Club History 1920s to 1985
The Bray Wanderers saga began in 1922. A dispute in a local GAA team - St Kevins - led to some members leaving that association and forming a soccer team to be known as Bray Wanderers. Originally many of the club members and players were Bray men and names like Andy Hannon (goalie and committee member), Billy (Bee-Wee) Hannon (player and committee member), Jack Hannon (committee member), George Hannon, a brilliant winger who even in those days was sought by English clubs and had a trial with Newcastle United. On his return to Wanderers he received a serious injury which ended a very promising career permanently.
Other prominent players in the club were "Squib" Byrne, who later moved to Bray Unknowns and represented Ireland at outside left against Belgium, Brendan Carroll, Joe Douglas, Jodie Keogh, Joe Nolan (goalie) "Nagginer" Neilan (Dublin), "Boy" Murphy (Dublin) the brothers Wheeler, Bill Moorhouse, Peter Fortune, Joe Forrest, Jack Fox (committee), Peter Legget and Marty Burns.
Aidan Carroll, a brother of regular Wanderers player Brendan Carroll, made a rare appearance for Wanderers in a League Cup Final and scored the only goal of the game against opponents Bendigo. Aidan was a Bray Unknowns player but in those days a special arrangement was made which allowed him to play for two clubs. Johnny Hyland (left full back) was another outstanding player for the club and was honoured by the Junior International selectors.
Joe Dutton Sr was another hard-working member of the Committee and I believe acted also as unofficial scout, turning up on many occasions with very good players. Gilmore was another name associated with the committee of Bray Wanderers along with another local man, Andy O'Neill, and many others. A strong supporter of the Wanderers at this time and still attending soccer matches regularly into the 1980s was George Fitzsimons.
Wanderers' first home ground was a venue on the Convent Road opposite Loreto Convent.
Wanderers' next home ground was Novara Road, the GAA headquarters, where they had a short stay before they moved to their final home, Doyle's Field, Sunnybank, where Ledwidge Crescent now stands.
Wanderers had some fine performances, being runners up in the Sunday Alliance Division 3 in 1922/23 and also runners up in Division 1 Sunday Alliance in season 1927/28. The latter was a very prestigious junior trophy of those years. It was a great tribute to the standard of football in Bray that at that time Bray had probably the three best junior teams in Ireland, Wanderers, Glenview, and Shamrock Old Boys, Wanderers perhaps being the oldest and most experienced team of the three.
The committee members of the Wanderers, such as Andy and Billy Hannon, Joe Dutton Sr, Andy O'Neill, Jack and Paddy Fox, were dedicated and unselfish men who turned out teams weekly to play in rough conditions and the minimum accommodation for changing. Players, of course, faced these spartan conditions weekly and still produced skillful and consistent football to entertain and please their faithful fans.
Pictured (L-R) Back: Tiny Tinan, Vincent Peters, Lally McEvoy, John Vance, Louis Davis, Herry Byrne, Jim Lowe, Tom Doyle, Jimmy Redmond; Front: Tom Doyle, Matt Cranley, Danny Kelly, Billy Keogh
The year 1943 saw the resurgence of football in Bray after the demise of the famous Bray Unknowns.
Three Bray teams entered Division III of the AUL League. The three teams concerned were Bray Wanderers, Bray CYMS emerging as the closest rivals to Bray Wanderers.
In that first season Wanderers fought their way to the Semi-Final of the Leinster FA Shield. Their opponents were Emmet United, whom they defeated 5-3.
Unfortunately they lost the game when Emmet protested against the great centre-half Lally McEvoy, who was ineligible through his association with Glenview who had years earlier won the Leinster Cup. Below is the team on the day:
The League campaign that followed was quite successful but ended in defeat in a play-off for the title against St Patricks CYMS.
Apart from the team above, additional players who represented the club during the first season were Vincent Peters, Jack Shortt, Noel Lynch, Matt Cranley, Jimmy Redmond.
This year saw Bray Wanderers once again strong in the League but losing once again in a play off against St Patricks CYMS.
The Carlisle Grounds being unavailable, Wanderers spent the next season or two playing their home games at Corke Abbey and new players included Brendan Carroll, J Lowe, "Littler" Butler, Brendan McCormac, "Gitser" and Jim Byrne, Pudge Keogh, George Carroll, Peter Harte and Harry Napier. A second XI was formed to cater for the overflow of playing talent. Though no trophies were won, the club continued to thrive.
