Ballingarry AFC starlet Anthony Forde began pre-season training with English Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers on July 2009 to become the first player from the schoolboy ranks of Ballingarry AFC to make the move to the professional ranks overseas. The Ireland schoolboy international began training with Wolves youth team and played with their under 16 side.
Anthony who had just sat his Junior Certificate in Colaiste na Trocaire, Rathkeale when he moved, is a son of Noel and Christine and has one brother Kevin and a sister Leanne who both played football with Ballingarry AFC. “We are delighted, it’s a great honour for Ballingarry AFC and the Limerick Desmond Schoolboy league” Anthony’s father Noel explained. While Anthony had played for Ireland under 15s he also had 8 caps for the under 16 side by the time he moved to Wolves.
While a host of English clubs showed an interest in Forde with visits to Blackburn Rovers, Derby County and Aston Villa it was Wolves who won the race for his signature. Ballingarry AFC Chairman Pascal Moynihan was loud in his praise for the player. “Anthony has played with Ballingarry since he began to come to the pitch as a five year old and has played with the club all the way up along”, said the club Chairman. “This is fantastic for him and for our club, he is a very talented young man and as well as that he is a lovely boy and has a great attitude”.
His club manager from his earliest days at the club John Clancy, said “You could see from the earliest point that the boy had a talent for the game, this coupled with a truly fantastic attitude made him stand out on the field. I have no doubt that Anthony will progress to the top and I expect him to wear the green of Ireland at senior level in the near future.”
Born: November 16th 1993.
|Makes his debut for Ballingarry AFC under 10 sides during season 1998/99 aged just six.
|His career continues with the 10s through the 2001/02 season…
|…to the 2002/03 season…
|…until he finally gets his first winners medal with Ballingarry AFC when the LDSL Division 1 title in 2003/04
|Anthony got his first taste of “International” football at the tender age of 10 when he was part of the under 10 and 12 Ballingarry teams that hosted Damascus Stingers from Maryland USA in a test series hosted by Ballingarry AFC.
|More “International” recognition followed in April 2004 when he travelled with Ballingarry AFC to Maryland USA for a return series against “The Stingers”
|The Under 11 cup final of 2004/05 brings his second winners medal in the Green and Gold of Ballingarry AFC when the cup is secured in May 2005.
|His next visit to the winners enclosure was in May 2006 when his Ballingarry side lifted the under 13 cup at Clonreask.
|By now he was a major part of the LDSL Under 13 Kennedy Cup squad having already captained the side in a Munster final he would receive a winners medal with the squad in June 2006 from the Shield 2 success.
|No medals for Forde at under 14 level
|In fact honours wouldn’t return for him with the club until season 2008/09 when he was part of the Ballingarry side that completed the under 16 and under 17 cup double…
|…where his performance won him the man of the match award
|2009 has proved a huge year in his life. In addition to being awarded the LDSL under 16 player of the year award he also received the Ballingarry AFC under 15 player of the year award
|While moving to Wolves is of course a major step in his life he also played at three different age groups for the Republic of Ireland
|He debuted for the under 15s against Wales and played against Northern Ireland in the Tri-Nations tournament in May while in the under 16s he made his debut against Serbia in the Gradisca Tournament in Portugal
|Anthony in action in an Ireland shirt for the U17s
|Anthony in action against Brandon Davies (left) and Aaron Phillips in the Under 16 International Friendly against Wales at Whitehall, Dublin on August 28th 2008
|Then in August he was called up to the under 17 squad, while still just 15, for the Syrenka International Cup in Poland where he played against Sweden in his debut (2/9/09) and Romania (4/9/09). Finally on August 19th 2009 Ballingarry AFC said goodbye to Anthony Forde with a function in his honour at the Woodlands Adare which was attended by the club officials, his family and team mates where the club made a presentation of a laptop to the player.
|Anthony receives award from Chairman Paschal Moynihan on his selection as Wolves Academy Player of the Year 2010-11.
