RUGBY MEMORIES: The Lisgannon Cup

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The pairing of Lisburn with Dungannon in last week’s Junior Cup match evoked memories of the1950s when these two clubs played each other for the “Lisgannon Cup”. This was basically a social event, and could have been termed “the First of the Summer Wine”, but played in a very competitive spirit nonetheless. It came about through Paddy Wright, who had deep roots in both clubs, and consisted of two XVs derived from all levels of the clubs.

Those were the days when an away fixture really was “away”. As few players had cars, to get to Dungannon it was necessary to get a train to Portadown and change there for Dungannon. Changing for the match was done in a local pub, and après match festivities included the local dance. It was not unknown for some not to be home for church on Sunday.

The fact that Lisburn were able to produce the actual cup last Saturday would indicate that they were the eventual winners of this titanic struggle. Photographs of both teams were also available, and at least four of the Lisburn team were in attendance. The photo of the Dungannon side has been forwarded to them for identification, but at least one member present was able to recognise his father.

Even though Dungannon won last Saturday, Lisburn retained possession of the trophy due to the fact that it had not been at stake, and also their refusal to hand it over.

Lisburn and Dungannon have gone their different ways in the last half century, but there is no reason why this competition cannot be revived if compatible teams can be arranged.

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