Mark Gillespie factfile
David Holmes (News Letter)
Mark Gillespie Fact file Q&A
Q. How did you get started in the game: No surprise really that it was through my father Paddy a club stalwart and also my mother Mary who was always involved making the teas etc. As kids we went down and played at what we called the foot of the town 9 o’clock in the morning up to the club for 10, back playing again at lunch up to the club again in the afternoon, back down, basically until we were dragged home!
Q. What about at school: The Gillespie’s all played at St. Mary’s Boys, we had a teacher there Sean Callaghan, not that he played the game himself but he had a real love for it. We were the team to beat in the area.
Q. Early idols globally and locally: Would not necessarily say that it was early idols as such but as a left hander the man that always stood out for me was David Gower, phenomenal player, just complete grace and elegance. One that I really admired in the Irish game and I had the pleasure of sharing a stand with him when he was in full flow was Angus Dunlop
Q. Who had most influence on early career: Well I have mentioned school but at the club the person who probably had the most influence on me was Joe Caprani, he and Noel Mahony came to Strabane and spent about a month coaching
Q. You spent a season at Ardmore how did that come about: To be honest at the time I did not feel that I was moving forward at Strabane and felt that I needed a new challenge, they approached me at just the right time. I am glad that I did it as I would not want to be sitting at the end of my career thinking maybe I should have done that.
Q. What are your highlights Without a doubt it has to be finding out I had won my first Ireland cap, I was in the middle fielding at the inter-pros and Joe Doherty told me he would try to find out on the quiet if I had been selected. I remember catching his eye and him giving me the thumbs up. I will never forget that buzz.
On the playing front obviously it was the Irish Senior Cup, but that was a day of such tremendous highs and lows. We had won the game I was captain, man of the match, we were back at the club celebrating, and cricket was the only thing in my mind. I remember taking a call on the public phone in the club and a local resident asking had we no respect. It was only then that we realised what had happened just down the road in Omagh. Literally in that moment winning the cup meant nothing.
Also winning the league with Strabane for me it would have been a travesty if the players we had in that team had not won the league, I could never have been happy knowing we never achieved that.
Q. Who are the best you have played against and with: That’s difficult but I will give you a few, for different reasons; Stephen Smyth is without doubt the most technically correct player I have seen. In terms of pure destruction and the ability to take a game away from you it has to be Decker Curry and the best all rounder Junior McBrine. Playing with it has to be my brother Peter 124 Ireland caps says more than I could put in words.
Q. Most difficult opponents: Over the years it has to be Donemana, the number of times you think you have them and you have, but they never lie down, always been the same it is bred into them I think
Q. Any regrets? I always believed that I should have played for Ireland sooner and should have had more caps. Equally I know that I did not do myself any favours, I tend to call it as I see it and it probably fair to say that at times the coach and I would not have seen eye to eye
Q. Future ambitions? I hope to become a decent golfer at the local club! I would love to give something back to the game so I am thinking about doing my coaching badges. I like nothing better than spending 15/20 minutes with a young guy helping him, whether I have the temperament to stick it out for a 2 hour session remains to be seen.