Joe Gowdy – 1 cap (6 in total)
Born in Belfast in December 1897, Joe Gowdy’s first spell with Glentoran began in the 1919-20 season. The centre forward scored 23 goals in 28 games, the highlights being hattricks, firstly in a league game against Shelbourne and then in the semi-final of the Gold Cup against Linfield at Solitude. He moved to Falkirk in October 1920 but returned to re-join Glentoran for the 1922-23 season. Joe played just 3 games before moving the short distance to Queen’s Island (24-25). It was back across the Irish Sea for Gowdy and a further two seasons with Falkirk with whom he ended his career.
Joe Gowdy played a total of 38 games for Glentoran and scored 30 goals. He won his first international cap with Glentoran, a further one with Queen’s Island and four with Falkirk. He played as center-forward in that first game and center-half in the other five!
Rory Hamill – 1 cap
Rory Hamill joined Glentoran from Fulham and in his debut season (1996-97) played 27 games. His first goal for the club was scored in a 2-1 win against Glenavon at Mourneview Park on 11th January 1997. The following season Rory picked up an Irish Cup winners medal but it was the next year that turned out to be his most successful with Glentoran. He was part of the squad that won the League Championship and picked up a Co Antrim Shield medal. He also won his one and to date only full international cap. The game was a friendly against Canada, played at Windsor Park on Tuesday 27th April 1999. Like most international friendlies this was a poor game. Canada took the lead in the 67th minute through Marc Bircham (Millwall) and it took Northern Ireland until the 92nd minute to force an equaliser, Brad Parker scoring an og. Rory Hamill was introduced in the 59th minute but unfortunately he will probably remember the occasion more for the poor reception he received from the Windsor Park crowd and the jeering directed at him when he was in possession of the ball.
The 1999-2000 season saw Rory add 3 more medals to his collection, picking up another Irish Cup, Co Antrim Shield and Gold Cup. However a year later and Hamill’s Glentoran career was over. Having failed a UEFA drugs test, following a UEFA Cup tie against Lillestrom, Rory faced a long suspension and at the end of the season he left the Oval to join his current club Coleraine. It is difficult to see Rory Hamill recapturing the form that saw him capped by Northern Ireland just over 3 years ago. He remains though, a popular player with most Glentoran fans despite helping Coleraine defeat the Glens in the 2003 Irish Cup final.
Johnny Jamison – 1 cap
Johnny Jamison won his cap for Northern Ireland against Norway in October 1975. Many Irish League observers in the mid 70’s feel he should have been given many more. An extremely gifted midfield player, ‘Stumpy’ joined the Glens from Crusaders for £2000 in 1970. In 11 seasons at the Oval Jamison played 412 games scoring 134 goals. The highlights of his career with Glentoran were 2 League Championship medals (71-72 & 76-77), an Irish Cup winners medal in 1973 when he scored in our 3-2 defeat of Linfield and a Blaxnit All-Ireland winner’s medal in 1973.
October 1975 was indeed a memorable month for 28-year old Johnny Jamison. It started badly with a 2-0 loss to Coleraine in the semi-final of the Gold Cup but the following week saw the Glens beat Linfield 3-1 at Windsor Park in the final of the City Cup (held over from the previous season). Johnny scored a hattrick including the goal he described as the best of his career, a 25-yard chip over Ken Barclay. A 2-1 win at Ballymena followed and then a thrilling 4-4 game with Cliftonville at the Oval before Johnny finished up the month in the Northern Ireland team which faced Norway at Windsor Park.
Northern Ireland met Norway in what was the penultimate qualifying game for the 1976 European Championships. To have any chance of progressing we had to win by six goals and then get a draw away to Yugoslavia in the final game. I suppose it is a sad reflection on our current national side that back in ‘75 we were beating the likes of Sweden and Norway comfortably - or complaining if we didn’t!
Northern Ireland started the game spectacularly with both Sammy Morgan and Sammy McIlroy scoring in the first 5 minutes. Two further ‘goals’ were disallowed and both the woodwork and a goal line clearance prevented us adding to our lead until the 54th minute when Bryan Hamilton added number three. Overall it was a disappointing result (oh to describe a 3-0 NI victory now as a disappointing result!!) but a memorable day nonetheless for Johnny Jamison. The final game of the series was a 1-0 defeat in Belgrade.
