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irish free state harp 1934

This is perhaps one of the best-known pieces in The Aberdeen Collection. During Paddy Travers spell as manager at Pittodrie, from 1924 to 1938, the former Celtic and Aberdeen player carefully cultivated links between Aberdeen Football Club and the forerunner of the present Republic of Ireland - The Irish Free State. In the early 1930's the Dons had four Irishmen on their books, in 1934 two of whom were required by the Free State national team to take part in their World Cup qualifying matches against the Netherlands and Belgium. The players were centre forward Paddy Moore and half back Joe O'Reilly. Moore had taken over from Benny Yorston after the 1931 'Great Mystery' and one of the highlights of his Dons career was a six-goal romp against Falkirk in an 8-2 win in 1932.
Although the international matches coincided with regular league fixtures, Aberdeen readily agreed to release the players for duty in order to help out the Irish side. It was a worthwhile gesture as far as the Irish were concerned, since Moore scored all four goals in their 4-4 draw against Belgium at Dalymount Park in Dublin. He scored again against the Netherlands but this time he was on the losing side in a 5-2 defeat. Nonetheless the Aberdeen player had done his bit for his country. [There is a short clip on YouTube of that game against Belgium showing a couple of Moore's goals].
As a token of their appreciation the Irish Free State Football Association presented Aberdeen with the ornamental harp, which is carved from bog oak, in April 1934. It bears a small brass plate with a message of appreciation from the IFSFA. The harp has remained a permanent feature in the Pittodrie boardroom ever since, always attracting attention and the subject of discussion for visitors.


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28 Feb 2024 / 19:45 / Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen