For many years now, success in the world of amateur Rugby League has been cyclical, with honours shared around amongst many clubs in the National and County Cups, the National Conference League and the regional leagues.

It has not always been so. In previous eras, the silverware was dominated by a small band of big guns.

In Lancashire, the dominant force was Pilkington Recs, whilst over in the east it was Hull Dockers who made opponents fear to tread!

The other superpower came from our own town of Dewsbury in the shape of the iconic Dewsbury Celtic club.

Their green and white irregular hooped shirts and home venue of Crow Nest Park were a daunting prospect for opposition.

They are truly a club with incredible history and only last year staged their 140th anniversary party at their Irish Nash headquarters in Westtown.

It is said that Celtic are one of the oldest Irish sports clubs in Yorkshire and Britain, with their origins linked to Ireland’s great famine of 1845.

In that year, 200 Irish immigrants were living in the Daw Green area of Westtown and by 1851 that number had increased to 1,000, mainly working as labourers or mill workers in the Heavy Woollen district.

Back in 1879, the club were known as Dewsbury Shamrocks and in the 1890s they actually switched from rugby to football before returning to Rugby League in 1910.

It was at this point they changed their name to Dewsbury Celtic and they were Yorkshire Cup winners in 1912/13.

As with many sports clubs, the two World Wars caused them to suspend activities, but the post-Second World Waar period saw them continue their honour-strewn progress.

In 1955, Celtic qualified for the First Round of the Challenge Cup, being drawn away at Workington Town.

This was the first of many jousts with professional clubs in the Challenge Cup and John Player Trophy.

In later years, they would take on Wigan, Hull KR, Swinton, Featherstone, Castleford and our very own Dewsbury!

I recall being stood on the long stand at Mount Pleasant back in February 1975 as Celtic took on a mighty Hull Kingston Rovers outfit that included such luminary players as World Cup winning captain Clive Sullivan and the incredible Roger Millward.

A full-strength Robins team were stretched to the limit by a gutsy Celtic.

Rovers led 13-2 at half time and eventually triumphed 31-15.

Mick Doyle scored two tries for the Green and Whites, with Brian Pepper also crossing the whitewash and Geoff Catling kicking three goals.

It was a fantastic effort from our local heroes in front of a crowd of 1,936.

The Celtic line-up that included some absolute Heavy Woollen icons, such as Johnny Harpin and Sam Morton.

I also recall being on the Long Stand at Crown Flatt when the all Dewsbury battle saw Red, Amber and Black triumph over Green and White in the John Player Trophy.

But, like many powerful and successful teams, Celtic were not loved by some people.

Even locally, there seemed to be a fair bit of spiteful envy of their continuous collection of trophies.

It is fair to say that Dewsbury Celtic in the modern era have not got the aura of those halcyon days, but they are still a significant presence.

In 2005, they switched to summer rugby and ultimately became members of the National Conference League.

After winning promotion in the Division Three play-off final last season, they had started the current campaign in dominant mode and were topping Division Two before the enforced suspension of the season.

Although Celtic are not quite the powerful force at open age level that they were in the 50s, 60s and 70s they are actually much stronger at the junior age levels.

And a feature of the club nowadays is its overseas tours.

The Dewsbury Celtic honours board at open age and junior levels is mind-boggling, which is why I have not attempted to list it all on here.

To sum up, it’s an incredible club that is woven into the very fabric of the heritage of the town of Dewsbury.

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