Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

What was going on in the sporting world of 1919?

For the last few years at this time in the calendar, I've been jumping back in time by 100 years ...

What was going on in the sport...

What was going on in the sporting world of 1919?

For the last few years at this time in the calendar, I've been jumping back in time by 100 years to see what the sporting world threw up in the winners' circle.

And since 2014, every piece has featured World War 1. Well, as we reverse 100 years back from 2019, it'll be the first one in which the Great War is no longer making an impact on the sporting calendar outside of Ireland.

That conflict had officially ended on November 11th 1918 and by the time 1919 had rolled around, sport had started to make a return.

The 1919-20 season kicked off in England, bringing league football back for the first time since 1914-15 and it was West Brom's year as they won their one and only top division title.

But there was controversy further down the pyramid, where Arsenal were promoted to an expanded First Division despite only finishing fifth in 1914-15, over Tottenham who were not re-elected despite ending up 20th that final season. That decision has since been clouded in mystery and of course did nothing to abate the rivalry between North London's premiere clubs.

Meanwhile, the early rounds of the 1919-20 FA Cup also took place from late 1919 as the competition returned for the first time since World War 1 began.

Rugby's Five Nations Championship did not return however until the following year. Wimbledon was back though. Australia's Gerald Patterson won the Men's Singles and France's Suzanne Lenglen won the Women's edition.

Kildare's Year

However, closer to home, Gaelic Games had not been interrupted by the events of World War 1 like elsewhere on the continent as we've seen in our most recent annual pieces. Up to 1918, Wexford had been dominant, having achieved a four-in-a-row of All Ireland titles.

But 1919 was Kildare's year as they won their second All Ireland title captained by future Olympic high jumper Larry Stanley, defeating Galway in the decider at Croke Park.

While 1918 and 2018 had some symmetry thanks to Limerick winning in both years, the omens could be good for Cork's hurler then this coming year. That's provided they can follow up the successes of their 1919 predecessors.

That year, they saw off Dublin 6-4 to 2-4 at Croker to win their seventh All Ireland Hurling title. That ended a 16-year wait for national silverware.

In boxing, 1919 also saw the rise of Jack Dempsey. He became World Heavyweight champion, starting his seven-year reign with a knockout of Jess Willard.

So, that's a wrap for 1919 and we'll catch you again next year for 1920... presuming you don't read the multitude of spoilers that abound online and in the history books.

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1919 Boxing Cork Dublin GAA Hurling Jack Dempsey Jess Willard Kildare Raf Diallo Sport In 1919