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Transfers Summer 2020

28 June 2008

Billy Smyth

Name: William Thomas Smyth
Born: c.1925, Belfast
Died: 14 January 2005, Belfast
Height: 5.11 ft
Weight: 11.02 st
Position: Goalkeeper

Representative Honours: Ireland: 4 Full Caps (1948-1953); Irish League: 13 Caps (1947-1953); Northern Regional League: 2 Caps (1947).
Club Honours: (with Distillery) Irish League Runner-Up 1951/52; Irish Cup Runner-Up 1945/46, 1949/50; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1945/46, Runner-Up 1952/53; Gold Cup Runner-Up 1947/48; Dublin & Belfast Inter-City Cup Runner-Up 1947/48; (with Ards) Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1955/56.

Club Career:
FA Cup
Balmoral United
* all games

The son of former Belfast Celtic goalkeeper, Jimmy, Billy Smyth first played for Distillery Seconds during the 1943/44 season at the age of 19. He broke into the first team the following season, making his debut in a 5-2 Gold Cup win at Cliftonville on 7th October 1944. Later that same day he played for the Seconds in an Intermediate Cup tie at Belfast Celtic!

Originally back-up to Ted Hinton, Smyth quickly permanently displaced his more experienced colleague. In the seasons that followed he helped the Whites challenge for all the major honours, claiming six runners-up medals, but a single winner's medal in the Co Antrim Shield with Bangor Reserves defeated 3-0 in the 1946 final.

In April 1947 Smyth made the first of fifteen inter-league appearances, the most of any Distillery player, as the Northern Regional League lost 1-0 to the League of Ireland at Windsor Park. A year later he won the first of four Ireland caps in a 6-2 defeat by England, coming into the team for the aforementioned Hinton.

Smyth briefly lost his club place to Joe Kinkead in the early 1950s, but when Kinkead was transferred to Linfield Smyth reestablished himself. Such was his return to form that Smyth earned a recall to the Ireland side during the 1953/54 season. During this period the Irish goalkeeping position was dominated by Distillery goalkeepers, with Smyth, Hinton and Norman Uprichard all earning multiple caps.

In 1952 Smyth was awarded a benefit match, with a Distillery XI facing a cross-channel Select XI at Grosvenor Park. He left the Whites mid-way through the 1954/55 season after losing his place. His total of 80 clean-sheets remains a club record. He joined Ards and in 1956 helped them to a Co Antrim Shield success, defeating Linfield 4-1 in the final having seen off Distillery in the semis.


Ireland Cap Details:
09-04-1948 England. H L 2-6 BC
17-11-1948 Scotland A L 2-3 BC
03-10-1953 Scotland H L 1-3 WCQ/BC
11-11-1953 England. A L 1-3 WCQ/BC

Summary: 4/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 4.

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