SEASON 1945/46 saw Wanderers elected to AUL Division 2 where they gave a very good account of themselves with most of the old stalwarts still to the fore. Although no trophies were won the club was now a recognised force in junior football.
SEASON 1946-47 was a season full of promise with both teams particularly the A-team in contention for honours. Towards the end of the competition Wanderers failed to travel to Balbriggan for a League fixture due to snowy conditions. Both teams were disqualified and despite frantic efforts by the committee the AUL committee were adamant that the decision stand. This was a bitter blow but one from which the Wanderers would bounce back.
SEASON 1947-48 saw the departure of the old stalwarts who had helped to build up the name and reputation of Bray Wanderers. An influx of new players included George Spencer, Jack and Mick Deveney, Jack Scully, Noel Dunne, Jim Tobin, and Paddy Carroll. At the end of the season Wanderers and Whitehall Rangers were locked together at the top of the league. The playoff in May saw a packed special train leave Bray and before a huge attendance at Milltown, Wanderers won by 5 goals (Crawley 3, Tobin 3) to Whitehall Rangers' 1.
In mid-season "Cannon Ball" Lowe had returned to the wide outside left position. The other members of the old guard were J Vance, W Keogh, T Murphy, M Cranley.
Team for that season:
Bray Wanderers had at last reached the First Division of the AUL. It turned out to be a very tough campaign but Wanderers style and spirit stood them in good stead throughout the season and gained for them runners-up position to Rathfarnham who pipped them for the title after a long and successful run in the league campaign. New players joining the club were: Dick Grimes and Owen Mullen
The team for that season was:
Wanderers qualified for the final of the Bradmola Cup and after three tremendous games in which they came back in the first game from a two goal deficit to 3-3, the second game from a three goal deficit to 3-3 and finally reduced in the third game to ten men after a collision between Owen Mullen and Jack Deveney which necessitated Owen's removal to hospital with a fractured jaw. The collision occurred very early in the game and substitutes not being allowed at this time, Wanderers found the handicap too much, losing by the smallest margin and having an equaliser disallowed. The loss of Noel Dunne with a broken ankle just before the final was a heavy blow to the team's chances. Thus ended 1948/49 disappointing perhaps but some great football was played by the team. Lar Ivory, Lorcan O'Brien and Jack Scully substituted during the season.
A rather undistinguished season trophy-wise. Wanderers in the top four or five in the League all through the year perhaps upset by the unexpected defeat at Balbriggan by Glebe North, after a long unbeaten run. Tommy Murphy, after some discussion, did not play and it was felt his great spirit and dedication was missed in this game and in all future games.
Wanderers were defeated by old rivals Rathfarnham in the sixth round of the FAI Junior Cup that season also.
This was not one of Wanderers most auspicious starts to a campaign. The team had hardly settled down after the retirement of several of the old reliables, John Vance in goal, George Spencer (right full back), T Murphy (centre half), Billy Keogh (a great left full). The replacements including Owen Carroll (starting a long career with Wanderers), Jackie Noonan from Whitehall Rangers, Dick Grimes (from Tolka Rovers), Jackie Smith (from Highfield), Roy Grey (Highfield), Jody McClure (Merrion Rovers), Tommy Dalton (the old Bray Unknowns stalwart centre half), Eddie Earle (Greystones), Joe Sharkey (Dunleary), Shay Ryan.
All of these players plus many still to come helped to carry on the tradition of Bray Wanderers though not in a challenging position in the League were still battling through the many rounds of the FAI and Leinster Junior Cup.
Having defeated Glebe North away in a very tough quarter final tie Wanderers being the underdogs on this occasion owed much to the brilliance of Noel Dunne, a three goal hero. A thunderous goal from Jim Lowe, just out of hospital after an appendectomy, and a brave display by reserve keeper Christy Grant saw Wanderers through.
The team on that occasion was
The dream of all junior footballers is to win the FAI Junior Cup and Wanderers had at last reached the Final. In the Semi-Final Wanderers had sweet revenge on Harmerne to the tune of 6-1, a great team display with Billy (Jewman) Devlin the star.
