We move back to April 1923.
At that time Distillery were playing at York Park on the Shore Road, a short distance from Crusaders ground. It was between Louieville and Loughview Villas according to the Belfast Street directory at the time.
Not much space for a dramatic headline in those days it appears! This was however a Gold Cup game – played on a league basis – Linfield had won the league earlier in the season but it is important to bear in mind that there were only six teams in the league then following “partition” and the founding of Northern Ireland in 1921. Queen’s Island won the City Cup. Barn, Larne, Newry Town and Ards would come into the league the following season.
Joe Hendry scored the only goal of this game and the Whites were three points above the bottom two – Linfield and Glentoran (4 points from nine games) – after the win. The Distillery team was; R.Pickering, J.Savage, J.Anderson, J.Garrett, H.Risk,J.Hendry, Ruddy, C.McIlvenny, P McIlvenny, J.Dalrymple and B.Blair.
There were interesting results elsewhere at that time. In the Intermediate League – Dunmurry 0 Bangor 1, St Mary’s 0 Dundela 1 (at Oldpark), Brantwood 1 Crusaders 3 (at Dunmore Park “in front of a large attendance”), Willowfield 1 Linfield Swifts 3 (at Windsor Park).
In the Irish Football Alliance First Division, the scores were; Broadway Utd 1 Barn 2 (at Donegall Road), Glenbank 1 Holywood 4 (at Harmony Park), Woodburn 2 Larne 1 (at Windmill Hill) and Linfield Rangers 0 Ligoniel 3 (at Laganvale). Barn and Ligoniel were level at the top on 42 points each.
In the Belfast Combination League the First Division games were; Ravenscroft v Ashville at Strandtown, and Finaghy v Ards (at Finaghy). In the Second Division it was; UPOA v Sprucefield Depot (at Whitehouse), University v Mountpottinger (at Ormeau Park) and Parkside Swifts v Lillybank (at Victoria Park). Distillery returned to Grosvenor Park in 1927.
Our thanks again to Trevor Goodall for very kindly providing this report and to David Hunter for the write-up and additional research.