Today marks the official start of the new season for the Armstrong Cup, and indeed for all the Leinster leagues. Best of luck to all concerned!
Gonzaga, of course, is aiming for three in a row, having run away with the Cup over the past two seasons. But there have been dominant teams before. Fifty years ago, in 1967-68, Dublin started the season having already completed three in a row, and they would go on to complete another in the following three seasons: so six wins in seven seasons.
But 1967-68 was an exception. It’s possible to reconstruct almost the entire season from newspaper reports, and the results have been added to the Armstrong Cup page here. Ten teams competed (Collegians, Cúig Cúigí, Dublin A, Dublin B, Eoghan Ruadh, Kevin Barry, O’Hanlon, Rathmines, and St. Columba’s), in the same general format as today (single round all-play-all, 8-board matches, competition decided on game points). The final scores were:
- Eoghan Ruadh 50½
- Dublin ‘A’ 47
- Collegians 45½
- U.C.D. 41½ (2 adj.)
- St. Columba’s 34½
- Kevin Barry 33 (1 adj.)
- O’Hanlon 31
- Rathmines 25½
- Dublin ‘B’ 24
- Cúig Cúigí 23½ (2 adj.)
And so Eoghan Ruadh won, for the fourth (and last) time. The winning team, in rough board order, was Eamon Keogh, Ray Cassidy, P. J. Murphy, Des de Loughry, John Corcoran, Malachy Doherty, Brian Reid, Seán Gilroy, and Pat Dillon.
Eamon Keogh had a great season, scoring 6 wins and 2 draws on board 1 out of the 8 matches for which scorecards are available (missing only the round 6 match against Kevin Barry), and winning the board prize.
The full set of board prize winners was: Eamon Keogh (Eoghan Ruadh), Ray Byrne (U.C.D.), Raphael Farina (Kevin Barry), Seán Loftus (O’Hanlon), Oisín Ó Siochrú (Collegians), Seán Gilroy (Eoghan Ruadh), Malachy Doherty (Eoghan Ruadh), and John Frain (Collegians). Amazing to think that the first two will be playing again this season.