"Throughout the afternoon of 8 March 1879, the Newport telegraph offices of the "Monmouthshire Merlin" were besieged by urgent enquirers seeking news of the game in Cardiff. At Sophia Gardens, 'the sister ports', as contemporaries called them, were engaged in the final tie of the South Wales Challenge Cup. The game had aroused great interest in both towns, and a thousand Newport supporters had travelled to Cardiff on one of the first footbal excursions to be run in South Wales.
'On its becoming known that Newport had won', reported the Merlin later, Cardiff having gone down by one goal and two tries to nil, 'the news was circulated through the town and received by many with almost frantic excitement'. Boys and youths were running wildly through the streets shouting "Newport has won!" By the time the teams were due at Newport station by the 9.30 mail, 'a dense crowd had assembled and a band of music engaged to play the conquering heroes through the main streets'. A pair-horse brake was ready to receive the team, and as the train pulled in 'a deafening cheer was given. This was taken up by the crowd outside the station until the town was ringing with the cheers of the multitude, intermingled with the occasional strains of the brass band which for a time was literally overpowered.' One of the brake-horses began prancing excitedly in the milling crowd until one of the players, Teddy Jenkins, jumped on its back and rode it western-style. At Cardiff Road a halt was made, 'followed by renewed cheering, shaking of hands with the members of the team, a general waving of hats and tremendous confusion'. The team was led to the Kings' Head Hotel, 'where a speech was demanded from the captain and cheer after cheer greeted him as he arose to address the multitude'.
The era of football enthusiasm had arrived..."
(taken from Page 1 of 'Fields of Praise: The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union' 1980 by David Smith and Gareth Williams and published by the University of Wales Press)
This was the first time that Cardiff had charged for admission to a game - thus causing some resentment with letters of protest being written to the press - and gate receipts totalled £72.