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Saturday, 9 October 1948
Home International Championship 1948-49 (54th) Match

Ireland 2 England 6 [0-1]


Match Summary
Ireland Party
England Party

Windsor Park, Donegall Avenue, Belfast, county Antrim
Kick-off (BST): 3.00pm.

Attendance: 53,629;
Receipts: £6,800.

Ireland kicked off England won the toss

[1-1] Davy Walsh 49

 a fine header from an O'Driscoll cross

[2-6] Davy Walsh
 robbed Howe and walked around Swift to score into an empty net.
[0-1] Stan Matthews 27
centre from near the corner flag that went in off the post and 'keepers head
[1-2] Jackie Milburn 55
well-placed header from a Matthews cross
[1-3] Stan Mortensen 62
from a Wright centre
[1-4] Stan Mortensen 66
lobbed the ball over the keepers head
[1-5] Stan Mortensen 74 HAT-TRICK
flying header from a Cockburn freekick

[1-6] Stan Pearson 88
headed in a faultless Matthews centre

Match Summary





Referee (-) - William E. Webb
x (-), Glasgow.

Linesmen - tbc

No substitutes permitted, as per UK ruling.

  Goal Attempts  
  Attempts on Target  
  Hit Bar/Post  
  Corner Kicks Won  
  Offside Calls Against  
  Fouls Conceded  

Ireland Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 30th
Colours: Green jerseys, white shorts, blue socks.
Capt: John Carey Manager: Team chosen by Selection Committee on Thursday, 30 September 1949 in Belfast, headed by T.H. Chambers and R. Patterson.
Ireland Lineup
  Smyth, William T. 22/23 1925 G Distillery FC 1 6 GA
2 Carey, John J.  29 23 February 1919 RB Manchester United FC, England 5 0
3 Martin, Cornelius J. 25 20 March 1923 LB Aston Villa FC, England 5 0
4 Walsh, William R. 27 31 May 1921 RHB Manchester City FC, England 4 0
5 Vernon, John J.  30 26 September 1918 CHB West Bromwich Albion FC, England 7 0
6 Farrell, Peter D. 26 16 August 1922 LHB Everton FC, England 6 0
7 O'Driscoll, John F. 27 20 September 1921 OR Swansea Town FC, England 1 0
8 McAlinden, James 30 31 December 1917 IR Southend United FC, England 4 0
9 Walsh, David J. 25 28 April 1923 CF West Bromwich Albion FC, England 6 3
10 Tully, Charles P. 24 11 July 1924 IL The Celtic FC, Scotland 1 0
11 Eglington, Thomas J.  25 15 January 1923 OL Everton FC, England 6 0


Bud Aherne (Belfast Celtic FAC)

team notes:

Johnny Carey has also made fifteen appearances for Éire, scoring twice. Peter Farrell six times. Con Martin five appearances, Jimmy McAlinden and Billy Walsh and Davy Walsh have played twice.
Johnny Carey, Tommy Eglington, Con Martin, Billy Walsh, all played for Éire against England in 1946.
David Cochrane (Leeds United AFC) was the original named outside-right, his place going to O'Driscoll, and Sammy Smyth (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC) was on his inside, McAlinden was named as his replacement, both on Tuesday, 5 October. Cochrane and Smyth were deemed unfit.
Jimmy McAlinden signed for Southend United FC on Wednesday, 6 October.
The Irish team were based from Mount Royal Hotel in Donaghadee, County Down.
2-3-5 Smyth -
Carey, Martin -

W.Walsh, Vernon, Farrell -
O'Driscoll, MacAlinden,
D.Walsh, Tully, Eglingbton.


Age 26.4 Appearances/Goals 4.2 0.1


England Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 3rd to 2nd
Colours: The 1946 home uniform - White collared jerseys, blue shorts, red socks.
Capt: Billy Wright, first captaincy Manager: Walter Winterbottom, 35 (31 March 1913), appointed director of coaching on 8 July 1946, and team manager in May 1947;
16th match, W 12 - D 3 - L 1 - F 59 - A 14.
Team chosen by Selection Committee headed by Arthur Drewry, on Tuesday, 28 September 1948
England Lineup
  Swift, Frank V. 34 26 December 1913 G Manchester City FC 16 14 GA
2 Scott, Lawrence 31 23 April 1917 RB

Arsenal FC

16 0
3 Howe, John R. 32 7 October 1915 LB Derby County FC 2 0
4 Wright, William A. 24 6 February 1924 RHB

