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