1987 League of Ireland Cup Final

The 1987 League of Ireland Cup Final was the final match of the 1986–87 League of Ireland Cup (called the Opel League Cup for sponsorship purposes), a knock-out association football competition contested annually by clubs affiliated with the League of Ireland. It took place on 1 January 1987 at Dalymount Park in Dublin, and was contested by Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers. Dundalk won 1–0 to win the competition for the third time.

1987 League of Ireland Cup Final
Event1986–87 League of Ireland Cup
Date1 January 1987
VenueDalymount Park, Dublin
RefereePat Kelly
← 1986
1988 →


The League Cup was the first trophy of the 1986–87 League of Ireland season. Its first round, in which four teams played each other in a double round-robin system, took place before the start of the league schedule. The two sides had met twice already that season, with Shamrock Rovers winning both the President's Cup final and the league fixture in Milltown.[1] Dundalk had last won the competition in 1981. They reached the final by topping their group over Cork City, Drogheda United and EMFA, and then defeating St Patrick's Athletic (in a penalty shoot-out after a 0–0 draw) and Athlone Town (1–0).[2]

Shamrock Rovers had won the League Cup once previously, in 1976–77, and had lost on their two previous appearances in the final. In the 1986–87 season they would go on to win a League and FAI Cup Double, with Dundalk finishing as runners-up in both competitions.[3][4]



Both sides went into the match with much-changed sides due to a number of injury problems. Dundalk had three players making debuts, including local-league player Paul Matthews who was signed as cover on New Year's Eve;[5] while manager Turlough O'Connor, was obliged to be listed as '13th player' on the team-sheets.[6] Dundalk's Dessie Gorman missed two early chances before they were awarded a controversial penalty in the 39th minute, when Noel Larkin was adjudged to have fouled Tom McNulty near the goal-line in a tussle for possession. Martin Murray scored the resultant spot-kick, despite it being weakly struck. In a match described as "disappointing" in press reports,[6] both sides failed subsequently to create any real chances, with Martin Lawlor and Harry McCue performing well at the centre of a makeshift Dundalk defence, and new Rovers player-manager, Dermot Keely (a former Dundalk stalwart) dominating at the back for his side. Dundalk goalkeeper, Alan O'Neill, was forced into making two late saves as they held out. The win was Turlough O'Connor's first trophy as Dundalk manager, and the club's first since 1981–82.[7]


Shamrock Rovers0–1[8]Dundalk
Report Martin Murray   39' (pen.)
Attendance: unreported
Referee: Pat Kelly
Shamrock Rovers
GK   Jody Byrne
DF   Harry Kenny
DF   Dermot Keely
DF   Noel Larkin
MF   Martin Nolan
MF   John Glynn
MF   Mick Neville
MF   Pat Byrne
MF   Paul Doolin
FW   Brendan Murphy
FW   Mick Byrne
  Dermot Keely
GK   Alan O'Neill
DF   Harry McCue
DF   Joey Malone (c)
DF   Derek Carroll
DF   Martin Lawlor
MF   Tony Devereux
MF   Martin Murray
MF   Larry Wyse
MF   Tom McNulty
FW   Paul Matthews   70'
FW   Dessie Gorman
MF   Francis Callan   70'
  Turlough O'Connor


  • Murphy, Jim (2003). The History of Dundalk F.C.: The First 100 Years. Dundalgan Press. ASIN B0042SO3R2.
  • Paul Doolan, Robert Goggins (1993). The Hoops. Gill & MacmillanLtd. ISBN 0-7171-2121-6.
  1. ^ "FIXTURES FOR 1986-1987 LEAGUE OF IRELAND PREMIER DIVISION". www.extratime.ie. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  2. ^ Murphy, Jim (2003). The History of Dundalk F.C.: The First 100 Years. Dundalgan Press. p. 338. ASIN B0042SO3R2.
  3. ^ "Ireland league tables (1921-2006)". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Ireland FAI Cup (1921-1994)". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  5. ^ MacGinty, Karl (2 January 1987). "Matthews hits jackpot". Evening Herald. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Opel League Cup Final". Irish Independent. 2 January 1987. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  7. ^ Stuart, Charlie (2 January 1987). "Murray spot-on for Dundalk". Irish Press. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Ireland League Cup (1973-2006)". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 21 October 2019.