MEMORIES

When David slew Goliath - Donegal people will be reliving the day a dream came true today

Michael Daly

Reporter:

Michael Daly

Email:

michael.daly@donegaldemocrat.com

When David slew Goliath - Donegal people will be reliving the day a dream came true today

By this very Sunday (if you know what I mean) this time 25 years ago, we woke with hope, and to be honest, a small bit of fear in our hearts, to a glorious Dublin Sunday morning, excitement pulsed through our veins.

That was September 20th, 1992, All Ireland Final Sunday, the history makers from Tir Conaill making their way to Croke Park to 'do their best' against Paddy Cullen's all singing and all dancing Dublin team.

Sure we hadn't a hope really, a good day out for the culchies and another Sam for the Dubs, was the quiet word - not so quiet around Drumcondra - the night before.

25 years later it's a morning like that one, bright, crisp but sunny here in Donegal, there's a definite autumnal feel to the morning air and in Dublin, I'm told, it's much the same.

Alas today the only Donegal team we will see on the field of battle is indeed that team of heroes, the boys of 1992, who will be honoured 25 years on for their 0-18 to 0-14 victory.

I wonder will Mayo take any heart from that win 25 years ago?  It's not quite the same - Dublin in 1992 were hot favourites mainly because Donegal and Mayo combined looked so poor in their semi-final. This time Dublin are hot favourites in their own right and frankly, deserve that tag. True, footbal is just that, a funny old game and cliche aside, there might be something in that for Mayo, but I don't think so. Yes, it would be nice for Mayo to finally win one in the modern era, nice but not likely. I need to go back to why I started writing, I will leave the previews to the sports team.

For many of us from Donegal looking in today at Croker it will be hard not to close our eyes and turn back the clock to a day that will live long in the memory.

Memories of going down early to Croke Park, people still looking for tickets outside Barry's Hotel, memories of the colour, the Canal End in particular, referee Tommy Sugrue battling after the game (and losing that battle) to hold onto the match ball which Mairtín Beag was determined to have.

Memories of Rambo knocking Dubs out of his way like bowling pins as he cleared ball after ball; red Bonner punching the air to the Hogan Stand side as he clipped over that point. Memories of Molloy, lean and taut as he took the Sam from fellow Ulster man Peter Quinn and declaring: "Sam's for the Hills".  Memories of the 'Dublin All Ireland Champions 1992' lighters being sold at half price as we left Croke Park; memories of old men and women shedding a quiet tear as they savoured a day they thought would never come. Memories. A tsunami of treasures from a day that remains in bright technicolour in the memory banks of so many from or linked to Donegal.

We send best wishes to the 1992 squad and their mentors who will be honoured today in Croke Park as part of the ceremonies on All Ireland final day. We remember mentor Seamus Bonar, in particular, who sadly is gone to his Eternal Reward, and all those from families connected to the team who were part of that memorable day but are no longer with us; we say thanks for the memories, Anthony and all.