15/02/1913 Belfast England 2-1 Billy Gillespie (2)
Billy Scott, Bill McConnell, Peter Warren, Harry Hampton, Val Harris, Billy Andrews, Johnny Houston, Denis Hannon, Billy Gillespie, James Macauley, Frank Thompson
15 February 1913 – Black And Tans On The House!
On 15 February 1913, Irish debutant Billy Gillespie scored his first two international goals, giving his side a 2-1 victory over England in the 1913 British Home Championship. The win was Ireland’s first ever over England in 32 matches.
The match was played at Windsor Park in Belfast before a crowd of 20,000. It was England’s first contest in that year’s tournament, while Ireland had already played one match, a 0-1 loss to Wales on 18 January.
England gained the early advantage with a 35th-minute strike from winger Charlie Buchan, but Gillespie brought the hosts level in the 43rd minute, then put them ahead for good seventeen minutes later. Unfortunately for Ireland, it was their only win of the tournament and they finished in last place after a 1-2 loss to Scotland. England rallied to win their last two matches, 4-3 over Wales and 1-0 over Scotland, to finish in first place. Ireland and Gillespie would gain some revenge the following season, however, beating England 3-0 on their way to the BHC title, the first outright title won by Ireland.
Gillespie, an inside forward who played his club ball for Sheffield United, would go on to become Ireland’s most-capped player with 25 appearances and score a total of thirteen goals–a record that would not be tied until 1992 (by Colin Clarke) and not broken until 2004 (by David Healy).
Author: Brian Seal
First win over England
Ireland’s win over England in Belfast in 1913 brought to an end a dismal run of 27 defeats and two draws in the 29 annual meetings of the countries in the International Tournament since its inception in 1884. While the win was undoubtedly an occasion for the kind of celebration that any win over England in any sport, then as now, evokes, it did not help Ireland’s showing in the International Tournament. England beat Wales and Scotland to earn four points, Wales and Scotland drew with each other and both beat Ireland, leaving England the winner with four points, Scotland and Wales second with three each and Ireland at the bottom of the table with two.
The win, nevertheless, coupled with the results of matches in the tournament over the previous few years, offered hope for the future. For in the twelve matches played from 1910 to 1913 Ireland, though losing nine, did so in most cases by narrow margins that represented a vast improvement on the heavy defeats to which they were regularly subjected in the early years. Few could have believed, though, that such a hope would be realised so quickly. It was all the more improbable in that there was a crisis in football in Ireland in 1912 that almost led to the IFA losing control of the game to a breakaway group.
Only three of the team that beat England in 1913 faced Wales in the first match of the International Tournament of 1914, eleven months later—full-back William McConnell (Bohemians), right-half and captain Val Harris (Everton), both Dubliners, and Donegal-born Billy Gillespie (Sheffield United), centre-forward. A fourth, Portarlington-born Jimmy McAuley (Preston North End), was selected but reported injured, while Belfast goalkeeper Fred McKee (Cliftonville) had been first-choice goalkeeper for the England match the previous year but had to withdraw. With the exception of Dubliner Ted Seymour (Bohemians) and Lithuanian-born Louis Brookman (Bradford City), the remainder of the team against Wales were experienced internationals. Belfastman Sam Young had made his debut as long ago as 1907, Galwayman Alex Craig (Glasgow Rangers) had played for Ireland since 1908, Wexfordman Billy Lacey (Everton) since 1909, while Dubliner Paddy O’Connell (Sheffield Wednesday) and Belfastman Davy Rollo (Linfield) first played international football in 1912.
Author: Colm Kerrigan