Irish Cup Fifth Round day is one of the most eagerly anticipated days in the local football calendar. Portadown FC and Banbridge Town have only met on one previous occasion in the competition, back in the 1987/88 season. The connection between the clubs however goes back much further than that, indeed back to the very first Irish Cup match played by ‘The Town’ in January 1950.
Ards were the visitors to The Showgrounds and in the Banbridge defence was former Portadown veteran James Dowling. Interestingly the referee for this game was Mr. R.A Mortimer (Huddersfield), and he had been referee for the FA Cup Final the previous season between Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Lurgan man, Dowling, had been at Portadown since 1937 and had received a benefit match in 1949. Reports indicated that he was a standout at full-back helping keep the score-line to a respectable 2-0 to Ards. A few year later Dowling‘s work took him to Brazil where amazingly he won a cup medal with the famous Corinthians club.
It’s not every day that Banbridge Town sign an International player, but that is exactly what happened in the summer of 1950. Jimmy Dykes, former Portadown centre half and Scottish international was signed by ‘The Town’. Dykes had won two caps for Scotland prior to the war and a further four wartime caps. Dykes found himself playing alongside former Portadown right-back Charles ‘Bud’ Maxwell in the Banbridge defence.
There have been numerous other connections down through the years with names such as Buchanan and Evans and indeed to this present day with Stephen Teggart donning the red shirt of Portadown.
Looking back to that previous Irish Cup meeting between the sides in February 1988 at Shamrock Park, it was the Ports that were first off the mark. Colin O’Neill stunned Billy Clarke in the Town goal with a thirty yard strike on 12 minutes. Banbridge refused to bow down to their senior opponents, and on 26 minutes they deservedly drew level. A poor back pass by Roy McCreadie was pounced upon by Mervyn Kerr and he fired home pasted Keenan in the Portadown goal. Ten minutes later the home side were ahead again. Clarke failed to gather the ball safely and Hanna nipped in to restore the Ports lead.
Banbridge Town regained the initiative after the break with Kieran McQuaid and Kevin Buchanan pulling the strings. Tony Diamond replaced Kevin Buchanan as The Town searched for the equaliser. Their hopes were dashed however on the 70thminute when McCreadie scored to settle the home side’s nerves.
Portadown: Keenan, Burns, Curliss, Connell, Strain, McCreadie, Tully, O’Neill, Hanna, Millar, Mills
Banbridge Town: Clarke, McCreanor, T. Scappaticci, Fearon, F. Scappatticci, Clegg, K. McQuaid< K. Buchanan, R. Clarke, R. Buchanan. Sub Diamond
Compiled by Trevor Clydesdale
Banbridge Town currently sit 9th in the NIFL Premier Intermediate and haven’t had a competitive game since a 3-0 victory over Lisburn Distillery on 3 December – 5 weeks ago! – their match against Bangor on 17 December was abandoned after 50 minutes due to a frozen pitch.
Portadown and Banbridge Town were of course together in the IFA Championship in 2008/09 with the Ports winning 5-1 at Shamrock Park in August 2008 with goals from Kevin Braniff (2), Andrew Sproule (2) & Richard Lecky and also picking up a 6-1 win at Crystal Park in November 2008 thanks to goals from Wesley Boyle (2), Gary McCutcheon (2) & Richard Lecky (2). The Ports would also knock Banbridge Town out of the Intermediate Cup that season with a 3-0 victory at Shamrock Park with goals from Richard Clarke, Richard Lecky & Jordan Baker.
MATCH SPONSOR – Toalsbet.com
MATCH BALL SPONSOR – The PFC Travel Club
PSS MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR – Jonny Wylie
MASCOT – JD Bell (Age 5 & attends St Coleman’s Bann Primary School in Lawrencetown)
- We Are Ports TV LIVE will have live coverage of the game against Banbridge Town, the live stream is available at a cost of £8 and can be purchased via https://portstv.com/
- Online tickets for the game are available via https://tickets.portadownfc.co.uk/fixtures. While online tickets for matches still remain, a cash gate is now also available at each game at Shamrock Park (except in the event where a game has sold out online in advance of the game). We would add however that purchasing your ticket online remains the best way to guarantee your seat for games and would still actively encourage supporters to avail of the facility.
- A reminder about the Ports Hub facility at games at Shamrock Park which give you match info, player stats and exclusive interviews. To access the Ports Hub simply scan the QR code placed on every other seat’s backrest at Shamrock Park (as well as in the clubrooms) and you will give brought to a host of great content, think of it as your digital matchday programme!
- With more families and community / youth groups visiting Shamrock Park on match days, the club has decided to re-launch our FAMILY AND COMMUNITY AREA. BLOCK B in the home stand has been designated as this area, a traditionally slightly quieter block and further away from opposition supporters. We recognise that football matches are noisy and passionate experiences for players and fans alike but we would also like children, families and community visitors of mixed abilities and needs to feel comfortable when they visit a match, for some, their very first football match. Guidelines for supporters sitting in Block B will be clearly displayed at the front of that area and we encourage all patrons in the block to follow them:
- PLEASE BE AWARE OF THOSE AROUND YOU.
- PLEASE USE APPROPRIATE LANGUAGE.
- BE POSITIVE TOWARDS PEOPLE ON THE PITCH.