Former Larne primary school cup-winning team reunites half a century later

A memorable East Antrim Small Schools Cup final comeback from a three-goal deficit has been celebrated half a century on in Larne.

The players from the former Newlands Primary School team, who lifted the trophy in 1972, gathered for a 50-year anniversary re-union at the Blue Circle Cruising and Sailing Club.

The event at the Magheramorne venue was attended by over 30 past pupils of the school, which has since closed.

Special red and white striped shirts, with a relevant badge, were presented on the night to the original team members.

Back Row, L-R: David Irvine, James Hunter and Stephen Ramsay. Front Row, L-R: Paul Mawhinney, Steven McCourt, Tosh Craig, Trevor Stuart, and John Wilson.

One of the organisers, James Hunter, had recently researched the whereabouts of the original Blue Circle Trophy. He located it in Linn Primary School and heard it is still played for by Larne primary schools in a seven-a-side competition. It was kindly loaned out for the event by Mr Ritchie, a teacher at Linn PS.

The chairman of Blue Circle Cruising and Sailing Club, Wilson McCluggage, made a special 50-year’s later presentation of the trophy to the captain of the team, Tosh Craig. James Hunter gave a brief account of the final against The Thompson Primary School, from Ballyrobert, at Inver Park, Larne, on a wet and windy night in April, 1972, when Newlands came back from 0–3 down at half-time to win 5–3.

The team members also received medals from the Newlands PTA, and miniature cups from the management of the Blue Circle Cement Works, in Magheramorne. James Hunter had both his medal and cup on display in the club lounge, and Mr McCluggage presented the team members present with replica miniature cups, to commemorate the occasion. James quipped “It is hoped that some can find their originals!”

He added: “A buffet was provided during the evening, and a ballot run, both willingly organised by team member Stephen Ramsay. The Blue Circle Cruising and Sailing Club, the Book Nook, and Main Street Car Wash, all kindly donated the ballot prizes. Thanks are also due to Northstone (NI) Ltd for their substantial financial backing of the event.”

The Newlands Primary School Blue Circle Cup winning team in 1972.

Pool Competition

There was a pool competition for Newlands past pupils, organised by team member Trevor Stuart, and it was won by Mervyn Fleck, who was presented with the inaugural Blue Circle Cup, by Ian Paisley, of Carrick Pet Stores, a sponsor on the evening and a past pupil of Newlands PS.

“It is hoped that this new cup will be played for on an annual basis, which will help continue the fellowship of past pupils,” James explained. “All monies left over, following expenses, plus some generous donations, went to the local cancer charity, Hope House Ireland, at Browns Bay, Islandmagee, which amounted to £375, and upon receipt, thanks was expressed by Dawn McConnell.”

Read More

Read More
Newlandsreunited forspecial match
The 1972 Newlands team members with fellow pupils Patricia McDowell and Ruth Hood and Wilson McCluggage, chairman of Blue Circle Cruising & Sailing Club, at the reunion event.
The winner of the pool competition, Mervyn Fleck (right), with Ian Paisley, who sponsored the evening and is a former Newlands PS pupil.