It was the biggest game in Cloonfad United’s history.
Heavy hitters Cherry Orchard, coming to West Roscommon for the semi-final of the FAI Junior Cup on Saturday, May 6th, 1995.
Over 1500 people crammed into Cloonfad’s home ground for the game. Stewards were detailed to keep supporters back from the pitch as the home team set about trying to claim the biggest scalp of them all.
In the end, Cloonfad United had to settle for a 0-0 draw, but the occasion was soured when news filtered through that one of the club’s great stalwarts, Eddie Gibbons, had passed away.
“Eddie was our club president and he was doing First Aid for the team that year. He had been at the team meeting the night before,” recalled PJ Moran who played that day.
“I remember the late Alan Birmingham was carrying a knock into the game and Eddie told him at the meeting that he’d sort him out. Ten minutes before the game, there was no sign of Eddie and Alan was wondering where he was.
“But we just brushed it off and went out and played the game. It was only afterwards that we found out that he had died suddenly the night before. It definitely put a damper on things,” he said.
Cloonfad would lose the replay 3-0 in Ballyfermot but the FAI Junior Cup journey in 1994/1995 coincided with the most successful era in the club’s history.
*Read PJ Moran’s full interview with Ian Cooney in Tuesday’s Roscommon Herald.