Some of the Irish that lit up 50 years of Match of...

Some of the Irish that lit up 50 years of Match of the Day

0 1955

By Matt Keane

Match of the Day is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

It is one of the BBC’s longest-running shows, having first aired on August 22nd, 1964. Arsenal and Liverpool were the teams who featured on that historic night.

It is worth noting, however, that the first colour edition of the programme arrived on November 15th, 1969 – Liverpool and West Ham the two teams who featured in that game.

Some recognisable names have been MOTD presenters including Kenneth Wolstenholme, David Coleman, Jimmy Hill and a man born in Ennis, Co. Clare, Des Lynam.

Des left Ireland at the age of six when his family decided to move to Brighton. He presented the show from 1988 to 1999. During that period the BBC lost the rights of the show to ITV for four years, but they regained the rights in 1992 when the Premier League was formed.

During those four years the BBC were confined to showing FA Cup games only. Lynam was working on MOTD in April, 1989, at Hillsborough, when disaster struck and 96 supporters lost their lives.

The first Republic of Ireland international player to score a goal on MOTD was Andy McEvoy on October 3rd, 1964. He was playing for Blackburn Rovers against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge; unfortunately Rovers lost 5-1.

Born in Bray, McEvoy played 183 games for Blackburn and he scored 89 goals. He won 17 caps for Ireland, scoring six goals. He finished his career with Limerick, scoring 38 goals for the Shannonsiders. He passed away in 1994 aged just 55 years. Match of the Day is synonymous with its “Goal of the Season” award and another Irish international picked up the prize in 1975.

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