The 1944-45 season opened with Shamrock Rovers winning all seven of their matches (and scoring 28 goals) on their way to a first Dublin City Cup success, and Shelbourne recording their sixth victory in the League of Ireland Shield. By going unbeaten through the first six games of the league, Rovers looked a good bet as possible title contenders, but a 6-0 victory for Cork United over the Hoops at the Mardyke saw the Leesiders assume control of the championship race. With seven wins from their seven home games, and scoring an incredible 59 goals in just 14 games (a new, and existing, league record), they eventually enjoyed a five-point advantage over both Limerick (who, like Cork, now had a largely full-time set-up) and Shamrock Rovers. It was the Cork club’s fourth league title in five years, but an improved away record for either of their title rivals would doubtless have made the race much closer, with neither Limerick (the Shannonsiders also had a 100% home record, with the Market’s Field quickly gaining a reputation as a notoriously bad playing surface) or the Hoops managing a single league win on their travels.
Rovers had the consolation of capturing their tenth F.A.I. Cup, in what was just their twelfth cup final appearance, following a 1-0 win over Jimmy Dunne’s Bohemians. The attendance for the Dalymount fixture was a new record for an F.A.I. Cup final, with some 41,238 (although whether it was advisable or safe to admit such a crowd was extremely debatable) witnessing Podge Gregg’s late winning goal. The Hoops had actually lost two F.A.I. Cup matches on their way to glory, with Limerick and Dundalk winning first round and semi-final legs, but bowing out to Rovers on aggregate.
Bohemians did manage to capture this season’s Intercity Cup some weeks later, following a 3-2 aggregate win over Belfast Celtic. That particular Ulster club would soon add the talents of Cork United’s Seanie McCarthy to their squad, the centre-forward having just completed a season that saw him score an incredible 26 goals in his side’s 14 league outings (United would replace McCarthy with Paddy O’Leary, a Corkman who had been a key part of the Limerick squad for a number of years, having been based in the city as a member of the army). Having had a total of four separate spells in the League of Ireland, 1944-45 was alas to be the final league season for Brideville F.C., the Dublin club’s place being taken by Waterford, themselves returning for a third spell, following a four-year period of League of Ireland non-involvement.
League of Ireland 1944-45
League top scorers : Seanie McCarthy Cork United, 26 Noel Dunne Limerick, 15 Seamus Darcy Limerick, 10 Jackie O’Driscoll Cork United, 10
Representative matches : League of Ireland 2-1 Northern Regional League, Northern Regional League 3-5 League of Ireland