THIS WEEK'S column was thrown up in the air when one of the worst kept secrets was confirmed with Jason McGuinness signing for our bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers. His loss is hard to explain in words and I believe his leaving could have a detrimental affect on us. He was so influential and respected throughout the club.
Jason said the move was down to family reasons and I have no reason to doubt that. I'm sure the offer of a two year contract and the feeling of security made Jason's choice straight forward. Football is a short career and it's over in the blink of an eye. I would like to wish him all the best as he owes us nothing. I also hope to see the club making a few positive announcements in the coming days as I'm sure Shams will be pursuing a few more of our lads.
The curtain came down on the season last Sunday week as the last trophy on offer made its way to the north west as Derry won the cup after a pulsating final. The first half was dour,but the second half and extra time was end to end with both teams out on their feet after 120 minutes. Derry when at full strength are an excellent side and once again their ability to unearth youngsters has to be applauded. I comment on this because young McNamee really impressed me on the day. He is technically brilliant,efficient with his use of the ball and has a sweet left foot. If Derry can hold on to the nucleus of that team and stay injury free they could be a lot higher than they were this year.
In the last few weeks everyone has had a go at their team of the season, so here's mine. I'm sure not everyone will agree.
1 Gary Rogers. A straight forward choice for me, extremely commanding, very reliable and his concentration levels are exceptional. It helped he was playing behind a special back four,but he made his fair share of outstanding saves. The big question is will he be here next year?
2 Ger O'Brien. The best right back this year comfortably. A player i have always admired comfortable on the ball,very composed and importantly a solid defender.
3 Ian Bermingham. This was was tight with Ross Gaynor running him real close. I went for Bermingham as Ifeel he his a better defender than Gaynor. He attacks very well and rarely wastes possession so the Pat's man gets the nod for me.
4 Gavin Peers. Nothing to say other than awesome all year needs to become more vocal on the field due to Jason's departure.
5 Jason McGuinness. My player of the year was a leader on the field and I'm gutted he will be wearing those Hoops next year.
6 Danny Ventre. I would say he played the best football of his career this season. Every team needs a ventre and his flexibility to play in a number of positions makes him vital.
7 Stephen Mc Laughlin. I was always impressed by this lad. He was always a threat, very direct and quick with a great gift to ghost pass defenders. I wonder will he follow who he replaced across the water soon.
8 Ronan Finn. I love the way this player links the play so well ,gets around the pitch like a gazelle and can strike a ball beautifully. He was the standout player in a shambles of a Shams team. 9 Mark Quigley. Genius. 10 Gary Twigg. One of the all time greats to play in our league. 89 goals in 110 games says it all. He had a poor season by his terms yet still scored over 20 goals.
11 Sean O'Connor. This was the first year Sean showed the potential he possess. I think he realised he was nearing the end of his career and played some wonderful football this season. His dead ball ability is top notch and his goal in the cup final will be shown for years to come.
Manager: Ian Baraclough. The main reason we became league champions. He brought us to a different level through his work ethic and extreme professionalism.
A few players were very close and Danny North was a definite until his untimely injury. I have to give Mick Cooke a mention as we were all waiting for Drogheda to fall and they didn't. I'm giving the credit to Cooke who kept his side motivated and focused to stay the course all year.
We are all finding it hard now to fill our weekends as the season has ended so if you need a fix get yourself up to Ballinamallard only an hour away to see a game.