The Final turned out to be a rather dour affair on a damp day at Dalymount. Wanderers were the more skillful team but found goals hard to get. Drogheda United were brilliantly served by centre-half Kelly. A goal in each half, one by Noel Dunne and a typical Billy Devlin solo, earned Wanderers the spoils after Kelly had equalised for Drogheda.
The team for the FAI final was;
There was a very large attendance at the Final and the supporters and friends of the team did them proud by travelling in great numbers to cheer them on.
A wonderful double was then in prospect as we had also qualified to meet old rivals Rathfarnham in the Leinster Cup Final on the following Sunday.
Once again it was Dalymount in the rain and Rathfarnham led at half time by a goal to nil. Putting on fierce pressure, Wanderers scored twice through Dunne and Devlin. Wanderers held on until the last minute when Rathfarnham equalised in a goalmouth melee.
The reply was fixed for Richmond Park on a mid-week date.
The venue and state of the pitch did not suit Wanderers who went down by 4 goals to 1. Some enforced changes did not help.
This season saw the introduction of Peadar McKenna, Sean Tobin, Gerry Murphy and George Harold. It was a season in which they scored a lot of goals without ever threatening to do well in the League. Wanderers were eliminated from the FAI Cup the previous year. In the Bradmola Cup Wanderers once more reached the final and after some extraordinary refereeing decisions lost by a goal to nil, a goal scored as the linesman waved his flag for offside. Once again the Bradmola Cup had eluded Bray under odd circumstances.
At the end of this season 1951-52 Peadar McKenna was transferred to Shamrock Rovers and Mick Troy went on a month's trial to Ipswich. Peadar never settled down at Milltown and unfortunately did not return to Wanderers.
Mick Troy was to return for the new season after his month's trial.
BRADMOLA CUP FINAL TEAM
Seven or eight of the Bray Wanderers team were selected to represent Wicklow against Offaly in the Inter-Counties Cup.
In the second round the Wanderers strengthened the Wicklow team lost to Dublin where some strange refereeing decisions necessitated the hasty departure of the ref.
The new season brought new changes in personnel. Bill Harrington (St Colmcilles), Tommy Carey (Highfield), Hughie Lynch (East Wall), Bob Duffy (ex Shamrock Rovers). The team which regularly lined out was as follows:
J Sharkey; O Carroll, D Hannon (c), W Harrington, J Deveney, T Carey, J Tobin, M Lynch, B Devlin, R Duffy, M Troy.
The team proved to be a very strong combination. Lynch, a new signing turned out at inside left. Tobin partnered Devlin on the right. Three players also signed this season, Harry Hill, Christy Boggan and Paddy Bennett, a 16-year-old local lad, also joined the club and made some very promising appearance during the season.
In the Leinster Cup Wanderers made great progress playing some fine football. However, in the Semi-Final they played disappointingly losing to Pearse Rangers at Tolka Park in extra time.
There were some terrific battles in the FAI Junior Cup, particularly between Wanderers and Home Farm. The first game at Bray despite inclement weather was a real ding-dong affair. Bray scored first through Tobin. Home Farm then went ahead with goals by Gibbons and Donovan. Midway through the second half Troy equalised for Bray. The thrilling game continued to enthral a very large attendance through extra time but there was no further score. Home Farm's best player was Liam Whelan, soon to become the great Manchester United and Ireland International forward. The replay was fixed for Whitehall
the following Sunday and after another tremendous game Wanderers were described in press reports as the cleverer and more progressive side.
Devlin was most impressive on the right wing. Troy scored both goals in a 2-nil win. O Carroll, D Hannon, J Deveney and Carey also shone.
Bray Wanderers qualified once again for the semi-final of the FAI Junior Cup by defeating a strong Falcon Wanderers team by 4 goals (Duffy 2, Troy 2) to one.
