PAST PORTS: A look into the Shamrock Park archives

Shamrock Park
Shamrock Park

Portadown Football Club historian Trevor Clydesdale takes a look into the Shamrock Park archives:

“Appointed on December 11, 1986 (on a three-and-a-half year contract), Ronnie McFall watched from the Directors’ Box two days later as his new team lost 2-0 at home to Carrick Rangers under the direction of Billy McClatchey.

“And so it was a week later that he took charge of team affairs for the first time, at Seaview.

“Crusaders started the game in confident mood and took the lead on 13 minutes with a farcical goal.

“Hillis chipped the ball into open space and as Keenan came racing from his goals he took a swing at the ball but completely missed it. Hunter was left with the easy task of tapping the ball home into an empty net.

“Portadown responded immediately and McKee’s cross was met by Elliman and he smashed a fierce shot on the turn into the roof of the net.

“On 64 minutes, the new boss was jumping with delight as his side took the lead. Portadown won a free-kick on the edge of the box and Elliott slipped it through to Davidson, who crossed for Smith’s glancing header to put the Ports in front.

“It was Portadown’s first league win of the season, in his first game in charge.

“The line-up in that game was: Keenan, Russell, Curliss, Walker, Elliott, Parks, McKee, Davidson, Elliman, Smith, Gillespie. Subs: McCann, Benson.

“A Christmas Day and Boxing Day double-header against Newry Town and Larne ended in draws apiece and McFall wasted no time bringing in players, with Brendan Tully and Colin O’Neill his first signings.

“McFall has previously described having just five players at his first training session but the belief that it would turn around in time.

“That first league title in 1990 arrived with just Mickey Keenan, Gregg Davidson and Ian Curliss still on the books.”

“Now approaching 950 league games later, McFall has entered his 30th year in the Shamrock Park hot-seat.”