The season began with Drumcondra winning a second consecutive Dublin City Cup after a 3-0 win over Dundalk, and St. James’s Gate cruising (they won nine and drew one of their 10 matches) to their second League of Ireland Shield. The league title was destined for Leeside, however, with Cork United succeeding where previous incarnations Fordsons, Cork F.C. and Cork City had failed. United could count themselves lucky to have got their hands on the trophy this time, though, with Waterford (who had a potent attack that featured Johnny Johnstone, Tim O’Keeffe and a young Waterford native called Paddy Coad) having finished on the same amount of points, and also having done the double over the Corkmen during the course of the league season. League rules dictated that a play-off be held, but due to a dispute regarding payments to the club’s players, Waterford failed to participate in the championship decider. The league title was thus awarded to Cork United.
Action from the first cup final match between Cork United and Waterford
Waterford had earlier lost the F.A.I. Cup to their southern rivals, United winning 3-1 in a replay, following a 2-2 draw first time out. The second match saw Cork captain Owen Madden and Waterford’s Jackie O’Driscoll (who himself was a Corkman) becoming the first players to be sent off in an F.A.I. Cup final. The Kilcohan Park outfit’s disappointing season was compounded by a heavy fine for their non-appearance in the league decider, and also the club being suspended from the League of Ireland before the onset of the 1941-42 campaign. Leinster Senior League side Distillery F.C. (who had taken the scalps of Drumcondra, Brideville and Dundalk in the F.A.I. Cup in recent seasons) made an application to take Waterford’s place, but the league decided against admitting another Dublin-based team.
1941’s league top scorer, Mick O’Flanagan, would make even more significant history seven years later. When being capped for the Irish rugby team against Scotland in February of 1948 (Ireland’s only Grand Slam-winning year prior to 2009), he emulated the achievement of his brother and Bohemians teammate Kevin (also an Irish sprint and long-jump champion, and an accomplished tennis player and golfer) by winning Irish caps in both rugby and soccer.
League of Ireland 1940-41
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* Cork United awarded league title after Waterford failed to participate in play-off
League top scorers : Mick O’Flanagan Bohemians, 19 Johnny Johnstone Waterford, 17 Tim O’Keeffe Waterford, 17
Representative matches : League of Ireland 3-8 Northern Regional League, Northern Regional League 2-1 League of Ireland