Causeway Chronicle

April 16 1974 remains the biggest day in the history of Coleraine Football Club

Causeway Chronicle would like to thank club historian Hunter McClelland for his invaluable assistance with this commemorative feature

Causeway Chronicle’s MICHAEL ANDERSON marks the 50th anniversary of Coleraine’s greatest achievement…

April 16 1974 remains the biggest day in the history of Coleraine Football Club.

And in just a few weeks time it will, remarkably, be 50 years since the club’s one and only league title success.

Ivan Murray, now a club ambassador, scored the goal that sealed the 12 team championship.

Nearest challengers Portadown led 1-0 with only seven minutes remaining when Murray popped up with the late equaliser at Shamrock Park.

The point was enough to make Coleraine champions with two games to spare.

Bertie Peacock’s men had to wait until the following Saturday to be presented with the Gibson Cup.

Again it was in Mid Ulster – with Coleraine celebrating in style with a 2-1 win against Glenavon at Mourneview Park.

Dessie Dickson scored a late winner and he ended the campaign as top goalscorer with 24 goals.

The Bannsiders had some legendary figures in the team – Deadly Des Dickson, midfield maestro Murray, tough tackling Johnny McCurdy, goalkeepers Vincent Magee and Eddie Crossan to name but a few.

And it was all masterminded by the late, great Bertie Peacock.

He was sensationally appointed player manager in 1961, turning down offers from England and Scotland after leaving Glasgow Celtic, to return home.

He would remain in the hot seat for 13 years, retiring from playing in the ’69-70 season, after winning two Blaxnit All Ireland Cups.

But he will always be remembered for steering the Bannsiders to the elusive Irish League crown in ’74.

However Bertie, who also became a director, stunned supporters at the end of the season when he announced his resignation, with Murray and McCurdy taking over the reigns.

For those that were present on that never to be forgotten Easter Tuesday 50 years ago, it remains a memory to treasure.

As the anniversary of the club’s greatest achievement nears and the long wait goes on, I think all Coleraine fans continue to dream that a coveted second Irish League title will return to Ballycastle Road sooner rather than later!

Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson