for the UEFA Cup where Zinedine Zidane lay in wait.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TkWijU6Dgs

Here are Cork fanatics Sultans of Ping FC discussing Cork's make or break year in 1993.

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1995 - Dundalk

A three way tussle at the top of the League between between Derry City, Shels and Dundalk, with the candy-stripes holding the upper hand going into the final day.

They led by a point from their two rivals, and faced into a messy encounter with relegation battling Athlone Town down in St. Mel's Park. Felix Healy and his charges, with the support of chairman Phil Coulter and a massive band of expectant Derry supporters, descended on the midland town.

However, gangbusters himself, Shane Curran was in scintillating form in the Athlone goal, repelling one fearsome shot from Pascal Vaudequin and saving a second half penalty from Liam Coyle.

Up in Tolka Park, Shelbourne, who under English manager Colin Murphy, had mounted an unlikely late charge to put themselves in the frame, could only draw 1-1 with St. Pat's, with Stephen Geoghegan equalising late for the home side.

At Oriel Park, Dundalk pummelled Galway United for the entirety of the first half but couldn't score. Late in the game, goals from Tom McNulty (racing on to a punt from Eddie Van Boxtel) and Mick Doohan secured the three points in front of a jubilant and expectant Oriel Park.

After the match, the crowd gathered on pitch to hear the score from Athlone. The word came over the tannoy that it had finished 1-1, and the Dundalk party began.

See More: Dundalk fan who stormed the FAI headquarters gets possibly ill-advised tattoo

Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney

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