"You still meet them same supporters today and they'll still tell you that 30 years ago was probably the greatest day, it's obviously the greatest footballing day of our lives, but for them the supporters it was the greatest day of their live, it's always great to hear that and it's always great to meet them supporters."
"I remember Tony, the biggest issue we had as players, and people will hardly believe this now. We were the first semi final and there was a 5 week break between winning the All Ireland semi final final and the All Ireland final and it just felt far too long. You obviously had the joy and the excitement of winning it and it took a couple of days to come down after winning the Semi final. You had the All Ireland to look forward to but 5 weeks was a serious long time."
"The worst part of the night before the All Ireland was Brian (McEniff) in his wisdom, this is the micro management Brian would do, he had me and Manus and Declan staying in the one room, 3 singles bed. Because I was full forward, I had to sleep in the middle bed. As you would know, Declan is a ball of nervous energy and I wouldn't say he slept maybe 2 hours the night before and of course he kept me and Manus up most of the night but it was the kind of detail that Brian went into."
"The minute the whistle went in 92, you were just engulfed in it. It was a struggle to get back to the Hogan stand. Listen it was just unbelievable Tony, it was everything you dreamed of."
"Tommy was team captain that year. I was quite happy because Tommy was the type of player that preferred playing out the field so I was quite happy when he was back in at corner back. I think Eamon Heery switched with him at some stage in the second half. Tommy was a very very good footballer but I think he was much much happier playing out the field. Manus had the beating of Mick Deegan, Tony had the beating of Gerry Hargan at full back and the half forward line were playing well so yea as I said the majority of the lads to a man they all played well on the day and every man contributed to that victory. "
"I had an opportunity just before that, I skied it, the ball dropped wide. From the resulting kick out. I think it might have been Joyce Mc Mullan that won it and he passed in to James McHugh, and onto me, and yeah great to see it going over the bar , you felt then , that was 18-14. 4 points up. You felt that the All Ireland was heading back to Donegal for the first time which was an amazing feeling."
"I'll always remember the final whistle, I had the ball under the Hogan stand, and the crowd were just about to come in, and the first guy, I see the photograph. Got to know him very very well after that, a guy called Charlie Mc Clafferty, he owns the beach hotel down in Downings. I meet with him regularly and that photograph's still there. He was the first man onto the pitch right away immediately after the match, so yea. Great memories."
"The aftermath firstly that night in Malahide, one of the stand out features would be huge Donegal, you can imagine being crammed into the hotel. I think Daniel O'Donnell came on stage. Daniel had just been on top of the pops, the place just erupted. That would have been a late night the Sunday night, the following day would have been always the case you met up with the opposition team and they went to the Burlington for lunch. We done that on the Monday. And then it was a train journey back down the road , into Sligo, into Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Ballintra, right into Donegal town. I think it was late. Probably 2 o clock in the morning. Donegal town was just awash. There was maybe 10, 15 thousand people in the Diamond in Donegal town. I think it might have been probably Tuesday, maybe Wednesday before we got to the Gweebara bridge. But it's great getting across the Gweebara bridge. The crowds that were meeting us everywhere were huge, absolutley huge. It's a week and a time that you'll never forget."
"To get the honour of playing for your county and then to manage your county at all levels, I mean it's a huge honour, absolute huge honour. And a privilege for me that I was fit to do it, and I was afforded the opportunity to do it, by my club, by my family and by the county. Over the years I have to say brilliant times and I would have changed nothing."
"It's as good as being in heaven really down here you know. We've lovely scenery round Tralee and Kerry especially. It's like your own county in Donegal really."
"Well it was a great day you know, it'll always live in my memory as well. It was a fantastic day. It was great to be part of history as well to see Donegal winning their first All Ireland. It was a great occasion as well, everything went perfect. It was a great game to referee, it was played in a very sporting manner and the quality of football that was in it was great."
"I always had an awful habit of talking to the players and I make no apologies for that because you encourage the players as well. It's better to have the 30 players on your side, treating them with respect I always felt was one of my key things during a game. If you treat them with respect you get it back. It worked both ways. And unfortunately there's a lot of the current referees don't view it like that, but if a player got a good score I'd always say that was a great score now, it helped then as well you know, It helped build up a relationship with the players as well which I felt was important."
"You're entitled to your opinion on that one. It wasn't really (soft) because he pushed him in the back like when he was attempting to kick it, that's a penalty in my opinion like. Some people said it was soft, more people said it wasn't a penalty but I was standing next to him and you can't say I wasn't near it when I called it you know."
"The craziest thing really I suppose, I was refereeing a local match down in Kerry, and Bomber Liston ran into me at full flight. He's a big man and I'll tell you it took me a while to get over that one. It was a pure accident. I was going one way, he was going the same way and we kind of clashed. You've a load of funny things that'll happen, if you didn't see the funny side of some things and enjoy what you do. That's what I did. I referreed for 35 years and I enjoyed every single minute of it. It's a kind of a calling really like you know but you have to work, you have to give it everything for the 60 minutes for the local games or the 70 minutes for the championship matches."
"I've referreed All Ireland finals in every code bar minor. All Ireland club finals, national league finals. I've been very lucky thank god and a great team with me then as well."
"The match ball, he wanted it and I didn't give it to him. And that was really funny you know, but he got his way in the finish. Because you're supposed to give it to the captain but when you have about 40,000 Donegal people running onto the field the last thing you'd be looking for is the captain at the time. So Martin got the match ball anyway. And it was very funny and I was delighted he got it in the finish because he was a lovely person and he was a gentleman to referee for as well. He was very very keen. A great player you know."
"That game (All Ireland final 92) really stands out because that year then I was voted refereee of the year as well. It was a great end to the year. 92 will stand out probably as the best memory I have of all the years I've been at it."
"There hasn't been a day gone by where we haven't woke up in the morning and went jesus we left that one after us and stuff like that. The 95 team that won (Sam Maguire) , the vast majority of that team would have been around in 92. We had a golf outing there recently. We were lamenting, looking back on different things, one of the things we would have sort of said was the weakest team of that era for us was probably the 95 team that actually won it. And the strongest team was probably the 91 or 92 team, so you're never too far away from, when you play in All Ireland finals, I know Dublin played in loads in the last 10 years but for any player to play in any final it's a unique occasion and not many players get a chance to play in it never mind win. We're still talking about 92 even now, moreso than we would have 94's defeat, so we do reminisce every so often on it you know."
"The warning signs were there from early on in the year. We played Donegal in a friendly game very early in 92 in O'Toole park in Dublin and they gave us a right good hammering and we had a strong team out considering that it was a friendly game. Donegal weren't really on the scene as one of the top top teams back then and then we got to the Quarter Final in the league. And Donegal should have been out the gate. In the last 5 minutes I they were 4 or 5 points up. We snatched the win where I think if we had of lost that, that may have helped us later on. But we snatched a victory out of the jaws of defeat. A lot of players would have said look, Donegal are a decent enough team but if you stay with them and stick with them for long enough that we'll beat them. I don't fully buy into it that we were over confident. Looking at the semi final, we went to the semi final and it was a poor game between Donegal and Mayo in bad conditions and we would have felt look we had the team to beat them but look we underperformed on the day. We were very sort of I suppose one dimensional and quite slow in what we did with the ball. During the year the ball came in a lot quicker, a lot faster, in one on one situations to all the forwards but in the final it seemed to be just slowed down and it was in slow motion at times. I just think on the day Donegal had their tactics right. I spoke to a few Donegal fellas over the time and McEniff had them prepared that we were going to burst out of the gates and be ahead probably after the first 10, 15 minutes and they were prepared for that. Once we got a good start you could see fellas thought this is a going to be a happy day and it was going to be an annointing of that team and all that type of stuff and when Donegal came back into it, we just didn't have the answers on the day. I would have thought we had some fabulous footballers that played but looking back, we had the likes of Tommy Carr who was a fine footballer, and a horse of a player but playing corner back wasn't probably his position. The same as Mick Deegan who was an excellent fantastic wing back but as a corner back again, I just thought we had a lot of square pegs in round holes that day. But look I've heard some fellas try to take it away from Donegal but I can't and I couldn't because they came they saw, and they conquered and they performed on the day where we didn't and we can have no complaints we just weren't good enough."
