Cherry Orchard FC History

November 7, 2018



Cherry Orchard was formed in 1957 in the Ballyfermot area of Dublin, the club catered for adult players, with its home ground being The Lawn and entered the Leinster  Alliance League, before  joining the Leinster Junior League.

The club enjoyed some success there, including a Sheeran Cup win, before moving to the Athletic Union League in the mid 1960s. The club quickly established themselves in the A.U.L. but the big prizes in the junior grade eluded the Orchard until the 1980-81 Season.  Then, the club won the Football Association of Ireland Junior Cup – a competition that attracts an annual entry of over 1500 teams – the AUL Premier League and the Liddy and McDowell Cups.

Further FAI Junior Cup successes followed in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990 and 1991 and, with the league title having already been captured on four occasions, the club decided to move to the Intermediate grade in 1992.

In their first season in the Leinster Senior League, the Orchard gained promotion to the top division, which it won a year later. Four more league titles have followed, as well as domestic cup successes and in 1998, the FAI Intermediate Cup.

 Golden teams & achievements

The early days of the senior teams saw the club achieve two runners-up in the Premier Division, as well as being finalists in the FAI Junior Cup and the Leinster Junior Cup (twice).

The big prizes in the junior game eluded the Orchard until John Wilkes became manager in 1981. In his first season in charge, John, ably assisted by Joe Healy, guided his players to success in the FAI Junior Cup, the AUL Premier Division  league and the Liddy and McDowell Cups. The team were regular visitors to the winners enclosure in the following years, most notably achieving an unprecedented hat-trick of FAI Junior Cup successes between 1985 and 1987.

Further FAI Junior Cup wins followed in 1990 and 1991 and with the league and the Liddy Cup both having been won on four occasions, the club decided to enter the intermediate grade. In their first season in the Leinster Senior League, 1992-93, the team gained promotion to the top division of the League and became the first winners of the Charlie Cahill Cup. The following season the Orchard win the Senior Division League, the Metropolitan Cup and finished runners-up in the FAI Intermediate Cup. More league and cup honours were to follow in the following seasons, with the FAI Intermediate Cup being secured in 1998. Meanwhile, the Orchard's Saturday team captured the FAI and the Leinster Junior Cups in the 1994-95 season, the only time that double has been won by a club's second team.

When John Wilkes and Joe Healy retired  at the end of the 1999-2000 campaign,, they were succeeded by former player Paul O'Brien, who in his first season in charge saw his team win the a treble of league and the Metropolitan and Charlie Cahill Cups. And that was followed by a league and Metropolitan Cup double in the following season.

After a barren spell, the league title was captured again in the 2006-07 season, when Joe Somerville was in charge.



Cherry Orchard entered schoolboys football in 1970, when five teams competed in the Dublin and District League and they made an early impact at this level when, in the 1971-72 season, the under 15A team won a league and cup double and had five players on the Republic of Ireland schoolboys international team.

That side set a high standard for others to follow but their achievements have been emulated by other Orchard teams over the years.The club is regarded as one of the top schoolboy outfits in Ireland and regularly supplies players to the underage international sides.

When the Republic of Ireland won the European U16 and U18 titles in 1998, former Orchard player Andy Reid played in the under 16 team, while another ex Orchard man Alan Quinn scored Ireland’s goal in the under 18 final against Germany.

Andy and Alan are just two of more than thirty of our former players who are now with professional clubs in England and Scotland. One of the first Orchard players to join an English club, David Langan, (Derby County, Birmingham City and Oxford Utd.) played 26 times for the Republic of Ireland between 1978 and 1986 and is the club’s most capped player.

Cherry Orchard has a record of success in schoolboys football at domestic and international level but the club’s greatest achievement was in July 1993 when our under 16 team beat Glasgow Rangers in the final of the Northern Ireland Milk Cup, to add the club’s name to that of Manchester Utd, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur who had previously been successful in that prestigious competition.

Our Milk Cup winning side was managed by Christy Hammond with his brother Sean.

Golden teams & achievements

As discussed above: Cherry Orchard made their first foray into youth football in 1970, and success arrived early when, in the 1971-72 season, the under 15A side won a league and Cannon Cup double and supplied four players  – Christy Bradley, Mark Kavanagh, Don O'Riordan and Eddie Hogan – to the Republic of Ireland Schoolboys international team. And Tony Byrne, whose son Paul was to play with distinction for the Orchard schoolboys many years later, was reserve goalkeeper with the international  side.

The under 15 team of 1971-72, which was managed by Gerry Flynn and John Wilkes, enjoyed further success up to and including Youths football  and they set a high standard for other Orchard teams to follow. However,  their achievements have been emulated  by several sides over the years, with the club's first success at national level being achieved in 1977 when the under 15s beat Shelbourne 4-2 in the SFAI Evans Cup final played at the IGBC grounds in Goatstown..

Many other successes have been achieved in the intervening years, with the 1992-93 and 2002-2003 campaigns being ones of exceptional achievement. In 1992-93, Orchard teams won six league titles, three national cup competitions and seven domestic cups, while ten years later the club captured six of the eight eleven a side Premier leagues, three national cups and the Leinster Youths cup.

Meanwhile, in July 1993 Cherry Orchard achieved its greatest success in underage football when a team managed by brothers Christy and Sean Hammond  won the Northern Ireland  U16 Milk Cup competition, beating Glasgow Rangers 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the final played before a crowd of 10,000 at the Coleraine Showgrounds. The Orchard became and remain the only amateur club to have  won the competition, with the likes of Manchester Utd, Liverpool, Spurs and Newcastle being successful in previous years and the national teams of Russia, Chile and Paraguay winning out more recently.

 Orchard alumni

David Langan ( Derby County, Birmingham City and Oxford Utd ), who played 26 times for the Republic of Ireland between 1978 and 1986, is the club's most capped  senior international player. Other former players to be capped at the highest level are current internationals Andy Reid, Alan Lee, Alan Quinn and Wayne Henderson while Stephen Gleeson ( Wolves ) made two substitute appearances in Ireland's friendlies against Ecuador and Bolivia in May 2007.

Current and former Orchard players are regularly selected in  international teams from under 15 to under 21 level and six old boys, Jonathan Daly (Stockport County), Sean Dillon and Stephen Paisley (both Longford Town), Keith Fahey (St Patricks Athletic), Willo Flood (Manchester City) and Wayne Henderson (Aston Villa) played for Ireland in the World under 20 finals in the United Arab Emirates in November 2003. In addition, Andy Reid was a member of Ireland's under 16 Eiropean Championships winning team in 1998 and Alan Quinn scored Ireland;s goal in the under 18 Europoean Championships final against Germany in the same year, when Ireland won on penalties after a 1-1 draw.