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

16 0
5 Franklin, Cornelius 26 24 January 1922 CHB

Stoke City FC

16 0
6 Cockburn, Henry 27 14 September 1921 LHB

Manchester United FC

7 0
7 Matthews, Stanley 33 1 February 1915 OR Blackpool FC 27 10
Mortensen, Stanley H. 27 26 May 1921 IR Blackpool FC 8 14
9 Milburn, John E.T. 24 11 May 1924 CF Newcastle United FC 1 1
10 Pearson, Stanley C. 29 11 January 1919 IL Manchester United FC 2 1
11 Finney, Thomas 26 5 April 1922 OL

Preston North End FC

13 11


Bill Nicholson (Tottenham Hotspur FC)

team notes:

"The honour of captaincy goes to one of the youngest members of the team. Wright is only 24, but he has been on the Wolverhampton books since 14. England first picked him two years ago. In relieving Swift of the responsibility, the selectors have apparently come to the conclusion that a goalkeeper is not the player best suited to be captain." - Belfast News-Letter, Wednesday, 29 September 1948.
The English team were based in Newcastle prior to the match, County Down. Crossing the Irish Sea in the Ulster Monarch.
2-3-5 Swift -
Scott, Howe -
Wright, Franklin, Cockburn -
Matthews, Mortensen, Milburn, Pearson, Finney.


Age 28.5 Appearances/Goals 11.3 2.8


     Match Report by Mike Payne

Some 53,000 people packed into Windsor Park to see this match. The result went against the home side but in no way did the final scoreline tell the full story. Indeed, only in the last 30 minutes did England finally get on top.

The game had begun with Ireland pressing forward in their usual passionate style. Frank Swift, Lionel Scott and Jack Howe all showed hesitancy in the English defence and the Irish should really have pressed home the advantage that their early play had given them. As it was, they were punished by a freak goal by Stanley Matthews after 27 minutes which gave England a lead they barely deserved.

Taking a throw-in on Tom Finney's wing, Matthews received a return pass from Jackie Milburn. He then swung across a curling centre which ricocheted off the far post, hit Smyth on the back and went into the net. It was an amazing goal and cruel luck for the Irish. England's only other worthwhile attack of the first half came just before the break when, following a brilliant five man move, Mortensen had Smyth at full strecth to save.

Five minutes into the second half, Northern Ireland equalized. O'Driscoll beat Howe for speed and Dave Walsh headed home his cross in fine style. For a few moments it seemed that the now rampant home team might forge ahead. But suddenly and unexpectedly, England and especially Matthews came to life. Within ten minutes it was 4-1 to the visitors!

First Milburn headed in Matthews' cross. Then Mortensen headed in a pass from Billy Wright after more good work by the Blackpool winger, before finally Mortensen got on the end of a fine cross by Stan Pearson to cleverly lob the ball over the advancing Smyth. Quite suddenly it was all over and the crowd, so excited a few minutes earlier, were dazed into a stunned silence.

Finney now began to lose Carey, after previously having been well held by the full-back. Milburn showed dash and spirit and England at last were now moving as a team.

Two more headers added to the goals tally. First Mortensen scored his third goal by heading a Henry Cockburn free-kick; then Pearson added number-six with a header from yet another Matthews cross.  England had thus scored five goals in a little over 30 minutes. With the last kick of the game, Dave Walsh scored his and Northern Ireland's second, only to leave everyone wondering just what an earth had gone wrong.

     Match Report by Norman Giller

Billy Wright's first of 90 matches as England captain. The two Stanleys - Matthews and Mortensen - dominated the match. Matthews scored the first and helped lay on a hat-trick for his Blackpool team-mate. The Matthews goal was a freak effort. His centre from the right curled and hit an upright. The ball bounced against the head of Irish goalkeeper Willie Smyth and into the net.  'Wor Jackie' Milburn announced his debut with a neatly headed goal. Davie Walsh scored his second goal with the last kick of the match to bring a little respectability to a scoreline that flattered England. Five of the England goals came in a 30 minute burst in the second-half. The Irish more than held their own for the other hour, and might have had at least two more goals but for some desperate work by the England defenders.

Source Notes

""Congratulations!" said Miss Helen Mearden, the bus conductress. "Thank you," I replied, trying to be polite but wondering what it was all about. "Yes," went on Miss Mearden, "it's a great honour to be chosen to captain England." Captain of England! If I had felt a little drowsy after so much travel those three words had the same effect as a bucket of ice-cold water being emptied over me. Miss Mearden must have noticed the look of surprise on my face, for she handed me a newspaper, saying, "The England team to meet Ireland is in the Stop Press column."" - Billy Wright, The World is My Football Pitch, p69.

Original newspaper reports
Rothman's Yearbooks
Mike Payne's England: The Complete Post-War Record (Breedon Books Publishing Company, Derby, U.K., 1993)
Billy Wright's The World is My Football Pitch (Stanley Paul Co, London, U.K., 1953)
Northern Ireland's Footballing Greats

Norman Giller, Football Author