"I liked Paddy. Paddy was a very good manager for me. He was a very loud sort of personality , a very warm character that you'd want to play for. I would have a lot of warmth for Paddy. I played my best football under Paddy. He would have understood me I suppose better than the 4 other managers I played under."
"Dublin is an unusual county when it comes to the football that county players can walk down the street and are not recognised, and not known, nobody surrounds them. We wouldn't have got a whole lot of abuse or a lot of stick. The following day there was an open deck bus that they still proceeded with and we went around O'Connell street and there was nobody there. There was some lad on a bike skidding around the front of us giving us stick and stuff like that. A surreal sort of atmosphere. I've often seen the Mayo fellas coming back to 30 or 40 thousand people after losing All Ireland's, where we were left with a fella on a bike and a dog and that was about it that were there waiting for us when we got beat. In fairness when we got to the mansion house for our reception, there was hard-core what I would call, the real Dublin supporters and they're still there. There's still a good few thousand of them that would show up for league games and they were there and they gave us a good reception."
"In fairness out of the finals, the best team we played in terms of football I've always said was the Donegal game. After that, the Derry team. The Down team that won two All Ireland's, they had some fantastic footballers, but I think they relied on two or three outstanding individuals."
"Anybody that would be close to the scene would have known that but a lot of people, supporters kind of looking from a distance would have thought that that was my first ever Donegal match which wasn't the case. I made my championship debut in 1988 and I played in all the championship matches up until the 92 campaign. I picked up an injury then. The club team were going very very well at the time and we had a lot of games. I picked up a kind of a pelvis injury and I wasn't shaking it off so it really cost me my place on the team. I ended up immigrating to France with friends of mine from the Carrick and Glencolmcille area to work."
"Forwards tend to be replaced and to be taken off but when you've got a settled defence, in those days especially, it was very very unlikely that players were dropped from the defence. So it was a frustrating year for me in general, 92."
"To be honest I figured I was in contention because Martin was struggling with a neck injury for at least a week beforehand. And the backs and forwards, the mini games that we used to do at training, Brian McEniff was putting me in Martin's place, so I knew I had a chance of playing at some stage, you didn't really think about it, you just kept your head down. It's funny the way fate plays it's part, Martin Shovlin usually got a lift home from training with Anthony Molloy I think, and on this particular day that didn't happen, and he was back in our car, the Kilcar Glen, car as they called it, myself and Noel and the two McHugh's. By his tone on that journey home, it was looking that he wasn't very optimistic. So I figured, from Thursday on I was gearing myself to possibly have a part to play whether it would materialise or not was going to be out of my hands. Suppose mentally I was getting myself prepared anyway."
"There was massive disappointment for Martin Shovlin at the time. I could not say enough high praise for Martin, what he's done for his club and for his county before and after is unbelievable. It was an awful tragedy for Martin to miss out on that occasion. Because he was a certainty number 1 because he was playing the football of his life. I think the whole thing moved on for myself then when Brian McEniff told me that I'll be playing straight in, he didn't make any noise about it, he just mentioned to me walking past and he kept walking, that was it you know, it was you're in and away you go, that was the way it happened to me."
"The whole occasion, it was very very overwhelming, we were slow to settle, there's no doubt at all about it."
"It was a hard enough call to defend yourself against. Because I thought the touch was very very minimal and Dessie been the sharp forward that he was at the time made the most of it. It was one of them calls, but it was a massive call at the time. Because it was a game ending call actually had the penalty gone in. Because I couldn't see us coming back from on top of a poor start to be so far behind on the scoreboard. Justice was done in the end. Poor Charlie Redmond had a bad record with penalties in big games in Croke Park. It went the wrong side of the post very luckily for us, I think it gave us a bit of a push on to say that we need to start doing a bit here you know."
"The preparation was good. And Brian McEniff had nearly talked us right through the whole procedure right down to the final couple of minutes, because I remember in the old Croke Park there was a clock behind the canal end and he told us exactly where the big hand would be ticking down whenever it would be coming up to the end of the game and so was the case. So we were nearly kind of walking through a script that we had read before. Yea it was nice knowing that we'd won All Ireland champions, and my mother and father who were still alive were in the stand and my family were all in the stand so it was a great feeling to know that I would be meeting them sometime after the game."
"We were managed by Donal Reid at the time, he would have being just finished playing with the Donegal senior team. Our trainer was Donoghue McNelis, who was the school teacher in Dungloe from Gweedore, that'd be Odhran's father. We won that Ulster, I think I was 19 that year. We beat I think it was Cavan? It was Martin McHugh who was managing the Cavan U21 team at that time. We got beat by Kerry, I think it was Dara Ó'Cinnéide and co. that beat us in the All Ireland Semi Final narrowly. It was nice to win that championship, It's actually the only Ulster Championship medal I have which is something that I'm proud of."
"As far as I can remember, I think it was actually on my 20th birthday. We played Meath in the league as far as I can recall. It's that long ago now I can't remember the details of it. Colm Coyle might have being marking that day. It was under PJ McGowan I made my debut and I think we beat Meath that day at home?"
"We got into five Ulster Championship finals. I suppose at that time the structure in Donegal wouldn't have being as professional as it is now. We came up against well trained, well oiled Armagh and Tyrone teams. They're teams that would have went on and won the All Ireland. I supose the fact we probably hadn't the work done, we were probably inconsistent at that time in that you didn't know what you were going to get with Donegal any day they went out. They were either very good or very poor. I put that down to preparation and the work done really. There was years there we struggled to get a manager to actually take on the team. It is one of my regrets not winning an Ulster Championship but at the same time I made plenty of friends along the way and made some great memories as well."
"As a manager I suppose McEniff was a good man manager, Mickey Moran I would have felt was a good football man in that he was a good trainer. Brian McIver had his attributes as well. Declan was young when he came in, I think Declan was only in his early 30's when he took over that senior job. Declan I would have felt was ahead of his time at that stage, because he was very professional with the whole setup, he had everything well organised and only for was quite unfortunate not to win an Ulster Championship against Derry in 1998 which to me would have led to bigger things."
"John was a character, a lovely man. Mickey Moran took him in 2001-02 and he actually complimented Mickey as well in the way the two of them worked together. They worked very well together. John was always very positive, always the bright side out and it was always positivity no matter what he done. I remember one of the first training sessions that he had music playing during the training which was all new to fellas. He had different theories. He was a great man for building you up and getting the best out of you. Some great ideas and was away ahead of his time in some of his drills and his way of looking at things. He was quite a character."
"Oh my goodness, that was unbelievable. We had to beat St Mirren, and I think Hearts got beat from Dundee. I was actually ill for the very last day of the season. It sounds like Corona virus, I had like a fever and I couldn't actually come to Parkhead or anything. And I was lying in my bed listening to the game and when we scored the fourth goal, I get in the car and drove to Paisley, just cause I was like 'I'm not missing this'. And I actually drove to St Mirren to see the lads. I'm going to say it was just before the end of the game. That's my genuine memory of that last day which was just quite incredible. I was lucky when I left Ayr and went to Celtic, it was a great opportunity and I'm glad I did it."
"Obviously my father won the league with Kilmarnock in 1964/65 and our medals are absolutley identical from all those years apart, apart from obviously one says J McInally and one says A McInally. Even just for that particular fact that father and son won the same competition, whatever it was, 30 years later on, it's something really special."
"He was really good to me. Really, really good. He pushed me, he was hard on me, but I've certainly got a lot of reasons to thank Graham Taylor for my particular career going in the right direction. Rather than making a wrong decision, leaving Celtic and things never happening for me then. To be quite honest with you, I would never have got to Bayern Munich if it hadn't being for Graham Taylor."