The semi-final between Wanderers and Swilly Rovers was fixed for Ramelton in Co Donegal, a very disappointing venue for the Bray supporters travel-wise and as it turned out a very strange ground for such an important game. Bray Wanderers were never really impressive in this game and though taking the lead through Duffy, allowed Swilly to score twice before half time. Wanderers managed to equalise before the break through Devlin (a grand diving header). Just after half time a speculative centre by a Swilly Player landed in the goal-mouth and squeezed into the net for what proved to be the winning score. Though Wanderers attacked all through the second half they didn't seem to have the old penetration and the match fizzled out in a most disappointing manner. Wanderers had beaten such strong opposition in the earlier rounds that it was most disappointing to be defeated by a team of lesser ability than the Dublin teams of the earlier rounds. This defeat shattered the morale of the team for the remainder of the season, this may be an exaggeration of the position but it took some time for the disappointment to lessen.
Wanderers had been progressing very steadily in the Leinster Junior Cup and reached the semi-final against the doughty Pearse Rangers losing by 2 goals to 1 after extra time. This was revenge for Pearse Rangers and the first time they had ever beaten Wanderers. At the end of a disappointing season Wanderers were defeated in the Bradmola Cup and the League which had looked a very tangible prospect all season was frittered away by some lacklustre displays. Thus we bade good-bye to Season 1952-53 with regret and disappointment.
Several new players appeared in the line-up for 53/54. Shay Ryan took over in goal, Mick O'Brien and Gerry Allen were in contention for the right half position. Jim Byrne who had gained an Amateur International Cap. Christy Cullen eventually graduated from the Under-21 side. Bren Monaghan (Belgrove) was the new Right Winger, Duggan (ex Transport) was the new centre forward (to set a new scoring record this season). Tobin and Troy completed the forward line representing some of the old guard. P Kelly (Merrion Rovers) played one game and scored. It turned out to be a tremendous season of high scoring and famous victories. Belgrove, Pearse Rangers, Rathfarnham, Home Farm: the strongest teams were all brushed aside as Wanderers clinched the League Championship. An outstanding victory was the defeat of nearest challengers Pearse Rangers by 8 goals to l. The point needed to win the title was gained at Baldoyle in a 3-all draw, scorers Monaghan 2 and Tobin l.
In the Bradmola Cup Wanderers went out in the late stages beaten by Windsor after a replay. Two goals from breakaways in the last six minutes against a howling wind beat the Wanderers.
In the Quarter Final of the FAI Cup, Wanderers travelled to Drogheda and beat the local team after a fierce struggle by 3 goals to l. Monahan (2) and Duggan (1) were the scorers for Bray.
In the Semi-Final played at Bray, Wanderers defeated Waterford Bohemians by 4 goals (Duggan 2, J Carroll and Monaghan) to l. The attendance was a record for the ground and Wanderers were through to the final.
The FAI Junior Cup Final played at Dalymount Park was a great occasion. The chance of bringing the Cup to Bray for the second time was a tremendous prospect. An early goal by Jim Carroll which should have settled Wanderers down seemed instead to bring a feeling of complacency. Once again Wanderers though obviously the more skilful team allowed themselves to be tied down by a strong tackling team. The flair shown by the team during the season was not as evident as Wanderers would like it to have been. However the Cup was won and that was the object of the exercise.
And so the big double had been accomplished - The FAI Junior Cup and the AUL Division l Championship. At this point the men behind the scenes, who looked after the Team through all the seasons, provided smart and fresh togs and put up with the disappointments and vagaries of form and temperament of players, should never be forgotten.
The 1953-54 team was as follows:
S Ryan, O Carroll, D Hannon, G Allen/M O'Brien, J Byrne, C Cullen, J Carroll, J Tobin, B Monaghan, J Duggan, M Troy.
During the year P Barnet, P Doyle and P Kelly substituted.
A new season starts and supporters wonder what is in store as do the committee because obviously a successful team is necessary to keep the turnstiles clicking over. Bray started the League campaign quite successfully with new players in Alan Kelly, John May, John Bennett, Mannix (ex Windsor), O'Reilly (ex Rathfarnham). A new rule was introduced in the FAI Junior Cup which weakened the Bray challenge. Belgrove took full advantage of the weakened Bray team with a 4-nil victory thus the holders were out. There was some speculation about the change in the Cup Rules. The impression given was that the Rule was aimed at Bray Wanderers' success in this competition.
Bray were defeated by TEK in the semi-final of the Bradmola Cup once again in extra time. However Bray protested against TEK and were successful. The inquiry dragged on and it was decided that the Final would not be played but would be held over until the next Season.
