BARRY McNamee’s career took a major turn for the better when he was selected to start in the FAI Cup final last November in the Aviva Stadium for Derry City.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
In fact, since then his name has remained on the sheet containing the Brandywell club’s first team and this week the 21-year-old has taken another significant step forward having been selected for international duty.
Add in the fact that he has also claimed the Soccer Writers’ of Ireland “Player of the Month” Award for April, and the chirpy Ramelton man with the distinctive hairstyle has been on a high this week.
Informed by manager, Declan Devine, before Wednesday’s training session that Noel King had called him up to join the Irish Under-21’s trip to Denmark at the end of the month, McNamee received a major boost.
“I was delighted when Declan told me that I had been called up to travel to Denmark,” said Barry.
“It’s my first call-up to international level and it really has been a great day for me having also won the Airtricity League’s ‘Player of the Month’ award,” he added.
“I knew about the ‘Player of the Month’ Award, but the call-up to the under-21’s came as a shock. I had been involved in the home-based under-21 squad, but I must have been doing something right to get called up,” he laughed.
McNamee will travel to Denmark at the end of this month for what will be a friendly challenge before the Under-21’s face the Faroe Island in a European Championship fixture in August.
He will be joined in the U-21 squad by Derry man and current Everton defender, Shane Duffy.
“Winning awards at this level is special and every player wants to aspire to international level and I’m no different, so I’m very happy with what has happened to me over the past few days.”
Delighted to be holding down a first place with the “Candy Stripes,” McNamee is really enjoying his football these days describing his current career in the game as fantastic.
“I’m very happy to be in the Derry team most weeks. I try to put my head down and work really hard in training and now that I’m beginning to score a few goals, it’s been fantastic for me.”
Indeed, McNamee’s sublime strike with a free-kick during last weekend’s disappointing defeat by UCD, has seen the player add another string to his bow.
“My priority has always been to try and improve and I feel I’m doing that with the Derry first team. I think people are now beginning to notice me and I was really delighted with my goal against UCD but having lost the game it took the shine of the goal,” he lamented.
“I really don’t think we deserved to lose that match. The referee made a few dodgy decisions and that didn’t help us but I think we’ve got to move on.
“I had a few decisions given against me in relation to penalty kicks which I felt were poor decisions. The referees probably felt they were right, so what can you do?”
Currently preparing for tonight’s trip to Hunky Dorys Park in Drogheda, the versatile midfielder believes Derry City owe Mick Cooke’s side having suffered poor results against the ‘Boynesiders.’
He went on: “The UCD defeat was poor last week, but we’ve managed to get over it and there’s no reason why we cannot put in a good performance in Drogheda to put the UCD result behind us.
“We certainly have the players capable of doing that and I’ve no doubt we will be doing all in our power to remain at the top end of the league table,” he concluded.
The Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad to face Denmark in the Fredericia Stadium on Friday night, May 31st is - Aaron McCarey (Wolves), Sean McDermott (Sandnes Ulf), Shane Duffy (Everton), Anthony O’Connor (Blackburn Rvs), Matt Doherty (Wolves), Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen), Derrick Williams (Aston Villa), Sean McGinty (Unattached), Carl McHugh (Bradford City), Samir Carruthers (Aston Villa), John O’Sullivan (Blackburn Rvrs), Frankie Sutherland (QPR), Barry McNamee (Derry City), Sean Murray (Watford), Anthony Forde (Wolves), Aiden O’Brien (Millwall).
“Sky’s The Limit”
Having learned of his player’s graduation to international level, Declan Devine was thrilled for the Donegal man, suggesting that the call-up was merited.
He said: “Barry is a very bright young player who continues to work very hard at his game. He has shown a tremendous attitude and he continues to grow in terms of experience. He’s now started to add goals to his repertoire and he has always been influential in creating goal-scoring chances for others around him.
“It’s my view that if he keeps improving, then the sky is the limit for him. Barry is in the Derry City first team on merit and not only is he a creative player, he’s also versatile having played in a number of positions when called upon,” noted Devine.
“His goal against UCD last Friday night was nothing short of technically brilliant, it really was a superb strike with his left foot and knowing Barry as I do, he will not sit back and rest on his laurels. He will want to get better and a move into the international team will set him another excellent challenge.
“Barry has come through our Academy and while everyone is delighted with his progress, no one is happier than our Academy coaches - Eddie Seydak, John Quigg and Hugh Harkin, who have played their part in his graduation,” he concluded.