This was to be the last league season contested by just eight clubs, and Drumcondra (with a team of mostly local players who were becoming known for their frequent and successful use of the “offside trap”), for one, would be grateful that there had been such a short league programme. Having established a strong championship position by taking 13 points from their first 14 (remarkably, they had finished bottom of the shield without a win in seven games), they proceeded to lose three games in a row, allowing their league rivals to make considerable inroads into their advantage. They won their next match at home to Waterford, but three consecutive draws in their final three outings (including a 1-1 last-day draw at the Market’s Field in which Limerick had an apparently good goal disallowed with 10 minutes remaining) meant that they only just secured the first League of Ireland title of their history, a solitary point ahead of Dundalk and Shelbourne (who had taken 13 and 15 points respectively from their last eight league matches).
“Drums” were actually denied the double by fellow Dubliners Shamrock Rovers, who had welcomed Jimmy Dunne back to the club as full-time coach at the beginning of the season. With non-league teams now back in the frame, the competition reverted to its traditional format this season, and goals from Paddy Coad and Eugene Kirby helped Rovers to reverse the scoreline of the 1946 F.A.I. Cup decider (Benny ‘Rosie’ Henderson missed a penalty for Drumcondra with two minutes left). These matches would later prove to have been two of the earliest instalments in a burgeoning rivalry between the clubs that would reach fever pitch in the mid-1950s.
The Hoops also took the Dublin City Cup ahead of Dundalk, and might well have added the Intercity Cup, but for a payment dispute between the Cunningham family and several Shamrock Rovers players. The family’s refusal to pay the team the match fees associated with an Intercity quarter-final against Distillery saw them lose the services of several key squad members, including 1945 F.A.I. Cup final hero Podge Gregg.
Meanwhile, Cork United’s victory in this year’s League of Ireland Shield (they defeated Shelbourne on the last day to edge out both them and Shamrock Rovers) would prove to be the last of nine major honours snared during an incredibly successful decade, and indeed during an incredibly successful lifespan. The club would unfortunately resign its position in the League of Ireland during the 1948-49 shield campaign, immediately reforming as Cork Athletic.
League of Ireland 1947-48
League top scorers : Seanie McCarthy Cork United, 13 John ‘Kit’ Lawlor Drumcondra, 10 Brendan Carroll Shelbourne, 9 Paddy Coad Shamrock Rovers, 9
Representative matches : League of Ireland 2-1 Irish League, Irish League 4-0 League of Ireland, English League 4-0 League of Ireland, League of Ireland 0-2 Scottish League