|Date Of Birth:||1901|
|Place Of Birth:||Kilmarnock|
On April-10-1927, in Dundalk’s last game in its first Free State League season—a 3-1 defeat at the Athletic Grounds in a Shield match against Shamrock Rovers—Joe Gregretski made his one and only club appearance.
Gregretski had signed for Glenavon in Feb 1923 from Falls League second division side Hearts. While with Hearts he had represented the Ulster juniors against Leinster juniors at Dalymount Park in December 1922. On that same occasion the GNR’s Joey Quinn lined out with the Leinster team.
An Irish News report described him as being born in Scotland of Polish descent. He scored on his Glenavon debut in a 2-2 Gold Cup match against Distillery. He joined Barn FC in 1923 from Glenavon.
In 1926 he was reported as looking to emigrate to play football in Canada and shortly after his very short Dundalk sojourn he turned up in America playing with Brooklyn in the American Soccer League, the first attempt to establish association football at national club level in North America.
In the 1927-28 season he made appearances with two clubs, starting with Brooklyn [5 apps] and closing the year with Newark Skeeters [29 apps].
According to the 1911 census Joe, aged 10, was living at Corporation Street, Belfast with his father Dominick (Sausage skin manufacturer who was born in Germany) and mother Annie. Joe is listed as born in Kilmarnock.
It is likely that Gregretski was of Polish descent, but whether of German or Polish background he was one of the earliest “foreigners” to play in the 6-year-old Free State League.
He was certainly the first of German or Polish (and overseas) extraction to have played with Dundalk. Or he may have been simply the first Scotsman!