When we were Kings

November 8, 2018

A new book detailing Athlone Town’s only FAI Cup win, in 1924, is to be launched later this week. The book, written by Westmeath Independent editor Tadhg Carey, tells the story of the epic voyage undertaken by Athlone Town on their way to cup success. Published to mark the 85th anniversary, ‘When We Were Kings’ revisits an era of Irish football when Athlone Town FC were truly kings. The launch by former Athlone Town manager Turlough O’Connor will take place in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel in Athlone at 7.45pm on Thursday, April 16, and is open to the public. All are welcome to attend, particularly those involved in the footballing world in Athlone and further afield. After the creation of the League of Ireland in 1921, Athlone Town were the first non-Dublin side to join. A few years later, they had seized the blue riband FAI Cup (then known as the Free State Cup) after overturning the citadels of footballing power along the way. In the intervening years despite twice winning the league and enjoying European forays, Athlone Town have failed to add to that single cup success. The result of five years’ research, When We Were Kings traces the careers of some great names of Athlone’s proud footballing past, such as Denis Hannon, Frank Ghent, Joe Monahan and Jim Sweeney. In total, there are biographical sketches of some 40 players from that era. Featuring over 350 pages of text, packed with statistical round-ups and illustrated with up to 100 photographs, many of which have never been published before, When We Were Kings is likely to be a indispensable guide to a glorious era in local football. The book revisits the cup final on St Patrick’s Day, 1924, when Athlone Town overcame Cork side Fordsons in front of 22,000 people – to this day the largest attendance at an Athlone Town match in this country. It also uncovers Athlone Town’s fascinating role in writing the first chapter of sport in an independent Ireland. Five of the 1924 team were part of an Irish football team which competed in the 1924 Olympics. They were both Ireland’s first Olympians and first international football team. When We Were Kings was printed by Temple Printing in Athlone and will retail at €22.99 in hardback. Following the launch, copies can be purchased at the Westmeath Independent office, at Sean Costello Street, Athlone, at Athlone Town stadium at matchdays and at Keenan Sports, Irishtown Central. Copies can also be obtained by contacting the author by email at All are welcome at this launch.