Name: Anthony O’Doherty
Born: c.1948, Londonderry
Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 2 Full Caps (1970), 1 Under-23 Cap (1969); Irish League: 4 Caps / 1 Goal (1968-1970).
Club Honours: (with Coleraine) Ulster Cup Winner; City Cup Winner; Blaxnit All-Ireland Cup Winner; Top Four Cup Winner; (with Finn Harps) FAI Cup Winner 1973/74; (with Dundalk) FAI Cup Winner 1980/81; (with Derry City) First Division Shield Winner 1985/86.
Clubs...,,,,,,.. --Seasons-- Signed -Fee- Domestic Europe
Coleraine ...... 64/65-70/71 ....... Youth 213/ 3 .7(0)/0
Finn Harps...... 72/73-79/80 ..1972 £4,000 193/ ? (Total)
Dundalk......... 80/81...... Sep-80 ...... .33/ 0 .2(0)/0
Ballymena United ........... ...... ...... ???/ ? .2(0)/0
Tony O’Doherty’s class was spotted early by those in control of the Irish game. Combining part-time football with his job as a clerk he was honoured by the Irish League and was selected as captain of the Northern Ireland Under-23 side that faced Italy in March 1969 – this despite the presence in the team of Allan Hunter, Pat Rice and Brian Hamilton. The Italians won 2-1, but Billy Bingham was impressed enough to include O’Doherty in the panel for that season’s Home Nations Championship.
Capable of playing as either a creative wing-half or as a centre-back lynch-pin, O’Doherty had to wait until April 1970 for his first Full cap. That came as a midfielder, in front of 100,000 people at Wembley, as Northern Ireland lost 3-1. Four days later he made his only other international appearance, as a second half substitute for Billy Campbell, in a 1-0 defeat by Wales in Swansea.
With Bertie Peacock’s highly successful Coleraine side of the late-sixties and early-seventies, O’Doherty collected a clutch of medals and a host of admirers. He was continuously linked with moves across the Irish Sea, but so valued was he by Coleraine that they stuck a £20,000 valuation on his head.
O’Doherty rejected all overtures from full-time football, and when he did leave the Showgrounds in 1971 it seemed that he had given-up the game altogether. He re-emerged with Finn Harps a year later and is still regarded as one of the greatest ever players to grace the field at Finn Park and was a key member of the Harps side that won the 1974 FAI Cup, their only major honour. During O’Doherty’s time with the club they also finished runners-up in the League of Ireland three times and in the League Cup twice.
After nearly 200 appearances for Harps, O’Doherty left for Dundalk. Although he spent only a season at Oriel Park, he is fondly remembered, for it was another remarkable campaign for Jim McLaughlin’s men. The FAI Cup, President’s Cup and League Cup were all won, runners-up spot in the League was claimed and a UEFA Cup match-up with Porto was lost narrowly, 1-0 on aggregate.
Later O’Doherty played for Ballymena and for Derry City in their first season in the League of Ireland, helping them to the First Division Shield. He was also manager at the Brandywell from October 1993 to December 1994. Since severing his ties with the everyday game, O’Doherty has worked as a football pundit and is active in community relations in the Derry area.
Northern Ireland Cap Details:
21-04-1970 England. A L 1-3 BC
25-04-1970 Wales... A L 0-1 BC sub
Summary: 1(1)/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 2.