Home > Random Rovers thoughts > Noel, Noel, Super Noel, Super Noel Larkin

Noel, Noel, Super Noel, Super Noel Larkin

Guests at this year’s FAI Ford Cup Final will be the victorious Shamrock Rovers Cup team from 25 years ago. In 1985, Noel Larkin was the match winner for the Hoops scoring the only goal of the final against Galway United. Larkin, who lives in Australia, won’t be able to make the game so Shamrock Rovers got in touch with him in Brisbane to talk to him about the 1985 win and his recent visit to Tallaght Stadium.

Larkin was the club’s guest of honour at the game against Sligo Rovers in September. The Hoops won that night thanks a great free kick by Billy Dennehy and also thanks to the support from the stands according to Larkin. “I could not get over the support the fans gave the players,” recalls Larkin who was on a trip back to Ireland in September attending his first game in Tallaght. “It really lifted them on the night especially in the second half. I had a great night at the magnificent Tallaght Stadium so thank you so much to all at the club who made it so special for me and my son,” said Larkin who attended the game with family, friends and former teammates Pat Byrne and Mick Byrne.

With Shamrock Rovers becoming champions in such dramatic fashion at the end of this league campaign, Larkin had a message for the management team, players and also the fans. “I would like to congratulate Michael O’Neill and the players in winning the Championship and reaching the Cup Final. More importantly thanks to the true supporters of Shamrock Rovers who, through thick and thin over the years, did everything in their power to ensure the survival of the Hoops. They put them back to where they rightly belong, the number one club in the country and champions of Ireland again.”

Noel Larkin had won league titles prior to joining Rovers and dreamed of winning an FAI Cup. “I joined Rovers from Athlone the year after Rovers won the first of the four in a row but had lost the cup final against UCD. I had won the first two of my six championships with Athlone but had never been to a cup final having lost two semi finals. Athlone’s one and only cup victory was in the 1920’s. There was a hotel in the centre of the town called the Royal and in there was a very large photo on the wall of that cup winning team. Anytime I was in the hotel, I would look at it and dream of what it would be like to play and win a cup final and maybe score the winning goal. Well what do you know, dreams do come true and Shamrock Rovers and the great Jim McLaughlin gave a lad from Athlone that opportunity!”

It was in the 57th minute of the 1985 cup final played in Dalymount Park that his dream came true. Mick Byrne brought down the ball in midfield and played the ball through to John Coady who made a penetrating run on the left. Despite two defenders between him and the goal, he fired in a cross and Larkin nipped in ahead of a last gasp tackle to score with the outside of his right boot to win Rovers’ 22nd Cup. Rovers would go on to retain the trophy for the following two seasons making it three doubles in a row for the Hoops. “The goal for me was a simple tap in,” says Larkin modestly of his goal. “I remember running away with my hands in the air and I think it was Noel King I had on my back. With it being my first cup final I had my Dad, Mum and other members of my family from Athlone there. I wanted to make sure I was going to enjoy it. The only way you can do this is to make sure you win it. Then to be able to do this three times in a row was unbelievable. They were great memories and I hope this will give so many others at the club the same memories.”

(Photo Albert White)

For more memories of the 1985 FAI Cup win for Rovers be sure to get a copy of the official FAI Ford Cup Final match programme on sale at the game. As well as further from Noel Larkin, Rovers legend and midfield maestro Pat Byrne will give his thoughts on that win 25 years ago and what winning the league this year means for Shamrock Rovers.

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  1. January 2, 2011 at 17:21

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