The Derryleigh One-on-One. Getting to know Ailbe Coffey

Ailbe Coffey
This new feature on our Club website & social media gives our members an opportunity to get to know some of the people in and around our Club. You might know their face but the aim is to get people more familiar with each other at the Club and to see what makes people tick and why they’re involved. As you’ll see, the questions are fairly light-hearted and fun and thanks to everyone who agrees to be interviewed. First up under the spotlight is Ailbe Coffey, who was recently granted the honour of being Grand Marshal in the Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This was in recognition of Ailbe being honoured by the Limerick District Schoolboy/Schoolgirl League in October 2017 when he received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to underage soccer in the region at the LDSL Annual Awards ceremony.

Q. How long have you been associated with Newport Town AFC?
Since I was a schoolboy player … 1986.

Q. What position do you currently occupy at the Club?
Club Hon. Secretary, Junior A and Youths manager.

Q. What type of player were you as a schoolboy?
I’m laughing here… I’d limited ability, but always wanted to be the best I could be.

Q. What are your hopes for next season in NTAFC?
Continuing to stay humble while developing our potential as a community resource.

Q. What professional soccer team do you support?
Liverpool FC – Red for Life

Q. Who are your favourite professional players (both past & present)?
Past – Ian Rush, Liverpool. ; Present – Messi, Barcelona. A privilege to have seen them play.

Q. In your opinion, what qualities make a player a good team captain?
Great Question. You can have many captains on the field, not just the one with the armband. The more you have, the greater the certainty of success. Great captains need to encourage, support, and enable all squad members to be at their best, with common goals and not settle for average. Staying positive, teach others to lead for themselves and never give up.

Q. What takes up your time when you’re not at the Club?
My work with youth brings me to many different communities far and wide, where I meet many great people. For relaxation, I like to watch TV documentaries, cinema, reading, enjoy nature walking, dogs but mainly I love going to sports games, e.g. Limerick FC, Tipperary matches, Ireland games especially away days.

Q. Who is your favourite cartoon character?
Looney Tunes, Foghorn Leghorn. ‘Fortunately, I keep my feathers numbered for just such an occasion.’

Q. What is your favourite film?
Dead Poets Society – especially Walt Whitman’s poetry. ‘Resist Much, Obey Little.’

Q. What is your favourite band / singer?
Rat Pack / Dean Martin.

Q. Do you have a special routine or superstition in general or before a game?
Most sports people do. I love a cuppa tea before games.

Q. Who is your favourite non-soccer sports icon?
Nelson Mandela & Mother Theresa

Q. If you could play at any sporting stadium in the world, which one would it be?
That’s easy… Croke Park for Tipperary

Q. Messi or Ronaldo?
Messi

Q. What other sport(s) do you love to play, and how would you rate your skills?
Pool. Average skills, but I can be very good on my day.

Q. Best thing about living in Newport?
It’s where I am from, it’s in Tipperary and there’s been some great characters here over the years and I’m glad to see, a few new ones coming on stream.

Q. What one word would others use to describe you?
I would hope they’d say, ‘Unassuming’

Q. Who (in your opinion) was the best player you ever played with?
Nicky English Jnr. He simply had everything. Head and Shoulders above everyone on any field.

Q. What is your favourite memory to date of being involved with Newport Town AFC?
There’s a joint two; You had to be there for this first one. ‘An end of season away match 3-2 win versus Shannon Hibs. An exhibition in overcoming the odds – Band of Brothers style’. Secondly, our O’Halloran Cup win a few years back – it was a great week.’ Both are very special memories.

Q. Who has had the biggest impact on your soccer career?
Mattie Lenihan and Joe Ryan. Brought me everywhere playing ball as a kid and helped me fall in love with the beautiful game.

Q. If you had one wish, what would you look to change/implement in NTAFC?
To coin a phrase, there’s a lot done, and more to do. However, it will always have the community and the children at the centre of our efforts.

Q. What advice do you have for the younger NTAFC members?
Enjoy sport, do your best and above all else, have fun with friends making memories. You’ll have them for life.

Thanks Ailbe for taking the time to answer the questions and to start the ball rolling on this feature. Next up for the One-on-One will be……….??