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Author Topic: Waterford Crystals  (Read 555 times)

Offline dave.woodhall

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Waterford Crystals
« on: August 07, 2020, 09:52:43 PM »
The month of May in Coronation year of 1953 saw a proliferation of goodwill throughout the nation and friendlies both at home and abroad.

Villa began by inviting second division Birmingham City to their headquarters and in the true spirit of goodwill before 25,000 allowed them to escape with their pride intact, 1-1.

Meanwhile, the Baggies had gone over to Eire, as it was then known, to entertain the citizens of Waterford. The home team was virtually an international eleven because they had invited any player with local connections to play for them. That included our own Dave Walsh plus, like many Americans, they must have found that the incomparable Stanley Matthews and Ernie Taylor from Blackpool both had green roots.  Playing in a very rare Sunday game Albion won an exciting encounter 5-4.

The next Sunday Villa followed Albion and turned up on the Southern shores of the Republic to mark an event at Westminster Abbey which in itself was probably of little cause for celebration among the locals. This time Dave Walsh got to play for Villa against the team he had played for the week before. But ironically he found himself opposed by none other than Con Martin. There is a suspicion that Con had very little enthusiasm for the task as his compatriots, devoid this time of Stanley Matthews, wilted before the onslaught which besides Walsh (two) included goal scorers Derek Pace (three), Tommy Thompson, Billy Goffin and Larry Canning. 8 1 says it all.

Goodwill knew no bounds when stayed on to enjoy a protracted holiday in Ireland and the following Sunday we turned up in Dublin to take on Shamrock Rovers. Post-war the Irishmen were our regular opponents both at home and away and it would have been rude not to include them. We played Rovers always in the hopes that we would discover another gem to follow in the footsteps of Dave Walsh, Con Martin, Robert Daniel Blanchflower (as always, respect where respect is due) and Peter McParland. Half a century on we have taken to mining the continent and southern hemisphere for those of a similar ilk, in the added expectation of being able to sell more souvenir shirts.

What turned out to be our final such Dublin experience, though we did not know it at the time, ended 1-1.

John Russell

Offline Mossie Hennebry

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Re: Waterford Crystals
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2020, 02:30:00 PM »
Waterford being my home, other Waterford Villains that I am aware of are Alfie Hale in the 60's and both Alan Kirby and Paul Flynn would have been youth team players in the 90's.

Alfie was a journeyman footballer in both Ireland and the UK and is a successful businessman with sports shops and, I think, a pub, in Waterford.

Alan Kirby had a fine League of Ireland career and was something of a talisman in the Waterford United side at the turn of the century.

Paul Flynn was a youth GK with AVFC, and reportedly roomed with Dwight Yorke, but he keeps his counsel on those days. He went on to play for the Waterford Senior Hurling Team as a forward for over 20 seasons and remains a favourite of the Deise supporters today. If you like a bit of hurling folklore, check out his goal against Cork in the Munster Senior Hurling Final 2004, which really won the game for us:

Waterford United were taken over by Lee Power of Swindon Town in 2016 and renamed to Waterford FC. John Sheridan recently joined as manager. They are known as The Blues, if you can get over that.

We play Dundalk away in the FAI Cup tonight, but we rarely get a result there, so go there more in hope than anticipation.


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