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2 December 2006

George Gaffikin

A star of the Linfield side that dominated the earliest days of the Irish League, George Gaffikin proved more than useful in the step-up to international football...

Name: George John Gaffikin
Born: 17 May 1868, Belfast
Died: 31 December 1935
Position: Inside-Forward

Representative Honours: Ireland: 15 Full Caps/4 Goals (1890-1895).
Club Honours: (with Linfield) Irish League Champion 1890/91, 1891/92, 1892/93, 1894/95; Irish Cup Winner 1890/91, 1891/92, 1892/93, 1894/95, Runner-Up 1893/94.

Club Career:

FA Cup

George Gaffikin was a founder member of Linfield, featuring in their first ever match, a 6-5 friendly win over Distillery on 11th September 1886. In 1890/91, the Irish League’s first season, Linfield completed the “double”, with Gaffikin scoring in the 4-2 Irish Cup Final victory over Ulster. Further doubles were claimed in the next two seasons, and again in 1895, with Gaffikin scoring in the record 10-1 Cup Final victory over Bohemians.

Linfield also entered the “English” FA Cup in the late 1880s, and Gaffikin was part of the team which reached the fifth round. Following a bye in the first round, they defeated Ulster 7-1, Bolton Wanderers 4-0 (with Gaffikin claiming the opener), Cliftonville 7-0 in a second replay (following two 3-3 draws). The fifth round found them drawn away to Nottingham Forest and they returned to Belfast for a planned replay following a 2-2 draw. The replay was ‘scratched’ prior to kick-off as Linfield had fielded an ineligible player in the first match, and the resulting 3-1 victory at Ballynafeigh was in an ultimately meaningless friendly.

As one of the star forwards for Ireland’s most successful club, it was inevitable that international recognition would come Gaffikin’s way. He made his debut in February 1890 in a 5-2 defeat by Wales in Shrewsbury - the Welsh playing a ‘home’ match on English soil. The following year he scored in the return fixture in Belfast, as Ireland gained revenge, 7-2 in Belfast. 1892-1893 brought Gaffikin a run of goals in three consecutive games in an Irish shirt, a feat only bettered once in over a century since, and equaled just five times.

Ireland Cap Details:

08-02-1890 Wales... A L 2-5 BC
29-03-1890 Scotland H L 1-4 BC
07-02-1891 Wales... H W 7-2 BC 1 Goal
28-03-1891 Scotland A L 1-2 BC
27-02-1892 Wales... A D 1-1 BC
05-03-1892 England. H L 0-2 BC
18-03-1892 Scotland H L 2-3 BC 1 Goal
25-02-1893 England. A L 1-6 BC 1 Goal
25-03-1893 Scotland A L 1-6 BC 1 Goal
05-04-1893 Wales... H W 4-3 BC
24-02-1894 Wales... A L 1-4 BC
03-03-1894 England. H D 2-2 BC
31-03-1894 Scotland H L 1-2 BC
09-03-1895 England. A L 0-9 BC
16-03-1895 Wales... H D 2-2 BC

Summary: 15/4. Won 2, Drew 3, Lost 10.

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