16 May 2022

Watch: Famous Sheffield United star from Donegal who was one of the greats

Billy Gillespie was a true footballing legend who also managed Derry City

On this day in 2014, a Donegal TV feature about a true soccer legend was posted on youtube.

It charts the fascinating story of Billy Gillespie, who was born in the north Donegal village of Kerrykeel in 1891.

He captained Sheffield United over a twenty-year period from 1913 to 1932, scoring over 137 League and Cup goals in 492 games for the South Yorkshire side.

He began his career with Irish side Institute in 1907. After a short spell with Linfield he moved to England to play for Leeds City in 1910 before moving to Sheffield United in 1912, where he would stay until he retired from playing. Gillespie also made 25 appearances for the Ireland national team.

In 1932 he took over as manager of Derry City where he remained until 1940.

As part of the deal he came over with Sheffield United's red and white strip, and these colours were adopted by Derry City. The candystripes nickname still applies.

After leaving Derry, Gillespie moved to the south of England where he lived until his death in 1981, aged 89. 

Great credit is due to the organising committee in Kerrykeel for the work done to bring his name to the fore and to give him the recognition that he deserved.

The Donegal TV report was filmed and edited by Shane Wallace.

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Derry GAA

Conor Doherty of Derry, celebrates his side's third goal, scored by Benny Heron, during the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Derry and Monaghan at the Athletic Grounds.

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