During September 2009 Forde enjoyed a scoring debut with Wolves under 16 side when getting the equaliser in a 3-3 draw with Derby County. Unfortunately he also sustained a foot injury that restricted his movement, however it didn’t keep him out of the side for the next game.
He has made steady and impressive progress and has settled well.
October 2009 Update:
After recovering fully from the foot injury sustained in September it was back to business with Wolves 16s side and a trip to Qatar to take part in the Aspire Academy invitational tournament.
During his mid term break he returned home to Ballingarry to attend the clubs 25th anniversary dinner in Adare on October 25th.
November 2009 Update:
November 2009 has proved to be a month of activity for Forde seeing him feature in several games for Wolves.
He scored a goal as Wolves beat Everton (2-1) and featured against Manchester City (loss) Liverpool (lost 4-0) and Crewe (won 2-1). He was also called into the youth squad for the FA youth cup defeat at Liverpool (2-0).
He finally signed on his sixteenth birthday for Wolves and they are now awaiting the return of his registration. He had settled well at college while he had remained injury free.
December 2009 Update:
December has proved to be a barren month for Anthony Forde as the weather has insured that all activity on the pitch was suspended. The highlight for the lad was coming home for the Christmas period, spending ten days in Ballingarry with his family.
September 2010 Update:
Anthony continues to make progress at Wolves where he has just broken into the clubs reserve team. Having signed scholarship forms at the club during the Summer he has since made two appearances in the reserves. Against Everton he came on for the last twenty minutes and last Tuesday (September 14th 2010) he made a fifteen minute appearance against Liverpool in a 2-0 defeat at Prenton Park.
In his latest outing, Anthony scored a cracking consolation goal for the Wolves reserves in the Birmingham Senior Cup.
November 2010 Update:
Anthony played the full 90 minutes for the Wolves reserves during their 1-0 loss at the Hawthornes against West Brom on November 16th last. He was on the scoresheet during Wolves Under 18 premier league 3-2 away win At Crewe Alexandria where he scored the second following a strong run.
January 2011 Update:
Anthony Forde has been called up to the Irish under 19 squad for the friendly double header against Croatia on February 8th and 10th next. This is the first occassion that the former Ballingarry schoolboy and present Wolves reserve had got the nod for the 19s.
February 2011 Update:
Anthony Forde made his Under 19 international debut in Umag on 10th February 2011 when the side recorded a 2-1 victory against hosts Croatia. Forde was involved in both Ireland goals first after ten minutes when he was part of the move that lead to Conor Smith giving Ireland the lead and then in the 23rd minute when his corner was headed home by Eoin Weaner. He saw 83 minutes of action before being replaced. This was the second friendly that the side played against Croatia following a 1-1 draw in the first game on Tuesday a game in which Forde saw no action.
March 2011 Update:
Anthony Forde played 75 minutes of the Ireland u-19 friendly against Cyprus in Larnaca on Saturday last (26-3-11) during the 0-0 draw. The squad are preparing for next May’s UEFA elite stage qualifiers. Forde impressed during his latest appearance for the team before being substituted.
May 2011 Update:
Anthony Forde has been named on the Republic of Ireland UEFA U-19 squad to compete in the elite group phase in Poland this month May 2011. They will play against Poland, Italy and Ukraine with the group winner to compete in the finals in Romania in July. In addition Forde has been voted Wolverhampton Wanderers U-18 academy player of the year (2010-11).
Anthony Forde has helped Ireland qualify for the UEFA U-19 finals to be held in Romania in July. Forde played in all three Elite Group qualifying games against Poland (Tuesday May 24) which they won 1-0. Then on Thursday May 26th he again played a full part in the 0-0 draw with Ukraine while in their final game against Italy the had a glorious 3-0 win with Forde playing the first half. This is a major achievement for the team and in particular Forde.