The Leinster [Junior] Cup campaign was a short one, as several of the Wanderers team were ineligible on account of winning the FAI [Junior] Cup the previous year. Due to the change in the FAI Cup Rule the management decided to leave the AUL League and join the Leinster League. There was a great deal of regret at the decision to leave the AUL. However Wanderers left with pride in fact and runners up position in the league. A tragic knee injury to Jim Carroll in a game against TEK ended the career of this very promising player at 23 years of age. In the last couple of seasons Alan Kelly had emerged as the very fine goalie he had always threatened to be.
The team which represented Wanderers for most of the season was:
A Kelly, O'Reilly, O Carroll, D Hannon, J McGill, C Cullen, J Byrne, J Carroll, J Tobin, J Bennett, J Duggan & J May.
Another milestone in the Wanderers' football journey was reached in this season. The first game played by Wanderers was versus Ormeau at Collinstown. The first goal in the Leinster League was scored by Tobin, a second goal by Cross was not enough for success as Ormeau won 3-2.
Wanderers was represented by:
A Kelly, O Carroll, E Whelan, J McGill, R Ryan, J Byrne, A Guildea, D Cross, W Williams, J Duggan, T Tobin.
The season thus started shakily, though Wanderers won their second game 2-1 beating UCD whose centrehalf Willie Brown was outstanding and obviously a player with a future. He was later to have a distinguished career with Bohemians and Ireland. A tentative inquiry regarding a move to Wanderers was not carried through and no further effort was made. Wanderers by degrees strengthened their team and became quite successful.
Jimmy Duggan in action against Longford Town in the FAI cup, 1st February 1956
Players who represented the team during the season were centre forward Guildea (Glebe North) Rory Dwyer (Shelbourne), however Duggan emerged finally as the most permanent holder of the position. Rory Dwyer a very good player was unfortunate enough to sustain torn ligaments in a game at Bray and never played again. Eventually Bray gained the Runners-up position in the League a very good performance in their first season. They also qualified to meet Shamrock Rovers who were at their greatest at this time. Bray lost 3-0 under the lights at Tolka Park on a wet and windy night.
Team v Rovers:
A Kelly, O Carroll, C Whelan, J McGill, B Ryan, J Byrne, A Guildea, D Cross, P Williams, J Duggan, J Tobin.
Wanderers made their presence felt once more by beating Workmans Club by 2 goals to 1 in the Intermediate Cup Final.
This was a season in which Wanderers failed to make any great impression. They held their own in the League and finished in third position. Their performances in the Cups were undistinguished. It turned out to be a quiet season. Players in the club that year were the old reliables plus Jimmy Perry, Archbold, Brendan Lennon, Sherry. The team generally during the season was:
Alan Kelly, O Carroll, E Whelan, W Wall, B Ryan, J Byrne, P.Williams, D Cross, P Barnett, J Duggan, R O'Toole.
Quite a few players had already appeared for Wanderers even in the first two years in the Leinster League. Brian Hall, ex Shelbourne, wing half or inside forward. Brian was to give great service to Wanderers for the next three years. Wanderers had a very successful season winning the Leinster League for the first time and also annexed the Intermediate Cup for the second time. Wanderers came back from a two-goal deficit for Eddie Seery to score the winner in the last minute of extra time. The Bray followers showed their continuing loyalty to the team by turning up at Tolka Park in great numbers. The opposition was Chapelizod and they came very close to winning. The team which had such a successful season was:
S. Ryan, O Carroll, E Whelan, W Wall, D Byrne, J Byrne, B Hall, J May, J Brennett, B McKay, E Seery.
Was a season full of goals for Wanderers but also a disappointing one in many ways. Although they eventually broke the record for goals scored in a season by a Wanderers team, and the record for goals scored by any team ever in the Leinster League, there were defeats hard to explain.
The League title was captured for the second time - a great achievement - but that old bogey of Wanderers, the latter part of the season, saw them defeated by Albert Rovers (Cork) in the Intermediate Cup Final and by Jacobs in the Metropolitan Cup Final. This whole sequence of League wins and two Cup defeats was to be repeated in Season l959-60.
The Bray team of that season in which McKay (50) was the top scorer but did not reach Duggan's record (55) score of 1953-54.
