Category Archives: Culture

Triumphant at the Racecourse

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Town’s epic Premier Cup win

It’s 25 years since the Town defeated Wrexham at the Racecourse to lift the 1998-99 FAW Premier Cup title

The FAW Premier Cup started life in the 1997-98 season as the FAW Invitation Cup as a way of bringing in the English Football League clubs into domestic competition for the first time since their entry into the Welsh Cup was removed.

In 1997-98, the format included Cardiff City, Swansea City, Wrexham, Merthyr Tydfil, and four Welsh Premier (now Cymru Premier) sides Barry Town, Bangor City, Conwy United and Newtown. The inaugural winners of the competition were Wrexham.

For the 1998-99 season, the Premier Cup saw three groups of four clubs, with the best place teams from the group stages going through to the knock-out stages.

The Group Stage

Barry Town was placed in arguably the toughest group, Group B, alongside Swansea City, reigning champions Wrexham, and Caernarfon Town.

Kick-starting the tournament at the end of August, just weeks after playing Kyiv in the Champions League at Jenner Park, our first opponents were the reigning champions, Wrexham.

Already 2-1 up through Richard Jones and a Wrexham own goal, Darren Davies scored a terrific goal to put the Town 3-1 up, the tie eventually finishing 3-2 in our favour. We were off to a great start against the one Football League side who took the competition seriously.

There was a break in Premier Cup activity until the autumn, when the group stages took centre stage during November and December.

For the Town, we drew 1-1 with Swansea City at the Vetch, a fabulous 2-0 win over Swansea at Jenner Park with goals from Eifion Williams and Richard Jones (by penalty), a 1-0 loss to Wrexham at the Racecourse, followed by a 1-0 win over the Cofis at the Oval through a goal by Lee Barrow.

The Group B stage was completed, with us in top spot, with a 3-1 Jenner Park victory over Caernarfon following a hat-trick by Eifion Williams over his old club.

Quarter Finals

The Quarter Finals took place during February/March 1999 with Inter Cable-Tel beating Cwmbran Town, Wrexham beating Newtown, and Cardiff City beating Swansea City 3-2.

We took on Merthyr Tydfil at Jenner Park on 16 March 1999, with Richard Jones sliding home what would be the winning goal on the half hour mark.

The Semi Finals

The semi finals were two-legged affairs during April and May 1999, but the biggest news for Barry Town at that point was the sale of Eifion Williams to Torquay United in March.

As it happened, we cruised past our opponents, Inter Cable Tel 5-1 on aggregate, while Wrexham knocked out Cardiff City 4-3 on aggregate (beating City 3-1 at the Racecourse, but City winning 2-1 at Ninian Park). So it would be a Wrexham vs. Barry Town FAW Premier Cup Final at the Racecourse on 23 May 1999.

The Final

Justin Perry opened the scoring for us on 57 minutes, with a headed goal, before Karl Connolly converted a highly contentious penalty decision 15 minutes later. With the clock winding down to potential Extra-Time a rare Barry Town corner, only the second of the entire match, taken by Danny Carter, was met by the head of a climbing Lee Barrow.

Barry Town had beaten Wrexham in Wrexham to lift the FAW Premier Cup. The season ended with the Town completing a Treble of Welsh Premier League champions, League Cup winners and Premier Cup winners. Marvellous!

Barry Town 1999
Town's winning captain, Andy Beattie, lifting the trophy at the National Stadium.

Celebrating 30 years since Barry Town’s 1994 Welsh Cup win

15 May 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of our era-defining Welsh Cup victory at the National Stadium in Cardiff.

Sunday 15 May 1994 was the culmination of a season of toil that saw Barry Town claim the Welsh Cup, the Abacus Welsh League Division One championship, the FAW Trophy and the Cyril Rogers Cup.

The lads at the Copthorne Hotel
The lads pictured at the Copthorne Hotel in their unbadged, unsponsored all-yellow ‘Spall Sports’ kit. Back row: T.Boyle; D.Withers; S.Morris; K.Bertschin. Middle row: P. O’Halloran; C.Gill; D.D’Auria; T. Threfall; P.Sanderson; P.Williams; P. ‘Chippy’ Colbourne. Front Row: A.Griffiths; B.Smith; A.Beattie; C.Lilygreen; S.Hookings; P.Wimbleton.

