Drogheda United Football Club
United Park ,Windmall Road ,Drogheda,Co.Louth
Drogheda United - Founded 1919
Drogheda F.C. - Founded 1962
Amalgamation - 1975
Member of the Football League of Ireland - 1963
Club Honours League
of Ireland - Runners up : 1982/83
League of Ireland - 1st Division Champions : 1988/89,1990/91,1998/99
League of Ireland - 1st Division Runners up: 1994/95,1996/97
F.A.I. Cup Finalists : 1971 , 1976
League Cup Winners : 1983/84
League of Ireland Shield Winners : 1990/91
League of Ireland Shield Runners up : 1934/35,1935/36,1972/73,1994/95
F.A.I.Junior Cup Finalists : 1939/40 ,41/42 , 43/44 ,50/51
Leinster Cup Finalists : 1982/83 , 1985/86
Tyler Cup Finalists 1979/80
President Cup Finalists : 1970/71
F.A.I. Youth Cup Winners : 1971/72, 1972/73 , 1996,97
Taken mostly from
'11-a-side' magazine April'93 and the old Official Site.
Altough senior soccer in Drogheda only arrived thirty- five years ago ,
the game always prospered at Junior Level as far back as 1919 . Indeed ,
in that year the original Drogheda United were formed and their pitch
was located on what is now the site of Lourdes Hospital , just down the
road from the current ground , United Park
It was 1926 when soccer was first played on the Windmill road venue ,
and while Junior soccer continued to thrive in the town , the idea of
entering a side at senior level was never too actively discussed .the
main moving force behind the arrival of League of Ireland soccer in
Drogheda was according to Drogheda United President Charlie Hurley , a
well known gaelic football playing priest . "Fr. Kevin Connolly who
arrived in Drogheda in the mid-fifties .He was well-known in G.A.A.
circles lining out with Louth for a long period , but his other love was
athletics and it was with that in mind he developed a cinder track of
seven acres of ground at Bechgrove in 1961 and it was to be called the
Lourdes Stadium ."
The Stadium commitee decided that as they needed something to draw the
crowds in to the venue in winter months , either soccer or gaelic could
fit the bill and as the playing area was more useable for soccer than
gaelic , the former got the nod of approval.
Drogheda Football Club was formed in 1962 and after consultations with
the late Jim Malone , then a director of Dundalk F.C. , it was decided
to apply for the higgest level possible , namely the League of Ireland ,
but only after serving a season or two in Junior football .
Bill Darby was recriuted to get a team together that would be able to
hold its own with the best around at Leinster League level , and , in
fact , Darby's side including well known League of Ireland names like
Clem Dillon , eddie nesbitt and kee per Toddy Fitzpatrick , did just
that . "We won the League Division 2 and Polikoff Cup and only lost
a semi-final of the FAI junior cup 1-0 to Blackrock in a replay down in
Cork." recalls Charlie Hurley
Fortune , it is said , favours the brave and certainly Drogheda had the
element of luck on their side in so far as their timing was immaculate
in applying to join the League of Ireland the following season. "In
1961/62 the league had reduced their number s from 12 to 10 with Sligo
Rovers and Transport dropping out . It was felt that this idea didn't
work out and it was decided to bring the numbers back up to 12 the
following term . Ourselves and Sligo were elected with Transport losing
out," says Hurley.
The merger with Drogheda United came about in 1975 maiinly through the
fact that , while appreciative of the use of the Lourdes Stadium from
the athletic club , Drogheda felt it was time they had a home of their
own and the club formally became Drogh eda United in season 1975/76 .
Although Drogheda F.C. only came close to annexing a trophy on one
occasion , finishing runners -up to Limerick in the 1971 FAI Cup Final
(3-0) afetr a peplay , Drogheda United have fared slightly better.The
League Cup was taken in 1984 when a side c aptained by Matt Bradley
defeated Athone town 3-1 in the final . The first Division has been won
on two occasions (89 & 91), and the first division shield was also
secured in 1991 with a last minute John Toal winner against Home Farm.
In 1976 , United were beaten by a goal , scored by Niall Shelley , for
Bohemians , in the FAI Cup Final , and have lost two Leinster cup finals
, 3-2 to St.Pats in 84 and 1-0 to Bohs in 86. twice also have drogheda
finished runners up in Div.1 (95 & 97 )
The closist Drogheda came to winning the league came in the 82/83 season
, where the Drogs finished second behind Athlone and qualified for the
UEFA Cup . However the European experience was not too enjoyable with a
14-0 aggregate defeat against Spurs.
