Belfast Celtic 1891 - 1949

The Grand Old Team 

A Grand Night Out for the Grand Old Team

Over one hundred people came to the club rooms at Donegal Celtic for the successful Return to Paradise evening. Belfast Celtic Society president Jimmy Jones was introduced by Society chairman Padraig Coyle and given a huge welcome by the crowd. Padraig also acknowledged the presence of former players Jimmy Donnelly and Gerry Burrell. The audience also included the widow and family of Johnny Campbell, the nephew and nieces of Jackie Vernon, Charlie Tully junior, and Susan Gallagher and Clare Hill, daughters of club director Patsy McAlinden.


Enda Fanning, who travelled as a supporter with the team to the USA in 1949, made the journey up from his home in Dublin while Jim and Val Walker came across from Edinburgh and were also greeted with warm applause. Jim's father John (Scotty) Walker played along side Harry Walker for Celtic in the late 1930s. The audience enjoyed scenes from the play ' Paradise' performed by Lalor Roddy, Alan McKee, Conor Grimes, Ciaran Lagan and Brian Markey.

At the end of the performance, Jimmy Jones, Jimmy Donnelly, Charlie Tully junior, Gerry Burrell, Enda Fanning and Mrs Kitty Campbell shared their memories of the Grand Old Team. One of the most touching moments of the evening came when Enda Fanning, who had won a framed photograph of the 1949 Belfast Celtic team in the USA, presented it to Mrs Campbell.pbe

Legendary Belfast Celtic player Jimmy Jones

Padraig Coyle spoke about the society's quest to establish an archive of Belfast Celtic items and thanked the Progressive Building Society for its recent grant of £500.

The society was delighted to receive the gift of a Celtic jersey worn by Paddy Bonnar from Ambrose McCann, a Charlie Tully plaque donated by Charlie junior and a Belfast Celtic badge, programmes and photographs which came from Liam Martin, Pat Murphy and Pat McGreevy. Many other items were brought along on the night to be shown and savoured.

Former player Gerry Burrell

Ballot winners on the night included Noel Wilson, Pat Murphy, Gerry Carson, Niall Quinn, John McDowell, Paddy Kelly, Cormac Kelly, Sheila Fitzpatrick, Trevor Jones, Cecily Jones, Vincent McDonald, Enda Fanning and Ciaran Lagan.

Many thanks go to the prize donors: Paul Campbell of Gaelic Gear, Ed Vernon, Donegal Celtic FC, Glasgow Celtic FC, Cliftonville FC, Padraig Coyle, Paddy McIlroy and Martin Flynn.

Once again a big thank you to Donegal Celtic for giving us the use of the club premises and to all those who helped organise and support the event.

  Donegal Celtic manager Paddy Kelly celebrates his raffle win with comedy duo Alan McKee and Conor Grimes.
Enda Fanning presents Kitty Campbell with a framed portrait of the 1949 Belfast Celtic side that triumphed over Scotland in New York. Mrs Campbell's husband, Johnny, is credited with the game's both goals. Enda was a spectator at the game in New York's Triboro Stadium.   Ex-player Jimmy Donnelly from the Belfast Celtic Society shares a joke with Padraig Coyle, society chairperson.  
Charlie Tully Jnr, son of one of Belfast and Glasgow Celtic's most famous sons, clutches his fathers original contract signed on his transfer from Ireland to Scotland. His wages at the time were fourteen guineas a week.