EBook: The Enduring Legacy of an Idle Youth

We are very fortunate that we have, within our membership, some dedicated historians who have undertaken great research on the past activities and personalities of our club.

We are conscious of boredom setting in during this current period of no football and all of us adjusting to spending more time at home, so we are going to endeavour to provide you with some reading material over the next few weeks in the hope that we can alleviate some of that.

First up we have the second edition of a pamphlet ‘The Enduring Legacy of an Idle Youth’ by club member Ciarán Priestley.

An Ebook/PDF version to download or view is now available.

READ MORE

Originally printed in 2010, this 2020 updated second edition pamphlet focuses on the founding of the club in 1890 and some of the club’s key figures from that era and around the turn of the 20th century.

The author Ciarán Priestley writes:

“During a tumultuous period in Irish history, a small group of young Dubliners decided to embark upon an ambitious project to start a club from the ground up and play the emerging sport of Association football.

“While their well-heeled education had honed their skills and promised much, their young adult lives were afforded indulgence and little substance.

“In defiance of an overly-extended and idle youth, the Bohemian Football Club was created as a vehicle for ambition, improvement, victory and loss.

“While those who assembled at the Gate Lodge in the Phoenix Park on 6 September 1890 have long since departed, the club created in their image has survived many generations since.

“The Bohemian Football club of 2020 may live closer to the values of its founders than at any other moment in its history.”

Ciarán originally intended holding a talk on the pamphlet in The Back Page on April 1. That will now obviously be put on hold. But in the meantime, you can listen back to a talk he gave to Dublin City Libraries in 2014.

We will have more reading material in the coming days and weeks. But if you have any particular articles of interest that you would like to see revived and circulated among our members, please don’t hesitate to suggest them to me at pro@bohemians.ie.

Similarly, if you wish to submit a new article for consideration, please get in touch.

Leinster Senior Cup winner 1901/02

The Gibraltarian Bohemian

Ireland take on Gibraltar at the Aviva Stadium in an Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday. Ahead of the game, Gerard Farrell and Michael Kielty take a look back at an unlikely link between Bohemians and Gibraltar.

Given that Gibraltar are one of the newest members of UEFA you wouldn’t expect there to be much of a footballing history between the tiny British Overseas Territory and Ireland, but what if we told you there was a prominent footballer from Gibraltar playing in Dublin at the very dawn of organised football?

That man was Gonzalo Canilla and he was a fixture on the Dublin sporting scene of the 1890s, lining out for both Bohemian F.C. and Freebooters F.C. as well as excelling on the cricket pitch.

Canilla was born in Gibraltar in 1876, he came from a pious Catholic family, with his uncle and namesake having been made Catholic bishop of Gibraltar in 1881. The younger Gonzalo was sent to England to further his education, where he attended the prestigious Catholic boarding school, Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, and this is where his connection with Irish football first emerges.

Among his fellow classmates were many young men from prominent Dublin families, including Oliver St. John Gogarty and the Meldon brothers George and Philip.

READ MORE

Gogarty found his greatest fame as a writer but was also a talented athlete, he was a strong swimmer and was also a Leinster Senior Cup winner with Bohemians as an outside right, while Phillip Meldon, one of the founding members of Freebooters F.C, became an Irish international footballer. Freebooters, one of Dublin’s earliest clubs, were based in Simmonscourt, near the present-day Aviva Stadium and were also founding members of the Leinster Football Association.

Dr. Canilla, front row, holding a cricket bat

Canilla, played for both clubs after leaving Stonyhurst for further studies in the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. He even took his preparatory exams in Bell’s Academy on North Great George’s Street. Several students at Bell’s Academy had been among the founders of Bohemians in 1890. It was during this time that an 18 year old Canilla first appears for Bohemians as a full back against Athlone in January 1895.

By then Canilla was also playing cricket for Phoenix Cricket Club. This was quite common at the time and many of his footballing teammates were also colleagues or opponents on the cricket pitch. By 1897 there are reports of Canilla lining out for Freebooters and by the end of the following year he had formalised this by switching his registration to them, from Bohemians. The club, with Canilla in their side at full back finished in second place in the Leinster Senior League.

By 1899 however, having successfully completed his final examinations in the RCSI, Dr. Gonzalo Canilla departed Ireland for his native Gibraltar. Newspaper reports described him as someone “long and favourably associated with cricket and football” and that a “large crowd of sportsmen” gathered to see him off from Westland Row station to the strains of Auld Lang Syne. In total Gonzalo Canilla’s Irish sporting career lasted about four years which saw him play at the highest level in Dublin at the time.

Canilla married his wife Antonia in 1904 and they had at least two children. Gonzalo practiced medicine in England until 1916 then becoming the Rio Tinto mining company doctor in Huelva, Spain. He played competitive cricket in Spain and then recreational golf until his retirement, he was also said to have been possessed of a fine singing voice, he passed away in 1955.

His grandson David Cluett was also a successful footballer, he won 69 caps as a goalkeeper for Malta, including an appearance in a 2-0 defeat to the Republic of Ireland in 1989 as well as winning numerous honours in the Maltese game, primarily for the Floriana club.

With special thanks to the Canilla/Cluett family for their assistance.

Dr Canilla 1901

JOE WICKHAM: RADICAL, BOHEMIAN AND FAI CHIEF

Fifty years ago, on 30 October 1968, Joe Wickham died in service as Football Association of Ireland secretary. He suffered a heart attack at half-time in a Poland v Ireland match in Katowice.

Wickham was at that time FAI chief and the public face of football in Ireland for 32 years. He was an internationally respected football administrator. He was also popular in his own country, being awarded the Soccer Writers’ Association Personality of the Year in 1964, described by one of those writers, Tony Reid, as having “administrative genius”, but being “extremely humble”.

Wickham is often associated with big moments in Irish football (and political or social) history. In 1938, he invited the new president, Douglas Hyde, to a match against Poland in Dalymount Park; Hyde’s attendance there led to him being removed as patron of the GAA.

READ MORE

Joe Wickham top left with Eamon de Valera, Douglas Hyde and Oscar Traynor

A BOHEMIAN LIFE – THROUGH THE EYES OF MICK MORGAN

As we celebrate our 128th birthday day today – the Bohemian Football Club was founded September 6 1890 – we thought now an appropriate time to add another extensively researched article by GERRY FARRELL of Bohemians gone by.

This time Gerry looks back at the life and career of Mick Morgan, a goalkeeper during the 1930s, who had the unenviable task of having the famous Harry Cannon as his rival for the No 1 shirt.

A BOHEMIAN LIFE – THROUGH THE EYES OF MICK MORGAN

Bohemians

IRELAND AMPUTEE TEAM TO COMPETE AT THE HOME OF IRISH FOOTBALL THIS WEEKEND

International football returns to the Home of Irish Football this Friday when the Ireland Amputee team host neighbours England at Dalymount Park in the first game of a three-team tournament at 7.45pm.

On Saturday, the tournament continues as Poland play England at noon followed by Ireland taking on Poland at 4pm.

Admission to all three games is FREE.

It caps a breakthrough year for the sport in Ireland following the establishment of the Irish Amputee Football Association National League.

A veteran of the game, Chris McElligott has been a leading light behind the growth of amputee football in Ireland – as both a player and a coach – and was the key man behind the establishment of the league.

He said: “This year has been fantastic. I couldn’t have dreamed of where amputee football is going at the moment.

READ MORE

Neil Hoey 2/5/2018
Website by Simon Alcock