By Seán Creedon
The first-ever FA Cup final was played at Kennington Oval in 1872 when Wanderers beat Royal Engineers 1-0. The final was played at various venues until it found a permanent home at Wembley Stadium in 1923 when Bolton beat West Ham 2-0 in what became known as the ‘White Horse Final.’
From 2001 to 2006 the finals were played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, while the new Wembley was being built.
Here are memories from some of the years that Irish players were involved in FA Cup finals….
1948 – Dublin-born Johnny Carey captained Manchester United to a 4-2 win over a Blackpool side that included the great Stanley Matthews. It was United’s first appearance in an FA Cup final in 39 years.
1962 – This was the first FA Cup final broadcast live RTE, the new national television station which had gone on air only five months earlier. The final had a strong Irish connection with Danny Blanchflower becoming the first man to lift the FA Cup in successive years when captaining Spurs in back-to-back wins. They beat Leicester in 1961 and Burnley in 1962.
1963 – Another Irishman Noel Cantwell climbed the famous 39 steps to lift the trophy, after Manchester United beat Leicester 3-1. Tony Dunne and Johnny Giles also picked up winners medals.
1970 – A famous final with Chelsea beating Leeds United in a replay at Old Trafford. Giles was a member of the Leeds team, but Chelsea’s English-born Irish international John Dempsey was the one who got the winners’ medal.
1972 – A goal by Alan Clarke gave Leeds United victory over Arsenal, their first and to-date only FA Cup final win. Johnny Giles secured a second FA Cup medal, Jack Charlton was also in the Leeds team, while Pat Rice lined out at right back for the Gunners.