|Date Of Birth:||May 30 1931|
|Place Of Birth:||Dundalk|
|Debut:||11-Sep-49, City Cup, (H) v. Bohemians|
4 times club leading scorer…3rd in the all-time goals list…joint holder of the club records for Most Goals in a League Game (4) and Most Goals in a single FAI Cup Campaign (5)…one of only five players whose club goals exceed 100…Joe Martin’s footprints can be found all through the club’s scoring records but his starring role in the never-to-be forgotten victorious FAI Cup campaign in 1952 would itself ensure his place in the club’s Hall of Fame.
Blessed with a deceptively long stride that fooled many a defender, he had the instincts of a born goal scorer and the knack of taking his chances.
Practically all of his goals came from his right foot—according to Gerry McCourt, Joe required his left foot purely for balance! And his scoring feats were achieved during the least successful period in the club’s history.
He was a prolific goal scorer from his days in the local Minor and Junior Leagues, once scoring a record 9 goals. A planned two-month trial with Derby County in 1949, in the company of his St Joseph’s teammate Billy Flanagan, was cut short when Dundalk club claimed both players were registered with the club.
He was a member of the ‘C’ team that was successful in the Leinster Junior Shield in the 1949-50 season and his senior debut came in a 3-2 City Cup victory over Bohemians on 11th Sept. 1949—Joe earned a penalty and made another goal for Bobbie O’Brien.
The 1950-51 season saw Jimmy Gilbert opening the season at centre forward but after two losses, and no goals, new player-coach Pat Gallacher brought Joe in at number nine. Goals in each of his first three games established Joe’s position and from his 25 starts he bagged 18 goals, just three goals less than the leading scorer Pat Gallacher.
His performances earned his selection for the League of Ireland team that played the West German League at Dalymount Park on St Patrick’s Day 1951.
An injury restricted his early season appearances in the 1951-52 year but not the goals and his FAI Cup goal in the falling light in the Milltown semi-final replay to give Dundalk a 5-4 lead over Waterford and his priceless late late equaliser in the FAI Cup final against Cork Athletic, uncharacteristically with his left foot, paved the way for ultimate Cup success.
His five FAI campaign goals, equalling the record mark set by Gerry McCourt (1931) and matched by Ronnie Henderson (1949), were crucial to the ultimate victory.
The next four seasons brought no more club success but the goal stream continued. At a season end game in March 1953 against Waterford at Oriel Park his four goals equalled the best individual score in a League game.
By the end of 1955-56 Joe’s club tally crossed the 100 mark, and he became only the third club player to qualify for the ‘Centurion’ club, where he joined club legends, Eddie Carroll and Joey Donnelly.
After being released by Dundalk at the end of the 1955-56 season, an offer he couldn’t refuse—£6 per week and £25 signing on fee!—brought him to Portadown, where he added another 11 goals to his CV but after one season he ended up clubless in spite of scoring a hat-trick on his last club match.
An unsuccessful two-month trial with Bangor at the beginning of 1957-58 (scoring one goal) was followed by a spell with the Mick Hoy-bossed Tandragee Rovers before returning to Oriel Park for two more years after which he retired at the age of 29.
He had retired from football, but not from anything else. Joe’s talents as an entertainer, already displayed on the football field, now found expression in a wide variety of ways when he became one of the driving forces in the local entertainment scene—singer, M.C., storyteller, talent show producer, raconteur, radio show presenter—variety and versatility were Joe’s middle names.
For more than forty years he harnessed these skills for the benefit of a range of charitable organisations and objectives, all at the same time as rearing a family and working. His Work experiences provided additional variety, starting as a Post Office Messenger Boy at 14, and later at Halliday’s Shoe factory, while doubling up as a bookie’s clerk at the Greyhound Track.
His expertise as an ‘Impresario’ first manifested itself on those long car journeys to and from games in Cork, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford when he was the organiser of the sing songs. These skills were again evident in his organisation of two memorable football occasions, first in 1991 for the club’s 1500th League game and in 2002 for the 50th Reunion of the 1952 FAI Cup winning team.
His ‘Pro Bono’ contribution to the life of Dundalk has been considerable, in recognition of which his peers have bestowed many honours on him:
People of the Year Award 1996
Lions Club International Award 1998
Hall of Fame Award (Dundalk People of the Year) 1999
DUDC Chairman’s Award 2002 (Contribution to the cultural heritage of the town)
Grand Marshall of Dundalk’s St Patrick’s Day Parade 2002.
In October 2010 he was inducted into the Dundalk FC Hall of Fame.
Now in his mid-80s, he only recently retired from hosting his popular Sunday morning 'Magic Moments' radio show on Dundalk FM Community Radio and he never misses the big nights at Oriel Park.
What They Said About Him
Dundalk trainer Gerry McCourt commenting on Joe’s under-used left foot and on why he rarely if ever scored with his left: “He needs his left foot only for balance”.
1 Win: FAI Cup 1951-52.
1 Runner Up: Presidents Cup 1952-53.
1 League of Ireland Cap
Leading club scorer: 1951-52, 1952-53, 1953-54, 1954-55
Single Match Scoring Record:
League (4 gls) 29-Mar-53, Waterford, (h) 4-0