First cap at 72 - but Terry wants more

Keeper Terry Nicholson who made his Northern Ireland debut at the age of 72 and also captained the NI55 squad during their match with England veterans. INLM44-305AM
Keeper Terry Nicholson who made his Northern Ireland debut at the age of 72 and also captained the NI55 squad during their match with England veterans. INLM44-305AM

Having just won his first international cap at the age of 72, goalkeeper Terry Nicholson is not retiring just yet.

The former Glenavon and Portadown stopper made his debut for the Northern Ireland 55s team in the friendly with England at Mourneview Park on Saturday.

The Northern Ireland 55's squad pictured prior to their game with England on Saturday. INLM44-308AM

The Northern Ireland 55's squad pictured prior to their game with England on Saturday. INLM44-308AM

“I hope I don’t have to wait another 72 years,” said Terry after the game.

“It was great to pull on the Northern Ireland shirt. I really enjoyed it. I didn’t have a lot to do because the boys in front of me were very good.”

Northern Ireland won 3-1 with goals from Terry Diamond and two from former Glenavon and Portadown striker Jimmy Gardiner.

Terry was disappointed he didn’t keep a clean sheet. “It was a thunderbolt. I tried to get to it but it was too good. We were 3-0 up at half-time and saw out a good win.

“The England team were quite physical. They showed no respect for age,” chuckled Terry.

“I believe their might be a return game in England next year and hopefully I will be able to take part.

“I keep myself fit and train with the 55s every Wednesday night. I have no aches or pains and on Sunday morning I was off for a run.”

Terry first stood between the sticks in 1953 when a pupil at Maralin Primary School.

We don’t know if by playing through seven decades it is a record for a first cap, but there would be few around still representing their country in their 70s.

“I was goalkeeper at primary school and with the Boys Brigade. I used to play out too, but I liked being goalkeeper. It’s too late to change now anyway, added Terry.

Team captain and match organiser Ronnie Haughey is amazed at Terry’s agility.

“It’s quite remarkable to see him leaping about still giving it 100 per cent,” said Ronnie.

“It was the full 90 minutes and there were plenty of aching limbs for the next few days, but it was great fun.

“Glenavon FC were fantastic in every way and thanks to the ladies for providing refreshments for both teams after the game.”