Barrie McDermott

Barrie McDermott

3 stars

  • Available For After Dinner Speaking Engagements

Barrie McDermott was born 22nd February 1972 in Oldham, Barrie McDermott played his junior rugby with local teams Saddleworth and Waterhead. In 1991, aged eighteen, he signed amateur forms with hometown team Oldham, turning professional on his return from the 1991 BARLA tour of New Zealand.

He made his first appearance for Oldham in a pre season friendly against Dewsbury and made his professional debut on 1st September 1991 against Sheffield Eagles at the Don Valley Stadium. Over the following 3 seasons McDermott’s performances would bring him to the attention of a number of leading teams and, at the end of the 1993/94 season, he signed for Wigan with his £100,000 transfer fee being decided by a rugby league tribunal.

McDermott’s only season at Central Park was the 1994/95 Championship winning season, in which he made 13 appearances for Wigan. He played his first match in a pre season friendly at Leigh on 5th August 1994, alongside fellow debutant Terry O’Connor. In 1995 McDermott appeared in the Regal Trophy Final, with Wigan defeating local rivals Warrington by 40 points to 10 in the first game of rugby league to be played at the McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield.

After only 5 appearances for Wigan, McDermott’s growing reputation as a tough, uncompromising front rower earned him a call up to the Great Britain squad to face Australia in the 1994 Ashes series, in which he played in all three test matches.

In September 1995, McDermott moved to Leeds in a £110,000 transfer, making his debut against Bradford on 22nd September at Headingley. Over the next decade McDermott became a crowd favourite, worshipped on the Headingley terraces for his no nonsense style of play, which earned him the respect of everyone in the game and cemented his reputation as one of the game’s hardest players.

It was in 1999 that McDermott made his first appearance in the Challenge Cup Final, which was the last to be played at the old Wembley Stadium. In this game McDermott scored a crucial try in Leeds’ 52 points to 16 victory against London Broncos. He also appeared in the following year’s final at Murrayfield and again in 2003 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, suffering defeat at the hands of Bradford on both occasions.

In 2004 McDermott and the Leeds team overcame Yorkshire rivals Bradford to lift the Super League Trophy at Old Trafford in a hard fought 16 points to 8 victory which ended the clubs 32-year wait for a league championship. They were again victorious four months later when they defeated NRL Premiers Canterbury Bulldogs by 39 points to 32 at Elland Road to be crowned the World Club Champions.

McDermott made a total of 15 test match appearances for Great Britain, as well as 3 appearances in non test matches. In 1996 he made one appearance for England before going on to represent Ireland a record 13 times. He also made 3 appearances for Lancashire against Yorkshire in the County of Origin matches, captaining the side to their victory in the 2002 series.

After 10 magnificent years service to Leeds, McDermott was awarded a record breaking Testimonial in 2005. In total he made 283 appearances, scored 40 tries, including one hat-trick, and is regarded as one of the greatest forwards to wear the famous amber and blue colours, being entered into the fans’ Hall of Fame. In 2006 he teamed up with Terry O’Connor at Widnes for the season, where he made – appearances and scored – tries. His final appearance for the Vikings came in the 2006 National League One Grand Final defeat at the hands of Hull Kingston Rovers.

Barrie is available for after dinner speaking engagements.