The First Cup: Brooklyn Celtic cruises past Niagara Falls Rangers to reach inaugural National Challenge Cup Final (April 26, 1914)

Posted by | April 29, 2013

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.

Editor’s 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. If you have confirmation of any of their names, or any other details that would add to our historical records, feel free to reach out to us HERE. We are always looking for help with historical research.

Links to the full series are located at the bottom of this story.

On the strength of Rodney O’Hallaran’s hat trick, Brooklyn Celtic coasted to a 6-2 victory over the Niagara Falls Rangers to earn a spot in the inaugural National Challenge Cup Final. There they will face Brooklyn Field Club on May 16.

In a game played at Olympic Park in Paterson, New Jersey, it was a match between two teams with names that would get the blood boiling had the match been played in Scotland. The American version of Rangers vs. Celtic, on this day, was less competitive and lacked the blood feud and the religious strife that an Old Firm match typically provides. It’s also worth noting that in 1914, the Old Firm rivalry was only about 20 years old.

Niagara Falls Rangers from the 1913/14 season

Celtic wasted no time asserting their dominance, scoring the first goal after one minute of play as Thomas Campion’s corner kick was headed in by Mike King.

The first of O’Hallaran’s goals came shortly afterward when he sent a 15 yard shot past Rangers goalkeeper Highett. At the 20 minute mark Campion scored on a close range shot to put Celtic up 3-0, which stood until halftime.

Support and its coverage of the US Open Cup by purchasing a "Champions" shirt, honoring the five clubs from the pre-Modern Era (1914-1994) to win four or more US Open Cup titles. Visit THECUP.US SHOP

Support and its coverage of the US Open Cup by purchasing a “Champions” shirt, honoring the five clubs from the pre-Modern Era (1914-1994) to win four or more US Open Cup titles. Visit THECUP.US SHOP

At the start of the second half, Niagara Falls switched around the positions of some of its players with hopes of stopping the Celtic onslaught. The Rangers even swapped goalkeepers, switching Highett with Lumsden, a half back. The tactical change seemed to make no difference to the Brooklyn club, who continued to score.

Albert Lonie stretched the lead to 4-0 off a pass from Campion. With the Niagara halfbacks playing a bit too far forward, O’Hallaran started a run from midfield, eluded the Rangers back line, and scored his second goal of the game.

With a 5-0 lead at hand, the Celtic defense eased up a bit, allowing the Rangers a pair of consolation goals. First to score was Wallace, followed by Kemp’s score from a goalmouth scramble. They were the first goals allowed by Celtic in the tournament thus far, having held their previous three opponents scoreless while scoricng 13 times.

O’Hallaran completed his hat trick when Rangers defender Hoyle miss kicked the ball, allowing the Celtic forward to pounce on the easy goal.

According to the Brooklyn Standard Union, the Rangers “halves played poorly and displayed bad judgment in not placing the ball. The forwards were indifferent, relying on a kick and rush to pull them through.” The newspaper singled out Hoyle, Fred Milnes and Harper as the best players for Rangers, and King and O’Hallaran as the leaders of the Brooklyn club.

The victory set up the first-ever Open Cup Final, between a pair of Brooklyn clubs. The Final was scheduled to be played at the Lonsdale Ave. grounds (later to be known as Coats Field) in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Road to the Semifinals

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 over Columbia Oval

Niagara Falls Rangers
Round 1: 6-1 win vs. Buffalo Corinthians
Round 2: Forfeit win vs. MacNaughton Rangers*
*MacNaughton won the original match 1-0 but Niagara Falls’ protest was upheld and a replay was ordered but MacNaughton failed to appear.
Round 3: 2-0 win vs. Roses FC
QF: 2-1 win over Pullman FC (Chicago)

1913/14 National Challenge Cup Semifinals

The Dewar Trophy

April 26, 1914 – Olympic Park (Paterson, NJ)

Brooklyn Celtic 6:2 Niagara Falls Rangers

Scoring Summary

Celtic: Mike King (Thomas Campion) – 1st min.
Celtic: Rodney O’Hallaran – 1st half
Celtic: Thomas Campion – 20th min.
Celtic: Albert Lonie (Thomas Campion) – 2nd half
Celtic: Rodney O’Hallaran – 2nd half
Rangers: Wallace – 2nd half
Rangers: Kemp – 2nd half
Celtic: Rodney O’Hallaran (Unassisted) – 2nd half


Brooklyn: Frank Mather, James Robertson, Andrew Robertson, David Flanagan, Frank O’Hara, Hugh Kelly, Thomas Campion, Albert Lonie, Rodney O’Hallaran, Mike King, Patrick Butler

Niagara Falls: Highett, Clarkson, Hoyle, Park, Lumsden, Pearce, Harper, Wallace, Kemp, Milnes, Holmes

Referee: Alex Burnside | Linesmen: Thomas Cunningham, R. Erksine

A detailed look back at the 1913/1914 National Challenge Cup

Sept. 12, 1913 / Oct. 11, 1913: How the 1913/14 National Challenge Cup began
Nov. 1, 1913: The inaugural National Challenge Cup gets under way
Nov. 2, 1913: Brooklyn Field Club begins their journey as Round 1 concludes
Nov. 29 1913: Farr Alpaca forfeit Round 1 replay with New Bedford FC
Dec. 6, 1913: Four teams move on to Round 3, two more to be decided by protest or replay
Dec. 14, 1913: Second Round nearly complete as USFA announces protest results, draw for Round 3
Dec. 21, 1913: Third time’s the charm for St. George FC as Round 2 comes to a close
Jan. 12, 1914: Rochester’s MacNaughton Rangers forfeit replay with Niagara Falls Rangers
Jan. 24, 1914: Differing opinions as New Bedford FC eliminates West Philadelphia FC to reach quarterfinals
Jan. 25, 1914: Brooklyn Field Club, Columbia Oval join the quarterfinals
Mar. 8, 1914: Pullman FC beats Hyde Park Blues in Chicago derby to complete quarterfinal field
Mar. 28, 1914: Brooklyn Field Club defeat ‘cup holders’ Yonkers FC to reach Challenge Cup Semifinals
Mar. 29, 1914: Brooklyn Celtic defense carries them past Columbia Oval, into Semifinals
Apr. 5, 1914: Niagara Falls Rangers topple Pullman FC to complete Semifinal field
Apr. 18, 1914: Brooklyn Field Club edge New Bedford FC to reach inaugural National Challenge Cup Final
Apr. 26, 1914: Brooklyn Celtic cruises past Niagara Falls Rangers to reach inaugural National Challenge Cup Final
Before the 1913/1914 Final: By boat or by train, Brooklyn Field Club, Brooklyn Celtic prepare for inaugural National Challenge Cup Final
May 16, 1914: Brooklyn Field Club wins inaugural National Challenge Cup on late winner over Brooklyn Celtic

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