Legendary Gaelic Games commentator, Micheal O Muircheartaigh, the Sam Maguire Cup, and the history-making 1992 Donegal All-Ireland winning team are all reunited once again this Saturday night.
The venue is the Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town, and the occasion is a special charity ball to mark the 20th anniversary of Donegal famous All-Ireland victory over Dublin in September 1992.
The Anglo Celt Cup will also be present on the night and Charlie Collins of Highland Radio, will act as master of ceremonies.
The Ball has been organised by the 1992 team themselves with Tony Boyle, Donal Reid and Joyce McMullan, the main movers on the organising committee.
“Myself and Donal Reid were just chatting one day a few months ago and we thought with the 20th anniversary coming up that it would be nice to organise a get-together again of all the players and mentors and all involved with the team,” Tony Boyle told the Democrat.
“All we were initially thinking about was just an informal gathering and a chance to meet up for a meal and a few drinks. But we then spoke to Joyce McMullan and it really mushroomed from there and we decided why not spread it out and have a celebration banquet/ball and open it up to supporters and followers of the team and GAA in the county.
“Because while it was a great journey for the players and all involved in the team we also understand that it was also a great journey for a lot of supporters as well and many great friendships and bonds developed between the players and the supporters and among the supporters themselves.
“So we saw the night for all those to get together once again and celebrate what was, after all, a momentous occasion for the county and Donegal people everywhere.”
The Abbey Hotel was chosen because back in those years it was very much seen as the team base before and after games.
“We all have a great affinity with the Abbey. It was our meeting place before games and it was the place we always returned to after games and it was the place where we always got the opportunity to mingle and socialise with the supporters afterwards.
“We also decided why not try and make a few bob for charity and now it has turned into a charity function with all the profit from the night going to three charities, the Donegal Hospice, Donegal Living Links and the Alzheimer Society Donegal branch, all three very good and deserving charities.”
The organisers have received a great response in recent weeks and the players and backroom team with the exception of mentor Seamus Bonner, who is ill at present, have indicated that they are attending.
“We are looking forward to a really good night and all the boys are turning up and we are all looking forward to meeting up again.
“A number of us meet on a fairly regular basis but then there are others who only meet once in a blue moon. Indeed there are one or two of the boys I haven’t seen since our last gathering back in 2002.
“This will only be our second formal get together since 1992. Brian McEniff organised a get together after ten years ago and we had a meal and an overnight in the Great Northern, but that was only the players and officials but this time around it is a much bigger bash with the supporters joining in as well. The supporters were a very important and played their part in the success too and it is only right they should be part of the celebration.
“We are really delighted that Micheal O’Muircheartaigh accepted our invitation to be guest speaker. Michael is a legendary figure in Gaelic Games and we are honoured that he has agreed to be our special guest; he is a great story teller and I have no doubt he will come up with an interesting and entertaining speech.
“We are also delighted to have the Sam Maguire Cup present too and to have Charlie Collins as our MC. It promises to be a great night and hopefully it will be one to rememeber. We are all looking forward to meeting up again and also meeting up with our loyal band of supporters once again too.
“I suppose we are fortunate too that the present team is going so well and there is a great buzz in the county again and that one of the ‘92 lads Jim McGuinness is managing the team and with a bit of luck the Sam Maguire will be back in the county again later this year.”
The Sam Maguire and Anglo Celt Cups will be on display in the Abbey Hotel from early on Saturday. And members of the 1992 will also be present and available right throughout the afternoon to meet and greet supporters that wish to pop into the hotel to meet them and have their photographs taken with the members of the team and the two famous trophies or just simply want to chat and reminisce about 1992.
The night promises to be a real gala occasion with memories of that great year of 1992 and what was a golden era for Donegal football that produced two Ulster titles and one All-Ireland and five Ulster decider appearances in a row.
Memories and stories about two train trips to Cork in 1990, to play a national league game against the Rebels.
Memories of that champagne second half performance in the Ulster final of 1992, when in the Clones heat, 14 man Donegal with Tony Boyle off injured, put neighbours Derry to the sword.
Memories of that the final and Manus Boyle’s nine points in the All-Ireland final against the mighty Dubs and Anthony Molloy climbing the steps and declaring to the world that ‘Sam was for the Hills.’
All these and many more great moments in a golden journey will be rekindled and poured over once again on Saturday night as the greatest team ever in the county’s history is feted once again. And rightly so!
The event is a formal dress event with 1992 squad and mentors in black tie.
The evening begins with a champagne reception which is being put on by the Abbey Hotel at 7 pm with the four course meal at 8 pm followed by music and craic until the small hours.
Tickets for the ball are priced at 25 euro which is good value for a four course meal with wine and champagne reception and are available from the following outlets - Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town; SuperValu, Killybegs; Divers Newsagents, Ardara; Books and Charts, Dungloe; Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny and SuperValu, Buncrana.