Terry Conroy (top right) handed over his medals voluntarily, but not so Mick Smyth, Shamrock Rovers goalkeeping great of the ’60s and ’70s, who had around 30 of his prized pieces of silver stolen from his home on Dublin’s northside while out walking his dog last Tuesday week.
Smyth won five FAI Cups in a row with The Hoops from 1965 to ’69 (a period when Waterford were dominating the league), and went on to collect two championship medals with Bohs in the decade that followed. He was also Irish Football Personality of the Year in 1977.
Mick, 68, who is installed in Rovers’ Hall of Fame, played for Ireland just the once, coming on as a sub in an away friendly against Poland in October 1968 under Corkman Charlie Hurley, Sunderland’s ‘player of the century’. (That May the countries had played out a 2-2 draw at Dalymount in which Alfie Hale scored his first international goal, heading home a last-minute equaliser from a cross by Eamon Dunphy after coming on as a sub. Alfie’s clubmate, the ‘naturalised’ Peter Thomas, with two appearances, avoided the ‘one-cap wonder’ tag; Brian Murphy-watchers might observe that at least home-based ‘keepers got a look-in back then).
Mick was in Croke Park to witness our defeat by the Poles less than a week before his house was broken into. Having heard what happened, broadcaster Gerry Ryan is to get onto John Delaney to see if some replacement medals can be minted, and provide some special tickets for Mick for Ireland’s next home game. Unfortunately, such is Irish society that someone may have to house-sit for him while he’s out.