Ballymoor F.C. celebrated its tenth anniversary this year and within the next two years it is hoping to have its own base at the Daisy Field beside the River Foyle.
The Brandywell based club was formed in 2003 by two local men, John ‘Busty’ Doherty and Peter Griffin.
The club took its name from the mixed group of young boys who turned up to the first ever training session back in 2003.
Half of the boys were from Ballymagroarty - hence the ‘Bally’ part of the name. And the other half were from the Lone Moor Road - hence the ‘Moor’ part of the name.
Like most youth football teams, the title of chairman is not as glamorous as many would think.
Sean McLaughlin is Ballymoor F.C. chairman but he also drives the team bus, takes coaching sessions and washes the club strips after matches.
“I used to play a bit of football in my younger days. I played for the Derry City reserves for a few years so I know the value of youth football in Derry.
“We are only a young club but we have upwards of 160 members on our books at the minute.
“Brandywell Harps used to be the big youth football team in the Brandywell but they folded ages ago so until John ‘Busty’ Doherty and Peter Griffin formed the club there was no football club in the area for young boys and girls,” explained Sean.
Ballymoor F.C. boast ten teams. They have an U7 right up to U15 team and they also have a senior side that competes in the Derry and District Sunday Morning League.
“In the ten years we have been going we have already started to produce professional footballers,” said club coach Seamus McCallion.
“Derry City F.C. player, Dean Jarvis, started out life playing for Ballymoor and he is doing well - we hope he has a great season in 2014.
“Liam Coyle’s young son plays with us too and we have too many promising youngsters coming through the ranks to mention.
“We are also the first club in Derry to receive Clubmark NI accreditation (Sports NI’s quality standard for junior sports clubs).
“The award means that we meet the criteria when it comes to providing a safe environment for children to come and learn how to play football, we are also adept at providing effective management and quality coaching.”
The vast majority of Ballymoor F.C.’s coaches are either parents of youngsters in the team or they are too old compete at youth level and now help out at the club as coaches.
“We really are a community club,” said Sean.
“Although the main bulk of our youngsters would be from the Brandywell, Bishop Street and Foyle Road areas we get quite a few young ones coming in from outside.
“Could you imagine what we would be like if we were to actually have our own base? We’d be even better again.
“It’s our hope and dream to have our own state of the art club house, 3G pitch and training area by 2015.”
Seamus added: “It’s been something we have been fighting for for the last six years so if everything goes according to plan we could be key holders of our training base near the Daisy Field in the Brandywell.
“Not only would it benefit the club, a dedicated place for youngsters to train and play football would benefit the local area too,” he said.
“We are also on the look for new sponsors,” said Seamus.
“We are the first club in Derry to use Nike football rigs - we will be taking delivery of them soon. We owe a debt of thanks to AEN Electrical who helped to set the club in the eary years. Paul’s Butchers and Glassagh Taxis have also helped us out in the past too.”
Paul Bradley is 13 years-old and plays for the Ballymoor F.C. U14s.
Paul only joined the club a few months ago but he travels the whole way from Letterkenny to Derry every week for training.
“I heard of the great reputation of Ballymoor F.C. I like their style of football and although the coaches don’t let us away with much, they are really good craic too.
“Hopefully, if I work hard and listen to the likes of Seamus and Sean I will be a professional footballer some day,” said the talented left winger.
Callum Doherty is also 13 years-old and is from the Bogside. Callum has scored 12 goals in 13 games for the U14s and has been with Ballymoor F.C. since he was six.
“It’s a brilliant club and the training is quality too. A lot of my friends play for Ballymoor F.C. - it’s a lot of fun coming here every week and hopefully the club can help me to go on and play for Manchester United someday,” he smiled.
Ballymoor F.C. is always interested in hearing from potential new members, both girls and boys are welcome. For more information or to contact one of the coaches visit their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SeamusMcCallion