BY HARRY WALSH
HE sun is shining but it’s not too warm at Wilford Lane, Nottingham, on what is a typically cold, crisp December morning.
Wilford Lane is the new state-ofthe-art building, costing £1.5m, at Nottingham Forest’s training ground in West Bridgford.
It is hoped the two-storey complex will give Sean O’Driscoll’s team the edge as they look to end to Nottingham Forest’s painful exile from the Premier League, that will be 14 years next May.
While O’Driscoll has been promised substantial funds by Forest’s new owners, the Al-Hasawi family, the Irish man has been looking much closer to home and, particularly, the newly crowned FAI Cup champions Derry City for fresh, young talent.
The Championship club is already contemplating a move for Clonmany winger Stephen McLaughlin while his Derry team-mate Barry Mc-Namee is currently at the City Ground for a week-long trial.
The young Ramelton man doesn’t turn 21 until February, yet his displays with the Candystripes this year have shown maturity way beyond his tender years.
“It would be an ambition to play football cross-channel but if it does-n’t work out I’m more than happy to be playing with Derry City,” he said.
2012 has been a great year for the third year Sports and Business student at Letterkenny Institute of Technology and it’s not over yet. He travelled to the Championship club on Sunday with his father, Tony, to spend a week training with the first team squad. He returns home after attending the Burnley game at the City Ground tomorrow afternoon.
Links between Derry and Forest go back to the days of Liam O’Kane and Martin O’Neill – a European Cup winner with Brian Clough’s team of 1980 – to David Campbell who played for the club in the mid-eighties while another Irish-man, Roy Keane, is probably their most famous former player.
Current Irish internationals Simon Cox and Andy Reid continue the strong Irish links at the club.
“The last couple of months have been great. I got into the Derry first team midway through the season and ended up winning the cup. I couldn’t believe it,” said McNamee.
A member of Derry City’s youth set up in 2011, Barry made his first senior appearance for the club against UCD in the quarter-final of the EA Sports Cup in June of that year. His league debut came the following season when he came on as a late substitute against Sligo Rovers on 18 April 2012.
Barry started 2012 as a regular on the Derry bench but worked his way in to the starting XI as the season progressed, making 13 league appearances and scoring his first senior goal in a 3-1 league win against Shamrock Rovers.
“I was playing with the Reserves before being called into the first team squad. They (Reserves) won the Ulster Senior League (USL) this year which was a nice medal to win too,” he said.
Barry was one of four players still just 21 or under who lined out for Derry during the Ford FAI Cup final win over St Patrick’s Athletic. He only signed a new deal with the club in October.
He started out as a left back with Derry before Reserve team managers Eddie Seydak and John Quigg moved him into a move advanced role.
“I always played midfield until I came into the Swilly (Rovers) senior team when they decided that I was a bit too small to play there so they moved me to left back and I came into Derry as a left-back before the boys moved me back into the middle of the park,” he said.
An underage player with Swilly in his native Ramelton, Barry also lined out with Milford and Rathmullan in his formative years.
“I’m nearly all left footed but I can use the right a wee bit too,” he laughed.
Derry manager Declan Devine is keen to build on his first season in charge, which ended in an FAI Cup win, runners-up in the Setanta Cup and fifth in the Premier Division.
“Stephen (McLaughlin) got on “It’s my first trial in England and I Lane in Nottingham in the coming don’t really know what to expect,” he years. added.