Tell us a bit about yourself
I am married to Georgina and we have three daughters Rachel, Ellie and Ashleigh. I’ve worked in the local Finn Valley College as a Career Guidance Counsellor for 20 years, taken a year out this year but going back again in September. I live within earshot of Finn Park out the Dreenan road but I’m from Lifford originally, where Shay Given and myself were in the same class at school. I really enjoy my football – Finn Harps, Man Utd and Republic of Ireland being the three teams I always look out for. I used to play a bit myself (quite a while ago now!) but the oul knees dictated that I should try to concentrate more on the smaller ball, which I try to knock about a bit up in Ballybofey & Stranorlar Golf Club.
What attracted you to getting involved with the club and what will you look to bring to the role of secretary?
I had always been heavily involved with the football teams in school as well as the Donegal and Ulster representative sides, but the past few years I had stepped back as life became so busy. However, the baby of the house is 18 now and I have more time on my hands! I knew the club were looking for volunteers and I like the way that things are developing right across the club with the academy, the women’s teams and the rebuild of both the first team and the proposed new stadium. It’s an exciting time for Finn Harps and probably as good a time as any to get involved.
I hope that I can bring some of my own experiences and skills to the role I guess. I’ll work hard and do what I can to help.
How are you finding it so far?
It is early days obviously and no doubt it will take me a little while to get up to speed with things, but so far so good. Everyone is very friendly and really hard-working, all for the good of the club. It’s great to see. I saw this at first-hand at the Galway game on such an atrocious night. All those behind the scenes that pull things together so well on match nights, for example the ladies doing the ticketing outside and getting absolutely drenched. They are a credit to the club and we are very lucky to have such great volunteers. A brilliant crowd too. Thankfully, I know quite a lot of the people and faces behind the scenes. I’ve known our Chairman Ian for a good number of years, the same with James Rogers, Paddy McDaid, Kevin McHugh and several others. I went to school with Trevor Gordon who has been doing Trojan work in the background for years and I even taught Shane Elliot, another great club man, a number of years ago.
Tell about your history with Finn Harps
It seems a lifetime ago now but I gained a couple of caps with the Irish U-18 schoolboys in 1994 and one of the games was against Northern Ireland in Finn Park. It was such a privilege to represent my country and to be able to do it with friends and family in the stands made it even more special. I would have been on the books of the club around this time but I didn’t make the first team. Charlie McGeever was manager of the reserves back in those days and some of the lads that I played in the Donegal and Ulster teams were all joining the club at the same time, Johnny Minnock, Paddy McGranaghan, Karl Lafferty, Brendan Devenny and Shane Bradley. All great players and several real Harps legends among them. I didn’t hang around too long really and I went up to Omagh Town for a while before moving to the hometown club Lifford Celtic again who were in the Ulster Senior League at the time. I unfortunately did my cruciate ligament then when I was 20, a nightmare injury at the time. I got it fixed and came back about a year and a half later but did the other cruciate then and that was that as far as playing football was concerned for me. I contented myself going to watch games then, often sitting with a great Harps man, Alex Harkin. Some great nights and moments over the years but hopefully many more to come in the future! One final memory of Finn Park was taking my school team to play against St Catherine’s Vocational School, Killybegs in the Ulster Final around 2005 or so and being beaten in the dying moments by a bullet header at the town end from a young man by the name of Seamus Coleman. Not sure what became of him!
How do you want to see the club develop in the coming years?
Like I said, it is a very vibrant and exciting time and I am really looking forward to seeing the club go from strength to strength on so many levels. As a Man Utd fan reared on the Class of ’92 (and their fabled rise from the Academy to Treble winners!) I look forward to seeing a similar Donegal based fairytale for the Harps! The model is there now thanks to some brilliant work by the likes of James Rogers and now Kevin McHugh and all the coaching staff. There’s nothing like seeing young local talent develop and the pathway is there for them now to reach out and grab the opportunity. It’s a very exciting time for women’s football too with the U-17s and U-19s in the National League. With my good mate Paddy McDaid at the head of affairs I have no doubt that they will do very well. Lastly, the new stadium will also help to bring the club onto another level.
Have you ever been in a Turkish prison?
Not as of yet. Still on the bucket list!