Dave Walsh (1923-2016) - the Linfield Irish Cup winner who scored for both Irelands

Posted : 17th March 2016 at 18:02:00

Two days ago Linfield FC recorded the sad passing on Friday March 11 of former Linfield, WBA, Aston Villa and IFA and FAI centre forward Dave Walsh, aged 92.

Tributes have been paid to the prolific goal scorer on the websites of his former teams Aston Villa and WBA as well as the FAI's and after delving into the 'gold mine' of handwritten personal archives of the late chairman David Crawford, the following 'treasure' is provided on the life and career of Dave Walsh, by further tribute to the striker who played for Linfield from 1943-46.

David Joseph Walsh was born on April 28, 1923 in Waterford in the Republic of Ireland.

He played for St Joseph's in Waterford, Corinthians, Shelbourne, Limerick and Glen Rovers.

He lived at 83 Barrack St in Waterford and he was the brother in law of another Republic of Ireland international - Con Martin.

Davy Walsh signed for Linfield in May 1943 from Limerick after an inter-City game and it was efforts by Tommy Breen and Gerry Morgan that brought him to Windsor Park.

He scored on his Linfield debut in a 3–1 Gold Cup win against Glentoran on August 21, 1943.

He made the following Linfield appearances

1943/44 - 23 appearances and 19 goals - 1 goal in 1 friendly game

1944/45 - 27 appearances and 28 goals - 2 friendly games

1945/46 - 38 appearances and 44 goals - 4 goals in 2 friendly games

Total - 88 appearances and 91 goals plus 5 goals in 5 friendly games

He scored hat-tricks in 3 consecutive Linfield league games as follows

8-2 home to Distillery on 5-1-46
8-1 home to Cliftonville on 12-1-46
4-1 away to Derry City on 19-1-46

With Linfield the 1945/46 forward line was : Cochrane, McCrory, Walsh, Robinson and Billy Liddell

Record with Linfield Swifts

1943/44 - 4 appearances and 2 goals
1944/45 - 7 appearances and 6 goals
1945/46 - 1 appearance and 1 goal

While with Linfield, the 5ft 11 and 12 and a half stone forward lived at 66 Lower Windsor Avenue.

His final game for Linfield was in a 1-0 defeat by Belfast Celtic in the North-South Cup semi final 2nd leg on 28-5-46.

When Davy Walsh began his international career in 1946 there were two Ireland teams, chosen by both football associations. Both the Northern Ireland IFA and the Republic of Ireland FAI selected players from the whole island. As a result, several notable Irish players, including Walsh, played for both teams during this 1946-50 period.

He won the following honours

Regional League winners medals in 1944/45 and 1945/46 (this took the place of the Irish League during the war years.)

Irish Cup runners-up medal in 1944 - lost 3-1 to Belfast Celtic on April 22, 1944

He won the Irish Cup with Linfield in both 1945 and 1946.

At Celtic Park on April 14, 1945 Dave helped Linfield beat Glentoran 4-2 in the Irish Cup final.

At Celtic Park on April 13, 1946 two goals from Dave helped Linfield beat Distillery 3-0 in the Irish Cup final. Sammy McCrory scored the other goal.

1944/45 County Antrim Shield runners-up medal - lost 1-0 to Belfast Celtic at Solitude on 29-5-45

3 Inter-league caps and 2 goals in 1945/46

9 international caps for IFA (Northern Ireland) as a WBA player - 1946-50

Debut away to Scotland 0-0 on 27-11-46

1947 v England, Scotland and Wales

1948 v England Scotland and Wales

1949 v Wales

1950 v Wales - the last game for an All-Ireland team - 0-0 at Wrexham on 8-3-50

IFA Goals

One goal in a 2-2 draw v England at Goodison on 5-11-47

Two goals in a 2-6 defeat by England at Windsor Park on 9-10-48

Two goals in a 3-2 defeat by Scotland at Hampden on 17-11-48

2 Victory internationals for IFA in 1946

2-2-46 Scored 2 in 3-2 Windsor Park defeat by Scotland

4-5-46 Played in 1-0 win away to Wales

20 international caps for the FAI (Republic of Ireland) between 1946 and 1953 including the game where they famously beat England 2-0 at Goodison Park in September 1949.

Having been scouted by Fred Everess, the secretary and talent spotter of WBA, Dave signed for WBA for £4,000 on 18 May, 1946 and he made his Albion debut against Swansea Town in August 1946.

By 1950 he had made 174 appearances, scoring 100 goals for WBA .

He was transferred to nearby Aston Villa for £25,000 in December 1950 and by 1955 he had made 114 appearances and scoring 40 goals for the Villa Park club.

His next move was to Walsall in July 1955 and in his 1955/56 Walsall career he played 20 games and scored 6 goals.

For season 1956/57 he was with Worcester City, before retirement in May 1957.

He was also the owner of a sports shop / general store in Droitwich in Worcestershire in the West Midlands and he later moved to Torquay in Devon where he was running holiday homes.

The late Dr Malcolm Brodie MBE wrote the following on page 64 about Dave Walsh in the Linfield 100 year centenary book - (with photos on p60, p65 and p68) : 'Davy Walsh's arrival at Windsor was due to the efforts of Tommy Breen. After an inter-City game, Breen marched into the Shelbourne dressing room and asked Walsh bluntly. "Would you like to play for Linfield ?" 'I agreed immediately" said Walsh "I was never happier in my life than at Windsor. With Linfield I was treated very well by everyone. It is a great club with a great tradition. I was proud to play for them."

Walsh made a somewhat indifferent start. In the first season he broke his collar bone. The next year saw only a slight form improvement and the management committee contemplated letting him go. This information leaked and when Celtic centre-half Jackie Vernon heard it, he said "If they don't fix him up, then Celtic will". Needless to say, Walsh remained at Linfield, exploding on to the scene to become one of Ireland's best centre-forwards of the post-war era. In the 1945-46 season he hit 73 goals for Linfield."

Malcolm Brodie also wrote on page 55 in the IFA 100 year centenary book - "Arguably, many will say Waterford-born Davy Walsh (Linfield, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and Walsall) was the best post-war striker. He won nine caps and there would have been many more, if it had not been for the 'split'. West Bromwich signed him for £3,000 and in his four years at the Hawthorns, he scored over 160 goals. In one season he was the joint leading English scorer with Charlie Wayman (Newcastle United).

In April 2011 the Belfast Telegraph ran a feature the '25 Greatest Linfield players of all time' to coincide with the club's 125th anniversary. The late Malcolm Brodie was on the panel drawing up the list.

Davy Walsh was named number 24 in the list and the article is on this website under the date April 26, 2011.

Dave passed away on Friday March 11 aged 92.

The deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences of everyone at Linfield FC are extended to the family circle at this sad time.

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