For decades, numerous talented sportsmen and women from the North West of Ireland have been winning national and international acclaim across the spectrum of sporting disciplines.
Individual stars such as boxer Charlie Nash, who won the European Lightweight title and soccer’s boy-wonder John Crossan, who captained Manchester City and represented N Ireland. Teams such as Derry City FC, which became the first club in the modern League of Ireland to win the treble. Or Donegal and Derry who both won the coveted Sam Maguire All-Ireland GAA trophy. Or Donemana Cricket Club’s whose record-breaking nine successive North West championships may never be surpassed.
And now, for the first time, BBC sports journalist Richie Kelly has captured many of these memorable stories in a single volume celebrating the proud sporting heritage of Derry, Donegal and West Tyrone.
‘Sporting Greats of the North West’ is full of tales of heroism and triumph – and the occasional dramatic setback. Kelly relives the highs of Bertie Peacock’s glory days at Celtic and Coleraine, Limavady Cricket Club’s historic treble and City of Derry Rugby Club’s momentous league and cup double. He also recounts the lows of Finn Harps’ senior competitive debut when the Donegal team crashed to a 10–2 defeat.
‘Many fine books have been written about North West of Ireland sport,” explained Mr Kelly, “Most of them, however, tend to concentrate on one particular subject, whereas I was interested in bringing together in one publication the stories of teams and individuals across a varied range of sports. This is a very personal account of my own selected stories and the countless other great sporting feats that deserve celebrating are only excluded for lack of space.
‘This region’s love affair with a sporting challenge goes back a long way and I have tried to capture this in the book and do justice to the remarkable achievements of the many fine sporting competitors from this area over the years. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did researching and writing it.’
Eamon Dunphy, renowned sports commentator and friend of Richie Kelly, commented on the new release: ‘As a writer, columnist and broadcaster, Richie Kelly has been the Voice of Sport in the North West for a generation. His passion, flair and huge knowledge of sport are evident everywhere in this book. Sporting Greats of the North West is a fascinating collection with many captivating characters and many wonderful never-to-be-forgotten events. It is a must-read for me. And hopefully it will be for you, too.’
Sporting Greats of the North West by Richie Kelly is published by Guildhall Press and is available from quality bookshops or online at www.ghpress.com priced £11.95.