"It was after an international game for Scotland and then I think they came and watched a few Villa games. Obviously we'd gone quiet good. And then there was the very last day of the season and we were playing Coventry. Big Brian Kilcline was the defender. Used to call him 'Killer'. I can remember saying to Brian Kilcline, Brian listen, any chance you don't kick me up and down the park today because Bayern Munich's here. And he went 'it's alright big man' of course I'm up front with big Gary Thompson. Brian went 'I love big Thommo, not a problem, it's Martin Keown I don't like, so you two are ok' so we were like awh that's alright then, we were ok. The game was rubbish, we drew 0-0 and I thought awh well that's that then, that's that all over and sort of 3 weeks later I was a Bayern Munich player. It was kind of as quick as that."
"It went from absolute the highest of the high, playing at the absolute top top level of European football, to getting this silly stupid injury that was just a game changer and it finished my career. I was training on the Wednesday and on the Monday my career was over. The boy landed, My knee went in the way rather than sort of out the way, anyway part of the bone chipped and took away the cartilage and the meniscus, with me trying to keep playing and the weight on it etc etc it's like when you take something out of a watch or you take something out of a device, it never functions again the way it properly should and that was exactly what my knee was like. As a 29, 30 year old striker having experienced all the stuff I had behind me, not thinking I was invincible, but you pick up injuries etc etc but this one I just couldn't shake, but it was the fact it had done something specific to the joint and that was me done and dusted. To this day I've got a metal knee and I make nice funny noises when I go through the airport. The lads are like 'Oh hi big man, how's the knee' I'm like well lets see if this machine's working, and see if it goes off."
"It's probably the only game I've ever played in I would like to try and play again, was the game against Costa Rica, we got beat 1-0. And we absolutley battered Costa Rica and just could not score. They went up the other end, scored 1-0, we beat Sweden 2-1 and then unfortunately we got beat by Brazil 1-0 and we had to go home. But it was just the most exhilarating proudest feeling in the world. And it's the only thing, in my football, apart from my silly tackle/injury that finished my career that I would go back and say, right give me one more chance at that game. Just give me one more chance at that game. And at the time, it's not that I didn't think we were going to win, I didn't think we were too good or they weren't good enough. It was just one of those games that me, Maurice Johnston, Jim Bet, Roy Aitken, Alex McLeish, Willie Miller, Richard Gough, none of us could put the ball in the back of the net and it was so frustrating. Certainly looking back, just the most proudest moment of my life, and unfortunately for that particular time, probably as big a disappointment in football than I've ever had."
"Danny McGrain is the legend of all legends, that I will never forget. I was only at Celtic for about, say about 2 months, and Danny said 'C'mon we'll go for a beer'. And I went what? 'C'mon we'll go for a beer'. And I was sitting in a pub in Glasgow listening to Danny McGrain talking about football and I was like my mates are never going to believe this. My mates are NEVER going to believe this. It was incredible. And Danny McGrain was the only man I'd ever known had invited Kenny Daglish to our table when we were sitting having a meal and I was like oh my god this is unbelievable, I mean I'd being at Ayr United for god sakes. A little boy from Ayr who's now at Celtic and I'm sitting having a beer with Danny McGrain."
"Even when he passed away, there was a genuine mourning in Scotland for someone who thought they knew Tommy because of the way he came over. If you got the chance to speak to Tommy, Tommy was not an arrogant man. Tommy wasn't even a boastful man. He was a genuinely kind individual. Family man but funny, funny funny funny! Even when you've mentioned now, I'm speaking to you on the phone here Tony and I have the biggest smile on my face just remembering some of the crazy lunatic times that we use to have as well as the proud times."
"It's not an easy job to be honest, I find it difficult to overly criticise football players cause none of them are trying to be bad. Whether you're a top class individual or whether you play in the Second Division, you're at whatever level you're at and you'll get out of football as much as you put in it. Working with sky has just being terrific, I work on the best show on television on Soccer Saturday, I work with the best presenter on the television, Jeff Stelling."
"I was a covid Vaccinator for just under a year Worked full time over at the Letterkenny vaccination centre. First at LYIT, then we moved to the community hub. And when I finished up, we were there at the buisness park. Amazing experience. Met wonderful wonderful people. Not just those that I vaccinated but the team that I worked with. Dedication, the good humour, it was just wonderful. It was one of the best jobs I've ever had to be honest."
"I've enjoyed volunteering all my life. I've made some wonderful friends. Working with the festival, it was certainly an experience, it's something that I'd never done before. I'm extremely grateful for having had the opportunity. But I do strongly believe, and that never changes with everything that I've ever done in my life, is that first of all nobody is indispensable or irreplaceable. And that you could only bring your best for a short period of time and then you really need somebody else. And in my opinion the festival needs young, local people that would really bring some new fresh ideas to the festival."
"For me anyway, I suppose I'm an adrenaline junkie, the types of jobs I've done satisfy a need in me that wouldnt necessarily for other people. In fairness probably every single job I've ever had has the underlying thing for all those jobs is working with people and helping people."
"Still a paramedic now I suppose. I'm still registered as a paramedic. I loved it, absolutley loved it. Now when you're working in the US and I was operating out of Florida, to be a Firefighter you have to be an emergency medical technician, so that can either be at EMT level or paramedic level as which I was. So you work 24 hours shifts, and then you're off for 48 hours and you go back. I loved it. I loved every minute of it. I miss it every single day. I miss being a firefighter, I miss being a paramedic but there's also a point in life when you can still be a paramedic but you certainly couldn't be a Firefighter at my age. It requires a lot of strength and stamina. Stamina is the most important thing. And certainly as you get older you don't have that stamina and you can stay on, nobodys going to throw you out but you're not helping people if you actually can't do the job anymore."
"At school it was tennis and hockey and I was 400 metre champ I think sometime when I was at school, swimming was huge for me. I was a champion swimmer too. And then in my 50's I became the Florida state champion in tennis. I've done a bit of boxing in my time, I've done some triathlon, some marathons but these days sometimes I wonder if I can get up the stairs."
"We got it for a very reasonable price. We were extremely lucky. We got some fabulous workmen very quickly which can be a challenge here because they're always so busy. And we opened at Easter which was early that year, and they worked so hard getting us ready and had a fabulous 4 years. But again you know, even though I'm now in my 60's I'm not ready to stop. So I didn't want it to carry on indefinitely doing that. There's other things in life I want to do and we were very lucky to get a buyer and so we've moved on. I don't regret, I love it. I have a holiday home in Meenaleck here and we've being very lucky to have a number of people that stayed with us at the Riverhouse have come now to stay at the holiday home. We've made great friends. But you know once I've left something I don't look back and yearn for it. It was a part of my life, I loved it, but I've moved on."
"We loved the Streetfeast, we loved it. Oh my gosh. One of my favourite things that we ever did. To be able to take those chairs down main street, people bring food, we had people digging muscles up from the strand and cooking them and bringing them. And people bringing their favourite recipes, or if they had forgotten, and they run in to the Cope and just picked up a packet of biscuits, it didn't matter. People sat together, you could bring the dogs down main street. I just absolutley loved it. I can't take the credit. The Streetfeast is a nationwide thing but I suppose we can take the credit of introducing it to Dungloe and I certainly hope that somebody else takes that on because its not difficult to do. It really isn't. It's one of the easiest things to do and one of the most rewarding things you'll ever do."
