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Michael Dolan - Celtic’s First Goalkeeper
Myself along with Padraig Coirneal another member of Randalstown Hoops were down in Old Monkland Cemetery Coatbridge toady.

Myself along with Padraig Coirneal another member of Randalstown Hoops were down in Old Monkland Cemetery Coatbridge toady .

We knew that Michael Dolan Celtic’s first goalkeeper was buried there so we took a walk around to see if we could find the Grave which we did after 20 minutes .

The both of us give it a bit of a clean and it was good to track down a bit of Celtic’s History .

Michael Dolan will go down in history as Celtic’s first goalkeeper, and this was at a time when there was really no protection for the man between the sticks.

Practically anything was allowed, and the old tactic of bundling from the corner kicks was a major tactic.

So he must have been a brave soul. He was called "Lanarkshire's best goalkeeper".

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The Uddingston born keeper was signed by the newly established Bhoys in May 1888 from Drumpellier.

He was in goals in Celtic’s first ever match on Monday 28th May 1888 when the new club defeated Rangers 5-2 in a friendly invitational game.

Mick Dolan is included in the record of Pre-WWII players and is recorded to have played for Drumpellier, Uddingston FC and Coatdyke Gaelic or Olympic.

It is also mentioned in the 'Alphabet of the Celts' book that the Lord Provost of Glasgow in the 1950s boasted that he lived up the same close as the Dolan brothers at 401 Great Eastern Road, Glasgow but it doesn't give a date for that - maybe it will fit with 1891.

Of the three league games he played for Celtic, all were in April and May 1891, Celtic winning all three convincingly, 5-0 v Cowlairs, 9-1 v Vale of Leven and 2-0 v Abercorn. He played v Northern and v Linthouse the next season too, all sides now gone and off the senior football map.

His brother, Francis Dolan, also played for Celtic from 1890 until 1894.

Mick Dolan did not retain his first team place for long and for most of his time at Parkhead, Mick Dolan was a reserve, but together with his brother Frank Dolan, he was part of the reserves they were in the Celtic Crusaders side that beat St Mirren Strollers 13-1 in the final of the Reserve XI Cup on 21 Feb 1891.

Tom Maley spoke fondly of him:
"He was a goalkeeper of considerable ability, and though he never quite filled the official eye, he was always considered a very good man, and held in high esteem and much respected by all with whom he came in contact at the old enclosure. He was in those faraway days an enthusiastic Celt, and though the years come between, I am pretty certain that enthusiasm never waned."

He may not have played for the first team for many competitive games, but the great honour of being Celtic's first goalkeeper will make him a noteworthy name for all Celtic fans.

He passed away in 1910.

Tom Maley wrote the following obituary of his former team-mate in 'Maley's Football Notes' in the August 18, 1910 edition of the Glasgow Observer:

Another Celt Gone
And so another of the old brigade has crossed the stream. The late M. Dolan whose death was announced last week, was one of two brothers who played for the Celts what time the foundation was being laid of the greatest erection in football.

He was a goalkeeper of considerable ability, and though he never quite filled the official eye, he was always considered a very good man, and held in high esteem and much respected by all with whom he came in contact at the old enclosure. He was in those faraway days an enthusiastic Celt, and though the years come between, I am pretty certain that enthusiasm never waned.

He was goalkeeper for the famous reserve eleven which made such a great record during season 1890-91 and wound up their affairs by whacking St Mirren reserves or 2nd XI by thirteen goals to one on the 24th February 1891. The Celtic side on that day was - Dolan (RIP); Collins and Dunbar (RIP); Murray, F. Dolan and Kyle; Cunningham (RIP); Devlin, Coleman, Foran and M'Geechan.

The deceased was always at his best, or rather lived quite up to if not beyond his great Lanarkshire reputation, when he began the afternoon's operations by having to start straight away against heavy bombardment. His brother Frank was a centre-half very much above the average. He played good football, placing being the leading characteristic. The only little drawback was lack of speed and perhaps more apparent by contrast than it deserved otherwise. James Kelly was then on top form and his great recovery work and electrical dashes were so frequently on view for Parkhead frequenters that aught else lacking in those qualities was - well, tolerated.

The goalkeeper was the senior in years and his death found him in his fifthy first year. Peace to his soul and to those bereft I offer my sympathy, and no doubt in my wishes many who have followed the club since the year when Dolan guarded the uprights join with equal sincerity.



Posted by voc1967 on Thursday 10 September 2020 - 10:53:18 | Comments (1)  |  printer friendly
 
 
 
 
 
1 Comments
  • Lizardking @ 10 Sep 2020 : 13:26
    Lizardking
    Sean and John Fallon , alon with Jim Craig were at the graveside ceromony that day to commemorate Michael , Celtic where playing Kilmarnock in the league cup final later that day and as the orations went on for a bit big John Fallon was giving his watch some anxious star s as he thought he was going to miss the game . I was a bit anxious myself to get away for the game .
 
 
 
 
 
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