Belfast born inside left, left half and left back Sam Torrans was undoubtedly the star of the famous Torrans clan. Sam was the only one of the four brothers to play in each of Linfield’s first six Irish League titles and first seven Irish Cup wins between 1891 and 1902 respectively. A founding member of th club, first playing for them in 1886-87, he was originally a free scoring forward, scoring 18 times in Linfield’s first title winning season of 1890-91, including five in a 14-0 win over Oldpark. He ended the 1890-91 season with another strike in a 4-2 Irish Cup win over Ulster. He scored another Irish Cup Final goal a year later as the Black Watch Regiment were defeated 7-0 (brother Rab also scored) and although he failed to find the net in the 1893 5-1 Final win over Cliftonville, another brother, Tom, did.
By 1893 however, Torrans had begun to feature more often at left back and it was in that position he played in further Irish Cup wins in 1895, 1898, 1899 and 1902. In his seventeen year Blues career Torrans also claimed City Cup, Charity Cup and Co. Antrim Shield winner’s medals, many as captain. Despite playing the latter portion of his career as a back, Torrans’ thirty goals in the Irish Cup competition has been bettered by just seven others.
Torrans was a mainstay for Ireland for twelve years, claiming a total of 26 caps, making his international debut in a heavy defeat to Scotland at Ibrox Park, Glasgow in March 1889. He featured at outside right, inside, left, outside left, left half and left back, but despite his admirable goalscoring return at club level, he never scored on the international stage, in the opponents’ net at any rate. His best opportunity came against England in March 1892, with the game scoreless after 75 minutes, as Ireland were awarded the first penalty in international football but Torrans’ effort was saved by English ‘keeper William Rowley, who then recovered to save the follow up from William Dalton. Further ignominy to his international career came in the form of the unwanted record of most own goals scored in the International Championship, three in all. Torrans also captained Ireland on two occasions during the 1894 Championship. He also played 8 times for The Irish League between 1895 and 1901.
Although only two of the four Torrans brothers won Ireland caps (Sam and Rab) a third, Jim, did make the field at international level as a referee.