BARRY Molloy looks more like Australian Eric Bana in the film ‘Chopper’ than he does his usual clean shaven self but when he talks, there’s no accent from the land down under, instead Barry speaks with his usual Derry twang and it’s not too long until he’s recalling helping the team to victory in the final of the FAI Cup in Dublin earlier this month.
Molloy, 28, like many other footballers is taking part in ‘Movember’ - an annual event where men all over the world grow moustaches to raise money and awareness about testicular and prostate cancer.
Molloy, originally from Bishop Street, said that the FAI Cup final which took place earlier this month, was special for him because he was able to share it with his two young children, six year-old Ellie and three year-old Rossa.
“It goes without saying that in terms of winning trophies with Derry City, 2006 was perhaps the most successful because we went so close to winning the treble but for me this season has been the most satisfying because it has been a very difficult year.
“In the years gone by I think we were favourites to win most of the trophies we competed for but in this year’s final I think St. Pat’s were more fancied than we were.”
Derry lifted the FAI Cup for the first time since 2006 when they beat St. Patrick’s Athletic 3-2 after extra time in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
After the game, Molloy walked the pitch with his two children but had to put his celebrations with his team mates on hold and he had to take his children to the airport at 6a.m. the following morning.
“I was especially happy with the win because it’s come in both Declan’s [Devine] and Paul’s [Hegarty] first season in charge. It was such a hard fought win and that for me, made it all the more enjoyable.
“I think Barry McNamee and Kevin Deery were excellent for us that day - they really took the game by the scruff of the neck.
“Once we got the ball down and started playing we grew in confidence.
“When we went 2-1 up I thought we would go on and win it but when they equalised late on I remember thinking that they looked the team who would win, but fair play to Rory Patterson - his goal in extra time was top class.
“It was amazing to be able to share the moment with my children Ellie and Rossa. It was great lifting the trophy because they were able to enjoy it with me.
“I only had a few beers that night and was tucked up in bed for before midnight. I had to take them to the airport at 6a.m. the following morning.
“It really made my day having them both there.”
One of the abiding images of Derry’s FAI Cup is a photograph taken by former Journal photographer Lorcan Doherty in the changing rooms afterwards.
The image shows a topless Molloy with his hands in the air, screaming with delight but sitting to his right is friend and team mate Gerard Doherty who buried his grandfather hours before taking part in the final.
“Only Gerard can talk about what that day meant to him but I have had my own bereavements in the past and I know how they can impact upon you.
“The strength of character Gerard displayed that day was like nothing I have ever witnessed before - it was unbelievable.
“It speaks volumes about Gerard and about his desire to do well for Derry City that there was only a few hours between him carrying his granda’s coffin out of the chapel and taking part in the final.”
Molloy will turn 29 next week and although he’s arguably one of the fittest players in the team he says that he is refusing to take anything for granted.
“I have been enjoying myself the last few weeks. You never know when you are going to reach another cup final so I wanted to make sure I made the most of this one.
“The way we were welcomed home by the people of Derry was something I will never forget. It was one of those magic moments that will stay with me forever.
“It’s something players should enjoy and relish and aim for every season,” he said.
As many as 6,000 Derry City supporters made their way to Dublin for the final. Molloy believes now that many fans have been exposed to the highs of winning a trophy many who did not regularly attend games at the Brandywell in 2012 might change their mind next season.
“If you look at our squad now there is a good bunch of young players coming through. I also think that Declan Devine has done an amazing job in getting the schools and the local communities more involved with Derry City.
“If you look at the numbers who went to the cup final you will see that there were a lot of young new fans there that day. We want to tap into them and we want to see as many people as possible coming through the turnstiles next year.
“I think with winning cups and winning games it can only act as a positive so hopefully there will be bigger crowds at the Brandywell for 2013.”
One of the biggest talking points of the 2012 season for Derry City was the emergence of 20 year-old and central midfielder Barry McNamee.
Molloy said he was delighted with McNamee’s progress and added that the introduction of a player with such skill as McNamee has, it helps to keep the older players on their toes.
“Myself, Ruaidhri Higgins and Kevin Deery were in the exact same situation as Barry McNamee is now, when we were 20 and 21.
“We know what it’s like and I think when you’re that age and pushing for a place in the first team you tend to have a positive impact upon the older players around you.
“For us to be there now and have players like Barry McNamee and Tony McNamee coming through is great.
“The club have also signed Paddy Kavanagh which I think is great because I have played against Paddy a good few times and I am all too aware of how skilful and capable he is.
“When you have players pushing you for a place it really helps to breath new life into the team because there’s nothing worse than knowing you are going to start every game regardless.
“The players coming through will keep us on our toes and we all know that we will probably have to be twice as fit because the younger players are just waiting in the wings to get their big chance.”
Molloy believes that the 2012 season is his best since he joined Derry City from Drogheda United in 2004.
“I definitely think that this season has been my best season for Derry City. I have won a few awards and I have also think I have developed and matured.
“There are a lot of young players coming through and as one of the older, more experienced players, I have tried to encourage them and help them on. I have tried to lead by example both on and off the pitch - hopefully it’s rubbed off on a few of the younger players.
“I am quite happy with my season. I had a few good games and I even managed to score a few goals along the way. It was something we talked about in pre-season because the last two seasons I had not scored a goal. I scored four goals this season believe it or not.”
Molloy is contracted to Derry City for another two years and is every bit as determined to well next season. He’s a leader off the pitch as well as on it and his selfless attitude has seen him volunteer to take the FAI Cup into many local schools. This month he’s also taking part in ‘Movember’ to help raise funds for men’s health charities.
“I know I look a bit silly but it’s a bit of fun and it’s for a good cause. The lads have been slagging me off but it would take some of the other players a whole year to grow a moustache like this one,” he joked.
Barry Molloy is raising money by growing a moustache in ‘Movember’; for more information or to leave a donation visit Barry’s fundraising page: http://mobro.co/basil04