“You’ll not miss me until you are following me out to Clar. That day’s here now dad. You will be missed and there’s a brave crowd following you out to Clar.”
Those were the words of Don Monaghan in thanking people at the end of the funeral Mass of his late father, Donal Monaghan, in St. Patrick’s Church, Donegal Town yesterday, as an overflow attendance came together to remember a legend.
The Monaghan family were joined by Donal’s many friends from the local area along with the numerous acquaintances he enjoyed in his sporting and business life.
His son, Don, in thanking everyone who had visited the house over the last few days and at the funeral had recounted many stories of his father, thanked them for their attendance. “It’s on occasions like this that we know what truly great friends, neighbours and friends that we have.”
Requiem Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Willie Peoples, Fr. Danny McBrearty, Fr. Seamus Dagens and Fr. Adrian Gavigan.
There were guards of honour from the local Four Masters club, from Donegal Tyre Company and outside the church, his Donegal playing colleagues from the Ulster Championship winning sides of 1972 and 1974.
In his homily, Fr. Peoples admitted that he did not know much about the football achievements of Donal Monaghan, but he had learned much about him in recent days. “The term Blonde Bomber” was mentioned a few times, a term which was affectionately associated with him.
“Like many before him, Donal Monaghan has reached the end of this life. Donal will go back to God and I’m sure when he’s asked the question about his own talents in life, he will say that when it came to sport anyhow, he did well.”
Born on Main Street in the town, and apart from a few months in England, his full 68 years were spent in the town.
After being employed by Kilkenny Remoulds for some time, he set up his own tyre business in the town, using yards at McGroartys and McGintys before the present location at Clar Road, a business which is now being carried on his sons.
“From a very early age Donal’s interest was in football, from childhood days, so much so that eventually he would win an All-Star, a very proud achievement for any person. But the recipient of such an honour, I’m sure, inside his own heart, it was a very proud moment, without boasting about it,” said Fr. Peoples, who added that he had also achieved another of his lifetime ambitions to win a championship medal with Four Masters.
“I know that all of you here will know much more about Donal’s achievements,” said Fr. Peoples, who paid tribute to Donal’s wife and sons, who had looked after him so well in his latter years when he suffered ill health.
“In 1997 he received a kidney transplant which left him a much weaker man, and as the years went by, it made it very difficult for him. He was supported and loved by his family, by Margaret and his sons,” said Fr. Peoples, who said he would have met Donal with one of the boys at lunch in Dom’s or somewhere. “That was something that they can be proud of, the way they looked after their father,” said Fr. Peoples.
Donal Monaghan’s remains were laid to rest in Clar cemetery. Predeceased by his sister Rosarie and brother, Francie, he is survived by his wife, Margaret; sons Don, Barry and Marcus; sister, Madeleine; daughter-in-law, Paula; grandchildren Daniel and Adam, relatives and friends. See page 62 also.