The Histroy Of The Munster Senior Cup
By M.F. Landers (1946)
The Munster Cup owes its origin to the sporting action of some Southern enthusiast who in the year 1885 collected or subscribed a sufficient sum to purchase the handsome trophy. First competed for in 1886, this year - 1946 - thus marks the Diamond Jubilee of the competition. Cup football has always been associated with grim determination and dour struggles, and men will train with all the zeal and earnestness possible, to achieve success and so it is that the cup games attract the biggest crowd.
It is fitting that in this Jubilee Year two of the oldest clubs in the province - Garryowen and Constitution should meet for possession of the Cup. They first met in the Cup in 1900, when Constitution won at the Markets Field after a draw in Cork. Bandon were the first team to capture the Cup in 1886. They met Garryowen in the final and after a draw were successful by one try to nil. It is interesting to read the names of the Bandon team of that year.
Bandon XV. 1886: - Hawkes; J. Calnan, Manning, Houston, J. Brennan, F. Levis (Captain), N . Brennan, Richardson, Bartley, Good, O'Regan, Cunningham, C. Oliffe, McSweeney and Calnan.
The final was played in the old Cork Park, and though Bandon went out of the game later, Garryowen, though defeated, gave an idea of what was to come in after years.
Queen's College captured the Cup in 1887 and 1888 under the captaincy of a great player P. Hayes, and in the pack were four forwards that were later caped for Ireland, viz:- J.S. Dick, R. Stokes, J.N. Nash and Tom Donovan. In 1889 Garryowen began their great series of victories and under the captaincy of that grand old man of Rugby Football - Jack Macaulay - they were invincible for years. In 1987 Queen's College under Dr. Bill O'Sullivan won back the Cup and it is interesting to note that his son, Billy O'Sullivan, captained U.C.C. to victory in 1935.
Space does not permit one to go into all the very interesting details but it will be observed that up to 1905, Bandon, Garryowen and Queen's College were the only teams that had succeeded in winning the Cup. In 1905 Constitution first won the trophy, and a grand side captained by David Desmond repeated their success in 1906 and 1907. Then Dolphin first captured the cup in 1921, Bohemians in 1927, and Young Munster in 1928 when they put up a remarkable performance by also capturing the Bateman Cup at Lansdowne Road. Thus, only 7 clubs have achieved the honour of inscribing their names on this historic old trophy. Many great sides like Rockwell College, Cork County, Clanwilliam, Limerick County, Tralee, Lansdowne (Limerick) and others in the old days have frequently gone very near to success. Luck has perhaps played a part in some victories, but looking back over all these years it can safely be said that victory in practically every case went to the best team in the competition.
Munster Senior Cup Final: Constitution FC v Garryowen FC
Date: 13th April 1946, Mardyke Cork
Constitution FC XV: Jerry Cuneen; Tom Riordan, Cecil O'Driscoll (Vice-Captain), Eddie Fahy, John Riordan; Tommy Moroney, Ned Murphy; Ned O'Connor, Charlie Teehan, Batt Hayes; John Christopher Daly, John Costigan; Pat Barry, John Irwin (Captain), Dan Lehane.
Garryowen FC XV: Jack Staunton; Jimmy Harris, Aengus McMorrow, Sean O'Brien, Joe Nestor; Paddy Reid (Captain), Harry Leahy; Sean McNamara, Brendan Morgan, Dan O'Connor; Richard Laffan, Jimmy Keyes; Larry Moloney, Con Roche, Paddy Sullivan (Vice-Captain).
Referee: Aidan Archer (Munster Branch)