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Keighley Shamrocks JFC


Website last updated: 21 Mar, 2015 @ 21:26


History Of Keighley Shamrocks FC


1911-14 Keighley & District league
1956-58 Keighley & District league
1958-63 Bradford & District league
1963-65 Wharfedale league
1965-69 West Yorkshire league
1976-85 West Riding County Amateur league
1994-2009 West Riding County Amateur league


Keighley & District FA cup winners 1957-58, 1968-69, runners-up 1960-61, 1961-62, 1979-80, 1980-81, 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84, 2006-07.
Keighley & District league champions 1956-57, 1957-58,
Keighley league cup (Victory Shield) winners 1956-57, runners –up 1957-58
Wharfedale (Saturday) league champions 1963-64, runners-up 1964-65
Wharfedale league cup winners 1964-55, runners-up 1963-64

Keighley Shamrocks soccer team first appeared in the Keighley & District league in the 1911-12 season (previously the Shamrock club, at the bottom of West Lane, had run rugby teams). They finished mid-table in the league’s second division but were still promoted to the top division for the following season in order to make up the numbers – although they remained in the second division too. Therefore some games counted towards division 1 and division 2 !

They disbanded in 1914 due to players fighting in World War 1. It is probable that a ground up West Lane and/or Calversyke Hill was used in those days.

Other local catholic teams around in those days were – St.Annes (also until world war 1), Keighley Gaelic and Ingrow Celtic.

The Shamrocks club continued to be best known for its successful rugby sides, until 1956 when the
Shamrocks’s soccer team was reformed . They entered the Keighley & District league and won the league and cup double at their first attempt! After edging ahead of Steeton and Haworth in the league, Central Youth Club were defeated 3-0 in the league cup final.Ex-Silsden striker McCormack was the star of the Shamrocks team at the time. The following season (1957-58) they won the league again, their best result an 18-2 rout of struggling Haworth, but Shammies lost in the final of the Victory Shield to Parkwood Amateurs. However, the same side were thrashed 6-2 in the Keighley & District cup final, with McCarten scoring four times, as the side enjoyed their rapid rise to prominence.

1956-57 Keighley & District League

P W D L Pts
Keighley Shamrocks 16 14 1 1 29
Steeton 16 13 0 2 26
Haworth Sports 16 12 2 2 26
Morton Sports 16 7 2 7 16
Central YC 16 7 1 8 15
Silsden reserves 16 5 2 9 12
Cullingworth 16 3 2 11 8
Harden 16 2 3 11 7
Dan Mitchells 16 1 1 14 3

In the summer of 1958, Shamrocks sought a higher standard of opposition and joined the Bradford Amateur league, but left a reserve side in the ailing Keighley league for one season. The first team spent 3 seasons in division 2 before gaining promotion to divison 1. Two further Keighley cup finals were contested during this time, but both were lost – 0-4 to Eldwick (1960-61) and 1-2 to Keighley Central (1961-62). Around this time, the club donated the sum of £500 to Keighley town counil towards a new pavilion that was to cost over £4200 at their new home at Highfield Playing fields (now known as Burgess Fields). Schoolteacher Tony Bland was captain at the time, and the club undertook a short tour to Ireland in the summer of 1962.

Following two 4th place finishes in the Bradford league’s top division, a move was made to the old Wharfedale Saturday league in 1963, with the league title being won at the first attempt following end-of-season top 4 play-offs, which were common among some local leagues at the time. Third place in the final tablewas achieved the following season although the side made it to the play-off final, where they lost to Ives Sports. They did go one better than the previous season and win the league cup final though, 4-3 against the same Ives Sports side.

There was then a move upwards into the West Yorkshire league. Shammies were placed in div 1 – the league’s second tier – with Keighley Central playing the premier. A reserve team was re-established in 1966, playing the Wharfedale league for one year before joining the first team in the West Yorkshire league. The team finished second in their league behind Queensbury at then of the 66-67 season, but with the premier league being an ‘Invitation only’ competition, Shammies found their way upwards barred by me-in-suits. The side responded in style, with a divisional league and cup double in the 1967-68 season, with Fairburn defeated 4-2 in the final of the latter (goals from David Hobson – 2, Richard Dugdale & right-back Ken Heaton.)