James Kelly – 1 cap
James Kelly (real surname Miskelly) was born at The Mount on 1st December 1870. His first club were Belfast Glenavon where he played from 1889-90 to 1892-93. He moved to Belfast Celtic for the following two seasons before joining Glentoran prior to the start of the 1895-96 campaign. In that first year he played in the winning Charity Cup final side that defeated Cliftonville 1-0. He scored 9 goals in 14 games that season including 4 against Derry North End in the semi-final of the Irish Cup. Glentoran though lost the final 3-1 to Distillery. Kelly, an inside forward, scored 7 more goals in the next two seasons in 32 games. During his spell with Glentoran James Kelly won his only cap, against England in Belfast in 1896. He rejoined Belfast Celtic for the 1898-99 and 1899-1900 seasons, his last in football. He died on 22nd February 1935.
John Lemon – 1 cap (3 in total)
The first Glentoran player to be capped: Born in Greyabbey on 19th May 1864, John Lemon was a member of the first Glentoran side back in 1882, the year of our formation. Although appearance records from the early seasons are incomplete it is known that Lemon featured in our first ever Irish Cup game, a 9-0 defeat to Ulster in January 1883.
The following season (1883-84) he became the first Glentoran player to score a hattrick, netting 3 of Glentoran’s goals in a 5-1 win over Albert. Both 1884-85 and 1885-86 saw Lemon feature regularly amongst the goals, including another hattrick v Ligoneil in a 7-1 victory in December 1885. He also played in the final of the Charity Cup in May 1886 when Glentoran went down 5-1 to Cliftonville.
The following February (27th) he won the first of his 3 caps when he was selected to play for Ireland against Wales in Wrexham. The game finished with a comfortable 5-0 win for the home side.
The Irish team for that game was:
Gillespie (Hertford)Watson (Ulster)
Crone W. (Distillery)
Smyth (Dublin University)
Whitfield (Dublin University)Lemon (Glentoran)Roper (Dublin University)
John Lemon left Glentoran for YMCA at the end of the 1885-86 season. With YMCA he again featured in the Charity Cup final but for the second time lost out to Cliftonville (3-2). He remained with YMCA until near the end of the 1888-89 season, playing in two further finals. Both were against Distillery and again he was the losing side; YMCA losing the Irish Cup final 5-4 (Lemon scoring 2) and the Co Antrim Shield final 8-4 (Lemon scoring 1).
Six further internationals were played before John Lemon won his second cap. That came on 24th March 1888 against Scotland in Belfast and although Lemon got his name on the scoresheet it turned out to be a terrible day for the Irish, losing 10-2 to a rampant Scottish side.
His final cap was again won against Wales, this game being played in Belfast on 27th April 1889. It proved to be another unsuccessful outing, ending in a 3-1 defeat.
He moved to Cliftonville and played for them in the Irish Cup final of 1890, a 2-2 draw with the Gordon Highlanders and unfortunately he missed the replay.....another defeat! John Lemon died in Preston on 3rd December 1913 aged 49.
Jack Lyttle – 1 cap
In five seasons with the Glens Jack Lyttle played 71 games. He made just one appearance in each of his first two years (1894-95 & 95-96) but the half-back was a regular as Glentoran won both the Irish League and City Cup in 1896-97. He scored his only goal for the club the following season in a 3-2 defeat at Belfast Celtic in the City Cup. This was also the season that saw Lyttle win his solitary cap. That came against Wales in February 1898. Jack Lyttle won a City Cup medal in 1898-99, his last year playing for Glentoran. He also acted as linesman in that year’s Charity Cup final and also became secretary of Glentoran.
English McConnell – 1 cap (12 in total)
David English McConnell was born in Larne on 14th May 1883, a year after the formation of Glentoran Football Club. His career began at Cliftonville (1902-03 & 03-04) with whom he won the first 2 of his 12 caps. He played just one season with Glentoran (1904-05), appearing 26 times in that Championship winning year and picking up his 3rd cap. His only Glentoran goal came in the City Cup in a 5-0 defeat of Cliftonville. McConnell moved to Sunderland and played 39 games for the Wearsiders between 1905 and 1908. He then joined Sheffield Wednesday and made 44 appearances for them over the next two seasons (1908-09 & 09-10). English McConnell then moved to Chelsea for the 1910-11 campaign and remained there (21 apps) before returning home to play for Linfield in what was the last campaign of his football career (1913-14). He died on 13th June 1928.
