By Alan Finn
35 years ago, Sligo Rovers youngest ever manager guided the club to the FAI Cup Final.
At the age of just 27, Paul Fielding was at the helm for that famous victory over Bohemians in 1983, ending a hex of some 50 years that had cast its shadow over the Bit O’Red.
Before his managerial duties however, Fielding was also an ever-present figure on the pitch under the tutelage of Billy Sinclair.
His first introduction to League of Ireland football was the opening game of the 1976-77 against reigning champions Dundalk.
A convincing win over the Lilywhites offered a sense of optimism for the year ahead, but it would take time before they truly discovered the form of title contenders.
“We beat Dundalk in the very first game 4-2, they were the champions the year before. Some mixed results followed, we were always thereabouts but the deciding factor was the day we went away to Bohemians and beat them 3-0, that was when we really had the confidence to go and do it, we were lucky to not have had too many injuries as well because it wasn’t a big squad.
“In the last six games we could hardly afford to drop any points,” he continued.
“Bohemians were only a point behind us so week to week there was a lot of pressure on every game.”
For the full interview with Paul, see this week’s Sligo Weekender newspaper – in shops now!
Alternatively, you can purchase an online edition here