In 1926-27, the top four of the previous two seasons again jostled for position, with an unbeaten Shamrock Rovers (who would this year adopt their famous green and white hooped jerseys, and also move to a new Milltown ground, Glenmalure Park) claiming a third league title ahead of Shelbourne, Bohemians and Fordsons. A 3-0 win at Shelbourne Park on the opening day of the season allowed Rovers to steal a march on the previous season’s champions, and the emergence of a talented young striker called David ‘Babby’ Byrne (whose goalscoring form earned a move to Bradford City at the end of the season) had helped the “Hoops” to overcome the loss of star forward Billy Farrell with what would prove to be a career-ending motorcycle accident injury.
None of the top four teams would contest the cup final, with Leinster Senior League side Drumcondra (who had qualified for the cup as inaugural winners of the F.A.I. Intermediate Cup this season) surprisingly overcoming Brideville after a replay at Shelbourne Park to become the second non-league winners of the competition, and complete a unique Intermediate and Senior Cup double. The replay (the first game had, as other years, taken place at Dalymount Park) was the first Free State Cup final to go to extra-time, with Drumcondra’s Johnny Murray (who had represented Bohemians and Ireland at the 1924 Olympics) getting the only goal of the game.
For the fourth year in a row, the league winners went on to capture the Free State Shield, with Shamrock Rovers ensuring the trophy remained in Dublin for the sixth successive season. Rovers had again remained unbeaten, and a 1-0 victory at Shelbourne Park on the very first day of the competition was again to prove crucial, as the Reds had proceeded to win all eight of their remaining shield matches. St. James’s Gate’s ninth-place league finish this year was notable, as it represented a continuation of the deterioration of their league fortunes since their 1922 championship success. In 1927, for the first time since the league began, there would be no changes to the teams involved for the new season, with all 10 clubs re-appearing for the seventh League of Ireland campaign.
Free State League 1926-27
|St. James’s Gate||18||5||2||11||30||49||12|
League top scorers : David ‘Babby’ Byrne Shamrock Rovers, 17 Jock McMillan Shelbourne, 17 Ned Brooks Athlone Town, 14 Bob Fullam Shamrock Rovers, 14
Representative matches : Irish League 1-1 Free State League, Free State League 1-2 Welsh League