One of the topics being discussed after the Dolphin v UL Bohemians game today was the election of Gerry McAnaney as President of the FAI. Dubliner Gerry McAnaney, a retired Army Commandent was based in Cork when in the late 70’s he played with Dolphin. In conversation today, former IRFU President Martin O’Sullivan reflected on the 1977-78 season when he was injured and coached the Dolphin Minor A side to Minor League and Dennehy Cup victories with Gerry featuring as a backrow in the League winning side, scoring a try in the league final.
As he stepped into the public glare following his election on Saturday, new FAI president Gerry McAnaney was immediately at pains to clarify, in deference to his father’s Donegal roots, that the family surname is pronounced ‘Mac-a-nanny’.
He revealed that his Killea-born dad worked with the father of guitar legend Rory Gallagher in Ballyshannon before his ESB job took him to Dublin, where Gerry grew up.
After attending Templelogue College, it was his decision to opt for a career in the army that led to him moving to Cork over 40 years ago and forging an enduring connection with football on Leeside — albeit via a brief dalliance with the oval ball.
“Then the infamous Joe Grady was up in the barracks and he was injured with Cork Alberts. And Jerry Harris discovered that ‘there’s a fellow above in the barracks that’s not a bad keeper’, so that started my career with Albert Rovers, then Tramore Athletic, Cobh Ramblers, Cork City, and College Corinthians.
“Then I did it in the reverse coming back down, in that I coached underage and juniors. I was assistant manager to Fergus McDaid at College Corinthians and we won about 13 trophies.
“But we were experts at losing Intermediate Cup finals. We lost two of them. So, if you ever wanted a team to lose you a cup final, that was us.”
As a goalkeeper, McAnaney represented Ireland at U15 level, in a team that included David O’Leary and Ashley Grimes.
He grinned and replied: “I’m for all the Rebels!”