Sam McGregor – 1 cap
Sam McGregor joined Glentoran as a 20 year old for the 1920-21 season. The right-winger was a regular that season, playing 31 games as the Glens won the Irish League, Irish Cup and Co Antrim Shield. His performances earned him Inter-League honours and in February 1921 he was capped at full International level. McGregor played 29 games the following season, his last with Glentoran, and scored his only goal for the club in a 4-1 Gold Cup victory over Distillery at the Oval. Sam moved to Dundela for the 1922-23 campaign and then on to Ards the next year.
Hugh McKelvey – 1 cap
Born in Comber on 9th November 1879, Hugh McKelvey played for both Glentoran and Distillery during his short but successful career. In his first season with the Glens, Hugh, a centre forward, played 20 games and scored 11 goals. His first goal came in an Irish League game against Belfast Celtic that the Glens won 3-1. He followed that up with 2 more the following week away to Linfield (W 3-1) and another brace a week later when Distillery were the visitors to the Dee Street Oval. Glentoran’s only trophy that season was the Co Antrim Shield but although McKelvey scored in both the semi-final and semi-final replay he missed out on the final victory against Cliftonville. In March 1901 Hugh McKelvey won his solitary cap against Wales in Belfast; a match won 1-0 by the visitors.
The following season Hugh scored at Solitude in both the Charity Cup final (2-0 v Linfield) and the final of the Co Antrim Shield (2-1 v Distillery) as the Glens picked up another two trophies. He scored a total of 23 goals in 25 matches that season and netted another 18 times in the following campaign (1902-03). McKelvey also won Inter-League honours in both the 1901-02 and 02-03 seasons. The last record of Hugh McKelvey’s career was the 1903-04 season when he turned out for Distillery. He died in Belfast on 6th May 1940.
James McKnight – 1 cap (2 in total)
Born on 2nd February 1892 in Newtownards, James McKnight played his first game for Glentoran during the 1907-08 season. The following year he made 10 first team appearances and by 1909-10 was a regular starter. 1910-11 brought James McKnight Inter-League honours and three medals with Glentoran; the City Cup, Charity Cup and Co Antrim Shield. During the 1911-12 season he won the City Cup again and the Irish League Championship before moving to Preston North End. He played 12 times for the Lancashire club, scored 2 goals and won the first of his two caps before returning to the Oval during the 1912-13 campaign in which the Glens were once again crowned Champions. In May 1913 McKnight joined Nottingham Forest and he played 9 games for the English league side the following season. He returned home and played for Belfast Celtic (1914-15), Distillery (1915-15, 16-17 & 17-18) and Willowfield. Although James McKnight won only two caps he managed to score in both games. The first was a penalty, scored against Scotland in Belfast in 1912. The second also came against the Scots in a 2-1 defeat in Dublin. McKnight died in Belfast on 16th March 1920 aged just 27.
John Devine – 1 cap
John Devine made his debut for the club on Boxing Day 1987, coming on as substitute for the injured Norman McGreevy in a 2-2 draw with Ards at the Oval. Over the next 11 years Devine played 468 games for Glentoran and possibly would have surpassed Billy McCullough’s appearances record had he not opted to move to Coleraine at the end of the 1998-99 season. His first Glentoran goal (he scored 35 in total) came in the 2-1 win at Coleraine on the day the Championship was won in 1988. He also collected an Irish Cup winners medal the following week, playing in the 1-0 win over Glenavon. Three more Irish Cup wins followed (1990, 96 and 97) and two more League titles (92 and 99). Devine also lifted every other possible medal with Glentoran on at least one occasion. He played in 20 finals for the Glens, most of them as captain.
In May 1990 John Devine was called into the Northern Ireland squad for a friendly game against Uruguay. The game was played in front of a crowd of just 3,500 at Windsor Park on Friday evening, the 18th May.
