1927-28 Free State League season

With their Dalymount Park home continuing to act as the benchmark for all other Free State League grounds (it would soon become the home stadium for the Free State national side), 23 points from the first 24 saw Bohemians establish a strong position in the 1927-28 championship race. Despite a strong showing from Shelbourne in the closing stages, the title was destined to go to Dalymount for a second time, with Shamrock Rovers and Fordsons making up the rest of the top four.

Bohemians’ superiority for this season was emphasised by a 2-1 defeat of Drumcondra in the Free State Cup final (Bohs’ Jimmy White scored a goal in every round, and Drums’ semi-final with Fordsons was the first soccer match to be broadcast live on Irish radio), and also victory in the Free State Shield (Dundalk G.N.R.’s Eddie Carroll amassed 16 goals in just nine shield games; his club were fined £100 when the referee was assaulted following a key shield fixture against Bohemians), emulating Shamrock Rovers’ “treble” of 1925. Indeed, by adding the Leinster Senior Cup, the Gypsies actually eclipsed the achievement of their Dublin rivals (it should be noted, however, that the Free State League clubs had not competed in the Leinster cup that season), and also brought the Hoops’ 30-match league unbeaten run to an end with a 3-1 win at Dalymount in November. It was a truly remarkable achievement for the amateur club, with so many of their domestic opponents being drawn from the semi-professional and professional ranks. Despite their unbeaten sequence being ended, Shamrock Rovers could still take a lot of heart from the fact that, throughout two full seasons in league, shield and cup, they had yet to be defeated at their new home of Glenmalure Park.

Having lost out to Dundalk G.N.R. (who this year replaced their existing black and amber club colours with a kit of white shirt and navy shorts) for election to the league in 1926, Drumcondra (who played their home games at Tolka Park, the ground formerly known simply as “Richmond Road”) finally did gain admission in 1928, with bottom club Athlone Town this time making way. The cost of fulfilling their away games (the club had moved into a new home at the Ranelagh Grounds in 1926) was a key factor in the Co. Westmeath club’s resignation, and their last three shield matches had been left unfulfilled (in previous seasons, Athlone had occasionally conceded victory in shield matches rather than incur the cost of travel). Their place at the highest level of Irish football gone, the midlanders (outside of some involvement in the reserve league) would not return to League of Ireland action for another 40 years.

Free State League 1927-28

Shamrock Rovers18972411825
Dundalk G.N.R.18936443621
St. James’s Gate18549284214
Bray Unknowns18141329706
Athlone Town18211519615

League top scorers : Charlie Heinemann Fordsons, 24 Sammy McIlvenny Shelbourne, 22 Jock McMillan Shelbourne, 17

Representative matches : Welsh League 5-1 Free State League, Free State League 3-1 Irish League

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