Seán Thomas

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Seán Thomas
Personal information
Place of birth Republic of Ireland
Date of death 24 June 1999
Teams managed
Years Team
1959-1960 Sligo Rovers
1960-1961 Home Farm
1961-1964 Shamrock Rovers
1963 League of Ireland XI
1964-1973 Bohemian
1966-1973 Republic of Ireland U23
1973 Rep. of Ireland
1976-1977 Shamrock Rovers
1977-1979 Athlone Town

Seán Thomas (died 24 June 1999) was an Irish football manager.

Club Management[edit]

After a short playing career with Home Farm and C.Y.M.S., a left back who had to give up playing because of an injury, he attended Loughborough University for periods from 1956-1959 to learn all the aspects of successful coaching. Thomas had short spells as coach at Sligo Rovers and Home Farm F.C. before moving to Shamrock Rovers in 1961 for Rovers' tour in the International Soccer League (1960-1965). In his 3 years at Glenmalure Park, he picked up one League of Ireland title, 2 FAI Cups and 2 League of Ireland Shields. After the 2–2 draw with Valencia CF at the Estadio Mestalla in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup on the 10th of October 1963 [2] Thomas commented "to say I am proud of the team is an understatement, I have never felt so proud of Shamrock Rovers as I have tonight. Their performance was the finest I have seen in my three years at the club".

After a bust up with the Cunninghams (Rovers' owners) at the end of the 1963–64 season, he sensationally quit the Hoops [1]

He was Bohs' first ever manager as before Thomas Bohs had only ever had coaches or trainers and a Selection Committee of five actually picked the side. It was a homecoming of sorts for Thomas as he grew up on the Phibsborough Road which backed on to Dalymount Park and was an associate member of the club in his early years. Bohs had finished last the previous season and Thomas showed his credentials by managing the then still amateur Bohemians to a 3rd place finish that season, just 5 points behind winners Drumcondra. This was a remarkable achievement considering the rest of the league was professional and Thomas was awarded Irish Soccer Writers' Personality of the Year. The following season, Bohs once again finished 3rd in the league and this time, won the Leinster Senior Cup and Presidents Cup. The performances of his young guns were noticed however and 8 of the amateur team left at the end of the season for the professional ranks; Turlough O'Connor and Jimmy Conway for Fulham and Larry Gilmore and Kevin Murray for Dundalk. He signed a three year contract in April 1966.[2] The predicted collapse never happened and amazingly the "Gypsies" went one better and finished runners-up in the 1966–67 season.

Thomas's abilities didn't go unnoticed and Boston Shamrocks enticed him across the Atlantic for the newly proposed American League. This move turned sour though as Boston failed to gain a place in the elite league and within a year, Thomas had returned to Dalymount Park. After the heroics of the previous seasons, Bohs finished rock bottom of the league without Thomas and were in dire straits financially. 1968/69 brought little joy on the field but off it, an historic EGM of Bohemian members in February 1969 saw the club's constitution changed to allow payment to players. Tony O'Connell, Dinny Lowry and Johnny Fullam were soon signed and in 1970 Bohs won their first major trophy for 34 years when beating Sligo Rovers in the FAI Cup Final. This success meant Bohs would enter European competition for the first time.

During this time Thomas spotted Liam Neeson and he appeared as a substitute against Shamrock Rovers in a trial game.

Bohs finished fourth, third and third again in the next 3 seasons under Thomas's guidance with the young talents of Mick Martin and Gerry Daly flourishing. In July 1973, Thomas sensationally resigned as manager of Bohemians.

He wouldn't be out of the game for long however and later had spells back at Shamrock Rovers, where he won the League Cup in 1976. This triumph was Rovers' first trophy in seven years and it was the 7th different competition Thomas had won with the club.

He also managed Athlone Town and Bray Wanderers.

International Management[edit]

Sean Thomas had previously managed a League of Ireland XI when they defeated their English counterparts 2–1 at Dalymount Park in 1963. He also managed the Under 23 Republic of Ireland side on three separate occasions - all 0–0 draws with France.

Thomas took over as manager of the Republic of Ireland national football team in June 1973 after the resignation of Liam Tuohy. His reign as manager lasted for only one game in June 1973. The game was an international friendly versus Norway at Ullevaal Stadion and it ended in a 1–1 score draw.[3]

Thomas was replaced in October 1973 when Johnny Giles was appointed as the full time manager.[4]

Honours as manager[edit]

Team[edit]

Flag of Ireland.svg League of Ireland: 1

Flag of Ireland.svg FAI Cup: 3

Flag of Ireland.svg League of Ireland Cup: 1

Flag of Ireland.svg League of Ireland Shield: 2

Personal[edit]

  • Irish Soccer Writers' Personality of the Year: 1965
  • Bohemians - 1964/65

References[edit]

  • Gaffers: 50 Years of Irish Football Managers by Trevor Keane
  • Shamrock Rovers programme 21/09/97.