July 2011 Update:
Ireland Under 19 manager has called Anthony Forde into his squad for the Under 19 UEFA finals in Romania in July. The team will play against Greece, The Czech Republic and finally Romania in the four team group. In addition Anthony signed professional for Wolves on July 1st.
August 2011 Update:
All associated with Ballingarry AFC were left feeling extremely proud as Anthony Forde played a major part in the Republic of Ireland Under 19s progress to the semi finals of the U-19 European Championship in Romania last week (July 29th 2011).. Ballingarry schoolboy product Forde played in all four games that the team contested and performed with distinction against Greece in the 2-1 win (20-7-11), Czech Republic in the 2-1 loss (23-7-11), Romania in a 0-0 draw (26-7-11) and finally against Spain in the 5-0 semi final loss (29-7-11). Photos below.
Anthony made his full debut for Wolves away against Northampton Town (Tuesday Aug 23rd 2011) when he was introduced in the 85th minute in the 4-0 Carling Cup 3rd round win.
September 2011 Update:
Anthony Forde has been named in the Irish under 19 squad that will travel to Bulgaria between October 6th and 11th to compete in the UEFA 1st Phase qualifiers. Paul Doolins squad are grouped with Bulgaria, Bosnia and Russia with the top two progressing to the elite qualifying phase.
October 2011 Update:
Anthony Forde scored his first Ireland goal when he found the net in the 88th minute against Bulgaria in the Under 19 1st phase qualifying game (October 6th 2011) during an emphatic 4-1 against the hosts.
November 2011 Update:
Not for the first time has Ballingarry AFC been the first to achieve within the Limerick Desmond League. Be it the purchase of their grounds, the development of an Astroturf facility or providing ballboys for an international game Ballingarry AFC has always been ahead of the posse. So it will come as little surprise to those that know their local football that the club has now become the first club within the Limerick Desmond Schoolboys League to see a former schoolboy make his English Premier League debut.
The club and parish of Ballingarry were extremely proud when Anthony Forde made his league debut for Wolverhampton Wanderers against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last Saturday when he replaced Ronald Zubar for the final fifteen minutes of the game. This has been a wonderful season for the popular Ballingarry boy. Already he has played for Wolves in the Carling Cup game away at Northampton Town while he has been steadily accumulating international caps at under 19 level for the Republic of Ireland while playing at the finals of the EUFA U-19 competition in Romania last July. He also played a major part in Ireland qualifying for the elite phase of the group qualifiers of that competition when he played in all three group games in Bulgaria last October where he scored two goals, his first against Bulgaria was also his first for Ireland.
December 2011 Update:
On December 27th 2011 Anthony Forde made his full English Premier League debut when he was named in the starting eleven against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in front of 59,686 spectators. Forde played 71 minutes before being substituted by Guedioura, by then he had hepled Wolves secure a point after Steven Fletcher (38 mins) equalised Gervinhos early Arsenal goal (8 mins).
He made his full home debut for Wolves on January 2nd 2012 when he started against Chelsea. He was substituted at half time in the 2-1 defeat.
September 2012 Update:
Anthony Forde has been added to the Ireland under 21 squad for the frst time. Manager Paul Doolin added Forde to the squad to play Hungary and Italy in the EURO qualifiers. Ireland will play Hungary on Thursday September 6th 2012 and will face Italy on Monday 10th. Ireland need to win both games to keep their hopes of qualification alive.
Forde made his Ireland Under 21 debut against Hungary on Thursday September 6th in their EURO 2013 qualifier loss (2-1) in Kecskemet. Forde was introduced as an 88th minute substitute for Aidan White of Leeds United.
On Monday September 10th in Casarano he made his full debut for the 21s when he started in their final group game in what turned out to be an historic 4-2 win for Noel Kings men. However the result was of little significance to Ireland as they were already out of the competition following their 2-1 defeat in Hungary.
It proved a day of mixed emotions for Forde as he was sent off for a second yellow in injury time at the end of the game.
