IT MAY well have taken “a little” longer to complete than expected, but ‘Radio Foyle’s’ Richie Kelly (pictured right) has produced the perfect stocking-filler for any local sports enthusiast.
Indeed, be it local soccer, Gaelic games, boxing, rugby, cricket or athletics “Sporting Greats of the North West” is a must read publication, the book serving as a perfect reference point to sporting achievements by local sportsmen and women.
Having taken almost six years to reach print, Richie has delved into many memorable past achievements, most of which today’s youngsters will not have been aware of.
He makes the point that so many local sportsmen and women have clearly punched above their weight down though the years.
His intention, to bring together the major success stories of local sport, rather than concentrate on a single subject, has worked wonders in a book which relives so many significant achievements.
From the fabulous role Don Shearer played in both the cricket and soccer codes, Richie takes in the careers of Derry City legends Jimmy Kelly and Jimmy Delaney, right through to the club’s unmatched “treble” success in 1989. The famous Spider Kelly influence in boxing moves on to Charlie Nash’s challenge for world title honours in Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall.
In fact, the author has made room for a plethora of local sporting achievements, reflecting on many unknown facts and figures at both junior and senior level.
Derry characters such as the late local solicitor, Claude Wilton’s involvement in sport not to mention Modern Day Athletics and the Olympic Games.
Donemana’s famous “nine in a row” North-West senior titles is prominent but more than anything, Kelly proves how the North-West area has enjoyed more than its fair share of success through the decades.
“Given that the North-West area takes in a very small corner of Ireland, sporting achievement in this area is hugely significant,” claims Richie.
“And it was those successes which fuelled my enthusiasm to research other events in other sports which I found fascinating,” he added.
“Derry City won all three domestic trophies in the League of Ireland in 1989, having joined the league just four years earlier. They achieved a feat no other club had managed and, indeed, that feat has yet to be equalled.
“In Gaelic football, a small county such as Derry boasts three All-Ireland Club Championship winners in Lavey, Ballinderry and Bellaghy, an exceptional achievement and who would have thought that Derry and, indeed, Donegal would manage to win the Sam Maguire back in the early 1990’s,” continued Richie.
Sporting Greats of the North West” recalls tales of heroism and triumph and takes the reader on great journeys in local sport. It is, indeed, a must read publication, illustrated with superb quality photographs from the past.
Published by Guildhall Press, “Sporting Greats of the North West” is now on sale in all good bookshops priced at £11.95.