Tuesday, January 26, 2016

26 January 1884 - Great Scots

On 26 January 1884, Ireland hosted the very first British Home Championship match, losing 0-5 to eventual winners Scotland.

The previous year, the football associations of the four British Home Nations--England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales--agreed to formalize their regular internationals in an annual tournament. They decided that each of the four members would play single matches against the other three, earning two points for a win and one point for a draw, with the champions being the team with the most points at the end.

The format for the new tournament called for Ireland to play their three matches first, so they welcomed Scotland to Ballynafeigh Park in Belfast for the inaugural match. It wasn't much of a contest, as the Scots rolled to victory with a goal from John Goudie and two each from James Gossland and William Harrower (despite the performance, it was Gossland's only cap for Scotland).

Ireland followed the match with further losses to Wales (6-0) and England (1-8), while Scotland proceeded to win both of their remaining matches (1-0 over England and 4-1 over Wales) to claim the first BHC title. It was the first of four consecutive titles for Scotland, who won the British Home Championship a total of 41 times before the competition came to an end in 1984.

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