February 2013 Update:
Match report – http://www.fai.ie/ireland/news/obrien-double-helps-u21s-beat-dutch
March 2013 Update:
In March 2013 Forde joined League 1 club Scunthorpe United on loan until the end of the season. This is how the club reported the news on their website on March 14th 2013:
“The Iron signed Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Anthony Forde on loan until the end of the season.
The 19-year-old left winger goes straight into the squad for Saturday’s away game with Notts County.
Forde moved to Wolves in the summer of 2009 to become part of their academy group. He made his senior debut in August 2011 as a substitute in a League Cup tie against Northampton Town, and his Premier League debut on 26th November 2011 at Chelsea. He has represented the Republic of Ireland at numerous youth levels too.
To date, he has made 18 league appearances for Wolves, with 14 of those coming as a substitute. He has also appeared five times in cup competitions for them.”
On March 16th 2013 Forde, wearing the number 23 jersey, made his debut for The Irons during a 1-0 League 1 defeat at Notts County. He was substituted after 74 minutes.
August 2014 Update:
Their Website announced his arrival as follows: Saddlers snap up Wolves wide-man…THE SADDLERS have come to a transfer agreement with Wolves for the signing of Anthony Forde on a two-year contract.
“Anthony is a player who came in to train with us a few weeks ago,” said manager, Dean Smith. “He is someone that I noted when we played against Wolves in a friendly a couple of years ago and we have kept tabs on him ever since.
“We have a lot of knowledge on the player; he has plenty of potential but at the same time he realises that is only a word and he has a willingness to prove himself here. “He’s a good character with plenty of quality and I am delighted to be able to bring him in.”
Forde added: “I can’t wait to get started. I feel that I will bring creativity to the side and hopefully I can also weigh in with goals. “I’m very excited by the challenge that stands before me here; I know all about the style of play, so I want to get regular games under my belt and do well for the club. “I know what a good standard League One is; there are some tough teams but from what I have seen here, we have the tools and set-up in place to do well.”
Forde was given the number 27 shirt.
Anthony made his League One debut for Walsall on Saturday August 16th 2014 during their 0-0 home draw with Bradford City. He was introduced as a 75 minute substitute for Malvind Benning.
September 2014 Update:
January 2015 Update:
Forde played a major part in securing their final slot having scored their opening goal in the 2-0 success in the first leg of the of the area final against Preston North End on January 7th last while the second leg on January 27th 2015 ended goalless.
March 2015 Update:
Unfortunately for the Ballingarry boy his side Walsall were undone on the day as Bristol City took the trophy on a 2-0 scoreline. Forde, who had recently returned from injury, started in the outside right position and lasted 74 minutes until he was replaced by Ashley Grimes.
July 2016 Update:
New signing Anthony Forde admits he can’t wait to get started in Rotherham United colours after agreeing a three-year deal at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
The highly-rated winger, who joined from Walsall for an undisclosed fee on Thursday, has set his sights on establishing himself in the second tier after an impressive campaign with the Saddlers which saw them miss out on promotion in the Play-offs.
Forde is keen to take the next step in his career with the Millers and is confident that he can make the step up after becoming Alan Stubbs’ first signing as Rotherham United boss.
“I know they want to play football and it’s an upcoming club and I know I can come in and hopefully make an impression and hopefully have a good season in the Championship” he told www.themillers.co.uk.
“Now is the next step again and I need to prove myself in the Championship and I think I’m ready for it now. Obviously I wanted to play in the Championship and we were unlucky at Walsall not to get promoted last year. I was delighted that Rotherham came in and to be playing in the Championship is what I want and hopefully I can push the club forward.”
The 22-year-old Irishman is the first new face among the Millers group but with a grueling pre-season programme imminent and a trip to Poland on the horizon, Forde is looking forward to getting back amongst the action with his new teammates.
“I can’t wait to get back into it, I’ve had a nice holiday but you look forward to getting back into a routine and I’m looking forward to getting started now,” he explained. “Especially getting away you’re going to be with the group and it should be a good trip and obviously I’ll get to know the lads out there and it should be really good.”
