Jimmy Barclay’s involvement with Letterkenny Rovers goes back almost 40 years when he was asked to sign for the club by the late Dan McLaughlin.
By: Diarmaid Doherty
The Raphoe man had played with Finn Harps in the League of Ireland but when his time at Finn Park came to an end, he made the move to Rovers.
He played with the club for a number of seasons and he’s been there ever since.
Still part of the backroom staff at Leckview Park, he’ll play his part in helping to prepare the players for Saturday night’s big match at the Aviva. And even after all these years, he said he’s finding it hard to control the excitement ahead of this weekend’s FAI Intermediate Cup Final.
“I never thought I’d have seen this day,” Jimmy said.
“But it’s coming now, and we’ve got to get geared up for Saturday. It’s great for the club and great for the supporters, and for everyone connected to the club..
“It’ll be a great weekend and there’s been a great build up this last week or so. Mind you, we’ve played a few matches and we’d a good few injuries but we’re getting there.”
Like the rest of the older generation at the club, Jimmy has made friends for life at Rovers. He speaks fondly of his good friend Gerry Meehan, with whom he has travelled all over Europe following the Republic of Ireland. There are others who are sadly, no longer with us.
“But they’ll be there looking after us on Saturday,” Jimmy pointed out.
“I hope we get a good result for them, and we do the town and the club proud.”
As a player, Jimmy played under the likes of Liam and Eunan ‘Busty’ Blake and he went on to manage the club himself. He’s also been part of a host of management teams with among others, Ed Margey and Liam O’Donnell, and still enjoys being involved with the first team set-up.
Over the past two seasons, he’s watched the current manager, Eamonn McConigley assemble a squad that’s blessed with experience and talent.
“Yeh they’re a good bunch,” Jimmy said. “But in saying that, we had a lot of young boys here last year but lost a lot of them to Derry and Harps to the U19s which was a big loss. They were players that had come through from schoolboy level.
But Jimmy feels, the current squad is more than capable of getting the better of Crumlin United on Saturday.
“I hope we win it,” he adds. “We’ll have a few good nights and a few good days knowing us.”