08/04/1905 Belfast Wales 2-2 Neil Murphy, Charlie O’Hagan
Robert Reynolds, Bill McCracken, George McMillan, Johnny Darling, Jimmy Connor, Robert Johnston, Andy Hunter, James Maxwell, Neil Murphy, Charlie O’Hagan, Jack Kirwan
The game took place in Belfast at Cliftonville’s Solitude ground in the North of the city. An estimated 15,000 fans were in attendance hoping Ireland would bounce back from their previous 4-0 defeat to Scotland a month earlier.
Wales started the brightest and were only prevented from scoring in the opening minutes by a clearance by George McMillan (Distillery). Ireland immediately went on the offensive with a beautiful pass from captain Jack Kirwan (Tottenham Hotspur) to John Murphy (Queens Park Rangers). The final shot by Kirwan went straight into the Welsh goalkeeper John Morgan’s (Wrexham) hands.
Wales opened the scoring on 18 minutes. McMillan lost possession of the ball and Walter Watkins (Sunderland) ran in and shot past Irish goalkeeper Robert Reynolds (Bohemians).
The goal by Wales gave Ireland a wake up call and upon the restart they bombarded the Welsh goal. The Welsh defence more than held their own until 25 minutes when Murphy scored the equalizing goal for Ireland.
Wales resumed with renewed energy and began to attack the Irish backline and missed glorious chances but eventually scored through Robert Atherton (Middlesborough) on 38 minutes.
Ireland equalised on the stroke of half-time when Charlie O’Hagan (Tottenham Hotspur) scored.
The second half petered out with both sides having chances to score, but for a lack of support for Welsh forward Atherton, Wales may feel disappointed that they didn’t win the match. Ireland meanwhile could also have won the game so in the end a draw was a fair reflection on both sides and a fair result.
* Trivia –
Robert Reynolds of Dublin club Bohemians earned his one and only senior international cap for Ireland. As well as being a goalkeeper, Reynolds was also an accomplished cyclist. In the same year as his Irish cap he had won the Irish Cycling Championship.
The Welsh half-back in this match was Jack Hughes of Liverpool. Although born in Flint, Wales in 1877 the Irish Football Association believed that Hughes had family ties to Ireland. Prior to this match the IFA required him to prove his nationality before he could represent Wales in the match. Hughes went on to win a further two caps for Wales.
Many of the Welsh side were violently ill on the Irish Sea crossing between Wales and Ireland.