|Date Of Birth:||Oct 2 1959|
|Place Of Birth:||Dublin|
|Debut:||6-Oct-77, Leinster Cup, (h) St Patrick's Ath., 2-0|
Unquestionably, the event of Dundalk’s 1977-78 year was the season-end transfer of three of its young stars to Liverpool for a total fee of £50,000. And by way of a bonus, Liverpool undertook to visit Dundalk in the foreseeable future for a friendly match.
Synan Braddish and Brian Duff had been members of the Raven Athletic schoolboys club from the Finglas-Raheny district of Dublin and which was a nursery of Dundalk club, nurtured and run by Jim Reilly and Liam O’Brien.
The third member of the Anfield-bound trio was Derek Carrol. Derek’s career started with Tolka Rovers before joining Bohemians where he spent a season with their reserve team.
He was preparing to spend another year with the Boh’s Reserves when Liam O’Brien approached him with a view to coming to Dundalk. He had just five first team starts and six substitute appearances when the deal was struck.
Non of the three players made it to the Liverpool first team but to make to the reserves was quite an achievement—Bill Shankley wasn’t joking when he said “The city has two great teams—Liverpool and Liverpool Reserves.”
In his two and a half seasons at Anfield, Derek played mainly with the Youths and ‘A’ team, although also appearing with the reserves in the company of Emlyn Hughes, Jimmy Case and Supersub David Fairclough.
Already the recipient of Schoolboy and Youth caps, while at Anfield he was capped at Under 21 level. When he returned to Ireland after his Liverpool spell, he joined Turlough O’Connor at Athlone Town in time to collect his first League Championship medal—two seasons later he would add another one.
Before departing from St Mel’s Park after five seasons, to follow O’Connor to Dundalk, he had added two League Cups (1981-82 and 1982-83), just losing out on three-in-a-row when losing the 1983-84 final to Drogheda.
Joining a bunch of his former Athlone team mates at Oriel Park, he stayed for two seasons as Turlough O’Connor built his 1987-88 Double-winning squad, but at the beginning of that season Derek left and returned to Athlone.
Before leaving he secured another League Cup winner’s medal, leaving him with a unique collection of League Cup mementos of four wins and one runner-up.
While Dundalk were landing the Double, Derek was helping Athlone to top spot in Division One. His next port of call was the non-performing Bohemians for a couple of seasons before an FAI Cup semi-final loss to non-League St Francis led to new management and a squad clear out.
Derek got a last minute call to sign for Joey Malone’s Galway United for the 1991-92 term, just in time to play in the European Cup Winner’s Cup tie against Odense, which brought to six his appearances in European competition (4 Athlone, 2 Galway).
After another clearout, following Galway’s relegation, Derek, now 33 years old, headed to the Irish League for a last hurrah. Listed as a defender, in his first season he wore the 11, 4, 5, 2 and 7 (most commonly) shirts while Crusaders provided the shock of the Championship, losing to Linfield only on goal difference.
In the following year he collected an Ulster Cup medal but the 1994-95 season, for Crusader’s fans was a never to be forgotten year.
Under manager Roy Walker, with Tony O’Connell providing background support, and a team backboned by Dubliners—Carroll, Martin Murray, Peter Eccles, Aaron Callaghan, Robbie Lawlor, Liam Dunne and Mick Deegan—they had seven points to spare in winning the League Championship, for only the third time in the club’s history.
Derek Carroll missed just two league games and his consistent displays were acknowledged as being ‘inspirational’ and his attitude and enthusiasm were ‘faultless’. Noted for his busy bustling style, his versatility made him a vital member of the squad, he was a good reader of the game and he regularly was in the right position to make that vital last tackle.
He and Martin Murray were among a half dozen Crusader’s players to be selected by the Soccer Writers on the Smirnoff All-Stars team of the 1994-95 season.
With a Scotch keeper and five Dubliners in the squad, he missed out on the opportunity to add to his European appearances because of the ‘foreigner’ rule, whereby clubs were limited to playing just three ‘non-nationals’.
He stayed for one more term, accumulating further honours—Gold Cup Winner and Runners up in the County Antrim Shield. In his four Irish League seasons he made 167 appearances in all competitions (of which 21 were as substitute) and scored 2 goals.
He brought the curtain down on his 20-season career when he made one appearance for Longford Town in 1996-97. His League games alone, between the League of Ireland and the Irish League, totalled to 402 games.
3 Wins: 2 League Cups 1977-78, 1986-87; Leinster Cup 1977-78.
2 Runners Up: League 1986-87; League Cup 1985-86.
|League of Ireland Career....League Games|
|LOI 14 Seasons||Totals||286(12)||3|
|*All League Games||402||4|