Given that there were now just eight sides in the League of Ireland, the Dublin City Cup reverted to a round robin format at the start of the 1943-44 season. The race for that competition boiled down to a match between Cork United and Drumcondra (who were tied on nine points after six games), with a 4-1 Mardyke victory ensuring that the cup came to Leeside for the very first time. The win appeared to augur well for United’s chances of a fourth successive league title, but having capitalised on a last day slip-up by Shamrock Rovers (who had scored twice as many goals as Shels had) to win their first League of Ireland Shield since 1930, Shelbourne went on to capture their first league championship in 13 years (their fourth in all) in 1944.
Reaching only their second cup final in 20 years, Shels were denied a domestic treble in a thrilling game by local rivals Shamrock Rovers, who eventually triumphed on a scoreline of 3-2. Shels were controversially awarded a penalty late on when a Rovers defender handled a ball that already appeared to have crossed the line, but with the subsequent spot-kick being missed, Rovers held out to record an incredible ninth cup success. The competition was notable this year for the absence of any non-league teams due to the suspension of the F.A.I. Intermediate Cup, resulting in the first round, and subsequent semi-final ties, all being contested over two legs.
A change of club colours from red-and-white to blue-and-white seemed to be advantageous, as having failed to finish above fifth in any of their six previous league seasons, Limerick (both they and Shels had remained unbeaten at home, albeit through just seven league games) claimed the runners-up position in 1944, with the title only being clinched after Shelbourne’s 5-3 victory in their delayed last fixture against Shamrock Rovers. St. James’s Gate finished bottom of the table this year, and with the league refusing to grant their application for re-election, Brideville returned to the league fray after their one-year absence. The club who had won the inaugural League of Ireland would not compete in the league again for another 46 years.
League of Ireland 1943-44
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League top scorers : Seanie McCarthy Cork United, 16 Paddy Coad Shamrock Rovers, 15 Paddy O’Leary Limerick, 15
Representative matches : League of Ireland 3-4 Northern Regional League, Northern Regional League 2-2 League of Ireland