1935-36 Free State League season

Brideville re-entered the Free State League for 1935-36 after a three-season absence, and were joined by Reds United F.C., who were, essentially, Shelbourne F.C. in disguise. The new club played at Glenmalure Park, Milltown, home of Shamrock Rovers, but contained both players and officials from Shelbourne. With four players in double figures for the season, Bohemians scored 73 goals in 22 games on their way to a fifth league title (the last ever by an amateur club) this year, with Dolphin (whose win at Dalymount deprived Bohs of taking maximum home points) proving that the previous year’s successes were no fluke, by claiming the runners-up spot ahead of Cork. The latter club’s revival in fortunes could be attributed almost entirely to one man, with some 37 of their 61 league goals coming from Englishman Jimmy Turnbull.

The centre-forward (who was also a champion sprinter) set other Irish footballing records as well this season, with 11 goals coming in the Leesiders’ Free State Cup run, and an overall haul of 63 across the four main domestic competitions. A striker as prolific as Turnbull, if retained, might well have brought Cork to the pinnacle of League of Ireland football, but the £50 signing-on fee the forward sought for the 1936-37 season would prove too much for the Leesiders to part with. Instead, his appearance in the 1936 Free State Cup final against Shamrock Rovers would serve as his best opportunity to shoot the Cork club to a major honour, but in spite of a team selection issue that saw the club’s players refuse to tog out until minutes before the game (centre-forward Paul Scully, who had scored in every round, was dropped from the team by the Rovers owner, Joe Cunningham), goals from Paddy Moore and former Brideville star Charlie Reid rendered a late Turnbull strike insufficient, and the cup was on its way to Milltown for a seventh time.

Meanwhile, a shield success saw St. James’s Gate take their first national honour since their double triumph 14 years previously, with second-placed, unbeaten Drumcondra left cursing a last-day goalless draw with third-placed Sligo Rovers. Just as Dolphin (whose Ray Rogers was one of three players at the club to score 16 league goals or more this season) had done the year before, Bohemians capped off their league championship success by adding the Dublin City Cup, their 4-3 defeat of Dundalk in the final (the competition had been changed to a straight knock-out format this season, with corner counts set to decide any drawn games) echoing the Free State Cup decider of the previous season. Reds United, meanwhile, claimed a respectable fourth place finish in what would prove to be their only Free State League campaign, relinquishing their position to make way for Shelbourne’s return.

Free State League 1935-36
Reds United221219454725
Shamrock Rovers2210210615822
Sligo Rovers229310484721
St. James’s Gate228311474219
Bray Unknowns22102123992

League top scorers : Jimmy Turnbull Cork, 37 Ray Rogers Dolphin, 23 William Ouchterlonie Reds United, 20

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