Northern Ireland won the game 1-0. The goal came following a couple of set pieces; a foul on Dowie resulted in a free kick that was deflected for a corner. Robbie Dennison played the corner to the near post where it was flicked on by Gutierrez. Under pressure from both Dowie and Taggart. Kevin Wilson was first to the loose ball and stabbed it home from close range. Northern Ireland controlled the midfield for most of the game with Celtic’s Anton Rogan giving an outstanding display. Only in the last 15 minutes did the Uruguayans create anything with Lazio’s Ruben Sosa and Marseille’s Enzo Francescoli showing their true class. John Devine played the last 10 minutes of the game, coming on as substitute for Colin Hill.
Con Martin – 1 cap (6 in total + 30 for Rep of Ireland)
Cornelius Joseph Martin was born in Dublin on 23rd March 1923. His football career began with Drumcondra where he played from 1944 to 1946. He moved north and joined Glentoran for the 1946-47 season. Con Martin scored just once in his 22 games for the Glens, a penalty in a 5-0 Regional League victory over Cliftonville at Solitude. He also was in the Glentoran team that suffered the worst (joint) defeat in our history, 9-0 at Belfast Celtic on 10th September 1946. He moved to Leeds Utd from Glentoran but after just one season at Leeds he was on his travels again, joining Aston Villa in 1948. Martin won 6 caps for Northern Ireland and 30 for Rep of Ireland. Amazingly he was capped for both North & South whilst with the Glens. His first Rep of Ireland cap came in June 1946 v Portugal when he came on as substitute to replace the goalkeeper! He kept his place in goal for the next international (v Spain) but after that reverted to centre-half.
Thomas McKeague – 1 cap
Thomas Alexander McKeague was born on 4th May 1904 in Co Cavan. His football career began with Sydenham YM before he joined Glentoran for the 1922-23 season. He made 5 appearances that first year and the following season netted the first of his 66 goals when he scored against Larne in a 5-1 Irish League win. The 1924-25 season saw Glentoran crowned as Irish League champions. They also lifted the Co Antrim Shield and the Charity Cup but lost 2-1 to Distillery at Solitude in the Irish Cup final. Tommy McKeague scored 4 in one game, against Larne in the City Cup of 1926-27 and the following season won his one and only international cap. That came against France in Buffalo, Paris on 21st February 1928, a friendly game organised at short notice. Initially it was considered an amateur game but when it was brought to the attention of FIFA that the Irish international selection committee had in fact met to pick the side and that professional players were paid £1 to play it was elevated to full-international status. McKeague finished his career with Glentoran at the end of the 1929-30 season, having made a total of 262 appearances. He died on 3rd March 1989.
Hugh Meek – 1 cap
In what was his first season (1920-21) with the Glens, Hugh Meek played 37 games at inside-forward and scored 22 goals. That goals tally included 3 hattricks; against Distillery & Linfield in the League and v Forth River in the Charity Cup. It turned out to be a great season for Glentoran with the Irish League, Irish Cup and Co Antrim Shield all coming to the Oval. The following season was a poor one for the Glens with arch-rivals Linfield lifting all the trophies on offer. At the end of the campaign however, Hugh Meek was selected for an IFA tour to Norway. In 1923-24 Meek netted 11 goals in 22 games and he added another 19 goals the following season as Glentoran regained the League Championship. The Glens also lifted the Charity Cup and the Co Antrim Shield, where Meek scored in our 2-1 victory over Belfast Celtic at Solitude. He won his solitary cap that season in a 0-0 draw against Wales. The following season was Hugh Meek’s last for Glentoran. His career at the Oval ended with him making 149 appearances and scoring 81 goals.
Eddie Mitchell – 1 cap (2 in total)
Edward James Mitchell was born on 26th September 1912 at Whitehouse. He spent 3 seasons with Cliftonville from 1931-33 and won his first cap whilst playing for the Reds. He played just one season (33-34) with Glentoran and scored 6 goals in 30 games. He also won his other cap during this time. Mitchell returned to Cliftonville for the 1934-35 season before moving on to Ballymena Utd. Along with his 2 full international caps, Eddie Mitchell also won 3 amateur caps. He died in Belfast on 10th January 1964.
