|Debut:||19-Aug-62, Casey Cup, (h) St Patrick's Ath., 3-2|
A Drumcondra legend before coming to Dundalk, Tommy Rowe spent seven seasons at Oriel Park, three of them as a player. He was a member of the 1962-63 League winning squad and was appointed club manager after the unexpected departure of Alan Fox in the spring of 1968 and stayed until the appointment of Liam Tuohy in the summer of 1969.
For almost ten seasons from 1953 Tommy Rowe played a central role at the heart of the great Drumcondra teams fashioned by Sam Prole after his move from Dundalk. Within 12 months of Sam’s takeover at Tolka in 1953 Drums had annexed the FAI Cup—Tommy was on the right wing after scoring in each round up to the St Patrick’s Athletic final.
The following year, and now playing at inside-right, he added a runner up medal when a late goal from Liam Tuohy settled matters in favour of Shamrock Rovers.
By the time he left in the summer of 1962 he had added another pair of FAI medals—winning in 1957 and another runner up in 1961. From 1956 onwards Tommy was at left half, from where he picked up two League Championships (57-58 and 60-61) and a second position in 56-57.
He was capped with the League of Ireland Inter League team on 5 occasions and earned two ‘B’ International Caps in 1958 against Iceland and South Africa.
With two of his Drumcondra colleagues, Stan Pownall and Billy Kennedy, he arrived at Oriel Park in the summer of 1962 and by season’s end he had another League Championship Winner’s Medal. Variously described as a veteran and one of Dundalk’s cast-offs, he was an ever present during Dundalk’s League campaign.
Now switched to right half, he and his half-back partner Ted Harte proved the perfect combination playing behind Francie Callan, Jimmy Hasty and Dermot Cross, providing Oriel Park patrons with some of the best close passing football ever seen in a Dundalk team.
His vision, passing ability and all-round skills made him a key member of the Championship winning squad. A season later he added a further League runner-up memento to his bulging medal chest.
Early in the 1964-65 season he took charge of the reserve team, and landed the Castrol Cup, the first reserve team trophy in many years. Through his involvement with the coaching of the Reserve team he had a big influence on the development of many young local players who later played at first team level like the McConville brothers, Thomas Kelledy, Stephen Maguire and Jim Smith.
During Gerry Doyle’s year in charge, Tommy acted as his assistant and looked after the training of the Dublin players, turning out occasionally with the Reserve team.
In March 1968, after the controversial departure of player-coach Alan Fox, Tommy was appointed to take charge of first team affairs and he remained in office until Liam Tuohy took over team management duties in the summer of 1969.
The highlights of Tommy’s full year in charge were the successful Fairs Cup first round tie against DOS Utrecht, winning the City Cup and securing runner up spot in the Shield, which had the bonus of entry to the lucrative Fairs Cup for the following season.
He afterwards became assistant to Gerry Doyle at Shelbourne for a period of six years, and for a year with Doyle’s replacement Tommy Carroll, until he took charge himself in May 1976, staying until the appointment of Mick Dalton for the 1978-79 season.
Before joining Drumcondra, Tommy had been with East Wall minor club St Marys. Groomed in the Drumcondra youths and reserve teams, he made his first team debut late in the 1952-53 season as Drums chased Shelbourne the whole way to the finishing line, losing the Championship by a single point.
He became a first team regular in the 1953-54 season, starting on the right wing and sometimes switched to inside-right. By the season’s end he was on the League of Ireland team for the April 1954 fixture against the Irish League at Windsor Park.
What They Said About Him
”Highly distinctive all-action style…a tigerish tackler…his mop of hair was easily picked out in the fierce fray of many a hectic battle…astute reader of the game…gets through the work of two men …flamboyant…a 90-minute man…”Irish Times
Honours as Dundalk Manager: League Runner Up 1967-68; Shield Runner Up 1968-69; Dublin City Cup Win 1968-69; Presidents Cup Runner Up 1968-69.
2 Wins: League 1962-63; Top Four Cup 1963-64.3 Runners Up: League and Shield 1963-64; Casey Cup 1962-63.