|Date Of Birth:||Apr 6 1947|
|Place Of Birth:||Belfast|
|Debut:||1-Nov-73, Leinster Cup, (h) Drogheda Utd., 2-0|
As a youth, Jackie McManus shared his football time between Gaelic and Soccer, until he was banned by the GAA. During his Gaelic period with St Malachy’s College he had played with the County Down Minor team.
His soccer allegiance was with Star of the Sea, with whom he played in the Belfast Leagues at a number of under age levels (17, 18 and 21) and also in the Amateur League. A goal-scoring forward, in his under-18 season he hit 95 goals and earned an International cap at Schoolboy level.
He joined Glenavon in 1965, winning a City Cup Medal in the 1965-66 season and added a junior International cap to his honours. After short periods with Distillery and Queen’s University he ended up with Bangor, managed by the legendary Charlie Tully.
In his first season, 1969-70, he pocketed a County Antrim Shield memento after Bangor had overcome Ards 3-2 in the third replay, following three 1-1 draws.
Following the sudden death of Charlie Tully in July 1971, Jackie stayed for a season with new manager Bertie Neill, claiming a City Cup runner up medal, before departing for Dundalk. During his stay with Bangor, Tully had converted him to a defender.
He had also added to his schoolboy and junior International honours when receiving an amateur cap in April 1971 at LLanelli against Wales.
He arrived at Oriel Park in the winter of 1973, making his debut under new manager John Smith in a Leinster Cup tie against Drogheda. Playing at centre-back, his honest strong-tackling style quickly established him as an ever-present squad member.
In the summer of 1974 John Coyne and Jackie were teammates on the Boston Minutemen squad playing in the North American Soccer League. They topped the Northern Division and in the play-offs progressed through to the semi-finals, losing out to the eventual winners Los Angeles Aztecs. Jackie made 20 appearances—missing just 2 games—and scored one goal.
He was one of half dozen survivors from John Smith’s reign—with Tony Cavanagh, Jimmy Dainty, Con Davey and Richie Blackmore—who featured in the 1975-76 League Championship victory, Jim McLaughlin’s first major success. An excellent striker of the dead ball, most of his seventeen goals came from penalties and free-kicks, and he had a high ‘assists’ record from free-kicks.
McLaughlin moved him to wing-back partnering Brian McConville while Jim and Tommy McConville filled the central defensive roles. Under McLaughlin he gave some outstanding performances and his highly effective right-side partnership with Jimmy Dainty provided the manager with a very potent weapon.
This was used to great effect in the European Cup 1-1 home draw with a PSV Eindhoven side that included eight Internationals and when the McLaughlin marching orders were ‘attack at every opportunity’.
Skipper at Dundalk for the best part of four years, he was part of a Dundalk quartet in March 1977 that included Tom McConville, Jimmy Dainty and Seamus McDowell, capped for the Oriel Park Inter-League clash with the Irish League, which the Southerners won (2-1).
A few weeks later he added an FAI Cup winner’s medal to his collection, when heroic defending was the order of the day for the final against Limerick.
In the autumn of 1977 he departed for Drogheda, managed by Jimmy McAlinden, where he got his first taste of management when he took on the training of the Belfast-based Drogheda players, Marty Donnelly, Brendan Tully, Bobby McAuley and Gerry Brammeld.
But after a third place League finish and a berth in the semi-final of the FAI Cup at United Park, the traveling was beginning to take its toll and he decided to return to the Irish League. [Drogheda League Stats: 21 appearances and 2 goals].
He spent a number of seasons with Larne and on Nov 1st 1978, he joined that rare group who had earned Inter-League caps with both the League of Ireland and the Irish League when he came on as a sub for the Irish League against the Scottish League at Motherwell in a 1-1 draw.
Now over the age of 30, a three-month absence due to illness appeared to signal the end of his senior football career, but a move to Coleraine in 1981 put paid to that notion.
Under Bertie Peacock Coleraine were becoming one of the leading teams in the Irish League, with third place League finishes in 1981-82 and 1982-83 and runner up spots in each of the following two seasons.
In 1982 there was the heartbreak of losing a 1-0 lead in the final of the Irish Cup to Linfield, thanks to two late goals including a penalty goal in the 83rd minute, conceded by Jackie who was captain on the day.
These performances earned regular qualification for European competitions and Jackie appeared in high-profile games against Tottenham Hotspurs (Cup Winners Cup 1982-83) and Sparta Rotterdam (UEFA Cup 1983-84).
When he closed his Irish League career with Coleraine in 1985 he had completed twenty seasons between the Irish League and the League of Ireland, spread across seven clubs—Glenavon, Distillery, Bangor, Dundalk, Drogheda, Larne and Coleraine.
Just before joining Coleraine in 1981, Jackie had taken on the role as manager of St Mary’s GAA club, Burren in the County Down League and during two spells there he landed 6 County Championships, 7 County Leagues, 2 Ulster Club Championships and an All-Ireland club title.
During a spell as manager of the County Down team in the late 1980s they won the National League Division 2 and the Dr McKenna Cup. His last management stint was with Down club Mayobridge, winning the County Championship-League Double in 2002.
A history and PE teacher for 40 years and now retired, he satisfies his competitive instincts on the golf course.
Quizzed as to the best player he played with or against he had no hesitation in nominating Tony Cavanagh—‘he was just amazing and the closest thing to George Best I have ever seen.’
What They Said About Him
Club programme pen-pic: “Known as ‘hot-shot’, he is an excellent club man and skippers the side. A whole-hearted player who loves to attack from his full-back position.”
4 Wins: League 1975-76; FAI Cup 1976-77; 2 Leinster Cups 1973-74, 1976-77.
2 Runners Up: 2 Presidents Cup 1976-77, 1977-78.
1 League of Ireland Cap
|European Competition Player Stats|
|Dundalk||1976-77||EUC||2 (0) 0|
|Dundalk||1977-78||CWC||2 (0) 0|
|Coleraine||1982-83||CWC||2 (0) 0|
|Coleraine||1983-84||UFC||2 (0) 0|
|Total||8 (0) 0|
|EUC=European Cup; CWC=Cup Winners Cup; UFC=UEFA Cup|