HE may be closing in on his 70th birthday, but soccer-mad Timmy Singleton is eager to return to playing the game he loves when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
A key player for the over-50s team and manager of Leeds’ over-35 side, Singleton’s life was occupied a few nights a week with football, pre-pandemic. Although it has all been put on hold, he is looking forward to its resumption, as there’s only so much cooking he can do to please his beautiful wife, Marian, he says.
“When you are so passionate about a sport — football, in my case — it’s a big shock to the system, both physically and mentally, when it all comes to a halt,” says Singleton.
“Football is a great passion of mine and I live and breathe it and cannot wait for the big return.
“This is the longest I’ve been away from football throughout my career and I miss it so much, but, as I said previously, you just have to adapt to a new way of life.
“To keep myself busy, I have learned to cook, much to the joy of my wife, Marian.
“I have always loved music, so that takes up part of my day and, like everyone else in the country, I’m walking like crazy to keep fitness levels up and breathe in the fresh air in Courtmacsherry.
“Hopefully, with news of the vaccine, it won’t be much longer until sport is back and we get to visit family and friends.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing my granddaughter, Rebecca, who is an avid horse rider.
“Her best friend, Elly O’Sullivan, often comes down to Courtmacsherry, where they ride their horses on the beach and, as you can imagine, this fills up my weekends greatly.”
Prior to Covid-19, the Shanakiel man’s evenings were devoted to football.
Anyone who knows Timmy knows how passionate he is about the game, and having had the privilege to play with, and against, Timmy, on a number of occasions, I can understand the void in his life, given his love for the game.
Prior to Covid, I would be out a few nights a week, either with the over-35s or the over-50s or just to watch a game.
“It’s fantastic to see so many age brackets enjoying and playing the sport each week. I love the organising of a game and seeing it come together.
“I really like running the over-50s: It’s great craic and often, in the past, we have played the UCC ladies and Wilton ladies, run by Pat Bowdren, and those matches are always guaranteed to be a cracker of a game.
“Sport is not just about the individual: It’s about the team, spectators, and fans,” Singleton says.
“So many people are involved in organising, playing, etc. It’s a way of life for some people and I think people need it now more than ever.
“Sport, in general, is excellent for the social aspect, where one can develop friendships with their teammates and, in my case, long-lasting friendships that I have had for years and I look forward to rekindling those friendships soon."
Singleton began his playing career with Northend, alongside Paddy Daly, Jane Boy Finnegan, Gerry Myers, and Gerry Finnegan. From there, he went to Southend.
“We had some great players at schoolboys’ level, with many talented players across the city at the time, players such as Gerry Finnegan, Gerry Myers, Mathew Donovan, of Everton, Pat and Dave Mahon, of Avondale.
“Dave being one of the best schoolboys at that time. From here, I joined Castleview, where I spent many years from minor upwards.
“I have some great memories from those times, being part of squads which included great players, such as Sean O’Leary, whom we all looked up to,” Singleton says.
“Maurice Caulfield, Johnny and Danny Devereaux, and Denis Bennett, RIP.
“At the age of 37, I had a brief spell with John Bosco’s and from here, I got to play senior for the first time, at 38.
“A colleague of mine from Irish Distillers, Mick Dorney, asked would I give Ringmahon seniors a go. This was my first time playing senior, but I thoroughly enjoyed the season.
“However, I said I would only play in the good pitches, like Cobh and Dungarvan,” laughs Singleton.
Playing the game and getting as many lads active and involved as possible is what Singleton thrives on, and he has being doing so ever since.
“I think, now more than ever, people will take advantage of playing sport that was once, maybe, taken for granted.
“In fact, I have had two calls with people telling me they turned 50 and are now eligible to play.
“So, hopefully, I’ll have a few extras to my long list of great players. For the over-50 games, there are great players who have come through the ranks in Cork soccer, the likes of Billy Cronin (manager of Rockmount senior team), Deckie Courtney, Willie Magner, Kieran Donovan, Pat Mahon, Henry O’Brien, Gus Bowen, Larry O’Neil, and new 50s Derick Sullivan, of Everton, Sean Cotter, of Crofton, Brian Quigley, Peter Bigmall, Philip Murphy, Brian Kenny, and, of course, the one the lads miss the most, the late Jamesie Corcoran.
“We also have Pat O’Neil, who travels all the way from Killarney to play.
In all honesty, I would be totally lost if I wasn’t involved with football in some shape or form.
“I, for one, cannot wait to be back organising and playing, but what I missed the most is the craic with the lads. Like I said, the friendships I have made over the years, I miss them terribly.
“The lads on the 35s Leeds team are all excellent players and people like the Yelverton brothers, Jason, Colin and Greg, the Warrens, Dave and Donal, just to mention a few.
“Perhaps some will retire, but I envisage a lot will return to the game. Let’s hope so.”