Brian Cotter, a retired member of An Garda Síochána, who passed away peacefully on Saturday 4th January at his home in Rathedmond, Sligo, was a noted intercounty footballer for both Donegal and Leitrim.
The Funeral Mass took place on Monday 6th January 2014 at 12 noon at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo, with burial afterwards in Saint Patrick’s Cemetery, Scarden, Strandhill Road, Sligo.
He is survived by his wife Peggy, sons Tony, Aidan, Willie and Ray, daughter Majella Donoghue, brother Sean and sister Joan Muldoon.
A native of The Murray Lodge, Killybegs, the late Brian Cotter played for Donegal at Junior and Senior levels in the 1950s. He played club football with Carrick, Kilcar, Killybegs, Dunkineely and Ardara.
When he joined Allen Gaels of Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, he was soon part of the Leitrim senior team and played at corner back in the Connacht championship in 1960, 1961 and 1962, playing in a Connacht final in 1960. He played alongside two of the greatest Leitrim footballers of all time, Packie McGarty and Cathal Flynn.
Thanks to Charlie O’Donnell, his playing record in Donegal is recorded below:
He played Minor football with Slieve Liag, Carrick.
He played Juvenile and Minor football with Killybegs. In a juvenile game against Ardara, Ardara 4-12 Killybegs 0-3, the Donegal Democrat reported that “Brian Cotter was an outstanding figure, concentrating on keeping the score down.”
He played with St. Cartha’s, Carrick in the Minor Championship. He played with Dunkineely, senior team, in the St. Connell’s Cup Competition.
He played with Kilcar in the Minor Championship when they won the South West Divisional Championship. Kilcar were defeated in the County Semi-final by Erin’s Hope (5-12 to 1-3). Creeslough defeated Erin’s Hope in the final by 2-5 to 0 0-6.
He played Senior Championship football with Dunkineely and played in the League for Kilcar (Democrat Cup).
Donegal Senior team
9th Sept: Played at right half-back with Donegal in the Dr. Lagan Cup game against Fermanagh. His club was listed as Killybegs/Dunkineely. Result: Donegal 1-11 Fermanagh 0-9.
30th Sept: Played at right corner-back with the Donegal team in the Dr. Lagan Cup. Result: Monaghan 4-6 Donegal 2-9.
14th Oct. Listed as a sub (Dunkineely) but did not play in the Dr. Lagan Cup game against Tyrone. Result. Tyrone 4-7 Donegal 0-6.
Senior Championship. He was injured and did not play in the game against Glenties on 21st July. Glenties won by 4-6 to Dunkineely 1-10. In the return game on 4th August he played at centre half-back. Dunkineely won by 3-5 to 1-2. Glenties lodged a protest, on the basis that the Dunkineely team was illegal, and were awarded the points.
Senior League: The Donegal County Board did not accept a late entry for the League, (Democrat Cup), from Kilcar and Brian Cotter played at least three League games for Ardara (30th Sept. against MacCumhaills; 6th Oct. against MacCumhaill’s; 13th Oct. against Ballyshannon). Ardara played eight games in the League. In their final game against Dungloe on 3rd Nov. it was recorded in the Donegal Democrat that “Ardara were without the Dunkineely players who assisted them in recent games.”
Donegal Junior team
7th April: Played at centre half-back on the Donegal team in the Ulster Junior Championship game with Tyrone. A report in the Donegal Democrat stated: “At a vital period in the second half, when Tyrone turned on the pressure, it was the Dunkineely player, Brian Cotter, Killybegs, who proved himself the shining star of the side at centre half-back. Time after time his high sure fielding and long clearances nipped in the bud dangerous Tyrone thrusts.” Result: Donegal 2-6 Tyrone 1-6.
28th April. Played at centre half-back on the Donegal team who defeated Derry in the Ulster Junior Football Semi-final. The Donegal Democrat reported that “Looking back on the Derry game one cannot but recall that it was the defence of Sean Ferriter, Michael Ronaghan and Brian Cotter which played the greater part in that victory.
