Harry McIlvenny

Harry McIlvenny
Harry McIlvenny
● Harry McIlvenny (CW)

probably born in Scotland

Henry Joseph McIlvenny was born on Sunday, 17th September, 1876, in Gorbals, Glasgow.

The forward signed for George Easton's Thistle on Tuesday, 28th June, 1904, having most recently been with Hamilton Academical.

Aged 27, he made his debut appearance on Monday, 15th August, 1904, in a 2-1 friendly defeat at home to Port Glasgow Athletic.

That day, Harry became a member of our scoring debutant's club.

He scored the last of his 4 goals on Saturday, 10th September, 1904, in a 2-0 win at home to Clyde in the Glasgow Cup.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 8th October, 1904, in a 3-0 defeat at home to Airdrieonians in the SFL First Division, having appeared as a Jag on 10 occasions.

His club-list included Parkhead, Celtic, Burnley, New Brighton, Victoria United, Belfast Celtic, St Bernard's, Hamilton Academical, Partick Thistle and Ayr.

Harry died on Sunday, 31st December, 1933, in Glasgow, aged 57.

Bio Extra

Son of Henry McIlvenny (fish dealer) and Mary McIlvenny (née Kelly). Both parents were Irish, and his Father was a Ship’s Captain who was involved with salvage on the Clyde, the Mersey and coastal waters. Harry was married twice, although his first wife, Jane, died at a tragically early age in 1913. He had six children, one with Jane and five with his second wife, Maggie.

Having graduated from Parkhead Juniors, Harry, a versatile centre forward, made his Celtic debut against Preston in September, 1895, but by December he was allowed to go to Dumbarton on loan and then it was on to Burnley. He returned to his beloved Celtic in November 1896, but it all turned sour after the the club's shocking 4-2 Scottish Cup defeat at the hands of Arthurlie. Harry was part of the fallout from the hue and cry, and he was on his way again in the summer of 1897. He moved to New Brighton at that time, then had spells at Victoria United, Belfast Celtic and St Bernard’s, where he settled for nearly two years.

He signed for Hamilton Academical in September, 1902, where he was a near ever present and truly blossomed, averaging almost a goal-per-game over the course of his two season spell. Thistle had ambitions of establishing themselves as a top-flight side at that time, and were busy in the close season market of 1904, Rangers and Scotland star Neilly Gibson being the marquee signing. In their preview of the season ahead, the The Evening Times noted: "The new centre forward, McIlvenny (Hamilton Academical) is a most artistic player and a prolific goalscorer." He played in 10 of the first 12 matches for Thistle, scoring 4, and his form of recent seasons was enough to persuade Celtic that he was worth a place in their squad for the rest of the 1904-05 campaign. And so, for the third time, he signed for the Parkhead club, doing so the beginning of November 1904. By hogmananay he was on the scoresheet against Kilmarnock. The question "which Partick Thistle player played for Thistle against Celtic and for Celtic against Thistle, in the same season that Celtic won the League" would return the answer… Harry McIlvenny. He lost every time by the way!

Due to the powerful nature of the Celtic forward line, Harry couldn't get near the game time that he had been enjoying in recent years, but he was welcomed with open arms at Accies for 1905-06, where he did fairly well, getting into double figures in around 30 or so games. He continued to play in the second division the following season, finishing his playing career at Ayr.

(WS/JK/CW)



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