In total Forde made 78 appearances for Walsall, including a Wembley appearance in the Johnstons Paint Trophy final, and scored 7 goals.
August 2016 Update:
Anthony Forde got his first goal for Rotherham in the EFL CUP (League Cup) first round defeat to Morecambe. Forde scored his sides third goal in the 83rd minute of a thriller to send the game to extra time where The Millers lost eventually 5-4 to their visitors.
May 2018 update – Forde and The Millers promoted to Championship.
Highly rated 24-year-old Ballingarry native Forde was introduced as a substitute in extra time as Rotherham secured a dramatic victory to seal their return to the Championship for the 2018-2019 season.
Rotherham, relegated from the Championship just 13 months ago, had the better of the chances and were worthy winners, thanks to two goals from defender Richard Wood.
August 2019 Update:
This is how the signing appeared on the Oxford United official Website:
Oxford United are pleased to announce that winger Anthony Forde has agreed to join the U’s. Anthony, 25, is an Irish under 21 international who came over to England to play for Wolverhampton Wanderers, making 21 appearances for Wolves before moving to Walsall. He then moved to Rotherham United in the summer of 2016. After over 100 appearances for the Millers he left in the summer and Anthony was happy to agree a two-year-deal with the U’s today, telling us “I have always admired the way Karl Robinson’s sides play the game. They are good attacking teams and that will suit the way I want to play. I know the club is ambitious and I can’t wait to get started now.”
Forde made his debut on August 10th 2019 when he replaced Fosu-Henry in the 88th minute of the 1.0 League 1 home win against Peterborough United.
His first goal for his new club arrived against Burton Albion on August 24th 2019 during a 4-2 League 1 defeat.
October 2022 Update:
In July 2022 Wrexham AFC confirm the signing of former Premier League player Anthony Forde on a two-year deal from Oxford United. Forde has amassed over 300 league appearances at the age of 28, with a clean record of zero red cards and only 14 yellow cards.
As a notably versatile player, Forde can play anywhere in the midfield and even at wing-back, which will be a prized asset for Phil Parkinson’s favoured three at the back system. Over 4,000 fans bared witness to his capabilities in a 4-0 victory over Macclesfield FC, particularly his pace down the wing and precise crosses. He was keen to note his desire to provide assists for the Reds this season. The Ballingarry man isn’t shy of chipping in with goals either, having scored 21 goals across his career, a career which began at the Wolverhampton Wanderers academy. As a teenager, gaining six appearances in the Premier League, followed by eleven in the Championship was extremely valuable in his progression.
Amounting only a few appearances for Wolves in League One in the 2013/14 season would see Forde take a brief loan spell to Scunthorpe at the end of the campaign.
A short journey east in the Black Country saw Anthony earn a place in Walsall’s side for the 2014/15 season. As a youthful prospect, he accumulated 88 appearances for the Saddlers scoring 10 times across two seasons; the most prolific goalscoring tenure of his career.
His successes were not missed and Rotherham would snap up the Ballingarry man in 2016 to join their Championship side.
Forde would yo-yo with Rotherham, being relegated back to League One and then achieving automatic promotion back into the Championship in 2018. Anthony was a mainstay for the Millers making 114 appearances in the Championship, League One, FA Cup, League Cup and EFL Trophy.
A transfer to Oxford United would be where the Irishman would spend his previous three years. Although all three seasons were in League One, Forde and United would push for promotion every season.
In the COVID-affected 2019/20 season, Oxford would make the League One Play-off Final. The following season would see the U’s fall one step shorter, losing out to Blackpool in the Semi-Final of the Play-Offs. Last season would follow suit, with Oxford narrowly missing out on the Play-Offs, finishing eighth.
The capability of Forde to play in multiple positions will be precious to Phil Parkinson in his bid to secure promotion to the EFL, as he recognises the strength of this signing.