Irish international was one of our most prolific goal-scorers, writes Sean Ryan
DERMOT CURTIS, who died in Exeter, England, after a long illness, was one of the Republic of Ireland's most productive centre-forwards. In 17 games between 1956 and 1963, he scored eight goals.
Although only 5ft 9ins tall, he was, according to Irish teammate Joe Haverty, "one of the best headers in the game, every bit as good as Tommy Lawton. You could just fling the ball over and he'd get it."
Curtis was also noted for his robust style of play which struck terror in the hearts of goalkeepers and regularly unsettled centre-backs. "He could take the stick and give it back too," said Haverty.
Born in Dublin in 1932, Dermot first came to prominence with Shelbourne, forming a deadly strike partnership with Rory Dwyer in the 1954-55 season. However, their combined 35-goal total was overshadowed by the sensational 30-goal tally of Waterford's Jimmy Gauld.
It was in 1956 that Curtis really hit the headlines. On September 19, at Dalymount Park, the League of Ireland held a star-studded English League to a 3-3 draw, with Curtis notching the vital third goal. Curtis, who was marked by the legendary Billy Wright, effectively ended the representative career of Coventry City goalkeeper Reg Matthews that night. Among the other stars on parade for England were Roger Byrne, Duncan Edwards, Tommy Taylor and Dennis Viollet of Manchester United, Ronnie Clayton (Blackburn Rovers) and Albert Quixall (Sheffield Wednesday), so it was quite a feather in the home team's cap to finish on level terms.
Curtis played only one more inter-League game, in Glasgow the following week against the Scottish League, before being selected for the World Cup qualifier against Denmark on October 3. A goal against the Danes in a 2-1 win, and a further five-star display against World Cup holders West Germany the following month in a 3-0 win, earned Curtis a move to Bristol City.
After a season and a half there, in which he scored 16 goals in 26 games, he moved to Ipswich Town. While he maintained his productive rate of scoring -- 17 in 41 games -- his opportunities were limited there under Alf Ramsey, who relied on Ray Crawford and Ted Phillips for his goals.
In 1962, Curtis signed for Exeter City, and a year later he became the only Exeter player to be capped when he played his last game for Ireland in a shock 0-0 draw with Austria in Vienna in the Nations Cup. Apart from a one-year spell at Torquay United, Curtis played out his League career with Exeter, where he was accorded legend status.
He is survived by his wife Doreen, and children Hazel, Maurice, Chris and Robert.