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OWEN MADDEN:

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CORK SOCCER STAR WHO PLAYED for N.IRELAND

Southern Rovers youngster, OWEN MADDEN, signed for Cork FC in Aug 1933 and impressed on his debut as centre forward against Dolphin. Madden faced a daunting task in commanding a regular place as Cork had three other centre forwards on their books, Harry Buckle, Andy Haddow of Clyde and John Kelso (Morton).

Owen gained valuable experience playing alongside these noted stars and though he scored five times that season, he did not gain a place on the side which defeated St James’ Gate in the FAI Cup final. Later on in 1935, another legendary centre forward Jimmy Turnbull, arrived in Cork but by then Madden had settled into a position which was to be his best, inside-left.

Owen played brilliantly on the team beaten by Shams in the 1936 FAI Cup final and was rewarded when called up for his first International against Hungary. Later that summer Owen, along with fellow Corkman Jackie O’Reilly, was suspended by the FAI because they signed for Norwich City without the permission of the governing body. Both players accepted signing-on fees from Norwich much to the annoyance of Cork FC, who received no fee. Cork reported the players to the FAI who promptly suspended them both. Madden’s International career was over,although he was chosen by the North of Ireland for a home championship match against England in 1938.

In March 1938 Owen transferred to Birmingham City. Prior to the commencement of the 1938-39 campaign, he applied to the FAI for reinstatement, but it was refused, so he remained on with Birmingham. Despite excellent displays with Norwich and Birmingham, Madden was not considered for International honours. However, in 1939 the FAI re-instated “Owenie” and he was chosen for the game against Hungary, which was fixed for the Mardyke. Unfortunately, he picked up an injury while playing with Birmingham and was forced to withdraw from the side. That was the officially supplied version, though many claim that Owen declined the invitation, as he was sour with the FAI over the suspension.

Owen returned to Cork at the start of the 1939-40 season and signed with the ill-fated Cork City club and with Cork Utd after the former were removed from football by the FAI. With Cork Utd. Owen was inspirational and in eight glorious years he helped them to five League Championships and two FAI cup victories. One ignominious entry on his excellent CV was his sending off in the 1941 FAI final versus Waterford, along with his friend Jackie O’Driscoll (Waterford) following a little altercation.

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