On Monday 27th June 2022, the Football Makes Our Shared History students invited Moyola Football Club into the classroom, to speak with them about the history of this local club.
Mr David Speirs (Club Chairman) spoke about the history of the club. The idea for Moyola Football Club came from Major Spencer Chichester, a keen supporter and sponsor of sport in the Castledawson area. He founded Moyola Park Football Club and went on to be the first President of the Irish Football Association. Moyola’s first game was Saturday 14th February 1880, when Cliftonville came to play an exhibition match under Scottish Association Rules. Moyola played a number of matches and became one of the clubs to play in the first Irish Cup. The students got to hear about how Moyola, ‘with rare speed, staying powers, with rough at times, brutal play’ went on to win the first Irish Cup. It is claimed that Moyola were the first team ever to be sued for compensation. They heard about players such as Ivan Sproule and Sarah McFadden, international footballers who played for Moyola. Robin Martin (super fan) also brought in some historical items, such as an original football and old boots that the students were keen to sniff. A Seamus Heaney poem on Moyola was read as well as the story of how Moyola player Averill outjumped the famous Pele.
In the second of the Football Makes Our Shared History talks, the students had a real treat. Two former Mid-Ulster ladies footballers came in to speak about how they played in the NIWFA league of the 1970s. They played for Cookstown in those days and Sandra and Hazel told stories of how in their football team, religion was never mentioned.
They just went and played football together and trained and played together in any venue they could book, such as at Holy Trinity School in Cookstown. They used to drive to all of the matches in Belfast, Portadown, Lurgan, Armagh and Stranocum. The only event that stopped football for a couple of weeks during the Troubles was the Hunger Strikes and the the community tension and anger that surrounded this. There were also a number of five-a-side competitions. They shared some of their archival material with the students for their presentation. When Northern Ireland decided to run trials for a Northern Ireland Ladies Team, both Sandra and Hazel went to a number of trials, before being picked to play in the Northern Ireland team against the Republic of Ireland. They never received their cap for this performance. In recent weeks, the momentum built and on the day before they came to Magherafelt High School, they were both invited to Windsor Park to receive their Cap. The students loved hearing their stories about favourite goals and performances and getting an opportunity to see their Caps.
The Nicola Mallon Story
I used to love listening to my grandfather regaling stories of his youth spent playing football. He use to recount how the team would get the ball and shout “pass it to Billy”……………………….
Magherafelt High School kick off their Football Makes Our Shared History Project with a visit to Windsor Park, home of Northern Ireland soccer. Thank you to Jemma Thornbury (Commercial Events Officer Irish Football Association) for a wonderful tour. Thank you to the legend Gail Redmond for the inspirational talk on the history of the women’s game in Northern Ireland. Great day hosted by a great team.
Magherafelt High School fully supports the Football Makes Our Shared History Project and we look forward to researching and celebrating our games / sports. This project will add value to our students learning; it is clear to see that FMOSH will have an long-term impact and we look forward to contributing to the development of young people and communities by bringing them together in a celebration of shared heritage through cross cultural learning and the essential importance of sport in the community.
A group of 25 Year 8 students (mixed girls/boys) – Including involvement of the Year 8 Football Team in the second part of the project. This project will be part of activity week in late June.
The group will include students who have involvement in school sports and sports outside school, some who will play for Moyola Football Club. There will be a range of abilities across the 4 Year 8 groups and a diverse mix of gender, ethnicity and backgrounds.
Students are tasked with finding out something about sport in the local area – perhaps interview parents about their greatest sporting memory – what do they remember about sport at school? What was it like to play sport at school? Do they have any memorabilia about sport in their day? What are they proud of? *There is the possibility of bringing in someone from Moyola to share some key items of memorabilia from that club’s history.
Students will make a History/Sport display – this may be part of activity week in late June.
Talks – Lost stories in Sport in the area!!!
- Moyola Football Club or any sport – find out the History of Moyola Football Club – Students will research and obtain some material from a local historian on Moyola and they will make a display on this material. (History and the Local Area)
- The Womens’ Football League of the 1970s – students will obtain some information on the Womens’ Football League that happened in the 1970s – there will be items that they will be able to use to create a display on this as well – students will be encouraged to write a letter to the IFA/Actress in Derry Girls to find out more information about this. (The importance of Equality in Football) – students can also investigate important moments in the building of the Northern Ireland women’s football team.
- The display will take over a display area in one of the corridors for the whole year.
Trips – Windsor Park Stadium in June.
The FMOSH celebration (end of project) twinning of the Pitch with Flanders Peace Field will be a game featuring the whole year group re-enacting the football that was played during the First World War in the Trenches – it is hoped that this will be on 21st September 2022.
May Sources for the presentation
Invite students to get involved
June Trip to Windsor Park / Webinar
Activity Week – Late June Create Presentations
September FMOSH Celebration Event
November QUB lecture
Research proves to be a joy when it is on your doorstep; click on the links below to discover why Cookstown knows the value of sport for all.
If further proof were needed here are some links to open the doors to a shared heritage
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE IS A PERFECT DAY TO CELEBRATE OUR HISTORY 21/09/2022
Placing Football Makes Our Shared History in the context of International Day of Peace. CLICK HERE