The team for that season was:
K Turner, O Carroll, E Whelan, B Hall, "Stykie" Connor, L Doran (c), J Mooney, F Daly, J Bennett, B McKay, McGee.
The team which represented Wanderers for this season which was to prove Bray's last season in the Leinster League was:
D Meagher, O Carroll, D Hannon, T Downey, M McCauley, L Doran, J Mooney, F Daly, J Bennett, P Clarke, J Dodrill.
The transfer of Billy McKay to "Drums" had looked a potential disaster but Frank Daly stepped into the centre-forward spot with great success - his speed being a great asset with skilful players around him. Some great displays in the League put Wanderers in a very strong position and they certainly looked a most impressive team. They were a very happy team and trained very conscientiously. They kept their form in the Cups and reached the finals of the Intermediate and Metropolitan Cups.
An injury to centre-forward Frank Daly was a set-back but Pat Clarke stepped in to the breach and gave some sterling displays.
The Intermediate Cup Semi-final versus Cobh Ramblers at Cobh was abandoned after 80 mins. The match refixed for the next week-end at Cobh was won by Wanderers, one goal to nil. Daly, returning to the tem after a long lay-off, scored the winner. In the intermediate Cup Final Wanderers played disappointingly losing by 2 goals to nil to Longford whom they had defeated twice in the League.
A week later Longford repeated the dose by defeating Wanderers by three goals to onel in the Metropolitan Cup Final. It was an unbelievable slump in form for such an outstanding team.
The team for both games was:
D Meagher, O Carroll, D Hannon, T Downey, M McCauley, L Doran, J Mooney, B Hall, J Bennett, F Daly, J Dodrill.
Wanderers, having qualified, were drawn against Sligo Rovers at Sligo in the FAI Cup. On a wet day and a very muddy pitch Wanderers' neat and constructive football was not as effective as Sligo's robust methods. Early goals by Sligo's Kevin McGarry, signed just for the Cup from Belfast, upset Bray's usual composure as they went down by four goals to two. Bray settled down better in the second half and fought bravely. Two penalty goals conceded by Sligo and scored by Johnny Bennett showed Sligo's defence. A tremendous shot by Tommy Downey crashed against the crossbar and the game ended with Wanderers attacking fiercely.
In the League Wanderers faltered somewhat losing to Shamrock Rovers 'B' and very surprisingly away to St Pauls. Needing a point to clinch the Championship they travelled to Whitehall where Willie Humphries, a local boy, scored two goals in the two all draw. This guaranteed the third Championship in a row for Wanderers though as it turned out Longford dropped a point the same day so the tension was after all unnecessary.
Before the start of the next season, Wanderers withdrew from the Leinster League, the reasons being financial and a growing discontent with conditions in the League.
As Wanderers had a second team operating in the AUL during 59-60 it facilitated the transfer of all energies into the lst team which was to compete in the AUL the following season.
Div lB AUL was now carrying full concentration and the first season was very successful, the League championship was won and the quarter-final of the FAI Junior Cup was reached and though Wanderers won the game, they were forced to replay the game against Caledonians (Limerick) at the Markets Field due to an infraction of the Rules.
This game ended in a 1-0 victory for Caledonians in the second period of extra time. Playing with ten men from the nineteenth minute when P Reale was carried off was just too much for the Bray team. Connor, T Hoey, J May, R O'Toole, P Reale, A Todd, W Humphries, E Whelan, J Dalton, J Connolly, E Condron, E Ward, were prominent for Bray during this successful return to the AUL.
BRAY WANDERERS SEASON 61/62
Wanderers returned on promotion to Div 1A, the top division in the AUL. Once again in the old tradition they had a fine consistent season in which they secured the runners-up position in the League. They reached the quarter final of the Bradmola Cup and having won their quarter final of the FAI Junior Cup lost the game on a protest to St James United. Players names sprinkled through the season were "Rutch" O'Toole, William Humphries, John Connolly, Paddy Montgomery, Christy Hill, Eddie Whelan, Dermot Doyle, Frank and Noel Treacy, Kevin Redmond, Eamonn Doyle, Jack Vance, Dessie Hannon, Dominic Clarke, Frank Daly, Jimmy Dalton, J Bailie, Jimmy Giles, Ronnie Pike, Owen Terry, Dick Murphy. All of these players were worthy successors to the traditional Wanderers spirit built up over the twenty years span of the club's existence.
