Belfast Celtic 1891 - 1949

Bertie Jac Mehaffey

by Jimmy Donnelly

Bertie Jac Mehaffey played with Belfast Celtic from 1912 to 1914 when they won the Irish League amd he received his medal. During the next season 1914-1915, the Board of Directors appointed a new manager, Jimmy Magowan, and once again, this seemed to have the desired effect on the players.

They reached the final of the Irish cup only to be beaten 1-0 by Linfield. The team on the day was Mehaffey, Nelson. Barrett, Leathem, Hamill, Norwood, Kerr, Williams, Cowell, McKnight and Hegan. Had they won the cup it could well have been a glorious season because they won the Irish league for the second time in a few years. In the team on that day, Celtic had Mickey Hamill, the captain, who also played for both Manchester United and Manchester City at different times.

Jimmy Donnelly

There was also Ned "Smiler" Kerr who earned his nickname because he wore and everlasting grin. As well as being a superb ball.player, he was described as an artist whose canvas was the field. Beating a defender, he would wait until he recovered and then proceed to trick him again, still wearing the huge grin. Johnny Leathem, who came to Celtic Park from Dundalk, possessed a very wide knowledge of the game and was equally at home in any of the half-back positions. "Hack", as he was called, for obvious reasons, hailed from Lurgan, the breeding ground of so many great players.

Bertie joined the Royal Navy and was discharged in 1919. He then went back to help Celtic win the league in 1919/20 when the team opted out of the Irish League after crowd trouble at Cliftonville in a match with Glentoran. For the nexy four years, Celtic had to survive through other sporting sidelines such as athletics, cycling, boxing, and other lesser sports. Bertie Mehaffey shared a unique record with his three brothers - Sam, John (Finogue) and Davy, in that they were all first class senior goalkeepers.

In the Irish Cup final 1920/21 Glentoran with Bertie Mehaffey in goals beat Glenavon 2-0 who had his brother John Mehaffey in their goals. Bertie was then transferred to Oldham in 1922 and came back to Glentoran in the summer of 1923. He was next transferred to New Brighton in 1924, where he remained to 1929 when he returned to Belfast Celtic.

The season 1929/30 saw Celtic lift the City Cup with the team line-up for most of the season: Mehaffey, Ferguson, Fulton, Moore, Donoghue, Mooney, Carroll, Gallagher, McColgan, S and J Mahood. In 1930/31, they again secured the City Cup for the sixth time.

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