In the last post I mentioned that the 1984-85 season has been up to now one of the most mysterious of all Armstrong seasons. David McAlister’s full roll of honour at irishchesshistory.com contains only the name of Dundrum as the winning team—and even there his only source was myself. I played on that team but had only the haziest of recollections of the season. No reports appeared in Fiacla Fichille, and none in the Irish Times either. Even J.J. Walsh’s scorebooks, an invaluable resource for virtually any other season from 1951 to his retirement, showed nothing for 1984-85: he seems to have taken a break from the game for that one season.
So it was quite a find when John Gibson produced the full set of player cards for that season. With these, the full winning team in board order, and including everyone who played any games that season, was Seán Coffey, Kevin McHugh, John Griffin, Eric McMahon, Brian MacRéamoinn, Brendan Lyons, David Drakeford (capt.), Ivan Gormally, and Paul Fallon.
Our captain David Drakeford had a particularly good season. Here’s his player card:
So that’s 10/10. Furthermore, this was in the brief era when the Armstrong was held in two stages: two qualifying groups of six teams, followed by a championship section of six teams and a relegation section of six teams. The championship section thus formed a sort of ‘super-Armstrong’ and made very high scores even harder to achieve.
10/10 scores in the Armstrong must be rare. But there’s another unusual aspect to the team’s record, for which David as captain deserves credit: the winning squad used a total of 9 players all season, and even then the reserve Paul Fallon played only two games. And in addition the team conceded no walkovers or defaults. This must also be a candidate for an all-time record for the Armstrong.