Derry City 1
Ballymena 2
League (Irish League)

Derry City 

1 - 2


League (Irish League)
Saturday, January 3rd, 1931
Brandywell Stadium
3:00 PM Kick-off

Jimmy Kelly (73) Jamie Shiels (7)
Richard Shaw (71)

Team Managers
Joe McCleery Selection Committee

Starting Eleven
Fred Mason
John Dubois
Con Hilley
Samuel Curran
Jimmy Kelly
Robin Blair
Billy McCandless
John McNinch
David Nelson
Robert Stewart
David Reid
Joseph Cassidy
Thomas Kilpatrick
William Kimlin
Richard Shaw
Jamie Shiels


None. None.

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

D. O'Reilly (Glasgow) (Referee)

Match Report

At the end of the Derry City-Ballymena match at Brandywell Ground on Saturday local followers of the game declared positively that it was the best match seen there this season.

Everyone was delighted with the high standard of play, more so because of the heavy ground, which meant hard going, but naturally Derry's supporters were disappointed that their favourites, who had put up a right good display, lost the points, having been defeated by the odd goal in three.

Both teams adapted themselves to the conditions, playing a smart swinging game, which was the only suitable one in the circumstances. Bad spots necessitated a lot of mudlarking, but the players did not seem to mind in the least.

Attacking resolutely at the start, Ballymena took the lead at the end of seven minutes, Shiels flicking the ball beautifully into the net with his head. Ballymena continued to attack for some time, but gradually Derry came into the picture and were conspicious in a series of raids which they had golden chances to score, but they found Blair an impassable obstacle.

His brilliant display of goalkeeping in this half was worthy of a seasoned player, and roused the enthusiasm of the crowd.

At the end of half-an-hour Shiels went to the pavillion with strained thigh muscles and did not resume until the second half, when he exchanged places with Shaw. He was limping badly, and was little more than a passenger for the rest of the match, so that Ballymena played the second half under handicap.

Shaw increased the lead with a nicely taken goal, but a couple of minutes later Kelly scored for the City. Ballymena a good win, but on their chances Derry might have drawn.

A brisk opening movement by the Ballymena forwards brought danger to the Derry goal in the first minute, Cassidy manoeuvring the ball well up and then swinging it out to Kilpatrick, who dropped it in nicely for Shiels to head into goal, but Henderson was ready.

Then the left wing came into action, Kimlin and Shaw participating in a nice in-and-out movement, at the end of which Shaw got the ball well in and Shiels forced a corner, Shaw placed the flag kick neatly for Cassidy to shoot hard, but the goalie saved, and being content to get the ball out of harm's way Mason kicked behind for another corner.

From the kick-off Ballymena had monopolised the play and were subjecting the Derry goal to increased pressure, Henderson's charge being in constant danger. Kilpatrick was all but through but was checkmated at the last moment.

Then Reid and Nelson cooperated in a progressive piece of work, and Nelson punted the ball into the goal area for Jamie Shiels, who had his back to the goal, to send it home with a flick of the head.

Derry's first visit to the Ballymena end was unsuccessful, the ball going over the bar. Ballymena were quickly on the war-path again, Shiels sending in a long shot, and McNinch driving the ball over the bar from a free awarded for a foul on Cassidy just outside the penalty area.

The Derry forwards broke right through the Ballymena defence in their next attack. Curran, lying a couple of yards out, had the goal at his mercy, but just as everyone waited breathlessly for the equaliser Blair brought off a glorious save.

In the next instant he stopped a hand-tingler from Stewart, and later he got one hand to a shot from Hughes and the ball rebounded off the bar.

End-to-end play now characterised the game. At the Derry end Cassidy sent a long shot over the bar, and at the opposite goal Curran raced in and shot steadily, but Blair was unbeatable.

Nelson dropped in a shot which Henderson had no trouble in catching, and then Curran was through again, but lifted the ball over the bar. Blair, who was giving a wonderful display, was the saviour of Ballymena in the next Derry raid, making three marvellous saves in quick succession when a goal seemed certain.

He had hardly time for a breather when in came Curran again, and Blair, who was showing good sound anticipation, advanced to meet him and kicked clear.