There was no denying the side a place in the West Yorkshire premier league now with Shammies finishing a fine 3rd, just behind Central at the end of the 1968-69 season. In addition, the Keighley & District FA cup was won for only the second time .A semi-final victory over Keighley Central (who also failed to beat them in the league) brought a final appearance against Keighley Lifts, who actually led twice before Shammies won with a 3-2 victory, Jack and Bob Hobson and Terry Boland on target. Lifts did have a little bit of revenge when their reserves defeated Shammies reserves 2-1 in the final of the Supplementary cup though.

Unfortunately, Keighley Shamrocks finest season was to be their last for some time ! Ground problems meant that the side had to play several fixtures at Marley during the 1968-69 season, and during that summer this resulted in the side disbanding - with many of the players moving down the road to Silsden FC, where they continued to enjoy success (and more than a little bit of controversy).

However, in 1976 Shamrocks were back – the reformed club accepted into the West Riding County Amateur league – albeit in division 1a, the league’s third tier. The side finished runners-up behind Dudley Hill Athletic reserves in their first season and were thus promoted, thanks in no small part to the remarkable scoring exploits of Ian Greenwood. Silsden were booted out of the league in 1978, leaving Shammies as the town’s most senior club – until 1980 that is, when Trevor Hockey formed Keighley Town.

Shammies meanwhile had become the most consistent club in Keighley cup final history – losing five consecutive finals, four of them to Town !

1979-80 - 0-2 to Crosshills,
1980-81 – 1-3 to Keighley Town
1981-82 – 0-2 to Keighley Town
1982-83 – 0-2 to Keighley Town (after abandoned game that stood at 1-1)
1983-84 – 0-4 to Keighley Town

Shammies also lost in the final of the revived Keighley Charity Cup – losing in the 1979-80 final 1-3 to Sunday kings Magnet at Lawkholme Lane (Jamie Caulfield scored for the losers).

For the 1984-85 season, a Sunday team was run, operating in the Keighley Sunday Alliance second division. This, in effect, became Shammies first team when the club resigned from the County Amateur league and dropped out of Saturday football again in the summer of 1985. The team had almost dropped out a couple of years previously, before a group of players broke away from the Shamrocks Athletic Association, who officially ran the club, and went it alone.

However, for the 1986-87 season, a Highfield Shamrocks – using Burgess Fields – played in the bottom division of the West Yorkshire league. They did not reappear the following season.

Meanwhile, the Keighley Shamrocks Sunday side reached the final of the Jeff Hall trophy at the end of the 1987-88 season (their first in the top division), but they went down 1-2 to Green Gables. However, the conclusion of the following season, 1988-89 saw the same team defeated 4-2 in the same cup final to at last bring some silverware to Shammies.
1990-91 was the best ever for the Sunday side, crowned Keighley Sunday Alliance champions, Jeff Hall Cup winners – a 6-2 rout of Sutton in the final, and league cup winners courtesy of a 1-0 success against Phoenix.
For 1991-92, Shammies were accepted into the premier division of the Wharfedale Sunday league, where they finished 4th. The Keighley Sunday cup final was reached, following wins over both Silsden and magnet, but Star Athletic from Crossflatts won 3-2. Shammies also ran a Sunday reserve side from 1991-93, spending a season in the Keighley Sunday Alliance before they also switched to the Wharfedale league.
Another Keighley Sunday Cup final was reached at the end of the 1993-94 season, but in true Shamrocks style, this too was lost – 0-2 to Keighley Star.

In 1994, the side resigned from Sunday football and rejoined the West Riding County Amateur league again. The side were accepted into division 3, and after struggling badly in their first season, were promoted to division 2 in 1996. The side went up to division 1 in 2000, and in the summer of 2007 gained promotion, at last, to the league’s premier division.

Anthony cope grabbed their first goal in the top division!

Shammies were favourites to win only their third Keighley & District cup final in 2007, but Bronte Wanderers came from behind to defeat them 1-2.

The senior team disbanded in 2009, however there junior teams continue to go from strength to strength with currently 12 teams across 10 age groups!