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Colin Healy

Healy Colin (born 1980) joined Celtic from Ballincollig in July 1998 and later that season made a fairytale debut as a sub in the Old Firm derby against Rangers. In that first season he made his full debut against Dunfermline. His progress continued during the following season in which he sampled League, Scottish League Cup, Scottish FA Cup and European football and won a Championship medal in 2001 and was in action on 19 occasions including EUFA and Champions League games.


Colin, who played as a midfield was a skilful combative player with a great future and was capped at U18 and U21 level. Born in Ballincollig in County Cork, he played local football with Wilton United and attended the FAS/FAI football course in Cork, ran by former Glasgow Celtic and Cork City midfielder, Mick Conroy, and from here he was taken to Celtic Park where he impressed.

During the Saipan incident between Mick McCarthy and fellow Cork man Roy Keane, Colin Healy was called upon by McCarthy as the replacement should Keane be dropped from the squad. A succession of changes-of-heart by the Manchester United player led to the call-up being delayed and the deadline passing, with Healy unable to join the World Cup squad.

Sunderland succeeded in signing Healy from Glasgow in 2003, albeit with considerable controversy. As Healy was 23 years old at the time, Sunderland were stunned when Celtic attempted to enforce Board Rules, which claimed that they needed to pay compensation for his move between clubs. According to FIFA rules, however, no compensation needed to be paid, as they needn't pay compensation on any players 23 or over. FIFA rules were the ones followed in this case.

The following year, which had promised so much as a year for Healy to potentially mature to a regular Irish international, instead became the onset of an injury crisis. Just days after the settlement of the dispute with Celtic, he broke his leg in a match against a former loan club, Coventry City. A brutal (but accidental) challenge by Moroccan international, Youssef Safri, in December 2003, began an unfortunate number of years for the player, spending more time in the stands than on the field.

In October 2004, his bad luck continued when he broke his leg again soon after resuming training with Sunderland. It was reported that a training match challenge by his manager at Sunderland, Mick McCarthy, (of the Saipan incident and now former Irish international manager) led to another severe fracture. McCarthy refused to take responsibility, blaming instead the doctors who had performed surgery on the player's leg the previous season. 

In January 2006, it was announced that Healy's contract with Sunderland had expired and the midfielder was to leave the club and return to Ireland to re-evaluate his future. He joined struggling SPL club Livingston on 10th March 2006 until the end of the season but also on 10th August 2006 Healy signed a one year contract with Barnsley.

On his return to the Stadium of Light he came on as a substitute to a standing ovation. Having made only 10 appearances for Barnsley, he had his contract canceled by mutual consent. On February 20th 2007, following protracted negotiations, he signed a two-year contract with hometown Eircom League of Ireland club, Cork City, alongside former international colleague, Gareth Farrelly.

With the season beginning with the Setanta Sports All-Ireland Cup, Healy found himself and Farrelly embroiled in a dispute with world football governing body FIFA who cited a rule forbidding players from transferring between clubs more than once in a 12 month period between July and June, thus making both new signings ineligible for four months. However, Cork City called upon the precedent set by FIFA, allowing Argentine international Javier Mascherano, to join Liverpool from West Ham, his third team in the 12 month period. FIFA ruled that as the other team involved, Corinthians of Sao Paolo, participates in Brazil's January to December season period, they were outside the scope of the July-June restriction. The Eircom League of Ireland also follows this time period and as such it is argued the same allowance should apply. The appeal also mentions the possible legal ramifications of FIFA preventing a European Union national from earning a living in his home country.

It later emerged that similar restrictions could apply to upwards of 30 footballers in the Eircom League if FIFA do not allow Healy to play. A similar situation took place in Finland, where the football association voted to ignore FIFA's decision and allow the players to participate. FIFA then rejected the appeals of both players. The two players involved in this situation have become known as The F.I.F.A. 2.

COLIN HEALY did eventually get to play in Cork City colours and finished his playing career as one of clubs most valuable assets on/off the field and in 2020/21 assumed the club managership as the they were relegated to the lower tier of League of Ireland football.

The Ballincollig former footballer cemented his name in the ranks of former greats of Cork soccer.


More in this category: « JACKIE O'DRISCOLL

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