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Norman Kernaghan

Name: Norman Kernaghan (some sources mis-spell his name Kernoghan)
Born: 29 July 1917*, Belfast
Died: 7 September 1997, Belfast
Position: Outside-Right

Representative Honours: Ireland: 3 Full Caps / 2 Goals (1936-1937), 2 Amateur Caps / 1 Goal (1935), 3 Schoolboy Caps (1932-1933); Irish League: 10 Caps / 1 Goal (1935-1940); Northern Regional League: 2 Caps / 2 Goals (1942).
Club Honours: (with Belfast Celtic) Irish League Champion 1935/36, 1936/37, 1937/38, 1938/39, 1939/40; Northern Regional League Champion 1940/41, 1941/42, 1943/44, 1942/43, 1944/45; Irish Cup Winner 1936/37, 1937/38, 1940/41, 1942/43; Gold Cup Winner 1939/40, 1943/44, Runner-Up 1937/38, 1938/39; City Cup Winner 1939/40; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1935/36, 1936/37, 1938/39; Charity Cup Winner 1938/39, Runner-Up 1935/36, 1940/41; (with Distillery) Irish Cup Runner-Up 1945/46; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1945/46; (with Ballymena United) Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1947/48.

Club Career:
FA Cup
Belfast Celtic
Ballymena United
* all games.
Managerial Career:
Hazeldene 52/53
Glenavon. 53/54
Northern Ireland Youth

Norman Kernaghan was born to John and Elizabeth (nee Cinnamon) at 32 Daisyfield Street, off the Crumlin Road. As a youngster he was a centre-half, and it was in that role that he played as a schoolboy, but it was as an outside-right that he starred in the Irish League and at international level.
Initially an amateur with Cliftonville, he played twice in Amateur internationals, scoring in a 2-4 defeat by England on his debut. He jumped at the chance to turn professional with Belfast Celtic at the behest of Austin Donnelly, though he continued to combine his football with his day-job as a compositor at the Newsletter. He quickly became a fans' favourite at Celtic Park, scoring his first goal in a 4-0 win over ex-club Cliftonville and earning the nickname "Twinkle Toes". Another moniker attributed to him was Shirley Temple due to his curly red hair.
Possessor of "blinding speed, perfect ball control and a powerful shot" he had all the attributes for the complete forward. At seventeen he was selected for the Irish League for an inter-league clash with the Football League, facing the likes of Raich Carter and Frank Swift in an historic 2-1 win. A year later he collected his first full cap, again marking the occasion with a goal in a 3-2 win over Wales.
Although often linked with moves to English football, Kernaghan had no desire to leave his native Belfast: "I didn't want to go away. I wanted to be here with my family and friends. I did a bit of swimming and diving. I played cricket and tennis in the summer and I was happy."
Although a noted goalscorer from the wing, it took Kernaghan to his eighth appearance in a major final to score a goal. He broke his duck with the only goal against Linfield in the 1939 Charity Cup decider. A year later he again scored the only goal as Linfield were seen off in the Gold Cup Final and he also scored in that season's Charity Cup Final, a 3-0 win over Glentoran. That was three finals in a row!
An integral part of the Celtic seven-in-a-row title winning team and a winner of four Irish Cups, Kernaghan left Celtic Park behind in 1945. He went on to Co. Antrim Shield successes with both Distillery and Ballymena United before retiring from playing in 1949. In the 1960s he was manager of the Northern Ireland Youth team that produced George Best.

From "Paradise Lost & Found" by Padraig Coyle (1999). Note inconsistencies regarding age*. (click to enlarge)
From "Belfast Celtic" by John Kennedy (1989).

Ireland Cap Details:
11-03-1936 Wales... H W 3-2 BC 1 Goal (age 18 years, 238 days)
31-10-1936 Scotland H L 1-3 BC 1 Goal
23-10-1937 England. H L 1-5 BC

Summary: 3/2. Won 1, Drew 0, Lost 2.

Ireland Amateur Cap Details:
16-02-1935 England. H L 2-4 1 Goal (age 17 years, 214 days)
17-04-1935 Scotland A W 3-2

Summary: 2/1. Won 1, Drew 0, Lost 1.

Irish League/Regional League Representative Appearance Details:
25-09-1935 A Football League.. W 2-1 (age 18 years, 20 days)
23-10-1935 H Scottish League.. L 2-3
02-09-1936 A Scottish League.. L 2-5
23-09-1936 H Football League.. W 3-2
01-09-1937 H Scottish League.. L 2-3 1 Goal
06-10-1937 A Football League.. L 0-3
17-03-1938 A League of Ireland W 3-1
11-03-1939 H League of Ireland D 2-2
30-08-1939 H Scottish League.. L 2-3
18-03-1940 A League of Ireland L 0-2
17-03-1942 A League of Ireland D 2-2 1 Goal
06-04-1942 H League of Ireland W 5-2 1 Goal

Summary: 12/3. Won 4, Drew 2, Lost 6.

Additional details by George Glass.

* Kernaghan's date of birth is noted in the Belfast Celtic players' register as 22 December 1918. This is at odds with other sources.


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