Tyrone and Derry players pay tribute to McGee and McFadden

Tyrone and Derry players pay tribute to McGee and McFadden
Tom Comack sport@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

Colm McFadden and Eamon McGee announced their retirement from intercounty football following Donegal’s defeat to Dublin on Saturday night.

Between them Eamon and Colm have close on 30 years service at senior level for Donegal. And they were members of the most successful Donegal team ever in what was a golden era for Donegal football.

National League winners in 2007, they were influential members of the 2012 Donegal All-Ireland winning team.

They played a pivotal role in Donegal’s march to the county’s second All-Ireland triumph that year.

“Without CoIm or Eamnn I don’t think we would have won what we did,” said the man that masterminded that 2012 success, Donegal manager Jim McGuinness, in his weekly column in the Irish Times on Tuesday.

“It was incredible to share a dressing room with them as players, and later to manage them and to see them developing and fulfilling their dreams.

“Everyone in Donegal will be proud of them in terms of what they’ve achieved.”

Jim McGuinness was not the only person high in his praise of the two departing Donegal stars this week.

Eamon McGee was rated as among one of the leading defenders in the game for the best part of the last decade.

In that time he put the shackles on most of game’s marquee forwards.

One of those top forwards was former Derry All-Star corner forward Paddy Bradley.

“Eamon marked me a good few times and he would have left plenty of marks on me too,” the 2007 Derry All-Star told the Democrat from Boston, where he is working for the summer and playing for Donegal Boston in the North American championship.

“But that was what you expected any day you faced Eamon and you had to be prepared for it.

“He was hard but also very fair and whatever happened on the pitch was left on the pitch as far as Eamon was concerned.

“He was the type of player that you had no bother going for a pint with after a game.”

McFadden feared

Colm McFadden was Donegal’s top scorer in the 2012 championship. He hit an impressive 4-24 in Donegal’s seven games and regularly chalked big numbers in both the league and championship.

And he was marked down in opposition dressing rooms as one of the men to watch in the Donegal attack.

So said three time All-Star Tyrone defender, Conor Gormley, recognised as one the game’s leading defenders of his time. And this was not only in his native Tyrone but also nationally and Conor more than once found himself being handed the job of marking the Donegal dangerman.

“Any time we played Donegal he always carried the big scoring threat and he was the player always identified by Mickey Harte as the player to watch closely,” said Conor Gormley.

“I was given the job of marking him a number of times and he was always a handful.

“He was big and strong and had good hands and pace and had a great eye for a goal.

“He was physically tough, too, but I always enjoyed playing against him. We had a few right good battles.

“I always found him hard to mark and while his left foot was his strong foot over the years he developed a good right foot too which made him even more difficult to mark.

“He was a very good forward and he will be a loss to Donegal,” said Gormley.