THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Linfield are victors in clash between ‘the Rose and the Shamrock’ in Irish Cup final

From the News Letter, March 15, 1892

Monday, 15th March 2021, 6:00 am
Crusaders defender Stephen Stewart clearing the ball from Cliftonville's Albert Holden during the Smirnoff Irish League game at Solitude in December 1988. Cliftonville were the victors by 1-0. Picture: News Letter archives

The News Letter reported on this day in 1892 that the previous Saturday (March 12) had seen a great struggle between Linfield and The Black Watch in the Irish Cup which resulted in a 5-0 victory for the homeside.

The match was dubbed by the News Letter correspondent who attended the match as a clash between “the Rose and Shamrock”.

The match itself was held at the “splendid” grounds of Cliftonville Football Club and the correspondent noted that the approach Solitude that day had presented “a very lively appearance” for at least an hour before the match was due to kick off.

The form of Black Watch was unknown to Linfield ahead of the game and that the Highlanders were looked upon by the Blues “as very formidable rivals” by “our crack local team”, wrote the paper’s correspondent, and there was a fear with the team missing one of their top players (John Pedan) that they may be beaten by the Scottish side.

In the opening minutes of the game two or three chances came the way of Linfield’s R Torrans who seemed “excited and nervous” as he filled the boots of Pedan.

Fears had been allayed by the end of the first half which saw Hill make his presence felt as he “banged” home four goals.

Despite being a military team The Black Watch returned to the field for the second half of the match with not much fire in their bellies and Linfield appeared the freshest team of the two and once again took up the attack.

Concluding their report on the match the News Letter’s correspondent wrote: “A few minutes’ patient and scientific play amongst the home forwards, accompanied by wild kicking and charging on the part of the soldiers, was indulged in until Hill got another chance, and with his usual dexterity promptly availed himself of the opportunity of putting on the fifth goal for his team.”