An American researching his grandfather’s Derry roots is hoping this picture - thought to be one of the earliest of the team that would later become Derry City - will encourage local soccer buffs to aid his work.
Philadelphian Kevin Holt got in touch with the ‘Journal’ this week after his brother passed on this photo of William McGuinness (bottom left) and his Derry Celtic team mates. It is understood the photo was taken in the late 1890’s around the time of the club’s inception. Derry Celtic played in the Irish League but became defunct after their relegation in 1912.
Kevin says he and his family are aware of much of his grandfather’s story but know little of the team he played for.
His grandfather William McGuinness was born on or about August 22, 1875, the son of John McGuinness, a tailor by trade, and Hannah (Clarke) McGuinness. The family home was 6 Creggan Street and William was later married to Mary Ann McGonagle at St. Eugene’s Cathedral.
The McGuinness family, who left Derry in the early 1910s, settled primarily in Woodbury, New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia. They eventually had six sons and one daughter. Two sons, John and Michael, were born in Derry while the others were born in the USA.
Now Kevin says he and his family would love to know more about the history of Derry Celtic.
“As far as I know, he played midfield for the team in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Bethlehem Steel Corporation recruited him to start a team in Philadelphia in 1910.
“I would like to know anything about the history of the team, the players in the photograph and their contribution to football in Ireland,” he says.
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