He may be known as ‘Deets’, some Ballinderry folk will call him ‘Dino’ but when Ballinderry won the 1998 All-Ireland Sevens title at Kilmacud Crokes, Conleith Gilligan was quite simply the star of the show as the ‘fly’ goalkeeper. He had played MacRory and
football as a keeper but sevens is different. Your goalkeeper is very much your ace card, he is the play maker. County
A few years later after Ballinderry had won the Derry, Ulster and All-Ireland titles Conleith Gilligan was most likely in Forbes [not Forbes club or Forbes Racing] ordering a new sideboard, such was the number of man of the match accolades he was picking up. With Mickey Conlan now in the established number one, Gilligan was the conductor at number 11.
However, in the last few seasons the Ballinderry attack has taken up a different formation. Raymond ‘Crook’ Wilkinson and Enda Muldoon have been playing in this role, with Gilligan pushed up as a finisher, alongside Collie Devlin and more recently new underage sensation Ryan Bell in attack.
So basically Gilligan has played many different roles in the game. From the early days of goalkeeper practice on St Pat’s back pitch, to a penalty scoring goalkeeper with
Derry minors. From mastering the extra man role at Kilmacud to opening up Nemo Rangers on that famous St Paddy’s day trip to Thurles in 2002.
During the week he will have been in Eugene Kelly’s thoughts as he prepares his Dungiven side. As he steps off the bus in
, Gilligan will be have his sights firmly set on anther county final appearance. He is the last of our featured players in this week’s semi-final build-up. Celtic Park
Name: Conleith Gilligan
Nickname: Too many to name
Club: Ballinderry Shamrocks
Occupation: Sales manager
Boots/Gloves Worn: Nike Tiempo/Breath gloves
Favourite Film: 300
Favourite Song: Anything by Susan Boyle
Favourite Food: Chinese
Favourite Drink: Tea
Best thing about football: Playing
Worst thing about football: Losing
Pre Match Meal: Pasta
Pre Game Superstition: None
Toughest opponent: Raymond (Wrinkle)
Best player played with: Too many to single one out.
Sporting Highlight: AIl Ireland Club title 2002.
Biggest Disappointment: Losing any final
Childhood idol: Trevor Giles
Biggest influence in your career: Brian McIvor
Advice for young players: Work hard and listen harder
Best trainer in the club: Kevin Moss
Worst trainer in the club: Darren Conway
Other Sports played: None