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Ballymoney man Joe was Portadown trophy winner!

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Coleraine fan Joe Donnelly will be paying particular interest to Saturday’s game at Shamrock Park.

That’s because the lifelong Coleraine supporter was a trophy winner with Portadown in the seventies!

Joe won the Carlsberg Cup in 1973 and the Gold Cup two years earlier during his stay in Mid Ulster and retains happy memories of his stint with the Ports.

The Ballymoney man, who regularly watches the Bannsiders – both home and away – eventually moved to the Showgrounds where he made a handful of appearances.

“It was Gilby McKenzie who signed me for Portadown after he spotted me playing for Ballymoney ‘Tech’,” recalled Joe.

“I played inside forward and spent a couple of seasons there.”

Now 67, Joe also spent time on trial with Preston North End when the legendary Peter Doherty was at Deepdale.

But it was another legendary figure, Bertie Peacock, who brought him to the Showgrounds where he began life in the Reserves.

“We had a great Reserve team, Russell Peacock, Kenny McCandless, Philip Kearney, ‘Tussie’ McCloskey.”

Joe was also capped and played alongside the late Sean Mullan, Jimmy Calvin and Alan Craig for the Irish youth team which played England in Chester in 1972.

The Armour Avenue man may have happy memories of his time at Portadown but somehow I think he will be urging on Coleraine when the teams to battle this weekend!

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Coleraine man, married to Tracy. Former Chronicle Sports Editor and writer for the old Saturday Night sports paper and Belfast Telegraph/Sunday Life. Has travelled and reported on Coleraine FC on several of their European ties over the years.
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