"First of all Tony, I would have often thought about putting my sporting life down on paper, and then I would sort of throw it out of my mind because I would think well how can I go back over almost 50 years. That's the way it has being for the last few years, then all of a sudden one day I got a call from Liam Hayes out of the blue, before Christmas last year sometime. We spoke about the historic win in '92 and that it was going to be 30 years now coming up shortly. We spoke about a lot of things. Liam said to me, look it, it's time you put your thoughts down on paper. So after a bit of talking I decided there and then that I would. I suppose I would have known Liam Hayes as a player. I played against him often, he's the winner of two All Ireland's himself, he lost two as well. He's a man that would known everything about dressing rooms, he was a journalist, a publisher, and I knew he was the man for the job, and I trusted Liam. No doubt I certainly wouldn't have done this project without anybody else other than Frank (Craig)- Ghost writer. Known Frank a long time. Good friend of mine. Again he's a journalist as you know as well. His knowledge and his expertise and his patience with me may I add over nearly a year was unbelievable. Frank used to come here, maybe once twice a week, for a couple of hours. He would turn on his tape and he would let me rattle away. And then Frank would have go back then & put all that together. I can't imagine the amount of hours, and effort and time that Frank put into this book for me and for that I'm very grateful. I'm very thankful to Frank and Liam."
"The greatest thing I ever done in my lifetime was lift the Sam Maguire for the very first time for Donegal. That was a huge day, it was a huge day for everybody. That day is always first and foremost in my mind. A day of huge pride, fulfilment and joy. Proud of my own family, proud of where I came from, proud of my club, proud of my county and proud of that bunch of players. As you know the county went totally mad after that for months and months on end. Everybody wanted Sam and Anthony. I travelled the length of the country, up and down the country, over and back the country, outside the country and so on. I took 6 months off the ESB at the time. They gave me 6 months off. they were very good to me."
"All this was great for the first month or two, I have to say like but when the novelty wore off, it was difficult. It was stressful I have to say. You were also carrying a lot of responsibility as well. I often seen me coming in at night, throw the Sam at the bottom of the bed there and wakening up, Sam there again. I suppose to be honest I was glad to see Sam being sent back in June the following year."
"The captaincy, it came to me easily I have to say. There's a few things I suppose that I always kept. Give respect and you get respect. I never asked anybody or any of the lads to do something that I wouldn't do myself. I had no agendas. I treated everybody equally. My players alike. I still do that Tony, to this day. Everybody's equal to me like, it doesnt matter what position you hold. In high office, low office, what colour or creed you are. You're all equal to me, and I always stick by that."
"I suppose Brian McEniff was always known to be a players man. He was a very astute character, there's no doubt about that. He also knew every single footballer in Ireland that wore shoe leather, his weaknesses and his strengths. He was probably one of the best men I ever listened to putting a team out onto the field off the cuff as well. He didn't need any notes whatsoever. If Brian had a weakness, it was maybe on the discipline end of things. We were probably allowed to get away with more than we should have got away with in them days regarding turning up for training or not training or being late for training and maybe our behaviour outside the field as well. Whereby Tom, Tom came in, Tom was very very strict on discipline. That was his no1. Either you were in or out here within the squad. I think we needed that at that time. Because we were sort of all over the place and people doing their own thing. To be fair to Tom, Tom put that to bed. We did buy into Tom. His way of thinking. He was strict but he was fair as well, to be fair. There was one thing lacking probably in Donegal in them days and that certainly was discipline. I often think afterwards as well, maybe if these two men had to get together and form a partnership, maybe in later years we'd have had a fair blend."
"There was a huge drinking culture round the GAA in my time playing. The players and spectators alike. When you played a club game or a county game back in them days, you went to the pub. You were there most of the time, probably till closing time. I suppose me being me, I thought that I had to mix and speak to my supporters. There was drink probably coming from all angles as well and I never refused. But that's the way it was. You went out the following day and you ran that off, done the miles round the field and ran it out of the system. Again when I retired I went through a difficult period in my life as well. Sort of lost my way. I suppose the reason being, I wasn't ready for retirement or wasn't prepared, probably is the better word."
"For me and I always stress this, there's a difference between national politics and local politics. I like to keep it local. I like to help out with all the problems around my own area and the wider areas. I have something always, that when I get up in the morning if I can't help somebody well I'll not do them any harm. I do love helping people."
"It was a very very proud day for me and my family that day as well. It's just another title I suppose. I have to say this. I didn't know really what it meant but I do know I thought had the freedom of the county but the following day anyway I was given a ticket in the car in Letterkenny. That took me down a wee bit or took me back a bit anyway. I think I got it squashed some way or other. There was a call made anyway."
"There's no doubt about it, the GAA is the greatest and biggest organization in the world. For bringing people together. I seen proof of that as well with the tragedy in Creeslough. The St Michael's GAA club, the work they done. The support that they had there and different things. Sometimes you know we tend to run down the GAA or different things but we shouldn't. Very much part of all our communities all over. What they do, in a whole, it's unbelievable. Getting young people out from the houses instead of getting into bad habits getting them onto football fields, plays a massive part and hopefully will continue to do so, what a organisation."
"He's certainly Donegal's best player ever. I had a photograph taken with him, I think he was only around about 5 years of age at the time. He wanted to play, that was his ambition at that time, to play for Donegal. What a player, what a captain he has turned out to be for us. I was surprised there, I seen Pat Spillane there he named his 30 (greatest GAA players), that he wasn't in it. He's being one of the best players ever. That's countrywide as well. A great fella in every way. A great leader on and off the field. He has what any player would ever ever want or dream of. He has strength and ability, attitude, the will to win. He carrys massive respect as well. There's no doubt about it, his contribution to Donegal football, it's second to none."
"€27,970, I think that's the last count there Tony which is amazing. And that went to so many different charities, local and national charities."
"Having the club, it's keeping Elvis' memory alive, it's to raise money for charity, but it's to bring people to Donegal, to let them see how beautiful a county we live in. I just love showing people Donegal for the first time and they're always amazed."
"When I sit here now with you Tony, and think back on what I've done over the years, it's a good story."
"I started writing it last year, it would have been, maybe even this day last year (March 19 2020) that I started it. At the start of March 2020 I read this book 'The Uninhabital Earth' by David Wallace Wells. I'd read a lot about climate change before but this book, it just lays out the global impact of climate change, depending on how much warming we have. It's a really stark read, David Wallace Wells, he definitely doesn't pull his punches. So I left that with nearly a sense of obligation to do something. "
"I really wanted to get across to people in Ireland that it isn't just this kind of global problem that's far away, that the impacts are hitting Ireland already. I wanted to show people what the problem is we're dealing with but also lay out the solutions."
"Farming in total, makes up around a third of our omissions. that's around 20 million tonnes equivalent of Carbon Dioxide (C02). Now, I say equivalent because farming actually releases a lot of Methane and Nitrogen. They are very powerful, sort of short term warmers. So then we can covert them to Carbon Dioxide to give us a sense of scale of it. So if we look at it through the sense of Carbon Dioxide, cow's emit in Ireland roughly 11 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide! That's as much as we emit for say heating or electricity. There is this kind of huge scale of omissions for agriculture, we talk a lot of the time about how bad agriculture is for omissions, I don't think even we really express the scale of the problem for it. We're growing our herd number and that's a big problem."
"That is, the short of it in Ireland, there's loads of potential for clean energy, there's a huge amount of positives from it including the fact that we're going to get an awful lot of jobs out of it. Electricity is a really important one. Electricity can power a lot of things, it can power cars for transport, it can power the heating in houses. If you want to build a Carbon neutral Ireland, you have to have Carbon neutral electricity, that's a major part of it. Luckily we have this huge potential, we have the Atlantic hitting our West coast which is great news for offshore wind and offshore wind I think is the future offering renewable electricity in Ireland. Because it's more powerful, it's more sustained wind but also it's not in people's communities. It's understandable when you see the protests or people having opposition to wind farms in their area, you don't have that same problem with offshore wind."
"Electric cars, they're clean now because they're actually more efficient than say your standard internal combustion engine car but they will be really Carbon neutral in the future if we have Carbon neutral electricity. The problem at the minute is they're too expensive. The government has to make it cheaper for people because you know most people when they're buying a car don't go out and buy a brand new car, you can't expect people to do that, that's just not realistic. This has to be really a government led thing."
