Reeling in the years - memories of 1988
Boys in Green share top honour in the charts with Enya and U2
Jack Charlton's men topped the singles charts during Euro 88 with the specially-commissioned ‘Boys in Green’, after the team famously performed the song under the baton of presenter Gay Byrne on the ‘Late Late Show’. Ireland’s four-week reign at No 1 in 1988 was only matched by U2 with ‘Desire’, Enya’s ‘Sail Away’ and Cliff Richard’s Christmas number ‘Mistletoe and Wine’.
Aldridge and Houghton’s Liverpool FA Cup woe
A league-winning Liverpool side, featuring Ireland’s John Aldridge and Ray Houghton, suffered a 1-0 shock defeat to Wimbledon in May’s FA Cup final that year. To make matters worse for Aldridge, he failed to cancel out Lawrie Sanchez’s 37th-minute goal when awarded a penalty in the second half.
£1.40 for a pint but Taoiseach’s tastes way beyond most means
Fans who stayed at home for the tournament paid just £1.40 (€1.77) for a pint in a pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland where the average price of a house was £40,900 (€52,000). Although, then Taoiseach Charlie Haughey’s favourite Charvet shirts remained reassuringly expensive at £700 (€888) each.
Powell’s ‘Rhyme ‘n’ Reason’ wins Grand National
Ireland also had reason to celebrate at Aintree that year as the Kildare-born jockey Brendan Powell was landed the Grand National aboard the Downpatrick-bred Rhyme ‘n’ Reason, which won the race by four lengths.
Troubles heat up after Provos killed in Gibraltar
Soccer was forgotten when loyalist Michael Stone killed three mourners in a grenade and gun attack on the Belfast funeral of three Provisional IRA members, who were unarmed when controversially shot by the SAS at Gibraltar in March. Two days later, two British army corporals were abducted, beaten and killed by the IRA after driving into the funeral cortège of one of Stone’s victims.
Kelly reigns in Spain after Vuelta a Espana victory
Sean Kelly was busy making his mark on the continent for Ireland before Charlton’s men set foot on German soil that summer. The Waterford man claimed his Vuelta a Espana title in May after defending his Paris-Nice crown in March.
Celine Dion on a roll for Swiss as Dublin hosts Eurovision
Ireland was the venue for another European competition that year as Dublin played host to the Eurovision following Johnny Logan’s 1987 victory with ‘Hold Me Now’. Ireland failed to follow that up, finishing eighth with ‘Take Him Home’ by Jump the Gun in the RDS competition which was won by Celine Dion with ‘Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi’.
Ireland’s rugby team suffer disaster at Five Nations
Ireland’s rugby team failed to match their soccer counterparts after a woeful Five Nations – won by both France and Wales – in which they finished bottom of the table with their 22-18 win over Scotland their only victory.
Cinemas struggle to keep up pace with Euro 88
While the majority of the nation remained glued to their television sets to keep track of Euro 88, Paul Hogan returned as Mick Dundee in ‘Crocodile Dundee II’, while ‘Beetlejuice’ and ‘Police Academy 5’ also hit the big screen that summer.
Tribesmen and Royals extend their All-Ireland rule
Cyril Farrell managed Galway to a 1-15 to 0-14 victory over Tipperary to retain the Tribesmen’s All-Ireland hurling crown – the western county wouldn’t bring back Liam MacCarthy across the Shannon again until last year’s triumph. Meath also clung on to their football title after a controversial Brian Stafford-free in the dying seconds of the first game forced a replay against the Cork. The Royals would continue their reign of the football championship after their single-point win in the October replay.
Dublin city celebrates its millennium birthday
The capital city’s millennium celebrations saw the arrival of the Molly Malone statue to Grafton Street and Anna Livia to O’Connell Street. Soccer fans would make the “Floozie in the Jacuzzi” their own, when jumping into the fountain to celebrate Ireland’s World Cup exploits two years later during Italia 90.
Smith makes Olympics debut in South Korea
After the Euros there was no joy for Ireland at that summer’s Olympics in South Korea as future triple gold medallist Michelle Smith (then 18) summed up the country’s performance by failing to progress beyond the stages on her Games debut. Elsewhere, Canada’s Ben Johnson set a 100m record (9.79 seconds) in Seoul before being stripped of his title after he was disqualified for doping.
Martin Cahill jailed and linked with art heist
While the country was distracted by the Euros, Dublin criminal Martin Cahill spent four months behind bars after breaching the peace following a firearms charge. RTÉ named the ‘General’ as the mastermind behind the multi-million pound art heist from Russborough House, the stately home of Lord and Lady Beit in County Wicklow, earlier that year. Bizarrely, Cahill was also arrested for exposure in 1988 after dropping his trousers in a stunt for reporters following a court appearance but was released without charge.
Dunhill Cup glory for Smyth, Darcy and Rafferty
Des Smyth, Ronan Rafferty and Eamonn Darcy followed Ray Houghton’s lead by beating England in the semi-finals of the now-defunct Dunhill Cup in October. After dismissing the old enemy, the Irish trio defeated Australia 2-1 to claim victory at St Andrew’s and £51,000 (€ 64,000) each – more than any Irish golfer had earned.
Party continues as Michael Jackson arrives
Days after Ireland’s final game against the Dutch, Cork city rocked to the music of Michael Jackson as the King of Pop played to over 120,000, some of whom paid just £18.50 (€23.50) for a ticket, in Páirc Uí Chaoimh over two nights that were part of his worldwide ‘Bad’ Tour.
Wyse head seals Dundalk’s FAI Cup and league double
On the domestic soccer scene, league winners Dundalk had the referee to thank in the Cup final after a generous penalty following a push on Larry Wyse. John Cleary duly dispatched from the spot, sealing the Lilywhites’ 1-0 win over Derry and the double.
Plane bombing over Lockerbie shocks the world
Sport was soon forgotten again when state-sponsored Libyan terrorists bombed a flight over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing all 259 on board and 11 people on the ground. Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi denied involvement before handing over suspects to prosecutors.