Most of the players listed above continued in 62-63 to uphold the great record of consistency in the League by once again taking the Runners-Up position in Div 1 AUL. Once again they reached the Quarter Final of the FAI Junior Cup, losing to Drogheda by 1 goal to nil. Drogheda having suffered sorely in previous FAI Junior encounters with Wanderers probably took a good deal of satisfaction from the result.
In the years between 1963 and the resumption of football in the Carlisle Grounds many difficulties arose concerning ownership and leasing of ground to various teams or clubs in the town.
BRAY WANDERERS 1973-85
In the season l973-74 the Leinster Senior League Representatives in Bray were Bray Unknowns. Two co-playing managers were engaged, Mick Meagan and Amby Fogarty both ex cross channel players and Irish Internationals.
Their aim was to bring Bray back to the senior status it once had. Their first action was to change the name of the team, 'Bray Unknowns', to 'Bray Wanderers', thus indirectly bringing them within the orbit of this record.
The players appearing at this time and for the next few years were:
W Robinson, J Vance, W Vance, J Holmes or G Mahony, M Carroll, P Vance, D Hempenstall, R Ebbs, J Holton, D Jones, G Kelly, B Jordan, R Hammond.
Meagan and Fogarty were also lending the experience to the team in the playing sense on the field until Fogarty departed rather surprisingly for pastures new. Meagan stayed on for quite a while until signed by Shamrock Rovers. Mick Meagan however continued to train Wanderers around the roads and seafront of Bray as the Carlisle Grounds was the property of the Council at the time and teams could not train there. A further handicap at this time was the fact that Wanderers with other teams had to stand in line to book the ground for a weekend game, first come first served.
In l974 Tommy Murphy was elected President of the Club, and an old team-mate of his, John Vance, along with Mick Fortune and the one and only Jack Boughton were elected Vice-Presidents.
Meanwhile new names appearing on the lists were G Chester, T Troy, A Cullen, F Devitt, H Sampson, J O'Connor, C Bishop.
Wanderers also had a second team in the Leinster League Division II - A McMahon, Hillick, F Doyle, Ivory, N Kelly, M Farrell were among the players. The teams continued bravely but always seemed to find a team just stronger in the vital stages.
Then in 75-76 in the Metropolitan Cup campaign under the managership of Harry McCue, Wanderers signed Paul McNaughton. He turned out to be the spark Wanderers needed and scoring four goals in the late stages of the competition, two of them in the 2-0 victory over Parkvilla (Navan) in the Final at Dalymount Park. The trophy had not been in Bray since 1924 and guests at the game were Messrs Frank Lynch, Jack Sloan, Marty Burns and Aidan Carroll. This quartet of great characters had played on the Bray Unknowns team which had won the Metropolitan Cup in 1924.
The Committee in l975-76 was:
The late great Jack (Squib) Byrne who died at this time was also a member of the 1924 winning team and later played for Ireland against Belgium.
The Bray panel for the Metropolitan Cup Final was Gerry Chester,
Ger Mahony, Aidan Cullen, John Holmes (c), Pat Vance, Jim Stalton, Fintan Devitt, Mick Carroll, Gerry Kelly, Mick McNaughton, Ray Hammond, Tom Troy, Dessie Jones, Colin Quinn, Brendan Jordan and Manager Harry McCue.
Despite ground difficulties and all the vagaries of football promotion, Wanderers continued to provide Leinster League football right up to the end of season 1984. Many of the players and committee from the l973-74 season were still serving faithfully right up to the end of season l984-85.
Jack Boughton and Jim Harris must be mentioned as they were always keen workers in the club from their arrival in l943-44. They always worked on the grounds and in caring for the teams equipment in their spare time over those years.
Credit must also go to Liam Richardson (Vice Chairman and PRO) whose great love for football compelled him to leave records which prove invaluable in later years.
Eddie Cox, John O'Brien, Sean Ryan (up to late years), all gave very unselfish service to the Club as legislators.
These legislators and the faithful band of players who carried on into the late seventies and early eighties had a heartening finish to Season 1978-79 when they won the Gilligan Cup and were runners-up in the League. The team was mainly composed of the 1976 Metropolitan winners.
