Ex-belfast celtic legend in town’s hall of fame

Peter O'Connor
Peter O'Connor

A former Ballymoney man whose eleven goals for Belfast Celtic against Glenavon more than 70 years ago still stands as a British and Irish record has been inducted into the Hall of Fame at the annual Sports Awards in Ballymoney last Saturday night.

The award for Peter O’Connor, who lived in Union Street, was described as being long overdue but that was put right at the ceremony which attracted a capacity crowd to the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre.

Declaring the Hall of Fame Award, BBC journalist, Stephen Watson, who hosted the event, said Mr O’Connor had signed for Belfast Celtic from Linfield in 1932 and had distinguished himself in the Irish League scoring more than 50 goals as a prolific striker in the season 1938-39.

On February 25, 1941 he netted eleven goals against Glenavon a tally which has never been surpassed in Irish and British football. He won numerous titles with Celtic and when his playing career was over he scouted for Glasgow Celtic bringing forward legends such as Charlie Tully and Bertie Peacock.

Mr O’Connor emigrated to America and died in 1994 but according to his sister-in-law, Mary O’Connor, who was present for the honour, he never forgot Ballymoney.

The occasion was marked by the presence of representatives from Belfast Celtic Society who brought with them the original Irish Cup.

The award capped a highly successful evening for sportsmen and women from the Borough who found themselves in the company of distinguished guests including Irish International Rugby Captain, Simon

Best.