1964 was a great year for football. Marco Van Basten, Roberto Mancini and Jürgen Klinsmann were all born in that year ~ and so was Lisnarick Football Club!
To celebrate its 50th birthday the club are currently organising a black-tie Gala Dinner to take place in the Manor House Country Hotel, Killadeas on Friday 12th December for all players and club supporters past and present.
Pete Keogh, player-manger for the club in the 1970’s, said of the forthcoming event “I have already spoken to so many players from the early years of the club and the enthusiasm that I have seen would suggest that we will have a ‘full house’.
Pete continued “A few of us are putting together an exhibition for the Gala Dinner of press cuttings, programmes etc. on the 50-year history of the club, and if anyone has anything they feel might add to the display, don’t hesitate to contact us.”
Lisnarick Football Club always had a strong family influence with many brothers, cousins, fathers and sons all representing the club. This tradition was epitomised on the 29th May 1999 when the village team made history and very few people know why.
The Republic of Ireland hosted Northern Ireland as a charity fundraiser friendly for the victims of the Omagh bombing.
On 46 minutes Roy Carroll replaced Maik Taylor as goalkeeper and history was made because in the opposite goal was Shay Given and at that moment in time Lisnarick Football Club could claim that the fathers of both National team goalkeepers had previously played in goal for the village club.
Seamus Given from Lifford played for Lisnarick in the 1960s and 70s while Bob Carroll turned out for the village in the 1990s.
Surely no other amateur team in Ireland can have that illustrious claim-to-fame!
Pete commented “past players like Seamus Given (father of Shay) says he is really looking forward to the night and can’t wait to renew acquaintances with many of his team mates from that era.”
The recently appointed chairman of Lisnarick Football Club, Neil Armstrong, added “tickets for the Gala Dinner are selling fast for what surely will be a night to remember in the history of our club, and I would urge people to get their tickets now before they’re all sold out!”
Lisnarick Football Club first entered the Fermanagh & Western league in August 1964.
The club’s first jerseys were blue and were bought by Brendan Keogh, one of the clubs co-founders, for just £5 at Smithfield Market in Belfast.
“The most memorable thing I remember about our first season in the league was drawing with Enniskillen Rangers twice – they were the only points dropped by Rangers in the whole season” said Brendan, in an interview in 1991.
In the early years the club’s best season in the league was 1966-67 when they finished runners-up to Omagh Celtic in Division One. However it was in the late 1970’s under the guidance of player-manager Pete Keogh, when the club probably had its best and most consistent team. In the 1975-76 season Lisnarick FC reached the quarter-finals of the Irish Junior Cup only to be knocked out by Tobermore United. The following year the club finished runners-up to Enniskillen Rangers in Division One and then in the 1977-78 season the club got to the final of the Mulhern Cup. This game was played in Lisnaskea on Friday 19th May 1978 and unfortunately Lisnarick FC were beaten 3-2 by Enniskillen Rangers.
Regrettably Lisnarick Football Club folded in the early 1980’s because of a lack of players. However, in 1991 a series of summer friendlies were organised and it was soon realised there was potential for league football.
In 1992 Robbie Johnston was persuaded to return to his local roots after ten years at Ballinamallard FC, and he was appointed player-manager with a mission to bring Lisnarick Football Club all the way back to Division One.
The club achieved promotion from Division Three that year and were back in the Division One of the Fermanagh and Western just two seasons later.
To achieve top flight status in just three seasons is a great achievement for any club. In that season Lisnarick also reached the semi-final of the Mulhern Cup only to be beaten 2-0 by Enniskillen Rangers who went on to lift the trophy that year.
The vision of reaching Division One had been realised for the village. Since then Lisnarick FC have been champions of Division Three on four occasions and the Reserve Team were champions of Reserve Division Three in 2003-04 season. And just last season the club made it all the way to the semi-final of the Irish Junior Cup.
For further information on Lisnarick Football Club’s 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner please email firstname.lastname@example.org, find us on facebook or contact Pete Keogh (028 68621478 or 07775700113), Peter Gormley (07840117847) or Kyle Barkley (07929365432). Alternatively tickets can be purchased directly from Molly’s Bar and Restaurant in Irvinestown or Tullana Restaurant in Lisnarick.
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