The death occurred today of former Shamrock Rovers player Liam Hennessy. Liam joined the Hoops in 1949 having been signed by Paddy Coad. He joined Rovers after a three-month spell as an apprentice with Wolverhampton Wanderers in England. Homesickness got to him and after a break back home at Christmastime, he didn’t want to go back to England. He was just 17-years-old at the time.
Liam was playing with a team by the name of Seaview Rangers at St. Anne’s Park when he was approached by Paddy Coad who was scouting on behalf of Shamrock Rovers. At that time the Hoops had a C team for younger players who were basically schoolboys. Liam spent three years in between the C and B teams before finally making his debut against Limerick during the 1952/53 season. That was to be a baptism of fire for the young inside-left as Rovers had not won in the previous nine games and Limerick was a tough place to go at any time. As it happened the Hoops won 3-0 with one of the outstanding moments of the game being Liam’s 35-yard drive that resulted in a goal. He didn’t look back after that.
Liam played also as an outside left but finally settled in the left half position.
In later years he recalled in ‘The Hoops’ by Paul Doolan and Robert Goggins that the penalty he scored against Cork Athletic in the 1956 FAI Cup final was one of the outstanding moments of his lengthy and successful career. Cork had been leading 2-0 but late in the game, Tommy Hamilton pulled one back for the Hoops. The ground erupted when Liam converted from the spot for the equaliser. Ronnie Nolan sealed a fantastic comeback with a late winner to capture the Cup. Another highlight he mentioned was the 40-yard shot from which he scored against French champions Nice in the European Cup at Dalymount Park in 1959. He further recalled that the ‘Busby Babes’ were undoubtedly the greatest team he had played against. Shamrock Rovers met the Matt Busby managed Manchester United team in the European Cup in 1957.
As one of the prolific Milltown team that was known as the ‘Coad’s Colts’ Liam Hennessy won every honour possible in the game during a golden era for Shamrock Rovers. The Hoops went to the United States in 1961 to participate in a tournament and it was while he was there that Liam attracted some interest that led him to sign for a club by the name of Julianna. He had only recently married and his wife was not keen on leaving Dublin so after a year Liam returned. He looked at the possibility of signing for the Hoops once more but in the meantime, Johnny Fullam had been brought in by the Cunninghams and Liam didn’t think he would get into the team ahead of the youngster who had come home from Preston North End. He signed for Waterford and stayed for two years and then moved to St. Patrick’s Athletic where his former ‘Coad’s Colts’ teammate Shay Keogh had become the manager.
Liam, who was originally from Glasnevin, coached for a while but then took up refereeing. Liam is survived by his wife Joan and children David, Siobhán, Liam, Barry, Marc and sister Maevis. To them and all of the extended Hennessy family, we offer our deepest condolences.
From RIP.ie: Liam will be reposing in the Larry Massey Funeral Home, Eden Centre, Grange Road, Rathfarnham, on Wednesday (May 22nd) from 4pm to 6pm. Removal on Thursday morning to the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Ballinteer, arriving for 11am Mass. Burial Private.