independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Magic memories of beating Rangers and Rovers

EARLIEST SPORTING MEMORY: My first game at Dalymount when I was in my early teens. I vividly remember Bohemians centre half Paddy Watters getting a head injury but playing on after a massive bandage had been wrapped around his head. It didn't stop him heading the ball!

SPORTS PLAYED: Apart from soccer I also played Gaelic football and captained my school, City Quay National School, in the Miller Shield Final at Croke Park. I also boxed with Sandymount Boxing Club and remember having to open the club one afternoon a week for Brian Kerr's father, who was coaching Trinity Boxing Club. Football was a winter sport then so in the summer I did the long jump and sprints with Avondale. Now I play golf.

SPORTING HEROES: In football it would have to be Johnny Giles and Liam Brady. Two super players whom I'd love to have seen playing in the finals of either the World Cup or European Championships. Outside of football my big hero was Carl Lewis. To me he was the epitome of everything an athlete should be. A multiple Olympic gold medal winner, he was a classical runner and drug free. Then came the news last month that he may not have been drug free - it was like a dagger stabbing my heart.

MOST MEMORABLE SPORTING MOMENTS: The night I captained Bohs to a 3-2 win over Shamrock Rovers in the final of the President's Cup in front of 20,000. It was the first trophy we had won in 19 years and, even though it was small battered cup, we didn't care. We had a great night.

Another great night was beating Glasgow Rangers 3-2 at Dalymount Park in the UEFA Cup in 1984. I had told the players if we conceded the first goal we'd be slaughtered. We went behind twice but Rocky O'Brien got both equalisers and Gino Lawless scored a magnificent winner. I can still see him cutting in and curling the ball into the far corner. I had a great night afterwards with Jock Wallace the Rangers manager and we became great friends.

WORST SPORTING MOMENT: Sport is never about losing because there are more serious things that can happen like injury. During my playing career I was steeped to get away without having a serious injury but I have always felt terrible any time one of my players got a serious injury like a torn cruciate ligament or a broken leg.

FAVOURITE SPORTING LOCATION: Dalymount Park. The game between Ireland and Russia where Don Givens scored the hat-trick was shown on television last weekend and brought back great memories. I believe the Dalymount Roar was a big factor when the internationals were played there, particularly just after the anthem had finished. I've never heard a roar like it anywhere else!

QUESTION MOST ASKED AND THE ANSWER: What are you doing? Well, I'm still involved. I am assistant manager to Don Givens with the Irish U-21s and my day job is turning out coaches at a FAS course based in Sportslink.

BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'D LIKE TO SEE IN RUNNING OF FOOTBALL: There is huge work being done in the FAI but the lack of facilities is a hinderance so I would love to have more training facilities around the country. I also want to see physical education introduced into the primary school curriculum as it would ingrain the values of sport at an earlier age.

WHAT SPORTING EVENT WOULD YOU PAY MOST TO SEE: The 100 metres final at the Olympic Games as long as I could plonk down at the finishing line.

AND TO MISS: Squash and Badminton. I am sure the people who play both sports get great enjoyment but neither sport has ever captured my interest.

REMAINING SPORTING AMBITIONS: My only sporting ambition has been to make a contribution, so if I can continue to contribute that's great.

WHICH SPORTS STAR WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE A DRINK WITH AND WHY: Muhammad Ali. He was a Colossus. Boxing was on its feet but he rejuvenated it with his style and charisma.

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