Ballymena 3
Linfield 0
Gold Cup (Semi final)

3 - 0

Gold Cup (Semi final)
Wednesday, October 21st, 1931
Celtic Park
Attendance: 10,000
3:00 PM Kick-off

John Barr (12)
John Barr (21)
John Barr (64)

Team Managers
Selection Committee
Selection Committee

Starting Eleven
James King
Robert Stewart
Billy McCandless
John McNinch
William McCready
David Flannigan
William Hood
John Barr
William Cox
Andrew Haddow
John Murphy
Charles Lawson
Maurice Pyper
Jack Curran
Tom Edwards
Jack Jones
Tom Sloan
Hamilton Hewitt
Harry McCracken
Joe Bambrick
Edward Pollock
Harold McCaw


None. None.

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

P. Craigmyle (Aberdeen) (Referee)

Photography by Northern Whig

Match Report

Ballymena's clear-cut victory over Linfield at Celtic Park on Wednesday afternoon in the semi-final of the Gold Cup was no surprise to those Mid-Antrim people who have been following closely the fortune of the team lately, and have seen how their play has been transformed during the past few weeks.

Nor should it have come as a shocking surprise to Belfast who make a study of the game. Of course, anything could happen in a football match, but the local feeling was that Ballymena, barring an extra bad slice of luck, could pull through.

Well, they pulled through very comfortably indeed. Linfield were completely outclassed, Ballymena playing much the better football throughout the match and ending up with a three-goal victory, which they thoroughly deserved. There was not the least semblance of a fluke about their victory; it was won entirely on the merits, by superior craft and accurate finishing. Linfield's play in comparison was poor stuff. Ballymena had them in their pocket, so to speak, and were nearly always masters of the situation.

Barr was the hero of the day; he was a perfect little wonder. To score three goals against Linfield in one match takes some doing, and is a feat of which anyone might be proud. And such goals! Each one was a lesson on how to do it. And it was not only in goal scoring that he shone, for his whole play throughout the match won the admiration of the crowd.

He has a heart like a lion. To see the way he rushed in where angels might well have feared to tread will not be readily forgotten. Much more could be written about him and about nearly all the other players, but the dictates of space forbid this.

Lawson was the first goalie in action, being called on to stop a fast grounder from Haddow, who played a wonderful game from start to finish. From the first the Ballymena defence was steady, and very soon the team settled down to their work. King cleared well under difficulties when he lay on the ground in a mix-up with Bambrick.

At the end of twelve minutes Flannigan, who was better than ever, booted the ball away out to Cox, who beat his man and toed the ball along the ground for John Barr to turn it neatly into the net.

Ballymena were within an ace of getting another goal a few minutes later when Flannigan lobbed the ball well up from a free-kick, and Barr headed it against the face of the crossbar. The Ballymena goal had an equally narrow escape when Bambrick pushed the ball past King as he came out of goal, but Flannigan got to it just in time.

The second goal came at the end of twenty-one minutes, Haddow sending a beautiful through-pass to John Barr, who rounded Curran and beat Lawson to the wide.

In the second half the Light Blues played with the same punch, but at times Linfield were dangerous enough especially once when Bambrick took the ball on the fly and tested King, with a surprise shot. On another occasion he missed narrowly with a good attempt with the head, but beyond this did not do much else.

Eighteen minutes after the resumption McCready started a movement in which Barr trapped neatly and passed out to Cox, who shot into the goal-mouth. Lawson saw that the defence was being beaten and came out to lift the ball, but John Barr appeared like a bolt from the blue and the next thing we knew the ball was in the net. It was a wonderfully taken goal.

Once or twice Linfield got a spurt on, and King was called on to deal with numerous high shots, which he held well. Ballymena have played no better football this season. Owing to lack of space I cannot give a detailed criticism of the play or of the players. Suffice to say that the team pulled well together, the only player who was not up to the mark being Murphy, who was completely off colour.

Match report written by Ballymena Observer (23 October 1931)

Squad Statistics (as at October 21st, 1931)

1931-1932 All Time
James King (GK)24 12 - 12 -
Billy McCandless38 91562
John McNinch28 1021274
Robert Stewart25 121552
David Flannigan25 6161
William McCready17 71185
William Hood - 2 - 2 -
William Cox - 114114
John Murphy33 537552
Andrew Haddow28 7171
John Barr26 6767

League Table (as at October 21st, 1931)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 9 7 2 0 16
2. Derry City 9 5 4 0 14
3. Glentoran 9 6 1 2 13
4. Belfast Celtic 9 4 4 1 12
5. Cliftonville 9 5 2 2 12
6. Distillery 9 4 2 3 10
7. BALLYMENA 9 3 2 4 8
8. Portadown 9 3 1 5 7
9. Coleraine 9 2 3 4 7
10. Glenavon 9 3 1 5 7
11. Larne 9 2 2 5 6
12. Newry 9 2 1 6 5
13. Ards 9 2 1 6 5
14. Bangor 9 1 2 6 4