"It's a staggering fact isn't it from the EPA. A lot of that, comes from us burning turf and coal, because the kind of particles that they emit when you burn them. When you burn them in a fire, things don't burn completely, so you end up with this kind of ash in the air that leads to this. That is definitely a huge problem. Again there's that problem of it is still too expensive for people to make the switch. You can't expect everyone to make a switch to a cleaner source of energy for their house. New houses, a lot of them at this stage have things like heat pumps and stuff. They're great and as well, we clean up the electricity grid they will be theoretically Carbon neutral."
"The big problem at the minute is our bogs. Now our bogs emit 3.3 million tonnes of carbon a year. That's about a million tonnes more than our aviation emissions. So that's a big problem. We talk a lot about flying and it's nearly the poster child of emissions but our bogs are actually worse for that in Ireland. We have to rewet them. Filling in drains, they are essentially carbon storing machines that work over millennia."
"I would have spent when I was younger summers in Dungloe. Over the past few years I've being lucky enough to work on my uncle's Oyster farm, I got to work in Patrick Johnny Sallys for a summer which was just incredible. That was a real education. I think my education happened in there to be honest. It gave me a real education when I think about climate action because there you can see the impact of the sea every year. You can see it even out in Maghery Beach, the Maghery community centre is only 2 metres above sea level. That keeps me up at night when I think of that. A lot of these areas that we do love are under threat from climate action."
"The impacts of climate change a lot of the time work like a snowball effect, so like if ice melts say near the North Pole, ice is really going to relfect in heat. If you've less ice, then the ice doesn't reflect heat as much, so we get more warming which melts more ice. Leaving climate change, say if we say, it's 2100, we'll leave it till the next generation, the next generation don't have the same problem that he have now, they have a far worse one."
"The Cork matches, definitely we cancelled each other out, there was very little between the two sides and they hated each other, it was uncompromising, it was tough, and not that bloody enjoyable to play in Tony, I can honestly say that to you, not that enjoyable."
"I do try and explain to people, and it's hard to explain, I was on the junior football team and we won a junior in '83. Myself and Robbie O'Malley used to sit beside each other in class. And talk about nothing else, we were dunces if you like. We hated school. All we could dream about is if we could ever wear the Meath jersey. That's all we lived for. But for two young guys in East Meath, which was probably the weakest, definitely the weakest area in football in Meath at the time. 2 junior players. I mean junior players to win an all ireland in '87, 2 of us were at our club in Colmcilles was just something. It was remarkable, it was different, it was special. Words can't even still describe the feeling. Your family, your friends, your club at the time in '87 to make the breakthrough, 20 years was a long time for us (Since Meath's last senior All Ireland win). It was great just to change it!"
"Do you know what it is, I think great players in our team that never got one that should have. Liam Harnan, guys like that, Colm Coyle, different fellas, Kevin Foley, unsung heros that we would call. Terry Ferguson, guys that we believed should have actually got an All Star. Great players."
"When I meet them now, any of them, even to this day, the hair stands on the back of my neck. We look each other in the eye, and you've that special bond. That doesn't break. It was just great to be part of it. Yes we lost as much as we won but they were a special bunch and we had a special manager. He was an incredible man."
"Hurling was his background Tony, 100% correct. But an interesting little story for you. He was appointed in '82. In 1983, Dublin won the All Ireland and their first game in the league was Meath in Navan and it was a 20,000 sell out, whatever it was. But the match before it was the junior semi final and Sean Boylan was the manager of the Meath team but he was marking me in the junior semi final. I marked him in the first half, at half time he shook my hand and he said I've to go in and get my team ready for the big game that's coming up. And he tapped me on the head and said you've a big future. He went off at half time and still togged out with his own team at 40. In the junior semi final in 1983. That was the type of guy he was. He was an extraordinary human being."
"You've got to remember, these guys the O'Rourkes, the McEntee's, the Lyons, the Cassells, the great leaders we had. The level of competiton and hatred at club level and physicality that time, he'd to bond and pull all of though guys together and get new blood. From a hurling guy and learn all about the football etc I don't think people really really understand what he actually did from '83 to '87. So many moveable parts and things he'd to sort out, to win an all Ireland in that three or four years. He was an extraordinary achiever. But the biggest breakthrough for Sean Boylan in that squad, particularly the older guys, was beating Dublin in 1986 when they had a strangle hold on Leinster, after the Offaly team, big win. If you ask any of my team mates, they would actually ear mark that as probably the most important victory to this day, for any Meath team, was that '86 victory."
"The way he could man-handle and man-manage players. He had a great balance about him. If someone was to ask me to sum it up a sentence. The balance he had so spot on. The downtime was downtime. He gave guys enough of rope to have fun. The serious time was switched in, you gave everything. So I think he got the balance really right at a very very early stage. That was the biggest thing of all. Family members he knew them all. Girlfriends, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers sisters. They were all brought into dinners at national league games. So it was a big family. He'd an extended family. He got to know everybody. The important people in players life, he got to know them very very quickly and very well."
"It's the one time in our lives that we were like professional players for four or 5 weeks. And work stopped, everything finished. And the whole county became; it was like having 4 All Ireland finals in 4, 5 weeks. That's what it was like. And you were in a bubble and it was just something to behold. And it was special. We didn't realise, I do think it had a huge impact in changing Gaelic football, because soccer had absolutley taken over the country. It just just had swamped the country at that stage. So it did help getting young people in different counties starting to play Gaelic football again but the four games, I thought some of them were tough, they were hard, and there was good games and bad games. The DVD of the best of those 4 games is a great watch. Some of the belts, the hits, and some of the stuff that went on. But even off the ball the stuff Tony that was going on was incredible. The respect off the field from the Dublin players and Meath was just incredible. We knew each other very very well at the time. It was a special time and there's no excuse, we had 10 games that year, and you know we met a brilliant Down team in the final. Colm O'Rourke was injured, Robbie O'Malley and we just came up a bit short. And when you lose with Sean Boylan, you lose. And Down were the better team. But those 4 games did take quite a bit out of us, but you know what it was worth beating the dubs the way we did because we loved beating them and that was it."
"A bit of it came natural I have to say because the 3 of us were very very different. The balance was really good up front. We got on very well off the field together. O'Rourke is very very witty. I found him incredible fun at the time and he loved a bit of craic with the younger fellas. Stafford, he was just a purist of the purist footballers. Colm O'Rourke did a lot of the donkey work if you like, he was physical, he'd look after you. He could take of himself, he could take care of you. There was great bit of a balance. We had a great thing we use to work and talk and train about, we use to try and play a diamond as they call now, we did that ourselves. Where like O'Rourke coming out a little bit or Stafford. So we didn't stay in the conventional full forward line. And people mightnt realise that, we use to play with 2 inside and 1 on top of the diamond. That D if you like. So we did that ourselves and we'd mix it up, we'd change it round, and we did a bit of that on the field ourselves, it wasn't so much coming from the line, then Sean would go through certain things, but we took responsibility at that time. It's more mechanical now, all preset, pre structures in place. It was off the cuff ourselves when we felt we had to do something."
"These guys came with an outstanding manager. Eamon Murray is one special human being. I know Eamon, great great guy. He's married to Liam Harnan's sister. So they're embedded in football. They won only a year a half ago an intermediate final, but the manner which they beat Dublin, and they galvanised the whole county and what it meant to the county, is just extraordinary, you'd wanna see it. It's just something out of this world. It's amazing. The ladies game is going from strength to strength. The role models they are, Vicki Wall. There's so many of them. Right throughout the team. They're grounded, down to earth, serious role models. But what they did for sport in the county and for ladies sport is just something to behold. That was one of the greatest achievements I've ever seen, literally in a couple of years to do what they did. So it shows, anything can be done with belief. Eamon had everyone buying in, every player bought in to what he was about and that's what we need to do in the mens senior game."
"A lot of people know Lettermacaward because they drive through it, they don't realise that Lettermacaward is really a peninsula. We have the water on 3 sides of us, you have Gweebara Bay, the beautiful Gweebara Bay, famous in song and story and you have the beautiful Dooey bay with golden beaches and then you've Traighenna bay. It's only a relative short journey when you're going through Lettermacaward, you miss the hinderlind and you miss some of the beautiful scenery that's to be had."
