Dublin City Council honours Shelbourne F.C.celebrating 120 years this year
On Friday 4th September at 3.00pm Dublin City Council as part of its new Commemorative Plaque Scheme will honour Shelbourne F.C. An tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh and Joe Casey, Chairman of Shelbourne F.C. will jointly unveil a plaque at Slattery’s Pub (formerly Nolans) opposite Shelbourne Road, Dublin 4. The Club were founding members of the League of Ireland in 1921 and are one of only two founding clubs still playing at senior level today.
An tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh said “I am delighted to be here today unveiling this plaque to commemorate Shelbourne FC one of Dublin’s oldest football clubs. Tá an áthas orm bheith anseo inniu don chomóradh seo a cheiliúradh agus gabhaim comhghairdeas libh go leir. It is fitting that this plaque is located here in their spiritual home in Dublin 4 where the club was founded in 1895. I know this club has played in many locations in the City but I know this location will always be dear to their hearts.”
Joe Casey, Chairman of Shelbourne FC said “As Chairman of this great Club I am honoured and privileged to be in this position at a time of such historic importance”
Shels or the Reds as they have been known were founded in 1895 by a number of locals in the Ringsend/ Sandymount area. The Club affiliated to the Leinster Football Association in 1896 and since then, have won over 50 senior trophies, including 13 leagues, 7 FAI Cups and 3 IFA Cups before the League of Ireland was formed in 1921/22 season. In addition, they have played in over 40 European matches against such famous opposition as Barcelona, Athletico Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Vasas of Budapest, Glasgow Rangers, Deportivo La Coruna among others.
However, in spite of all Shels successes on the pitch, two things stand out when you scrutinise the Club’s storied history:
Shelbourne’s Irish International goalkeeper Ginger Reilly, at the turn of the last century, was considered largely responsible for changing the law which had allowed goalkeepers to handle the ball outside their penalty areas. He was adept at bouncing the ball and avoiding opponents, even to the half-way line.
On the 19th November 1967, the world's fastest hat trick in senior soccer was scored. All three goals were scored by Shelbourne ace Jimmy O'Connor against Bohemians in a 3-2 victory for the Reds at Dalymount Park. And the time... a truly amazing 2 minutes 13 seconds. This is still the fastest confirmed hat-trick ever scored at senior level and may never be broken given the antics that follow any goal that’s scored these days.
Notes to the Editor
A Commemorative Naming Committee was established by Dublin City Council to consider and recommend the selection of individuals or events which will be commemorated through the erection of monuments / plaques.
These Commemorative Plaques provide the City with an opportunity to honour and remember a significant person, group or event and to celebrate the uniqueness of the City and create a sense of place which is identified as being of great importance to citizens and visitors. This plaque is the second in the scheme and honours not only Shelbourne F.C.’s longevity and domestic achievements but also their wonderful exploits in European football.
When Shels were formed in 1895 their playing pitch was waste ground in the Havelock Square vicinity, beside the Aviva Stadium. Eventually the Club, to be strictly businesslike, sought the permission of the land owner who granted them permission at a rent of £6 per year.
After playing a number of friendly informal matches against groups of soldiers based in the nearby historic Beggars’ Bush Barracks Shels affiliated to the Leinster Football Association in 1896. They played their first competitive match on 5th Sept. 1896 against neighbours Pembroke FC and drew 2-2. They went on to win the Leinster Junior League and Cup double that season, losing only to Phoenix FC. In 1897, they were promoted to the Leinster Senior League and were runners up in both League and Cup that year.
In the 1899 / 1900 Leinster Cup Final, Shels beat another famous team from this area called Freebooters 1-0 in the Leinster Cup Final, their first of 19 wins in that competition. That Cup final took place at Jones's Road, where now stands Croke Park. It was known then as the City and Suburban Ground, and was Dublin's principal outdoor entertainment centre of the time. It was a venue for horse racing, trotting, athletics, boxing and sports and carnivals of all kinds.
Shels have been known as the ‘Reds’ for so long that it is hard to imagine that they once wore chocolate and sky-blue. Due to a mistaken delivery these were the club colours for a year. Thankfully the fireman's red shirts were soon supplied and the rest, as they say, is history.