A look back in time...Do you remember days in the old Lisburn League?
Several ex-players - and probably a few still playing - will remember the days of the old Lisburn League which existed for over 50 years.
If you had any doubts about the standard maybe it would be a good time to point out the success of the Immaculata club, who had a great record in Lisburn and have now reached the Premier Division of the NI Amateur League and surely have plans to go higher.
They were a good team in Lisburn circles and well organised, but they certainly did not get things their own way.
Do you remember the Millbrook Rovers v Lambeg matches, the Stoneyford v Immaculata “battles” and Co. Down Rangers against Brookville to name a few?
Going further back there were the Rangers v Celtic clashes - that is with Lisburn placed in front of the names - and the glory days of the Lisburn Mills.
Over the 50-plus years the League only had two chairmen, Jimmy Gallagher and Tommy Whiteside. There were never any real sectarian issues, yet a pipe bomb planted on the doorstep of the second chairman was the factor which brought the Lisburn League down and out for a year until the South Antrim League was formed.
Brookville, one of the class sides in the later days of the League and Ballymacash Rangers, who now play in Mid Ulster, were caught up in an incident which did the League no favours in the latter days.
They were playing a match on the ground behind the shops at Harmony Hill, which turned out to be a keenly fought-out affair.
Suddenly, bottles and stones were flying through the air. I was standing beside the Brookville manager as the stones rained down and people scattered. Neither team was involved in the trouble, which was caused by a sinister element. Ballymacash chairman, Tommy Heasley, had his car damaged.
A few days after the riot both teams toured the nearby houses and apologised for the trouble. The action was much appreciated by the residents, but in essence it spelt the end of Brookville through no fault of their own - or, indeed, Ballymacash.
Co. Down Rangers had been friends of Brookville over the seasons and they were asked to play a friendly at Twinbrook.
They would have agreed but with a number of their players in the police and prison service it gave rise to concerns.
At the time, I met Brookville in Twinbrook and printed their views in the “Leader”. It was well received but still spelt the end for Brookville.
More recollections next week when I recall the team who got to keep the Ironside Cup. Most of you know who it was!
New South Antrim League committee elected
The South Antrim League committee for the season 1916/17 ha been elected:
Chairman, Gerard Prigent; vice-chairman, Paul Hines; secretary, Barry McComb; fixtures secretary, Gary Wilson; registrations secretary, Jonathan McMullan; treasurer, Pamela Shaw.
Committee, Gary Shedden, Alan McAlennan, Jonathan McClinton, William Gourley.
Football Coach NI by William Weir
Book 1 of Football Coach NI proved to be a big success and now Taughmonagh YM stalwart, William Weir, has produced Book 2.
He says you will be glad to know it is half the length of Book 1 and he will be sending out copies soon.
If you require a copy then contact William Weir on facebook and he will organise the rest, but there is already a big demand for the publication.