Column: Honouring the Donegal 1992 heroes with new book

THE SPORTING DIARY with Sports Ed Peter Campbell

Column: Honouring the Donegal 1992 heroes with new book

Honouring our 1992 heroes

Tonight in the Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town, a special publication to honour the 25th anniversary of Donegal’s first All-Ireland senior success in 1992 will be launched.

The book, which runs to 180 pages, has been part of the workload over the last four or five months and, hopefully, will be a timely reminder to Donegal GAA supporters of a massive breakthrough for the county.

As the President of the GAA at the time, Peter Quinn, says in an introduction to the book, Donegal became only the third Ulster team to take Sam Maguire back to the province with Cavan and Down the only counties to have the honour before Donegal.

Peter Quinn had presented Sam to Down in 1991 and then would have the happy task of presenting it to Derry in 1993, something that made the Fermanagh man very proud.

Working on this book, entitled ‘History Makers’, gives an insight into the massive changes that have taken place in all aspects of life in the intervening 25 years.

Just take for example the incident on the day of the final when news was relayed to the Donegal dressing room just before the game that Joyce McMullin’s brother, Gerard, had passed away and the dilemma it posed for manager, Brian McEniff. With no way of verifying the information, McEniff had to make a call and decided that Joyce would not be informed until after the game.

In the book, Joyce tells the story, from leaving home on Saturday, right through to being told the news in the shower room after the game, and then his sister, Maureen, bursting into the dressing room to say the news was not true.

There were no mobile phones (or at least very few). Something like that would not happen nowadays. The story is also recounted by Brian McEniff, who made his way up to the Highland Radio base in the Hogan Stand to make a phone call home to double check. When talking to him for the interview, McEniff was able to reel off the home phone number in McMullins!

Perhaps, the most heart rending story in the publication is that of Martin Shovlin opening up for the first time about having to cry off injured on All-Ireland final morning.

Perhaps it is summed up by this quote by Shovlin:

“I sat in the dugout in 1992 and watched the All-Ireland final. I remember watching it, but to be honest I don’t remember seeing it, if I am to be totally honest. I don’t know if that makes sense to people, but that’s the way it was.”

Shovlin also goes to some length to slam rumours which he had heard in the last year that he wasn’t injured at all and was ‘afraid’ to play in the final. How could anyone who knows Martin Shovlin make that claim?

There are some great contributions from Anthony Molloy (who bares his soul to Gerry McLaughlin), Manus Boyle and Donal Reid, while Brian McEniff tells it from the manager’s side.

There is a Dublin view from Dessie Farrell, John Leonard (Croke Park steward, who ushered Molloy up the steps), John Cassidy of Leghowney on Sam’s visit to Tommy Carr’s pub; Naul McCole on the backroom team; Noreen Doherty on the ticket search and Danny McNamee on funding the final. There are also contributions from Keith Duggan and Martin Carney as well as a personal view from Michael Daly.

The book also includes a player profile on all 26 players involved in the success, as well as a pictorial history of the games and the homecoming.

My thanks to all who helped in getting the book to print and hopefully it will be regarded as something of substance which will stand as a memorial to the men of 1992, true History Makers for the county.

If you are free this evening, then why not come along to the Abbey Hotel and be part of the celebration. Our 1992 heroes deserve any adulation they receive.

Where to for the Super 8s

After another dismal weekend of All-Ireland quarter-finals in football, all the talk is about what will happen with the Super 8s next year. If there is not a major surge by four or five counties outside the pale at the moment, then we can look forward to an even bigger number of one-sided contests at this stage in 2018.

Back in 2012 when Donegal won the All-Ireland, two of the quarter-finals were closely contested - Donegal had two points to spare over Kerry (1-12 to 1-10) while Dublin overcame Laois (1-12 to 0-12). Granted the other two quarter-finals were one-sided (Cork hammering Kildare 2-19 to 0-12 and Mayo too strong for Down 3-18 to 2-9) but they were much more competitive than what we have seen over the past two weekends.

Then when you watch Galway and Tipperary in the All-Ireland hurling semi-final the contrast between the entertainment value from Saturday to Sunday is so stark.

Will we ever see a winning point to match Joe Canning’s wonder strike to take Galway to the final? To score from the sideline with nobody close would take some bottle, but to do so with so little time to swing the hurl was magic.

Galway have been here before, but hopefully they go on and claim Liam McCarthy this year.

As for the football, maybe the semi-finals will save the bacon, but it is hard to see supporters continuing to make trips to see mismatches into the future.