"This is a thing that was a huge event in the lives of the people of Lettermacaward, and everybody round Traighenna Bay and further afield was the herring that came into Traighenna Bay round about 1896, the first herring came in. Huge shoals of herring continued and brought huge earnings for people who had nothing. The story is told locally anyway that a woman noticed this and she went out and she dipped her apron into the water and lifted it up the and the herring was in her apron. They were that dense in the water!"
"There was an archaeological dig there, at a place called Cloghastukan. Cloghastukan would be sort of behind the football pitch. What happened there was, these people, mostly Northern people, they were on the ball there, they used to come over there and they would be searching around the dunes and they started to find objects. Eventually they came to the conclusion that there was something here that was worth looking at. Then the next thing happened to make it even more interesting was the rabbits came to Dooey. There was no rabbits in Dooey until round the 40's when the Second World War was on. The rabbits were so plentiful, they were in, in all the dunes in Dooey making holes and people were out trapping them and selling their skins for the war and all that. But what happened was because these holes were made, then in windy and stormy weather, the sands was being whipped away round from the base of these sand dunes, and they would be kind of like a drain round the bottom of the sand dune. And the next thing, cattle used to come up then from the warren, and it was handy, they were able to scratch themselves on the dunes. On this particular day and after a while they were scratching, what started happening only skeletons start to fall out of it. So a man called Paddy McGill from Ardara, he was a national school teacher, himself and Fr Terence O'Donnell, they got wind of all this and Paddy had a natural interest in archaeology and they came down and they started to get the stuff from Dooey and eventually they got a grant from Dublin, and two archaeologists came down from Dublin and they excavated the place and that was in 1959. All the people who were employed in that were all from Dooey, and they were down on their two knees with little scoops scraping the ground incase they would miss something."
"The Ramper Road is fantastic if anybody takes time to look at it. Because the way those stones are placed in a slope up to the road so the water when it hits it, it goes up the way, it doesn't hit it full belt."
"Gweebara river in its day had two ferrys, before any bridges. The first ferry was the one down from Dooey at Ballinacarrick. That went from Ballinacarrick across to what people used to call the big house there in Derrylohan. Then the knitters sometimes when they were going up from Dungloe, they'd get across on the ferry, and they would go up that road and into Glenties with their knitting. Some other time some of them would try and cross the Gweebara when the tide was out, and there was always a great danger one way or the other. And then the second ferry was down, I'll just say at Gunnars pier for handyness, and it ran from Gunnars pier across to the old road going over at Corr. That one would be used quite a lot too because between fair days and what not. That ceased with the opening of the Gweebara Bridge, the first bridge."
"The first bridge across the Gweebara was the Doochary bridge. The Doochary bridge was built in think it was 1786 by Marquess Conyngham. He was responsible for his building. There might have some kind of a crossing there before that. They certainly was stones there in the river for crossing anyway. He was very big into being able to travel, especially he was interested in getting down to Burtonport and the fishing. He built the first bridge in Doochary which is still there today."
"The bridge would have opened there in 1896. Now it was an iron bridge and the bridge was constructed by the Phoenix company in Derby and they had it shipped across from Liverpool by a steamer. A kind of a low bottomed steamer. That was the first steamer ever came up the Gweebara and that was a huge event in the lives of the people as well, that came up probably in 1895. There was huge excitement because the steamer stopped and brought on a reporter from the 'Derry people' and the big thing was to cross the bar mouth. There was a local pilot I believe got and they put markings on the whole river, along the channel, and they had to wait until high tide. They got inside the bar mouth then and laid anchor and the following day they made their way up to the bridge or wherever the site was, they pulled in there, on a Sunday I think it was then, everybody came there after mass. They reckon there was up to 2,000 according to the reporter and the Leitir band came down and they played. The captain invited people to come on board to view the boat and caused huge excitement. That boat was carrying 240 tonnes of iron and steel. They had it built within the year and it was opened in April 1896."
"The Leitir Band was formed I think around about 1886. They got a man called Gordon to teach them, Gordon was an ex-army drummer. He had a lot of experience. I think he was actually from Tippearary, Gordon. But they paid him something like a six pence or a shilling a week and he taught them all. He taught them all the tunes that he knew in the British army, they were Scotch tunes but they put new names on them & different things. Good marching tunes."
"The post office arrived in Leitir in 1911. Also then, the telegraph arrived as well. The telegraph that time was morse code. Dot dash, no phone. When the telegraph arrived my grandfather was appointed by the post master general of England to the position as Post Master in Lettermacaward and our head office at the time was Strabane, everything was under British rule at the time. My grandfather wasn't too fond of that scenario because he had being to America for a good number of years before he came back and settled down and met my grandmother and all that. He could see the feeling people had in America in comparison to this country."
"I was there for 40 years and I represented the Donegal offices for 10 years. Going up and down to meetings in the GPO and different things. I enjoyed the experience but I didn't miss it when I decided to move away from it! "
"I have a great love of Omagh because my mother was a Tyrone woman. I always love going to Omagh because she lived 10 mile out the road in a little village called Carrickmore. a great GAA stronghold. The most championships won in Tyrone over the years, Carrickmore. I have very strong ties with Tyrone but when it comes to playing football, those ties are broken."
"If you go back in time, the first championship match played in Healy Park, they opened it in 72, but they didn't play a championship match until 74, and it was a first round match between Donegal and Tyrone in Healy Park. There was a match played in 73, the year before when we were Ulster champions and Tyrone came to Ballybofey and turned us over, so back into Healy Park in 74 we had a point to prove, and that we did do. In fact I was so up for the game, I took the team to Jackson's hotel the night before, we stayed in Jackson's, and we took a coach, Michael Lavertys father actually drove the coach and he knew the roads well. There was no dressing rooms in Omagh so we came togged out and straight into the pitch off the coach. And the arrangement was as soon as the final whistle went, because there was a lot of bad blood between Donegal and Tyrone those years, and I mean bad blood. We ran straight onto the coach and out the back roads and home to Ballybofey, it was a hell of a good win, because Tyrone were quite a side at the time."
"We had a good squad of players you know, when you think 13 of that side were beaten by Leitrim in the league match before Christmas, in 1971, it was a great turnaround. It just shows you that footballers are always there in Donegal and always has being in Donegal."
"The reason it was successfull there was a group of players come up together. There was Seamy Greanaghan, Pauric McShea and Declan O'Carroll, Mickey McLoone, they were all De La Salle lads. Mick McNulty who later became head of board failte, Ciaran Dolan, they all went to De La Salle and it just gelled. And I missed the early year's because I was in Canada, when they played in 1963 and 64, And when MacCumhaills who were county champions beat them back to back. But my father took a stoke in 65 and I was home and we won the championship that year. Let me say we stole the championship that year from Glenties, they should have won it."
"A very good player, Seamus was a good guy. In fact, in my 5 years there winning Ulster Championships, Seamus was involved either as a player or a mentor with me all those years. We had a great friendship. Seamus was outside Donegal town, Drumbarr. And when he was a young lad he played junior club football for Drumbarr. Then he started playing with Four Masters, then he transferred to Dublin to Civil service where he gave them an awful lot of service up there. Hell of a good guy."
"I wanted to win the All Ireland before I was 50, I just about made it. It was a labour of love, I knew the talent was there, it was a matter of just getting it together."
"We went into Breffini that year and Cavan who had a good squad of players there in the 90's, Cavan gave us a hell of a scare I can tell you that. We had to make changes very early on which tightened up things. We got out with a draw, the wee man (Martin McHugh) kicked a point from about 60 yards out. A monster point. Their full forward Damien O'Reilly who was really a full back kicked a point that you wouldn't see, but be that as it may when we got them back to Ballybofey we put them to bed."