In chronilogical orderbelow are the seventeen managers used by both
Drogheda F.C. and Drogheda United in the League of Ireland.
Peter Farell , Arthur Fitzsimons , Mick Meegan , John Cowan , Jimmy
McAlinden , Willie Roche , Ray Tracey , Tony Macken , Paddy Corbally ,
Tony O'Reilly , Synan Braddish , Liam Brien , Pat Devlin , Jim
McLaughlin , Anto Whealan, Martin Lawlor and Harry McCue.
Long term Arsenal scout in Ireland , Bill Darby , was the first manager
of Drogheda F.C. when they played in the Leinster League and served as
assistant to Farrell for a number of years . Despite Tony Macken leading
United into Europe and winning the League Cup , Jimmy McAlinden would
earn most fan's vote as best manager. A former player with Belfast
Celtic and Portsmouth he won the FA Cup with them in 1939 , Jimmy also
played with Southend and won 2 caps for Northern Ireland . Although his
predecessor John Cowan started the influx , McAlinden was the man
primarily resons ible for the vast amount of Northern players who donned
the club colours between 1976 and 1979 , and his record in both Cup and
League is unequalled by any other Manager that has taken charge of
Drogheda United .
In McAlinden's three year term , United never failed to reach the
semi-finals of the FAI Cup , they lost the final 1-0 to Bohs in 76 , a
semi-final second replay to Limerick in 77 , and a semi to Sligo Rovers
in 78 in Oriel Park.Furthermore United finishe d in the top three in the
League in each season McAlinden and his assistant Arthur Brady were in
Over the thirty five year history of Drogheda FC and Drogheda United ,
many famous soccer names have worn the claret and blue shirts.Ray tracey
is arguably the best known , tracey also managed the club , as did other
former Irish internationals , Ton y Macken and Mick Meegan.
Another Irish international striker , Mick Leech , was in Drogheda's
colours when he scored against UCD in that club's first ever LOI
game.Cathal Muckian and Jerome Clarke were part of the strike force that
took United to the 76 Cup final and both of those got their only caps
against the then World Champions Argentina in 1978 .
Drogheda's other Cup final appearance saw two members of famous
footballing families line out in the 1971 defeat against Limerick .
Midfielders Mick Conroy (Terry's brother) and Ronnie Whelan Snr. were
part of a team supplemented by English impo rts from one of Meegan's
former clubs , Halifax Town.
Dave Shawcross , Dick Jacenuik , Dave Verity and , most especially ,
Paddy Cullen were to win the hearts of Drogheda fans in their three
season sojurn with the club . Though , that is all they were to win as
meegan's side flattered to decieve . Ther e have been other English
imports over the years , perhaps the best known being Peter Barnes ,
though few around Drogheda would say he was the most successful. In 1984
, Jackie Gallagher , from Torquay United , and Dave Vesserella , from
Blackpool , were part of the side captained by Matt Bradley which took
the League Cup beati ng Athlone Town 3-1 in the final.
Mind you , Drogheda's foreign imports streched further than from
England. in the Meegan era two Brazilians - Pedro de Lima and Wilson de
Silvas Chaga - dazzled (?) the Lourdes Stadium faithful . In 1994 an
Albanian , Gerd Haxhiou , arrived and even g ot his place in the
Albanian National squad while playing for the Drogheda reserves! And in
the mid seventies , a positive bevy of players from Northern Ireland
arrived and such as Ray McGuigan , Peter McCarron , Liam Beckett , Danny
Trainor , Bobby McCauley , Brendan Tully , George O'Halloran , Gerry
Brammeld , Gerry McCafferty and most of all Martin Donnelly were
idolised by the fans . After all that , it was a local lad who scored
the goal that put United into Europe when the Drogs finished runners up
in the League in 1982/83 - 'Gel' Martin netting the winner against
Rovers in Milltown .
Another local , who has a goal inscribed forever on the minds on all
those who saw it , is Pat 'Mini' Mohan who scorched one past Peter
Shilton from all of 35 yards in a pre-season friendly against
Southhampton . And then there was the one that got a way . In 1971 , at
17 years of age , Mick Fairclough lined out as a sub in the FAI Cup
final , and Drogheda sold him later to Huddersfield Town , where his
professional career was curtailed by a knee injury . Fairclough did
return to Louth to play - but for craptown (sorry Dundalk ) and not
However Mick eventually returned to United as a youth coach which has
helped many young local players break into the first team in recent