Candy Men of ’54

Candy Men of ’54 is a charmingly crafted trip down memory lane to recall a special moment in the history of Derry City FC and Irish League football.

Derry City players and officials show of fthe 1954 Irish Cup in the Guild Hall.

Dripping in nostalgia, the author, Denis O’Hara, one of Northern Ireland’s leading sports writers, tracks down the four surviving members of the famous team that represented the Candystripes in the unique marathon Irish FA Cup Final of 1954. Derry City, against all the odds, defeated Glentoran in a second replay at Windsor Park.

The dramatic decider is known as ‘The Delaney finals’, the outcome securing a unique place in soccer history for ex-Scottish international Jimmy Delaney.

Jimmy Delaney signs for Derry City on January 1954

The author captures the flavour of that period. Dynamic Delaney is a true legend in soccer. This remarkable forward, born at Cleland in Scotland of Irish parents, completed an amazing personal odyssey.

After winning FA Cup medals with Glasgow Celtic and Manchester United, he is the sole
player to collect cup medals from three different soccer jurisdictions. He helped Derry City beat beat Belfast’s ‘Big Two’, starting against Linfield through a semi-final replay. The memorable matches of the three-game final also attracted record gates and attendances.The author, a college student who lived close to the Delaney family when Jimmy enjoyed his short and successful stint at The Brandywell, held a fascination for this outstanding athlete.

Derry City’s team pictured immediately after winning bthe 1954 Irish Cup at Windsor Park.

However, in 2009, O’Hara discovered there was much more to the 1954 Cup triumph, after
meeting the four survivors of the ‘Delaney Finals’ – Willie Curran, Harry ‘Digger’ Smyth,
Arthur ‘Mousey’ Brady and Charlie Heffron.

The ‘Candy Men of ’54’ book was launched on Saturday December 12th 2009 and is now on sale at leading bookshop outlets. The book can also be purchased through and at the reduced price, of £8.00 including P&P.

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