As mother to three footballing sons, and sister to a family of footballing addicts, I’ve always been very aware of the rivalry and comradeship involved in the soccer world. Growing up as a young girl in the village of Quigleys Point, I spent my Sundays watching my father play football for Quigleys Point Swifts. And so my devotion to the blue and white army was instilled at a very young age in the 70’s (oh that seems– a long time ago). Alas but it is now 2016 and I’m still an avid fan of the QPs blue and white army. In the modern day I have two sons who play for the said squad so there’s none other that I can follow.Paddy cover pic
However, my wee cousin-in-law plays for the rivalry squad, Carndonagh FC. I might not be a fan of his red and white army but recently I have come to respect his dedication to his local squad having read the memoir he penned just last year. Paddy McGuinness has put together a collection of his memories, his achievements, his friendships and his tribulations that he has experienced over the past 20+ years with his beloved team.
Hailing from Carndonagh, Paddy pledges allegiance to his beloved home squad. Having been born, grown up and now hails from the said town in Inishowen, McGuinness decided to pen his footballing story from over the past few years. And he has done just this in ‘Only Fools and Workhorses: The Memoris’.Paddy boys
I set about reading the said memoirs just before Easter 2016. I spent manys a moment laughing out loud, silently cringing, and at times horrified by certain comments. But at all times I was impressed by the honesty and sheer sincerity of Paddy McGuinness. Paddy talks openly, frankly, and oftimes critically about his team mates, his friends, his companions, his mentors and his opposition. He never wavers in his opinion. The entirety of this book speaks volumes of his love and at times serious criticism of his team mates and his devotion to Carndonagh F.C.
I was fortunate to catch up wtih Paddy over this Easter Holiday break with a coffee to talk about his said work (he owes me a beer very soon!). During this said catch up he told me the real reasons he wrote this book. Primarily it was to tell the craic, the tongue and cheek version of his footballing career. It was a chance for him to write his memories of winning the league during the season 2013/14. It was an opportunity for him to get a wee dig at folk whom he felt let the club down after winning the said league. But it was also an opportunity for him to strike a balance between fun and seriousness.
After winning this league, Paddy had decided to hang up his boots. He was teaching full-time in Dublin, embarking on his Masters Degree, and yet wanting to continue holding a tie to his beloved Carndonagh F.C. He siad, “I always needed a Carn F.C. element in my life”. With all his personal and academic ties he felt frustrated that he couldn’t help defend the title. This was his input. Writing his memoir helped him cope. This was his strategy.
The beginning of this book tells the story of the build up to the title win in 2013/14. The highs and the lows that it entailed, both on and off the pitch. The middle section tells of the glory of the said win and all that it involved. The end part of the book tells a series of stories of McGuinness’s time with the club. The good times and the bad, The fun times and the not so fun times. At all times he is honest and brutally accurate in his memories of friends and comrades.Paddy team
Since finishing the book Paddy has returned to play for his beloved Carndonagh F.C and recently won the First Division title in 2015/16. Although some of the younger team members have told him, “Paddy you should retire”, he’s unsure of his future now with the club.
He told me, “football is in my blood. Nothing gets my juices flowing like Carndonagh F.C. It’s great craic.”
Like many of his contemporaries he feels that in the modern day the “loyalty factor is desintegrating across Inishowen” with folk jumping ship. He believes that players should remain loyal to their local team. McGuinness has certainly remained loyal to his local squad, Carndonagh F.C. and believes very firmly in this loyalty being adhered to.
As a devoted QPS fan I can certainly agree with this assumption. As one of my sons played for the neighbouring squad, Redcastle Utd, a few years ago, I was unable to support such. QPS is in my blood for over 40 years. Just as Carndonagh F.C. is in Paddy’s blood for over 30 years.
Footballing rivalry will always be rife among us. So it’s up to us, the said community to ensure that our offspring support and give their talent to their local club, neighbourhood, community. Whether you’re a Carndonagh F.C. supporter or other, you can certainly relate to all that Paddy McGuinness relates to in his memoirs, Only Fools and Workhorses!
For me, the best memory of Paddy’s footballing career within this book is his photograph celebrating the 13/14 title win with his mother, late grandmother and his mangaging brother Niall. It speaks volumes of his love for his football, his win and most importantly his family. Paddy family