Saturday, 9 January 2010

Jack Mehaffy

Name: John Wesley Mehaffy
Born: 22 December 1896, Belfast
Died: 1937
Position: Goalkeeper

Representative Honours: Irish League: 2 Caps (1921-1923).Club Honours: (with Glentoran) Irish League Champion 1920/21; Irish Cup Winner* 1920/21; Gold Cup Runner-Up 1919/20; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1920/21; Steel & Sons Cup Winner** 1918/19; (with Dundalk) Leinster Senior Cup Runner-Up 1928/29.
* Mehaffy was also awarded a winner’s medal in 1920 (see text below)
** with Glentoran II.

Club Career:
Teams .......... --Seasons-- Signed -Fee- League FA Cup FL Cup -Other-

Belfast Celtic
....... 18/19-21/22 ............ 87/ 0 (all games)
Oldham Athletic. 22/23...... Aug-22 .......0/ 0
Glentoran....... 23/24...... Aug-23 ......17/ 0 (all games)
New Brighton.... 23/24...... Dec-23 ...... 5/ 0 ..4/ 0
Rotherham County 24/25 ..... Jan-25 £525..18/ 0
Rotherham United 25/26-26/27 ............ 61/ 0
Dundalk......... 27/28-28/29 May-28 ..... 13/ 0 ..2/ 0 .8/ 0* .7/ 0#

* League of Ireland Shield; # Leinster Cup.

Younger brother of Irish international goalkeeper, Bertie, John Mehaffy battled hard to break away from his brothers shadows. The pair had been on the books of Belfast Celtic together, with Bertie winning an Irish League medal in 1915, though both were forced out of Celtic Park by the signing of Elisha Scott, their cousin, for the duration of wartime football.

Signed by Glentoran, Mehaffy was part of the successful reserve side of 1918/19, claiming a winner’s medals in the Steel Cup and Intermediate League and finishing as runner-up in the Intermediate Cup. He was offered a first senior match late that season in a Charity Cup tie against Belfast United when regular custodian, Billy Liddell couldn’t find a train to the match.

Mehaffy began to establish himself as the Glens regular ‘keeper through the 1919/20 season. He was a member of the side expelled from the Irish Cup for fielding an ineligible player in the semi-final, while his brother Bert was in the opposing Belfast Celtic side who were also expelled after their fans rioted. Although Shelbourne were awarded the Cup by virtue of being the only remaining club in the competition, the Glentoran players did claim the winner’s medals following a “Challenge Match”.

A terrific season in 1920/21 saw Mehaffy collect Irish League, Irish Cup (defeating his brother’s Glenavon side in the Final) and Co. Antrim Shield winner’s medals. He was also awarded inter-League recognition, turning out for the Irish league in a 3-0 defeat by the Scottish League at Ibrox. Mehaffy spent the 1922/23 season with English First Division side, Oldham, though he never made the first eleven. He returned to the Oval and was rewarded with a second appearance for the Irish League, this time in a 6-2 hammering by the Football League at Windsor Park.

Shortly after that inter-League appearance, Mehaffy was off on his travels again. He signed for Merseyside-based New Brighton of Division Three (North) and spent a season as under-study to his brother, Bert. He went on to make his mark on the Football League with Rotherham County, then with the “reformed” Rotherham United.

Jack Mehaffy was enticed to return to Ireland by Dundalk manager, Joe McCleery who had introduced Bert to Belfast Celtic back in 1914. Jack made his Dundalk debut in the final game of the 1927/28 season and he was a regular the following season as they reached their first senior final where they lost in the Leinster Cup after a replay to Shamrock Rovers.

Later he returned to the Irish League with Coleraine.

John Mehaffy died in 1937, aged just 40.

Irish League Appearance Details:
25-01-1921 Scottish League A L 0-3
29-10-1923 Football League H L 2-6

Summary: 2/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 2.

William Mehaffy forwarded the scan of the card shown above. It purports to be a picture of Bertie Mehaffy, however it has been identified as his brother, Jack, by Jack's son.

Black and white photo and many career details supplied by Jim Murphy.