Gerry Clarke

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For the New Zealand sailor, see Gerry Clark.
For other people named Gerald Clarke, see Gerald Clarke (disambiguation).

Gerry Clarke (born 1959 in Belfast) is a former Irish football player who played as a centre back or full back. His versatility to play in a variety of positions was a major asset for the Football Clubs he played for. Clarke won Schoolboy International Caps for Northern Ireland in 1974 and 1975. In 1976 Clarke signed as an apprentice professional with Middleborough F.C but returned to Belfast due to homesickness and signed for Cromac Albion F.C. where won a Clarence Cup winners medal in 1978. He joined Shamrock Rovers in 1978 and played in 2 European Cup Winners' Cup games. Clarke was an unused substitute as Rovers won the Tyler All Ireland Cup final against Finn Harps and a squad member when Rovers won the FAI Cup in a controversial final against Sligo Rovers. [1][2] In January 1979 he moved to Larne F.C. but the transfer fell through and he ended up joining Glenavon F.C. where he played in 2 EUFA Cup games against Standard Liege. Clarke helped Glenavon to runners up in the 1979 season as Linfield F.C claimed another Irish League Championship. Clarke also helped Glenavon F.C make the 1981 Irish Cup final against Ballymena United but missed the final due to injury. [3]

Clarke left Glenavon F.C. in September 1983 to live in Australia where he played for Morwell Falcons F.C in the Victorian Premier State League. In 1984 Clarke played a pivotal role in Morwell Falcons F.C winning their first ever Premier State League Championship and Victorian State Cup.

Clarke returned to Belfast in October 1984 where he rejoined Glenavon F.C. before signing for Cliftonville F.C for the 1985/86 season. After his short stay at Cliftonville F.C. he returned to Australia in May 1986 to take up a player/coaching role at the Morwell Falcons F.C.

In 1989 Clarke was part of the Morwell Falcons squad that claimed another Victorian Premier League and Cup double even though he missed the latter part of the season through a serious knee injury.

While recovering from his injury Clarke took on the coaching role at Traralgon Olympians F.C in the Gippsland Football League guiding them to 3rd position in the league and then winning the Top 4 Charity Cup.

Clarke returned to full fitness for Morwell Falcons F.C for the 1990 season.

In 1991 Clarke left Morwell Falcons to take up a player/coaching role at Traralgon Olympians F.C in the Gippsland Football League. In a League Championship winning season Clarke was named Traralgon Olympians F.C Player of the year. In 1992 Traralgon Olympians won the Gippsland Cup (Battle of Britain Cup) and came second in the League Championship.

During the 1991/92 season Clarke was also appointed assistant coach to the Morwell Falcons F.C Youth Squad in the Australian National Youth League.

In 1995 Clarke held assistant coaching and playing role at Morwell Fortuna 60 F.C in the Gippsland Football League assisting the club to win the 1997 and 2003 Gippsland League Championships and 1996 Gippsland Cup (Battle of Britain Cup).

During this period Clarke was also appointed coach of the Senior Gippsland League Representative Squad winning the Victorian Country Championship in 1996 and 1999.

In 2000 Clarke was appointed assistant and development coach at Morwell Pegasus F.C in the Victorian State League. Clarke stepped down from this role at the end of the 2005 season due to some health issues.

In 2011 Clarke was named as an Central defender in the Morwell Falcons F.C team of the 1980s. His outstanding and consistent performances being a major feature of his play during this period with the Club.

Although not actively involved in coaching since 2006 Clarke does some local media and remains a respected and popular figure in local football circles. He also acts as a mentor for young coaches/players and continues his support of football in the Gippsland and Melbourne regions.

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