|Debut:||01-Feb-48, League, (A) v. Waterford|
The soccer headlines early in the 1947-48 season were reserved for the heroics of two non-League clubs, St Patrick’s Athletic and Transport, in qualifying for the final of the Leinster Senior Cup.
Along the way they had taken the scalps of League teams—Pats downing Shelbourne and Bohemians while Transport had overcome Drumcondra, the year’s League Champs, and Shamrock Rovers. It took a replay before Pats emerged 3-2 winners at the end of December 1947.
By the end of January, one of Transport’s leading performers, inside forward Johnny Walsh, was on Dundalk’s books. Before the season ended he had a League Runner up medal and had made his first appearance with the League of Ireland team before an attendance of 35,000 at Deepdale, Preston against the English League and added another one within two weeks against the Scottish League.
He closed the season with another representative appearance, scoring at centre-forward for the FAI XI against the Irish Army—his namesake Peadar also filled the centre-forward spot for the Army!
An ever present at the beginning of the 1948-49 season, and now on the left wing, he won a Dublin City Cup medal and another League of Ireland Inter-League appearance before a serious leg injury knocked him out at the beginning of the Shield.
It was the end of March before he made his comeback against Drumcondra in the drawn FAI Cup semi-final and he signalled his well being by scoring “a classic—the sort of thing you hope to see once in a while, and which you remember for long. Peadar Walsh whips in a glorious centre from the corner flag area, head high and swinging away from the goalie, to be met perfectly by the rushing-in Johnny Walsh and his header from ten yards out gave keeper Paddy Neville no chance. It was the sort of thing that makes you shout G O A L” (Dundalk Democrat).
After a 2-1 replay victory there was no stopping Dundalk and in the final against Shelbourne, Johnny stole the show with two more picture goals, each coming from Peadar Walsh crosses, in the 3-0 win.
There was time before the season came to a close—the most successful in the club’s history—for Johnny to collect his fourth League of Ireland cap, again against the English League at Dalymount Park, a runner up medal in the Inter City Cup against Shamrock Rovers and serve as reserve for the Irish International team’s outing against Belgium on April 24th.
But his Dundalk career was over, placed on the transfer list at £50, following the Committee’s quick response to the disastrous financial position arising for the season. In most cases the transfer list fee was not indicative of the player’s real value but was in the player’s interest, so that another club might take them up.
A product of Dublin junior club Queen’s Park, he had spent a season with Drumcondra before linking up with Transport in the Leinster League.
What They Said About Him
Very neat and deft in his footwork … dazzling …his great asset is his finishing power … has a flair for picking the right position … a deadly finisher with head or foot. Dundalk Democrat
2 Wins: FAI and City Cups 1948-49.2 Runners Up: League 1947-48; Inter City Cup 1948-49.
4 League of Ireland Caps