Dublin’s first All-Ireland football championship since 1995 brought some hearty cheer to the people of Lettermacaward as an adopted son played a starring role in the dramatic win over Kerry.
Michael Dara Macauley is in only his second year on the senior panel and played at centre-field in the 1-12 to 1-11 success over Kerry at Croke Park on Sunday, where goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton pointed a stoppage time free-kick in front of Hill 16 to end the 16-year drought without Sam Maguire for Dublin. Macauley’s father Michael is a native of the village in west Donegal.
“I’m actually not allowed to say unbelievable one more time,” a beaming Michael Dara said of the Dublin win. “The abuse I’m getting for saying that word, over and over. Even in the interview out on the pitch straight after the match I kept saying it. Unbelievable. There’s no doubt about it, being an All-Ireland winning midfielder has got a nice ring to it. When you look at it, I wasn’t even on the panel two years ago. It’s ridiculous that it’s come full circle so soon.”
Macauley, whose club is Ballyboden St Enda’s, was Irish an underage basketball international and winner of two U-19 All-Irelands with Notre Dame Hoops. A broken finger threatened to disrupt his championship this summer and he missed out on a place on the Dublin side that won the Leinster championship against Wexford before returning for the 0-22 to 0-15 win over Tyrone in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Macauley also played against Donegal in the semi-final last month, which Dublin won on a 0-8 to 0-6 scoreline. Before that game, the 25-year-old admitted to enjoying some banter with his north-western relatives “through the miracle of Facebook!”