The First Cup |

The First Cup: By boat or by train, Brooklyn Field Club, Brooklyn Celtic prepare for inaugural National Challenge Cup Final (1914)

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Brooklyn Celtic from the 1913/14 season introduces “The First Cup” series, which revisits the first running of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup (then known as the National Challenge Cup) that took place from the fall of 1913 to the spring of 1914. Click here for the full series.

Note: As you read this, you’ll notice a lot of players with just one name. This is not an oversight on our part, but rather, many of the sources of this information (newspapers, publications etc.) only use the last name of players in their stories.

Brooklyn Field Club started their journey to the 1914 National Challenge Cup final on Nov. 2, 1913 with a easy 3-0 first round victory over Interborough Rapid Transit Strollers of the Metropolitan & District Amateur League. Another 3-0 victory followed in the next round on December 21, this time over fellow New York State Amateur Football League members Brooklyn Rangers.

Field Club’s first real test in the tournament came on January 25, 1914, a 1-0 win over Bethlehem FC. Bethlehem later protested the game on the grounds that some of Brooklyn’s players were not eligible to play, as well as the fact that the field Club team was a half hour late arriving in the field to start the game. The USFA ruled in favor of Brooklyn Field Club and things went back to being a bit more comfortable with a 4-1 win in the quarterfinals over Yonkers FC, a club that Brooklyn Celtic were battling with for the top spot in the NYSAFL.

The semifinal contest with New Bedford FC, at Coates Field in Pawtucket, RI, was perhaps the fiercest test for the Field Club eleven. A fight between Neil Clark and New Bedford’s Chadwick near the end of the first half left both teams to play with ten men. Robert Millar scored both goals for Brooklyn to book a trip back to Pawtucket for the Final.

Brooklyn Celtic had a somewhat easier and quieter road to the 1914 final. With a bye through the first round, Celtic cruised to 6-0 and 5-0 wins over Hollywood Inn and Babcock & Wilcox. The quarterfinals brought a more challenging game with fellow NYSAFL members Columbia Oval, but Celtic came out 2-0 victors. The semifinals brought a lopsided 6-2 victory over Niagara Falls Rangers, though the club from Northwest New York were able to score the first goals against Celtic in the competition.

Brooklyn Field Club from the 1913/14 season

Heading into the final, both clubs were on top of their respective leagues. Field Club held the top spot in the National Association Football League , three points clear of West Hudson, who were league champions in 1912 and 1913. Although league games were still scheduled after the cup final, Brooklyn was declared the champions when the remaining games against clubs from New Jersey could not be played due to those clubs losing their grounds.

The Celtics were in an even closer race in the New York State Amateur Football League. Less than a month prior to the final, Celtic and Yonkers FC were tied atop the league table with 21 points each. Celtic finished their league schedule on June 6 with a 6-0 thrashing of Columbia Oval, thus giving them the league championship by two points over Yonkers with a 15-0-1 record. Yonkers’ only loss of the season came at the hands of Celtic.

Yonkers was also the team on the losing end of another Celtic trophy triumph that season, a 2-1 Celtic victory in the Southern New York State Cup. Celtic did not fare as well in the American Football, Association Cup, falling to Philadelphia’s Hibernian 7-1 in the second round. Field Club did not find success in the AFA Cup either, only making it one round further before dropping a 3-1 decision to Tacony FC, also of Philadelphia. The AFA Cup was a competition that was restricted to teams in the Northeast that was first launched in 1885. Bethlehem FC were the winners of that tournament in 1914.

All told, Brooklyn Field Club finished the 1913-14 season 24-1-2 in all competitions, with 81 goals scored and 23 goals allowed. Celtic finished with a 23-2-2 combined record, scoring 108 times while conceding 24 goals.

The two clubs met one other time during the 1913-14 season, and it was completely by accident. On March 21, 1914, Field Club was to play West Hudson in a league game at the Marquette Oval, but the game was called off due to the poor condition of the playing field. Celtic were also set to play a league game, but Hollywood Inn did not show due to bad weather. This led to an impromptu match between the two teams, which Celtic came out 2-0 victors behind goals from Roddy O’Hallaran and Mike King. Field Club would later claim that some of their better players were unavailable for the game, seemingly trying to save face after losing to an amateur squad.

In the days leading up to the Final, the Pawtucket Times reported that once Celtic learned that Field Club were traveling to Pawtucket by boat, the Celtics changed their plans, electing to travel by train. The Times also reported that over 200 fans were expected from New Bedford, whose team was defeated by Field Club in the semifinals. It was also reported that the USFA had made arrangements to have “200 feet of moving pictures” taken of the match.

The Dewar Trophy

The Pawtucket Times view of the match was as follows:

“Bob Millar will bear close watching, for he is likely to run wild in the vicinity of the Celts’ goal. Shanholt and Adamson are also dangerous men and there is a lot of drive to their kicks. In their (field Club) lineup there are individual stars whom experts declare would shine in matches across the water. The Celtic team is said to be remarkably well balanced and to have the short passing game down to a science.”

The championship game was scheduled to be played on May 16, 1914.

Road to the National Challenge Cup Final

Brooklyn Celtic
Round 1: Bye
Round 2: 6-0 win vs. Hollywood Inn
Round 3: 5-0 win vs. Babcock & Wilcox
Quarterfinals: 2-0 win vs. Columbia Oval
Semifinals: 6-2 win vs. Niagara Falls Rangers


Brooklyn Celtic tournament goal scorers: Roddy O’Hallaran 7, Albert Lonie 5, Thomas Campion 3, Mike King 3, McQueen 1


Brooklyn Field Club
Round 1: 1-0 win vs. IRT Strollers
Round 2: 3-0 win vs. Brooklyn Rangers FC
Round 3: 1-0 win vs. Bethlehem FC*
* The result was protested by Bethlehem, but the USFA ruled in favor of BFC

Quarterfinals:  4-1 win vs. Yonkers FC
Semifinals: 2-1 win vs. New Bedford FC


Brooklyn Field Club tournament goal scorers: Robert Millar 5, Harry Shanholt 2, Charles Drinkwater 1, Coward 1, Hynds 1, Neil Clark 1, Slade 1, James Ford 1

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