2nd June. Played at centre half-back on the Donegal team in the Ulster Junior Championship Final against Cavan. Result: Cavan 3-6 Donegal 2-2.
Donegal Senior team
14th April. He was selected to play at No. 5 with Donegal in the Dr. McKenna Cup. Result: Donegal 1-6 Derry 5-12. Listed as a Dunkineely player. However, the Donegal Democrat report of the game noted that “Donegal started the game without Sean Cotter, Dunkineely and M.J. Gallagher, Gweedore. The latter came on in the first half.”
16th June. Played at right half-back on the Donegal Senior team in the Ulster Senior Football Championship game v Down. Donegal won by 3-2 to 0-6.
14th July. He did not play in the Ulster Senior Football Championship as he sustained a knee injury earlier in the week. Result: Tyrone 3-5 Donegal 2-3.
15th Sept. Played at right corner-back with the Donegal team in the Dr. Lagan Cup game against Fermanagh. Result: Donegal 3-6 Fermanagh 1-4.
20th Oct. Was listed to play at mid-field against Monaghan in the Lagan Cup game but was reported in the Donegal Democrat as being a “flu victim” and unable to play. Result: Donegal 2-6 Monaghan 1-8.
10th Nov. Played at centre half-back with the Donegal team in the Dr. Lagan Cup Semi-Final game against Tyrone. The Donegal Democrat report stated: “Filling the important centre-half-back role, Brian Cotter certainly justified the faith of the selectors, for despite Tyrone’s switching of players here, he came through with an enhanced reputation.” Result: Tyrone 1-10 Donegal 1-7.
Senior Championship. Brian Cotter was playing at centre half-back when Dunkineely defeated Kilcar by 3-4 to 2-3 at home and by 2-7 to 1-4 in Kilcar. Dunkineely qualified for the Divisional final but were defeated by Dungloe by 1-8 to 1-4, with Brian Cotter at centre half-back. Dungloe defeated St. Eunan’s in the County Final by 2-6 to 2-5.
League. Kilcar, Killybegs, Dunkineely or Ardara were not entered in the League.
Donegal Senior team
13th April. Played at right corner-back with the Donegal team in the Dr. McKenna Cup game against Derry. Result: Derry 2-10 Donegal 1-1. Club listed as Dunkineely.
15th June. Played at right corner-back with the Donegal team in the Ulster Senior Championship game against Down. Result: Down 3-11 Donegal 3-5.
14th Sept. Played at right corner-back with the Donegal team in the Dr. Lagan Cup game against Fermanagh. Result: Donegal 3-6 Fermanagh 0-8.
5th Oct. Played at right corner-back with the Donegal team in the Dr. Lagan Cup game against Monaghan. Result: Donegal 0-7 Monaghan 0-5.
19th Oct. Played at right corner-back with the Donegal team in the Dr. Lagan Cup game against Tyrone. Result: Donegal 2-6 Tyrone 0-6. Club listed as Dunkineely.
9th Nov. Played in a challenge game against Mayo, was injured, and was out of football for a few weeks.
7th Dec. Played at right corner-back with the Donegal Team in the Dr. Lagan Cup Final against Derry. Result: Derry 1-11 Donegal 1-4.
Senior Championship and Senior League. Kilcar, Dunkineely, Ardara, Glenties and Dungloe entered the South-West Division of the Championship and League.
Donegal Senior team
26th April. Played at right corner-back with Donegal in the Dr. McKenna Cup game against Down. Result: Down 1-9 Donegal 0-11.
7th June. In the Donegal Democrat’s preview of the Ulster Senior Championship game against Cavan it was stated: “Finn Gallagher, who played at right half-back against Down, moves back to right full, to the exclusion of Garda Brian Cotter.” Result: Cavan 2-9 Donegal 0-4.