Jack Fitzgerald (footballer)

Last updated
Jack Fitzgerald
Personal information
Full nameJack Fitzgerald
Date of birth(1930-04-03)3 April 1930
Place of birth Waterford, Ireland
Date of death 23 November 2003(2003-11-23) (aged 73)
Playing position Forward
Youth career
–1949 Waterford Bohemians
Senior career*
1949–1950 Waterford ? (0)
1951–1964 Waterford ? (121)
1964–1965 Cork Hibernians 20 (9)
National team
1955–1956 Republic of Ireland 2 (1)
League of Ireland XI ? (?)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Jack Fitzgerald (3 April 1930 – 23 November 2003) was an Irish professional footballer.


Fitzgerald was the Golden Boy of Waterford football during the Fifties. Jack was one of six brothers who played in the League of Ireland for the Blues - Denny, Tom, Ned, Peter Fitzgerald (footballer) and Paul were the others. Their father, Michael, was a native of Durrow and a hurler, only becoming involved with football through his sons. However, he subsequently was elected chairman of Waterford and became an international selector in the early 1960s.

Peter Joseph Fitzgerald was an Irish professional footballer.

Fitzgerald had started his career as a right half at Waterford Bohemians and along with his brother Denny was in the squad that won the FAI Youth Cup in 1947.

The FAI Youth Cup, also known as the FAI Umbro Youth Challenge Cup, is a cup competition organised by the FAI for youth association football clubs and teams in the Republic of Ireland. The inaugural winners were Greenmount Rangers. The competition's most successful club has been Home Farm who have won the cup eleven times. They have also been finalists on a further seven occasions. In 1964–65 a Home Farm A team, featuring Terry Conroy and Billy Newman, played a Home Farm B team in the final at Tolka Park. The cup is currently sponsored by Umbro.


After making his League of Ireland debut in the 1949-50 League of Ireland season he spent the following season working in England. When he returned for the 1951-52 League of Ireland season, player-manager Jimmy Nelson switched him to centre-forward during an injury crisis. Jack responded with a couple of goals and his career took off from there.

League of Ireland association football league

The League of Ireland, together with the Football Association of Ireland, is one of the two main governing bodies responsible for organising association football in the Republic of Ireland. The term was originally used to refer to a single division league. However today the League of Ireland features five divisions – the Premier Division, the First Division, an U19 Division, an U17 Division, an U15 Division and starting March 2019 an U13 Division. The League of Ireland has always worked closely with the FAI and in 2006 the two bodies formally merged. All the divisions are currently sponsored by Airtricity and as a result the league is also known as the SSE Airtricity League. In 2007, it became one of the first leagues in Europe to introduce a salary cap. The league's most successful club is Shamrock Rovers who have won 17 titles. Together with Dundalk, Bohemians and Shelbourne they are one of four clubs in the league to feature a golden star above their badge in recognition of winning ten titles. Bohemians are the only club in the league to have played every season in the top division.

Blessed with good pace, once in the penalty area he could finish to the net equally well with either his head or his foot. His tall, blond figure bursting through defences was a thrilling sight and if he lacked a little ball control he more than made up for it with his willingness to chase everything, making life difficult for his markers.

He won amateur caps, full international caps and inter-League honours, but fitting football in with his work as a milk delivery man wasn't easy. Yet, when he got the chance to move to England, he turned it down. First in with an offer was Matt Busby in October 1953. The fee was £8,000 but an inopportune cartilage operation put an end to that. Shortly after he signed professional for Waterford.

Matt Busby Scottish footballer and manager

Sir Alexander Matthew Busby, CBE, KCSG was a Scottish football player and manager, who managed Manchester United between 1945 and 1969 and again for the second half of the 1970–71 season. He was the first manager of an English team to win the European Cup and is widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time.

At Waterford

The following season Jack's partnership with the ill-starred Scot Jimmy Gauld, who was later to be jailed for the 1964 match-fixing scandal in England, caught the public's imagination and set attendance records around the country. This brought Jack back into the limelight and he scored the winning goal against Netherlands national football team in Dalymount Park, [1] which seemed to presage a lengthy international career. However, he then broke his ankle playing against the Hessen League in Germany. That didn't stop Sunderland pursuing him, the chairman even visiting him in hospital seeking his signature and inviting Jack and his wife over to do some house-hunting. Jack declined, citing as his excuse that he was a bad traveller.

James Gauld was a Scottish footballer, who played as an inside forward. He began his career with Aberdeen but failed to make a first team appearance before being released. Gauld went on to play in the Highland League for Huntly and Elgin City, and then played in the League of Ireland for Waterford. In his one season with the club, he finished as top goalscorer in the League of Ireland with 30 goals. His form led to a move to England in 1955, where he joined Charlton Athletic. Gauld was transferred to Everton the following year, and then joined Plymouth Argyle in 1957. Two seasons later, he was on the move again, joining Swindon Town for a club record fee.

Netherlands national football team Mens national association football team representing the Netherlands

The Netherlands national football team has represented the Netherlands in international football matches since 1905. The national team is controlled by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), which is a part of UEFA, and under the jurisdiction of FIFA the governing body for football in the Netherlands. Most of the Netherlands' home matches are played at the Johan Cruyff Arena and the Stadion Feijenoord. The team is colloquially referred to as Het Nederlands Elftal or Oranje, after the House of Orange-Nassau. Like the country itself, the team is sometimes referred to as Holland. The fan club is known as "Het Oranje Legioen".

Dalymount Park football stadium

Dalymount Park is a football stadium in Phibsborough on the Northside of Dublin, Ireland.

A hat-trick in the return game against the Hessen League in Dalymount earned him a recall to the international team. Holland were the opposition again and Jack contributed handsomely to a famous 4-1 win in Rotterdam. Such was the Dutch dismay at this football lesson from the Irish that they switched from amateur to professional football as a result.

Despite being such crowd-pleasers, that Waterford team just missed out on the honours, twice being pipped for the League title and losing the 1959 FAI Cup final to St Patrick's Athletic after a replay. By 1964 the tide had turned and they had to apply for re-election. At the end of that season a note was pushed under Jack's front door telling him he was being released. After 16 years with Waterford, that was the only sour note - the fact that none of the directors had the courtesy to call on him and tell him personally that he was surplus to requirements.

He signed for Cork Hibernians and enjoyed one good season, finishing top scorer, before work commitments forced him to quit. At the end of the 2013 League of Ireland season Fitzgerald is joint seventeenth in the all-time League of Ireland goalscoring list with 130 league goals [2]

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  1. http://www.soccerscene.ie/sssenior/player.php?id=388.html
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-06. Retrieved 2009-02-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)