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Saturday Stepback: 1898

While it could never come close to replicating the authentic matchday experience, today sees the continuation of a new weekly series transporting us back to a game played on this day in yesteryear.

With the help of the Club’s Heritage Development Officer, Paul Treanor, every Saturday during football’s downtime, will revisit a match from the past via the medium of contemporary newspaper reports – with today’s spotlight falling on a Cup battle with Belfast Celtic on March 28, 1898.

City of Belfast Charities Competition

This match took place at 5.30 at Grosvenor Park, in connection with the above competition.

Owing to the unfavourable conditions of the weather, the attendance was not so large as might have been expected but, on the whole, was not so bad.

The ground was in fairly good condition when Celtic started the game, the Reds having won the toss.

Cliftonville in the first half showed up and made some splended attack on the Celts’ posts but all to no purpose, their defenders returning.

Celtic forwards played well, Doran and Monteith putting in some lively runs. Scott had to save a couple of very strong shots.

Cliftonville, per Campbell, scored the first goal of the match.

Nothing further was added up till half-time, when the score stood as follows:-

Cliftonville – 1 Goal
Celtic – Nil

On the second portion of the game being started, Pyper started the sphere and at once his side took up the running, but not for long.

Celtic, getting away on continuous runs, made the Cliftonville men be on the defensive for a while, Scott clearing some grand ones from Megarry and Dornan.

Gibson relieved and sent well down, Martin and Pyper getting away. Stranaghan collared at the other end and returned.

Celtic now notched their first goal, making the score even.

Each side now pressed in turn, the Celts keeping the leather a long time at Scott’s charge but no further scoring took place and the final result of a well contested game was as follows:-

Cliftonville – 1 Goal
Celtic – 1 Goal

The following were the teams:-

Celtic – Goal: Lavery; Backs: Lavery and Stranaghan; Halves: Tully, Breen and McConville; Forwards: Megarry, Cairns, Dorrian, Dornan and Monteith.

Cliftonville – Goal: Scott; Backs: Foreman and Gibson; Halves: Pyper, McShane and McCoull; Forwards: Campbell, Wilson, Pyper, Martin and A Campbell.