Monday, March 16, 2009

The team killed by one game (Belfast Celtic and Happy Saint Patrick's day)

On this St. Patrick's Day, I remember Belfast Celtic, a team disbanded after a horrific game and its aftermath in the late 1940s. Despite their success, they were never admitted to the league system in Northern Ireland and were forced to hang it up due to fan on player violence.

From Wild Geese (which refers to this I assume):
That triumphal victory over the Scottish national side was several months ahead when the Celtic team took to Linfield's pitch at Windsor Park, in staunchly unionist South Belfast, on Boxing Day 1948. Tension at matches between the two sides was always at a high. The match ended with the Celtic team having to run from the pitch for their lives when Linfield

fans poured over the terrace barriers at the end of a 1-1 draw. Centre forward Jimmy Jones was thrown over a parapet, kicked unconcious and left with a broken leg. Defender Robin Lawlor and goalkeeper Kevin McAlinden were seriously hurt.

More can be found at (hard site to link inside of without crashing firefox).

Belfast Celtic is also one of a dozen or so historic "celtic" teams across the world, many of whom wear the "celtic hoops" made famous by Glasgow Celtic. The Scottish Celtic team has their own storied past that straddles the sectarian violence in the United Kingdom, but unlike Belfast Celtic they surive to this day.

Tomorrow I'll wear a jersey from another hoops team, Shamrock Rovers of Dublin. Rovers were a younger team than either Belfast or Glasgow Celtic and recieved their first set of uniforms from Belfast Celtic.

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