Donegal's record in Dublin senior finals dating back to the sixties

Ahead of Monday's Dublin SFC final, with Liam Mailey involved, Gerard Boyle, originally from Dungloe, charts the record of Donegal players who have played in Dublin finals over the years

Gerald Boyle


Gerald Boyle

Donegal's record in Dublin senior finals dating back to the sixties

The opportunity for Liam Mailey of Convoy to win a Dublin Senior Football Championship medal when he plays for St.Jude's against Kilmacud Crokes next Monday in Parnell Park prompted me to do a bit of research into Donegal men who previously achieved that feat or were beaten finalists.

As far as I can ascertain the first Donegal men to win Dublin Senior Football medals were the late Bernard Brady (Bundoran) and Paul Kelly (Cloughaneely) who were on the U.C.D. team which won the 1963 Dublin Championship.

The following year Mickey Griffin, who never played club football in Donegal, was on the O'Tooles team which lost to St. Vincent's in the final.

Bernard Brady won his second medal in 1965 when U.C.D. won back the title. Interestingly a teammate of his in the 1965 final was Benny Gaughran of Louth who would later - much later! - win another medal with two Donegal men for company.

In 1975 Brendan Dunleavy (Sean MacCumhaill's) achieved the unusual distinction of winning an All-Ireland club medal without winning a County club medal. He was on the U.C.D. team which won the All-Ireland Club title in 1975 but he wasn't on the U.C.D. team which won the 1974 Dublin title.

Dunleavy and Finian Ward (Glencolmcille) had Colm O'Rourke of Meath for company when they were on the U.C.D. team which lost to St. Vincent's in the 1976 Dublin final.

In 1980 Civil Service won the Dublin Championship, having been defeated in the final the previous year. The team was captained by the late Seamus Bonar (Four Masters) and also included another Donegal man in Finian McDonnell (Glenfin).

Fifteen years after winning his first Dublin medal with U.C.D. alongside Bernard Brady, Benny Gaughran scored 1-3 for Civil Service in the 1980 final.

Other members of that Civil Service team were Pat O'Neill (Dublin), Kevin Kilmurray (Offaly) and former Derry manager Paddy Crozier.

The list of Donegal medal winners would be a lot longer if Civil Service hadn't suffered a narrow defeat to Kilmacud Crokes in the famous year of 1992. The Service team was backboned by Donegal men, among whom were Noel McCole (Dungloe), Michael Gallagher (Glenties) and a strong Ballyshannon contingent of Red Jim Gallagher, Eunan Gallagher, Brian Murray and Alan Murray.

That 1992 win would turn out to be the start of the Kilmacud Crokes success story. What might be a good omen for Liam Mailey is that two of the last three Donegal men to win Dublin medals were goalkeepers.

Gerard McGill (Glencolmcille), who also won a Senior club medal in Carlow with Eire Og, was goalkeeper on the U.C.D. team which beat St. Vincent's in the 2002 final.

Paul Durcan (Four Masters) won with Ballyboden St. Enda's in 2015 and as recently as last year Nathan Mullins (Carndonagh) was on the St. Vincent's team which beat Ballymun Kickhams in the final.

So here's hoping that next Monday we can add the name of Liam Mailey to Bernard Brady (twice), Paul Kelly, Seamus Bonar, Finian McDonald, Gerard McGill, Paul Durcan and Nathan Mullins.

I sincerely hope I haven't left anybody out. Maybe there was a student from Donegal in St. Patrick's Training College in Drumcondra who may have won a medal with Erin's Hope or a Garda from Donegal on one of the Garda teams which won several Dublin Football Championships. I'd be interested to know if there was.


This year's Dublin final is taking place on Bank Holiday Monday at Parnell Park where Convoy native Liam Mailey will line out with St. Jude's against Kilmacud Crokes.