Ballymena, who had faded out for a short period, took up the running again. Just as they looked like capping a splendid Shiels-Kilpatrick-Cassidy movement with a goal the ball stuck in the mud about nine inches short of Cassidy's toe when he was about to have a shot from Kilpatrick's pass.

A good Derry wing-to-wing movement spelt danger, but Kelly's parting shot sailed over. At the end of half-an-hour Shiels limped to the pavilion with strained thigh muscles and remained there for the rest of this half.

Making headway gain the Derry forwards worked close in, but Blair baulked them three times running. So inevitable did a score seem that the big crowd shouted "goal" at every shot, Though denied their wish they broke into spontaneous applause at Blair's extraordinary fine display.

He got more to do from Curran again but was equally capable, and afterwards he saved at the expense of a corner when a goal seemed certain.

It was now Ballymena's turn and off they went with the bit between their teeth. After taking the ball along the wing Kilpatrick placed it to Cassidy, who tested Henderson with a fast drive. Kilpatrick got the ball in again and Shaw missed narrowly with a good shot. Before the interval Blair saved twice in succession from Curran.

The referee turned the team right around, allowing only a couple of minutes or so for a breather. Shiels was limping when he reappeared and went to outside-left.

Ballymena resumed in keen fashion, Kilpatrick getting in a good shot, and Cassidy forcing a corner. Then Derry made a bee-line for the other end, but McNinch robbed Curran neatly and transferred the play upfield again. Two corners in quick succession fell to the Light Blues and one to the City, but danger was averted on each occasion.

On the heavy ground the teams put in a lot of hard slogging work. It did not admit of close play, so the ball was kept swinging freely. Ballymena continued to press and Kilpatrick crossed the ball in unerringly but Shaw failed to head through just in front of goal.

Then Windsor shot over the bar in attempting to open Derry's account and was injured in the melee. Just as he resumed play Hughes became a casualty, but neither was seriously hurt.

The match continued to be keenly fought, but this half did not provide as many thrills as the first. Henderson stopped a fine try from Kilpatrick, and at the opposite end Stewart came to the rescue in an emergency.

The City forced play to the Ballymena end again, and McCandless and McNinch had their work cut out for them for a time, but both stood up so well to the attacks that Blair was not called on.

Following this spell of defensive work Ballymena worked their way up the field. Kimlin and Cassidy indulging in a neat passing bout which ended in Richard Shaw receiving a forward pass which he utilised to advantage, leading in and beating Henderson for Ballymena's second goal.

Two minutes later Derry were harassing the Ballymena defence, which was overpowered by the force of numbers and Jimmy Kelly made good use of an opening, scoring with a shot that left Blair no chance.

They had an opportunity to equalise later when Stewart dropped the ball about a yard in front of goal, but Curran headed over. In the closing minutes Cassidy took the ball in close to goal but it stuck in the mud as he was about to shoot, with the result that his effort had not the sting behind it he intended, and Henderson had no difficulty in dealing with it. Derry pressed in the last minute but Blair still stood in their way.

Match report written by Ballymena Observer (9 January 1931)

Squad Statistics (as at January 3rd, 1931)

1930-1931 All Time
Robin Blair (GK)22 2 - 2 -
Billy McCandless38 251251
John McNinch27 211972
David Nelson27 182402
Robert Stewart24 241241
David Reid34 25 - 10611
Joseph Cassidy34 2266828
Thomas Kilpatrick35 101403
William Kimlin22 103123
Richard Shaw22 82367
Jamie Shiels21 1279379

League Table (as at January 3rd, 1931)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Glentoran 22 19 2 1 40
2. Linfield 22 13 6 3 32
3. Belfast Celtic 22 14 4 4 32
4. Distillery 22 13 4 5 30
5. BALLYMENA 22 12 5 5 29
6. Ards 22 10 2 10 22
7. Cliftonville 22 9 2 11 20
8. Derry City 22 9 2 11 20
9. Glenavon 21 7 3 11 17
10. Portadown 22 5 5 12 15
11. Larne 22 5 5 12 15
12. Coleraine 21 4 6 11 14
13. Bangor 22 4 4 14 12
14. Newry 22 3 2 17 8