John 'Kit' Lawlor
|Date Of Birth:||Dec 3 1922|
|Place Of Birth:||Dublin|
|Date Of Death:||Jun 8 2004|
|Place Of Death:||Dublin|
|Debut:||25-Oct-59, Shield, (A) Limerick|
Kit Lawlor came to Dundalk at the end of September 1959, making his debut against his old club Drumcondra in a Shield match at Oriel Park, which the home side won 2-1. Two weeks later Liam Munroe arrived. Playing at inside forward they transformed Dundalk’s season.
By the time the season was completed Liam had set a new record for League goals, the club had struck 50 League goals for the first time since the 1930s and for a while in the Spring sat on top of the League, a sight not seen by Dundalk supporters for many years.
More importantly, for one season Oriel Park patrons were privileged to witness one of the great players from the post-war League of Ireland era.
Even at 37 years of age, and in his last football season, Kit Lawlor’s skills were undiminished. There were no trophies, although only three points separated Dundalk from Limerick’s winning points haul in the League Championship, but for the purists this was a vintage season, with Leo McDonagh and Ted Harte at wing-half and Lawlor and Munroe as inside forwards.
Liam Tuohy reckons he was the greatest Drumcondra player of all time and comparable to the great Paddy Coad. During a five-year spell with Doncaster Rovers, their manager Peter Doherty described him as “the greatest inside-forward in Britain at that time”.
With Shamrock Rovers Reserves in 1944-45 he got few first team opportunities but he did manage a couple of Shield goals. It was more of the same in the next term and at the end of the City Cup in September he moved to Leinster League side Bradmola.
Within weeks he was starring for Bradmola when they went close to shocking Rovers, losing only 3-2 in the semi-final of the Leinster Cup. At the end of the season he signed for Drumcondra.
He was an instant hit, scoring 11 goals in the opening 7-match City Cup. He continued to find the net, finishing the year as Drumcondra’s leading goalscorer (27) when they annexed the Shield and ran up for the League Championship. His performances, effectively in his maiden season, earned his selection on the League of Ireland team for the April clash with the Irish League.
In a four year spell, a golden era for the Tolka Park club, he picked up two League Championship and two runners-up medals, adding a runner up medal in the FAI Cup in 1948.
During this spell he headed the Drumcondra scoring list each year and was credited with 95 goals in all competitions. [League 31; FAI Cup 5; City Cup and Shield 45; Leinster Cup 6; Presidents Cup 3; Inter City Cup 5]
He had one International cap before being transferred, in the company of Christy Giles, to Doncaster Rovers in June 1950. Over a five-season term he became a Doncaster legend, making 135 League and FA Cup appearances and scoring 49 goals, also picking up two more Irish caps.
His first home goal, was, for Doncaster Rover fans, on a never-to-be-forgotten occasion, when League leaders Manchester City, 3 up at half-time, were sensationally toppled 4-3 in October 1950 before an attendance of 33,000.
Returning to Ireland in December 1954 he saw out the 1954-55 season with Irish League club Ballymena player-coached by Walter Rickett, but by the following season he was back with Drumcondra. In 1957, after finishing runner up to Shamrock Rovers in the League, he added an FAI Cup to his collection, partnered by Jackie McCourt and Willie Coleman, in a 2-0 victory over old foes Shamrock Rovers.
Now 35 years old, his display in the 5-2 semi-final win over Evergreen, to which he contributed two goals, was described by Drums captain ‘Bunny’ Fullam as “magic… he gave an exhibition”.
The following year saw another League Championship medal before his final League of Ireland season with Dundalk. Although more noted for goal making than goal scoring, his 5 League goals with Dundalk brought his League tally alone to over the century mark.
In 1997 he received the Merit Award from the Irish Professional Footballers Association and in 2002 he had the distinction of being selected by the Doncaster Press on a Best Ever Irish-Scottish Doncaster XI.
Football clearly ran in the bloodlines—Kit’s father was a goal-scoring centre-forward with Talbot United and Mullingar, and his three sons, Mick, Martin and Robbie, all of whom played for Dundalk, added significantly to the family collection of goals, international caps, inter-league caps and medals.
During the 1980s, Kit managed a very successful seven-a side team which was drawn exclusively from his eight sons! They were known as ‘Mother’s Pride’, the name of the bakery that Kit worked in.
|Career League and Cup|
|14 seasons Goals||103||12|