In fact, it was such a long season, the curtain was dropped on the South Wales Senior Cup at the Semi Final stage, so we were denied a clean-sweep of a domestic quintuple. The quadruple had to suffice.

Yet, the season also ended with promotion to the new(ish) national league, the League of Wales (now the Cymru Premier, of course) and entry to our first ever European competition, the Cup Winners’ Cup.

How we did it

Drawing Abercynon at Jenner Park in the 1st Round, goals from Dai Withers and David D’Auria ensured Town went through to the 2nd Round with the 2-0 victory.

Caerau Athletic proved to be tougher opposition, holding us 1-1, with the Town goal courtesy of Dai Withers once again. The Replay came a few days later at Jenner Park where Caerau again pushed us all the way, but a brace goals from David D’Auria and a debut goal for Adrian Harding gave us a hard-earned 3-2 victory.

Back then, the Welsh Cup 3rd Round was where the likes of Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and Wrexham would traditionally make an appearance. We drew League of Wales’ 1992-93 inaugural Champions Cwmbran Town, while Cardiff beat Afan Lido, Swansea beat Merthyr after a replay, and Wrexham defeated Carno at the Racecourse.

Goals from Bobby Smith, Terry Boyle and Dai Withers accounted for Cwmbran Town 3-1, which set us up nicely for a 4th Round tie with Holywell Town in our first ever meeting.

Swansea defeated Rhyl 2-1 at Belle Vue, while Cardiff City beat Wrexham 2-0 up at the Racecourse. We swept past Holywell 4-0 with a brace from Chris Lilygreen with D’Auria and Withers also scoring.

The Quarter Finals

The Quarter Finals saw us potentially pitted against Bangor, Inter Cardiff, Flint Town, Ebbw Vale, Cardiff City, Swansea City or Hereford United.

Dai Withers scored the only goal of the match on 12 February, to place Barry Town in the Semi Finals of the Welsh Cup for the first time since the 1990-91 season. Ebbw Vale had taken Cardiff to a replay, but it was the Bluebirds who eventually won out 3-0 at Ninian Park, while Swansea had edged out Hereford 1-0 at the Vetch. Bangor had also been taken to a replay by Inter Cardiff, but went through 1-0.

The Semi Finals

With now only 4 teams remaining in the competition, and with the fixtures being played over two legs, Town would face the daunting challenge of Bangor City, Cardiff City or Swansea City. We edged past Bangor City 2-1 on aggregate, with David D’Auria scoring our goal at Farrar Road in a 1-1 draw, while Keith Bertschin, a recent signing from Solihull, bagged the goal in our 1-0 win at Jenner Park.

Cardiff City had eased past Swansea City 6-2 over 2 legs (they lost 2-1 at the Vetch, but won 4-1 at Ninian), so the stage was set for the first-ever Barry Town versus Cardiff City Welsh Cup Final.

1994 Welsh Cup Final programme
The 1994 Welsh Cup Final was printed in numbers and is still pretty easy to pick up as a physical memento of the occasion, featuring full colour images, interviews and history.

The Welsh Cup Final 1994

‘Dad’s Army’ they said.

True, our squad, pieced together by Neil O’Halloran after his unpopular decision to bring the club back into Welsh competition, was full of players with ‘experience’. Alan Curtis was already 40 and our gaffer, Andy Beattie, wasn’t too far behind. Surely, the tempo of City on the day, and with that day set to be a hot one, our lads will struggle against the professionals at Cardiff? Well, it’s what the papers reckoned, anyway.

Cardiff had already taken out Swansea City in the Semis and Wrexham in the Quarters, so they were clear favourites.

Town's winning captain, Andy Beattie, lifting the trophy at the National Stadium.

Of course, Town would run out 2-1 winners on the day, marking the club’s first Welsh Cup win since 1955. In 1994, a Welsh Cup win 39 years previously seemed ancient, if magnificent, history. It’s hard to believe that victory itself is now 30 years ago today.

The Future

For Barry Town, nothing would quite be the same again. It was the dawn of a new era in many ways – even if almost the entire squad would be replaced overnight – and the club would build on this success for the next 10 years or so, domestically, and in Europe.

The Treble newspaper headline
Barry Town at Jenner Park with all 4 trophies
Team photo, featuring the FAW Trophy, the Welsh Cup, the Cyril Rogers Cup and the Welsh League trophy.

Watch the Welsh Cup 1994 highlights