Cobh Wanderers Football Club

Cove Wanderers – 1925

The original  Cove Wanderers (founded 1925) were to leave their mark at local and national level although they had a relatively brief existence.
There was a very popular district league in Cove in the 1920’s with such teams as Red Rovers, Blue Rovers, Sunny Havanas, Pride of the East and Springfield taking part. Jack Hurley was very much involved with the running of the league. Jack and his brother Pakie Hurley, both ex-service P.E. Instructors, brought together some of the better players to form a new club, Cove Wanderers. There were many tough encounters between the young Wanderers and teams made up of many servicemen living locally at the time. These games taught them at an early age how to take care of themselves as they were playing against physically stronger men. Pakie Hurley’s influence and experience were very important to this young side. There were some well known names in that Wanderers side such as Henry Ward, Mick Doherty and Tom Burke, who went on to gain international honours. The team started at minor level and had an impressive win in the final of the Cork Minor Cup in 1925/1926 beating Sutton 7-0 at Victoria Cross, Cork. A Junior side was started and the club even played Senior for a couple of seasons before it’s final demise.

In their brief history Wanderers played on various pitches. The main one was Villa Park (where Moore’s Place is now). They also played in Carrignafoy and Ticknock (adjacent to where the slaughterhouses were located). They had no clubhouse as such until eventually they were allowed to use McGowan’s shed, which was behind where the Spar shop is today. The shed was used for meetings and dances (or ‘Hops” as they were known) were also held there.

In the late 20’s players of the quality of Mossy Cummins, Jim Agger, John ‘Speed’ Hennessy, Joe O’Driscoll and Jackie O’Reilly were regular Wanderers players. The club was soon to embark on its most successful spell. They were runner-up in both the Minor League and Cup in 1930/1931. The following season they bettered this by winning the League and Cup, remaining unbeaten in both competitions. Among the stars of that 1930/1931 side were Dick O’Keeffe, Dick Barry, Jim Cotter, Joe Murphy and John Hennessy.
The team late moved up to Junior level and 1933/1934 had the distinction of reaching the final of the “Free State” Junior Cup. They lost 2-1 to B & I in Dalymount Park despite a great goal from Jerry Walker and outstanding displays from Jim Cotter, Joe Murphy and John Hennessy.

The Wanderers were runner-up in the Junior 2nd Division League in 1934/1935. Further success was achieved in 1935/1936 when they beat North End 2-1 in the Cork Area Final of the Munster Junior Cup in Villa Park.

Some names to note from the 1930’s teams were the famous ‘Pop’ Keller, Paddy O’Neill, Paddy O’Rourke, Dave Stack and Ted ‘Tildy’ Lawton. There are some interesting connections between players of that era and the  more recent Wanderers teams. Paddy O’Neill was Paul O’Neill’s father, Jim ‘Tubby’ Cotter was grand-uncle of Eoin O’Sullivan (both of them earning International caps). Paddy O’Rourke was also a dedicated Wanderer. Dave Stack, ex Cobh Ramblers President, played Minor, Junior and Senior for the Club and the uncle of Joe and Tim Stack. Timmy Burns (snr) was also involved with the Club and his grandson Ger and Timmy also played for the current club.

In the 1930’s the Wanderers had the honour of having two of their players capped for their country. Dick Barry was capped at Junior level versus Scotland in 1933/1934 and later won a second cap versus England in Dublin. He went on to play for Ramblers in the Intermediate Cup Finals of 1939/1940 and 1941/1942. Jim ‘Tubby’ Cotter who was a stylish full back, was capped in 1934/1935 also at Junior level versus Scotland. He joined League of Ireland side Limerick in 1937 and played for Cork F.C. and also Ramblers in a along and distinguished career.

Sadly the Wanderers did not survive beyond the 1940’s. This was a time of high level unemployment and when work became available in London there was a big exodus from Cove which including most of the players. As well as this more members joined the services during the war and eventually the club folded. Cove Wanderers may not have existed for very long but they had the success in their era, and they are well remembered. It is only fitting that the present day club should take its name from such a famous predecessor.