Lisburn Distillery’s ‘Class of 71’ who faced Barcelona to be commemorated with special shirt

Lisburn Distillery is soon to unveil a special shirt to commemorate the Irish Cup winning team of 1971 who went on to face Barcelona in European competition.

Martin O'Neill scored for Distillery in the 1971 Irish Cup final and again against Barcelona in the European Cup Winners Cup
Martin O'Neill scored for Distillery in the 1971 Irish Cup final and again against Barcelona in the European Cup Winners Cup

The ‘Class of ‘71’ shirt will be worn by players from the club, now in the third tier of the Irish League, in a competitive match next month and will also be available for fans to purchase.

It is inspired by Distillery’s heroics on April 3, 1971 when the side captained by Peter Rafferty beat Derry City 3-0 in the Irish Cup final. That put them in the European Cup Winners Cup where they hosted Barcelona at Windsor Park on September 15 that same year.

Martin O’Neill, who went on win 64 NI caps, scored in both games, in the process securing himself a move to Nottingham Forest, with whom he won the European Cup twice.

Distillery played Barcelona on September 15, 1971 at Windsor Park

David Hunter, who has been behind the commemorative shirt project, said: “It’s frightening to think that 50 years have passed since we had ‘The Class of 71’, superbly talented sides under a wonderful manager, the late Jimmy McAlinden.

“Apart from the manufacturers logo, the shirt is plain white, and in keeping with the shirts of that time it is long-sleeved, and bears the cup final shirt letters ‘DFC’ along with a simple inscription.”

He added: “I have many happy memories as a child growing up and being able to watch the team and players around this time. They were truly a special bunch of players on and off the park, with a wonderful camaraderie that exists to this day – they remain fully supportive of the club and attend events at New Grosvenor when they can. They are part of our family and history.

“Time though waits for no-one, and sadly Allan (McCarroll), Mervyn (Law) and Raymond (White) are no longer with us from those special games.”

The commemorative shirt is to be worn in a game close to the date of the Barcelona game in 1971 (September 15).

David said: “This shirt is unique, it will not be reproduced and 16 shirts will be available – a yellow goalkeeper’s shirt and 15 outfield shirts. Along with support and help from Terry Thompson and Gary Gressey I am pleased we will be able to commemorate a special year, a special group of players and also support the club financially.”

Each shirt costs £71.50 and is part of a package that includes an exclusive black and white photo-print with a picture of the Irish Cup winning team players at a reunion dinner, the cup final line-up and facsimile autographs, a colour photo-print of the Distillery vs Barcelona programme cover and a souvenir metal button pin badge marking the 50-year anniversary

To apply for the shirt package email David at [email protected]

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