HE WAS born the youngest of four children in the West End area of Buncrana in 1917 under the sign of Sagittarius, his father a cattle dealer and match maker, while his mother kept a guest house and small corner shop.
Danny “Tinney” Doherty, who passed away last week, on Wednesday, June 26th, was a true Derry City legend but always a Buncrana man at heart. he was 95.
The former goalkeeper was educated in Buncrana and Cockhill schools and it was it was on the playground and alleyways of his home town that the local elders and sports connoisseurs confidently predicted that, one day, he would be a star!
EXCELLED IN ALL SPORTS
As a teenager he excelled in most sports including athletics and track and field disciplines including the long jump, high jump, hop step and jump and the half mile and one miles distances were his favourites.
The young Danny used to cycle to the numerous sports meetings which were popular throughout the North-West area and he constantly returned home with trophies, cups, medals and, would you believe, cigarettes!
Back in those days cigarettes, in their scarcity, were a massive prize because everyone smoked and very few had the money to buy them.
FOOTBALL WINS THE DAY
But it was the game of football and the goalkeeping position, in particular, that finally won the day for Danny.
He opened his career with Dunree (The Parish) because he couldn’t get his place with Buncrana! They said he was too wee!
But he finally got his place with Buncrana Celtic in the mid-1930s, that team managed by Garda Detective Harry Doran. Celtic went on to dominate at local junior level and in Derry & District circles with Danny’s style, guile and guts beginning to generate attention within the local sport.
During this period of his life he met and married Bridget Doherty (Stout) from Connaughkinnego, Illies and in the ensuing years, they were blessed with seven children and, indeed, celebrated 70 years of marriage in 2012.
But back to his sporting career and in 1937 the manager of Derry City, one Billy Gillespie, who had been watching Danny perform for a couple of years, signed him up but told him he’d have to patient and wait for his chance. Danny remained patient for a year and every week without fail, the Derry City club delivered an envelope with a £1 note inside - Danny’s mother, Susan, couldn’t understand how anyone could earn a £1 a week in those days for doing absolutely nothing!
Of course, Danny famously cycled to Derry - for matches and training sessions - and when his chance did finally come, he grabbed it with both hands and settled into a Derry City team which included famous names such as - Jimmy Kelly, Matt Doherty, Johnny Campbell, Danno Feeney, Hughie Carlyle and many others.
The Buncrana man took to the Brandywell like to a duck to muck and for the next decade became a Derry City legend.
SO MANY STORIES
The many, many stories of him arriving late on his bike at the Waterside Railway Station explaining to a panicking team manager that he got a puncture or the wind was against him - but those excuses, were all absolutely true!
He was affectionately known as the “Turf Man From Buncrana” because he carried a sod of turf, draped in a red and white ribbon, to every match as a good luck charm.
One day during World War II at The Oval Football Ground in Belfast, when playing against Glentoran, the German bombers attacked during the match and the players and supporters were evacuated from the ground. Danny forgot his turf sod which lay in the back of his goal . . . that day the stadium was destroyed and Danny’s turf went up in smoke!
Such stories and. indeed, hundreds of others are still talked about in clubs, pubs and graveyards!
His goalkeeping ability was well known throughout the land and the Brandywell was always considered his second home. In fact, Danny “Tinney” knew every character and sportsman from Malin Head to the Glenshane Pass.
Popular and boasting good character, he was a good husband and parent and very much a giving and forgiving person. He was never known to have offended anyone unintentionally.
PROUD MEMBER OF
He was also a proud member of Buncrana Hearts FC of which he was a founding member and the local club formed a Guard of Honour at his funeral last Friday morning to Cockhill Cemetery.
To the many people who attended his funeral or called at his home in Castle Park, his wife and family are eternally grateful to one and all.
The Doherty family also wish to extend their sincere thanks to Fr John Walsh, P.P., Buncrana, Fr. George McLaughlin, the altar attendants, McKinney Funeral Directors, the Staff at Buncrana Nursing Unit and Letterkenny General Hospital and all those who brought flowers or helped in any way.
May he rest in peace.