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Saturday 10 December 2016

Breslin's goal gave officials a headache!

IT'S over a half century since Croke Park saw its first headed goal.

It came from Eamonn Breslin. He played for Ballyfermot Gaels.

Sean Creedon wrote a fine piece about it in Ireland's Own.

The weekly magazine has been a gem of the country since it was first published in 1902. The first edition cost one penny. It has never missed a week since.

The famous goal was scored in November, 1964. Dublin were playing Laois in the National League.

The game was twenty minutes old. Dublin were attacking the Canal End.

Brian McDonald swept past a cluster of defenders. His pass found the great Jackie Gilroy, father of Pat and a Godfather of St Vincent's.

Jackie didn't pick up the ball. He chipped it across the goal.

"The ball came across at the right height," Eamonn told Sean.

"And it was just a spur of the moment thing as I managed to head it past the surprised goalkeeper."

The reaction to the goal was one of the most interesting features.

"Instead of cheering, there was disbelief and silence as the crowd waited a few seconds before the umpires and the referee decided the goal was legal," recalled Eamonn.

The referee was Seamus Aldridge. The GAA's Ban on foreign sports was still in force.

"There was no rule against it," explained Seamus. "To me, it was like the ball going in off a player's hand or foot.

"It was a controversial score at the time, and it became a popular quiz question."

The controversy about the goal ran for weeks.

It was said that a few years previously, a headed goal in Cork was disallowed for 'dangerous play.'

Following Breslin's goal, there was even mention about submitting a motion to Congress to outlaw headed goals. For a spell, Eamonn was the talk of the nation. Just over 8,000 spectators were in Croke Park, and the goal helped Dublin to win by 1-11 to 0-10.

Eamonn was rewarded with the Sports Star of the Week accolade in the Irish Press.

He never played competitive soccer, and after his Dublin career, he played rugby for Monkstown.

Yet his one moment in time will live on forever.

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