Let us not forget the old Wanderers who originated the great spirit that was to permeate the future generations of Wanderers teams. Remember the players who played on Convent Hill and Novara Road, and finally Doyle's Field, Sunnybank, the Wanderers of Corke Abbey and finally Carlisle Grounds, the spiritual home of the second and third generations of Wanderers.
What of the family dynasties representing Wanderers over the years. The Hannons of the l920s Andy, Billy, George and Jack (committee), Dessie Hannon (Jack's son, 1952-1960). The Vances Jack (scot 1920s), John (1943-48), Jack, Pat and Willie - 1970s. The Carrolls, Brendan (1945-46) Owen (1949-60), Jim (1953-55), George (1945-46), Mick (1970-80s), Colin (1982-86).
The continuity of the Wanderers tradition is further strengthened by Jack and Mick Deveney and if Charlie Deveney will forgive the reference he was enticed out of retirement in the late forties for a game against TEK in which he showed his old skills.
Benny Reynolds of Glenview fame was also enticed out of retirement for an important game against Rathfarnham and showed the goalkeeping expertise which had marked his earlier career. Mention must be made of Joe Dutton who was first Hon Secretary of the Wanderers in 1943, and had many tales to tell.
Tommy Murphy could also have a book to himself. He drove the team in the early days, 1943 to the mid fifties, in a large black Rolls Royce all over Leinster. His spirit was tremendous and when he retired from playing in 1949 his presence was sadly missed.
Lally McEvoy cannot be left out, a centre half who cannot ever have been surpassed, the complete footballer in the evening of his career when playing with Wanderers still great (43-45), earlier with Glenview in the late twenties and thirties.
Who can forget Tommy Dalton a great centre-half with Bray Unknowns in 1938 returning to play a big part in Wanderers' 1951 triumph in the FAI Junior Cup?
The skill of Noel Dunne, the thunderous shooting of Jim Lowe, the skill and power of Jack and Mick Deveney at wing half.
And what of the goalies Vance, Sharkey, Kelly, Ryan, Meaghan and Turner.
The power and speed of Owen Carroll, twice winner of am FAI Junior Cup medal with Tobin. One could go on and on, what of the speed of Troy and Cranley one of the best of Bray's right wingers with Billy Devlin and John Bennett.
Jim Carroll whose thunderous promise was cut short after two seasons. Harrington, Carey, Downey, Larry Doran all great half-backs. J. Mooney inside right, Brian Hall's great service for three seasons. Duggan - a goal scoring machine in 1953-54. Bob Duffy, Jody McClure, Jack Scully, Billy McKay - great centre forwards all. Padder McKenna who never knew how good he was.
Three of the best left fulls ever, W Keogh, D Hannon, Jimmy Redmount.
How many great players have been omitted, no doubt too many. The illusion that everything has been covered is just an illusion and perhaps some one some day can cover this subject in a much more comprehensive and sympathetic manner.
Finally the most outstanding and unforgettable character of all the Wanderers. There is no doubt that he was controversial and that's putting it mildly. But for sheer dedication and dogged determination and cussedness generally he was unique. The word unique saved the best explanation where Mick Donegan was concerned. All the pleasure, satisfaction comradeship rage and frustration which he evoked was part and parcel of commitment made by all Wanderers.
As in Mick's case no reference has been made to the demise of many old and cherished Wanderers. Rather let their memories live on in old colours, in their old positions giving satisfaction to thousands over the years "on many a muddy field".
Let us not forget the legions of fans who have supported the many Wanderers teams over the years.
There have been many great characters among the followers, for instance, three gentle people - "Trowler" Murray, shop boy Reilly and Paddy McDonnell - who went everywhere in the forties in support of the Wanderers.
McDonnell had a vary strange utterance, what was thought by the players at least to be a kind of tribal war-cry. It was always heard in the heat of battle. On investigation the strange and exotic chant turned out to be "dip in the dip and leave the hearing for your daddy", spoken very quickly and in a high piercing voice. It was very effective and left opposition cheerleaders in a bewildered and flabbergasted state.
Thanks, to those dedicated people who home and away became part of the great tradition we have all experienced.