Noel Murray and Jimmy Ennis were two ardent Manchester United supporters from south Dublin who, when Manchester United reached the European Cup Final in 1968, tried unsuccessfully to obtain match tickets. They had heard that a United supporters Branch existed in Dublin but could never make contact with it so after the final they talked about forming a Branch of their own. Their first meeting took place in Jimmy’s flat in Clorinda Park, Dun Laoighare. Present on that momentous night were; Noel Murray, Jimmy Ennis, Bernie Maguire and Rita Hughes. Frank Mullen attended the second meeting, which took place on August or September 1968.
The first thing they did was to make contact with Les Olive who was secretary of Manchester United at that time. He wrote back saying that there was already a Branch in Dublin so there was no way a second Branch would be allowed. Further correspondence followed explaining that there were many supporters willing to join but that contact could not be made with the Dublin Club, and could a new Supporters Club be formed. Les Olive also tried unsuccessfully to contact this branch. As it was proving impossible to trace this branch, Manchester United finally agreed to allow a new branch to be formed in Dublin,named the South Dublin Branch. An advertisement was placed in the Evening Herald and the first meeting took place in Ross’s Hotel, Dun Laoghaire in May 1969.
In between the meetings in Jimmy’s flat and the first meeting in Ross’s Hotel other people had come on board: Des Healy ( the first travel manager ) Paddy Larkin, Joe Dodd, Dermot Ring, Leo Flynn, Pat Whelan along with Noel, Jimmy, Bernie, Rita, Frank. This was the nucleus of the first committee. This Committee was never elected as it was decided from the floor that the people who formed the Branch should act as the first Committee.
Shortly after this our first trip to Old Trafford took place for the all in price of four pounds ten shillings. Bernie Maguire was our first Secretary and Leo Flynn our first Treasurer with Noel Murray as Chairman. We would not have survived without a meeting place and we have to thank Vincent Heart who as manager of Ross’s Hotel never charged us for all the years we were there. Sir Matt Busby was elected as our Honorary Club President and still remains so to this day.
The Branch progressed from running four trips a season to the present day when we now run a trip to all of United’s home fixtures. We started off as the South Dublin Branch then we became the Dublin Branch and we are now the Ireland Branch and celebrated our 40th Anniversary in March 2009, with in excess of 1000 registered members.
We need to thank a lot of people who gave of their time to keep the Branch running to name but a few;
Noel,Jimmy of course Frank Mullen, Des Fay, Dessie Byrne, Sean Tobin, Mick O’Toole, Shay Weafer, Bernie Maguire, Harry Smith, and to so many more many thanks for your efforts.