Happy birthday to Darren Baker and Meinir Thomas!

Meinir Thomas shoots for goal. Picture: Gethin Jones, Amlwch Town FC

Two Anglesey sporting greats who share the same date of birth reach the age of 55 today.

Darren Baker and Meinir Thomas were both in the same year at Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni.

While Darren was a schoolboy football star, representing his country before going on to play for Wrexham in the Football League, Meinir’s chief sporting successes came later in life.

Both have done Ynys Môn proud in the world of sport. Today we pay tribute to them both.

Darren Baker – Born 28.6.1965

Darren Baker lines up with Wrexham in an early 1980’s squad shot. He is in the middle row, third player from the right. Photo: Rob Clarke

For 20 years he held the record as the youngest ever League goalscorer for Wrexham.

Darren Baker can look back with pride on a football career which produced many highlights.

He attended Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni before being offered schoolboy forms at Wrexham, where he was a member of their highly successful youth side alongside John Muldoon, Neil Salathiel and Andy Edwards.

During his time at the Racecourse he was capped at both youth and schoolboy level and for 20 years held the record as Wrexham’s youngest goalscorer at 17 years and 115 days when he netted versus Doncaster Rovers on his full debut in Football League Division Four on October 20, 1982.

However, after a season as a pro he was released by the cash-strapped Dragons having made 29 appearances and scoring two goals.

Upon leaving he joined Bangor City, where he spent four seasons, but a broken leg curtailed his progress and after some time on the sidelines he opted to join Caernarfon Town in September 1987 under Tommy Smith.

Baker then became a member of the side that flourished under Phil Wilson and reached the semi-final of the Welsh Cup in 1988 where they narrowly lost 3-1 to Cardiff City over two legs.

After leaving the Canaries, he turned out for hometown club Llangefni Town, where he won a tremendous treble of the Welsh Alliance League, Alves Cup and Barritt Cup in 1990/91.

He did return to Caernarfon in the early 90’s before later joining League of Wales club Conwy United, making 38 appearances and scoring four goals prior to a short stint at Porthmadog.

July 1995 brought a call from Chris Lawler of League of Wales newcomers Cemaes Bay and Darren joined for the season where he scored five goals in 15 games, including the Anglesey club’s first top-flight hat-trick versus Briton Ferry.

In 1996 he rejoined Llangefni, where he captained the side to the Fitlock Welsh Alliance Championship in 1998/99 and later turned out for Glantraeth, as well as the combined Llangefni-Glantraeth team.

Darren represented Ynys Môn in the Island Games when they were runners-up to the Faroe Islands in 1991 and sixth place in 1993 and 1995.

A very talented player renowned for his dynamic midfield skills, great passing ability and tremendous shooting.

Meinir Thomas – Born 28.6.1965

Meinir on hockey duty for Wales

Meinir Thomas is an Anglesey sporting phenomenon.

At the age of 55, she is still winning cups and medals at football and competing internationally at hockey.

Last season saw Meinir conjure up seven goals for an Amlwch Town side which celebrated its biggest honour yet – winning the North Wales Women’s League Division Two championship.

The season before, Meinir was also involved in Amlwch landing their first major trophy – landing the Division Two Supplementary Cup.

Raised in Bodffordd, Meinir did not begin playing football until the mature age of 48.

She started working at Amlwch Primary School and Town captain, Carol Lewis, urged Meinir to attend training. She did and has never looked back.

As well as playing club football at Lon Bach, she has also represented Ynys Môn in two Island Games.

Last season she scored a first career hat-trick, netting four times in all as Amlwch racked up a 20-0 victory. It is safe to say she was the first 54-year-old to score a treble in the North Wales League and will probably be the last.

In the sport of hockey, Meinir turns out for Bangor Ladies and has played for Wales Over-50s in the Masters’ World Cup, European Championship and Home Nations.

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