"Then we played Fermanagh, we had a poor enough 1st half, and unfortunately Fermanagh, one of the backs from out the road here, neighbouring club of devenish which is garrison got sent off and it was a stroll in the park in the second half. We weren't happy that day, I remember Martin McHugh speaking up in the dressing room, he felt we weren't fit, but we tightened up the training and we done some stamina training. Directly after we played a championship match we went into stamina training for a week and then we went into sharp training. By the time we got to the Ulster final we were in very good shape, there's no point in saying otherwise."
"Derry were an awesome force at the time, they were after winning the national league against Tyrone, we were unfortunate then in a couple of ways, we lost Tony Boyle through injury, and then John Cunningham was unfortunately sent off. He didn't hit the man but he made a high tackle and he had to go. It was a strike or an attempt at a strike. But in the second half, I think our display in the second half was best I think we ever played. The boys really rose to it. The performance by some of the players, like Tommy Ryan, particularly Martin McHugh in the second half, Murray and Molloy dominated the midfield in the second half and the defence was magic. I can still see Hegarty and Donal Reid coming up the wing and hitting super balls up to the lads up front. Barry McGowan in at corner back. What was even a wee bit annoying was when I look back on it if you ever get a chance to take a look at the video, took a look at the goal because I'm still convinced it was a square ball. Seamus Downey was in the square but be that as it may we came back from that goal in the second half and that was a sign of the tough things to come."
"We got into the semi final against Mayo, it was more to do with the heads than with the football, we had a desperate match against Mayo, desperate. We had never won a championship match in Croke Park. Now we won, I was playing there back in 1972 in the old grounds tournament semi final against Roscommon, we won there in Croke Park but we never won a championship match and that was just all in the head. When Manus came in that day Manus steadied up the ship. I can still remember John Cunningham at the back of the bench, 'Time for Manus'! I'll tell you what he was, he was a good game player. He had nerves of steel and he was a very accurate free taker. I suppose we could have made it 1-12, because we got a penalty, and there's a great caption there late in the game of me pointing up to the sky to McHugh, before he kicked the penalty, I wanted it over the bar, it was going to give us the 4 point lead. I would have put my hat on him that he would have scored a goal from the penalty but it was a good enough score, but we didn't play well. Into the second half we picked it up."
"Then when we got to the final then, it was all ahead full steam, we stayed very focused. We never lost our focus for that and the fact we were playing Dublin took a lot of pressure off because Dublin were roaring favourites for the game and we let them take the headlines, we stayed in the background. I remember having a press meeting on the Tuesday week before the All Ireland, and then the following night we went down to Kilcar, away from the crowd altogether. We had a good tight training session and I told the lads not to read any papers or talk to any press. Just stay away from everything. We done that I said keep your papers till after the All Ireland."
"Then we got onto the pitch, we done everything that we felt we should do, I remember going over the dugout with Seamus Bonner, Anthony Molloy and Anthony Harkin, I said I'm not happy, the boys are still full of nerves , we started off nervous enough. Martin kicked a free wide at the start which was surprising."
"No man ever wore his jersey with the same pride as Martin Shovlin, he was an unreal man, given the fact he was only 11 stone, man was made of steel. The morning of the match, he picked up an injury at training. Austin O'Kennedy went out to test him out on the grounds of the hotel, there was good grounds there. Austin was just kicking a ball at him so I gassed Austin for the ball and I drilled a ball over to his left side, the dew was on the grass and he went down, and he didn't get up. So he looked up, the only time I ever saw a tear in his eye. He had a tear in his eye and he said to me I can't go, he used to call me the old man, I can't go old man. I had gone to see a match between Naomh Colomba and Dungloe in Glenties of a wet evening, the Saturday week before the All Ireland. And John Joe Doherty gave a display that night was unreal so I knew in my head that I had John Joe, because John Joe was a great player. I didn't want to disturb the full back line so I put him in straight into the half back line, although he didn't play as a half back, but sure he had a super game in the half back line, but he's a super player John Joe. John Joe was an all star the following year, 93."
"It was a wonderful performance but they were a wonderful set of lads. They had being there for a while. They were an experienced bunch, don't forget. When you think back, there was 4 men with knee bandages. There was Rambo, and there was Anthony Molloy and Noel Hegarty and Tony Boyle. They all were haunted at the knees even though Tony was young. But Anthony had it from a very young boy when I met him as a 17 year old at Sandfields outside Ardara where they would play. He had knee problems, Anthony would go to training with a heating pad on his knee and come back with a bag of ice. Orthopaedic surgeon in Sligo told him in 91 not to be playing at all but we sent him to a different orthopaedic man and he gave him the green light. He was an amazing man Anthony, he was a great leader of men, that's what he was captain."
"You know that 'Janey Mac I'm nearly 40', is now redundant because we're nearly eighty!"
"We've seen the world (Wolfe Tones) We've conquered the world. We've played in every major concert hall of the world. We're out there in Carnagy Hall. The Albert Hall, the Paris Olympia, all the great halls of the world. It's a remarkable achievement when I think back on it."
"Certainly, the streets of New York has been huge for the Wolfe Tones, he heard a story from Tommy some years ago about us and the police in New York and how friendly we were and how much they came back and forward and everything else. They were great fans and friends of ours over the years. So he said he'd write a song on that kind of theme, and the streets of New York is the result of that, wonderful song and a great story."
"I was born in Dublin, in the centre of the city, we lived there in a one room flat for seven years, we eventually got moved out to the suburbs, a place called Inishcore Bluebell all my family we're living out there, both my grandparents were living there, it was like coming home when we got a place there, going into open spaces. There was a lot of poverty around Dublin just after the war. I was born in 46, the war had just ended. Things were difficult, difficult to get food and everything else, everything was still rationed, so that was the beginnings of my life and my experiences in life."
"My Dad brought us out on the last tram out of Dublin. We went on the Saturday, because they said if you go out on the Sunday there'll be too much violence, people were ripping up the tram seats and taking souvenirs. We took the Dalkey tram, out to Dalkey and he said, always remember this day, because this is the last tram to leave Dublin. Dad worked on the railways, he was a coach painter, his grandfather, his great grandfather his great great grandfather, they all worked on the railways."
"I'd say 'Celtic Symphony' is probably No. 1, I'd say 'Joe McDonnell' No. 2, I'd say 'Streets of New York' would be No. 3, somewhere along that give or take. I get the things from Spotify all the time and by far 'Celtic symphony' is the biggest. It's gone millions and millions and millions of hits at this stage."
"It really was an absolute honour to be chosen as the winner of the Mary From Dungloe or even just to take part, an incredible experience, something I'll never forget."
"I suppose the pressure was off this year a bit, I really loved the whole role of being the one to look after the girls this year and make sure they're all OK and comfy. I think I really took to that more. they were both lovely experiences."
"2 tents. Camped out from the Friday to the Sunday, concerts throughout the days, throughout the nights. I can't even describe how much was happening. Hozier headlined on the Friday night and you had the 1975, Florence and The Machine, Kodaline, big massive acts all playing in a field down in Co Laois!"
"When I was 16 my dad took me to AC/DC. I think the whole experience of going to your first concert as well, that kinda contributed to why it stands out so well in my mind, I've seen them since again, an incredible show!"
"My first impressions of visiting China, insane! different world. Culture shock to say the least! Great wall of China, that was incredible. The culture over there is just so different."
I don't think people understand the total extent of it, it's not just that the whole earth is going to get warmer, storms and all these extreme weather events are going to become more prevalent and more extreme, it is scary.
"I was about 9 years of age when I was learning Tin Whistle with a neighbour. Then my father bought me a Fiddle, he was a Fiddle player anyway. He started teaching me a bit on it. So he went to Waltons in Dublin and bought me a Fiddle for 14 pounds."
"I had a group called the Arkinsaw Travellers playing around Dublin. I went and bought a George Jones album in Dublin and I couldn't believe the Fiddle playing on it and that's what changed me from traditional to country."