Cecil Moore – 1 cap
Goalkeeper Cecil Moore made his debut in the 1945-46 season, aged 19 and made a total of 23 appearances that term. The following year he played just 11 times but one of those games was a crushing 9-0 defeat to Belfast Celtic, a result that equaled Glentoran Football Club’s worst ever defeat! The next couple of years saw Cecil become the regular keeper and he played alongside such Northern Ireland legends as Blanchflower, Bingham and Peacock during their time with the Glens.
In 1949 Cecil Moore played in the Irish Cup final against Derry City, a game that the Glens lost 3-1. He was also on the losing side later that year as Glentoran went ‘Back to the Oval’ but the following year was to be one of success for both Moore and the club. Despite losing the Gold Cup final to the old enemy the Glens were crowned League Champions for the first time in 20 years. They also picked up the Ulster Cup, City Cup and the Irish Cup - beating Ballymena Utd 3-1 in the final. Cecil Moore played 50 games in goal that season, bringing his total appearances to 181. He was awarded a benefit game in May 1952 with Glentoran drawing 1-1 with Luton Town. Cecil Moore was capped in 1949. The game, played on 9th March, was against Wales and was played at Windsor Park. Moore was beaten twice (by Edwards & Ford) as the visitors won 2-0.
Robert Rea – 1 cap
Rea played only one season with Glentoran (1900-01) in which he made 16 appearances, scoring 8 goals. His first campaign in the Irish League was with Cliftonville in 1895-96. Spells with Linfield, Distillery and Belfast Celtic followed before he moved to Glentoran. Rea returned to Celtic and also played for Cliftonville and Ulster before leaving for the USA. Two of Robert Rea’s brothers also played for Glentoran - Sam from 1902-03 to 1907-08 and Fred from 1906-07 to 1910-11.
Fred Roberts- 1 cap
Frederick Charles Roberts was born in Susan Street, off the Newtownards Road in 1905. In his youth he was a skip boy with Sandford and also a keen athlete with Willowfield Harriers. His sprinting and high jumping at Willowfield, along with his 6ft plus build, were to prove a big asset as he developed his football career. After spells with Bandon and Ravenscroft Roberts spent four seasons with Newington Rangers, scoring more than 200 goals for the Larne side. He played for Belfast Celtic for a short time before joining Queens Island where he won his first medal; the City Cup. Fred’s next club was Broadway United and during his spell there he won an Irish junior international cap.
Roberts joined Glentoran prior to the start of the 1928-29 season and made his debut away to Newry Town. It was an eventful start, Fred missing a penalty but also scoring the only goal of the game. He failed to find the net in his next match but then scored the first of 40 hattricks for Glentoran in the following game against Bangor. Fred got both goals in his first ‘big-two’ game (a 2-1 win) and followed that with 4 against Glenavon and 1 against Ballymena Utd. What a start! 11goals in just 6 games! That first season saw Fred Roberts score 66 goals in 44 games but the only trophy in the cabinet was the Charity Cup. He scored 57 in 42 games in his second season but Glentoran finished the season empty handed.
1930-31 was a different story. Glentoran won the League Championship and the Co Antrim Shield but these two feats were overshadowed by Roberts setting a remarkable scoring record which will never be beaten; 96 goals in 47 games. Indeed that Co Antrim Shield campaign saw the Glens score 9 times with Fred getting 8 of them. He was rewarded in February that year with an international cap against Scotland. The game, played in very blustery conditions, finished 0-0. With the Irish team struggling to find the back of the net over many games it is amazing that this was Fred’s only international appearance. Glentoran’s 50th year saw the club win the City Cup and beat rivals Linfield 2-1 in the Irish Cup final (with goals from Lucas and Roberts). Again Fred scored freely throughout the season, 64 in 43 games. 1932-33 saw Glentoran retain the Irish Cup defeating Distillery 3-1 after two 1-1 draws. Fred scored 49 in 45 games, bringing his totals to: 332 goals in 221 games. In May 1933 Fred Roberts was amazingly allowed to leave Glentoran on a free transfer. He moved to Distillery before finishing his career with Dundela. Eventually Fred returned to the Oval as coach to Glentoran Olympic.