"Gerry Madigan approached me to join the Cotton Mill Boys, but they would have being on the road from '69 anyway with Mick McManus. I came in, in 1974. It was in '76 then Opportunity Knocks arrived. We won it three times as a competition."
"'There's something here' says Hughie (Green) about a dancing Fiddler. Gerry Madigan stood up, he says 'that was Mick McManus and he's gone but we've a new Fiddle player'. 'Oh' says Hughie, and can he dance!? No says Gerry but he can play the Fiddle behind his back and under his legs. 'Oh let me see that' and then Hughie looked at it and he said wait till I get a tape recorder, and he went off and got a tape recorder and taped me playing it. That was before mobile phones. The next thing was we got the word from our office, that we were in, we won the contest. because there was several bands on the day. That sold the show to Hughie. The funny thing was he says we'll put you on with the orange blossom special and then the following week you can do the turkey in the straw, he more or less told us we were going to win."
"We spoke to him. He wouldn't be as funny as you'd see him on the television. I think Hughie Greene was more of a character off screen than Benny. Benny was more the man with the briefcase and the pin stripped suit. You'd think he was a solicitor coming in. He just took a look at the band in the dressing room, to meet us and say hello. He says 'lads if wore a suit like that I wouldn't need to tell a joke at all'. We had a country outfit on us, it was a Purple suit with creamy sort of stuff on the shoulders. Inserts. Typically country outfits then. We just laughed at him, passed no remarks, say nothing. So then he introduced us onto the show, no audience there and he says where's them Cotton Mill Boys, I believe they're good. it was a great chance because he never used a live band."
"It was unbelievable.. it was the biggest venue you could play really. For the Irish bands anyway. The Galtymore would be huge. You have a balcony there full, and there could be oh I don't know, 1,200 on the floor area alone, not counting then there's a hall adjoined to it where there's another band and they'd be moving from one hall to another. I think the police were on horseback there when Big Tom used to play it. Guarding the crowds, the queue on the street."
"It turned out that I was more on Harmonica a lot of the time than Fiddle in recording studios. I played Harmonica on a lot of stuff. It's a great instrument the Harmonica when you want to fill in where the Fiddle doesn't work."
"I had the pleasure of meeting John a good few times, the first time I met him was in Nashville and I ended up sitting beside him at a dinner. You know the way you'd be in kind of awe, god I'm sitting beside John Prine you know! We got chatting, we had 3 hours of a conversation, at the end of it he said, are you going to the show tomorrow, what concert is that?, the Chieftains are in Nashville tomorrow, we're all going down there. Well I haven't got a ticket, don't worry I'll get you a ticket, I thought that'd be the end of it. So I was sitting in the lobby in the hotel the next day, here I see passing the glass was John Prine, holy god he's after bringing me the ticket, I ended up sitting with his wife Fiona at the concert, then he brought us back stage and we met Ricky Skaggs and the nitty gritty dirt band, that's the kind of man John Prine was."
"My granddad was McGettigan. He was from Donegal town. We grew up in Ballyshannon. My father was Pat McGettigan. We had a small grocery store on the main street in Ballyshannon and you know I've being sort of working on looking back at my history and at that time in Ballyshannon it was a thriving self sufficient town. It was one of those towns that no matter what you wanted you could get it. Nobody had cars so nobody had to go to shopping centres, there wasn't Tescos or TK Max or any of those things. Everybody got everything in the town. Your groceries, your clothes and I was just counting up the number, there was something like 17 grocery stores in Ballyshannon at that time, I think there's just one grocery store there now. There was 15, 16 pubs as well. Loads of employment loads of people working in Ballyshannon, between the ESB and Mulligans Miller's and all kinds of different things. All gone now, it's a bit scary when you think of it."
"The thought of winning never really occurred to us, that we'd win this! We were what, a piano and a guitar, a couple of fellas singing. No orchestra. No dancing girls or flashing lights and we thought well this is the way we're most comfortable. Paul's a great piano player, great singer and that's just the way we were. I was the same, I could go out and play with the guitar and sing. I didnt really ever much have a band. It was normally just me and the guitar or Paul with just the piano."
"The first time we sang the song was on Pat Kenny's Saturday night programme. We rehearsed in the afternoon for the first time. We spent about an hour rehearsing it and we sang it that night on the show. It was never ever sung the same way twice, if you listen to any performances we did, there was always something added or something left out, we'd wink at one another say I heard that mistake but you know it was great. Of course then we won, our lives were actually changed. I didn't realise it would make such a difference to our lives. Suddenly we were on a treadmill or carousel of Europe. We literally spent the entire year touring Europe, going over doing tv shows and concerts, half of the places I never knew they were there."
"I've been a Leeds fan since 1968 and as all young boys start supporting teams, I supported Leeds since they won the league cup in 1968 when Terry Cooper scored the goal against Arsenal. The 70's was a very good time for Leeds, they got to the semi final of the European Cup and we had some great times during the 70's as well although one of the down sides was the famous cup final against Sunderland. When Ian Porterfield scored the winner for Bob Stokoe's side. That was one of the biggest shocks in football at the time."
"I didn't even know about it until my testimonial in 1988 where there was interviews in the programme from ex managers and the late Busty Blake god rest him was writing in the programme and he said Leeds were over to look at me for a second time when we were playing St Pats up in Inchicore in Dublin. Unfortunately I got my ankle broken in two places in that particular game and it fizzled out. That was 6 years later that I found out about it. Busty told me me then at the time that he didn't want me under any pressure."
"I was actually over on a trial at Wolves for a week when I was 18. Wolves actually asked me to go to Switzerland with their under 20 team that season. I was then with Swilly Rovers and the club wrote for permission to the FAI and they didn't give me permission to go to Switzerland with Wolves because I went over to England without their permission in the first place. I was in the Irish youth team at the team and they actually suspended me for the two home games against Finland and Holland as well."
"I think Ollie has done a remarkable job since he took over the reigns at Finn Park. He has kept them up. I would agree with what he said himself, keeping Finn Harps in the Premier was a bigger achievement than getting promoted. To me Ollie is probably one of most dedicated Finn Harps managers that there ever was. Ollie most certainly does his homework as regards opposition, he does his homework as regards players that he can get in."
"There's only one record left and it'll never be taken off me because I was the first Donegal player to score over 100 in the league of Ireland. As the man says, that'll go down in history whether I'd like it or not!"
"Brendan's record in my opinion will never be broken now. The one that got closest to it was your man Byrne from Dublin. He actually prolonged his career into his 40's to try and catch up but he never did. The style of play now I can't see too many any centre forwards getting anywhere close to Brendan's record."
"It was written by Johnny McCauley, who wrote a great deal of Irish songs or songs for Irish singers. Primarily Big Tom, Brian Coll I suppose to a lesser extent. Tom recorded most of his songs. He's written countless, Destination Donegal, Pretty little girl from Omagh, Cottage on the borderline, Four country roads, the list goes on and on and on. My Donegal Shore, big Tom had recorded that and a few people recorded it. When I started with Margaret, I started signing it. I heard a woman singing it, Bridie Cahil, I hadn't heard it before that. One night after a dance we were all sitting round and there was a sing song got up and Bridie sang my Donegal Shore and I loved it. So I learnt it and started singing it in the band with Margaret and it always got a good reaction."
"I Need You, I recorded in 1985, going into '86. That song was the first to get a lot of airplay in the UK. It got played a lot on Radio 2 and that sort of got me an audience over there. It was very important. It was actually given to me one night after a dance in Ballina. A girl came and she says 'I've a song that I think will be nice, I'll record it', it came on a wee cassette tape. It was crackly but I could hear the song. When I went into Mick Clerkin who was on the record company that time. I went in and Mick says, I've a song for you, and it was the same song. I recorded it, and it became very popular."
"John (Prine) wrote that, him and Roger Cooke. It was a great song. I recorded that in 1992. That was the year Donegal won the All Ireland and actually the week Donegal won the All Ireland, I was on Top of the Pops. I remember being in Dublin on the Saturday night and I had just being on Top of the Pops, and I came back home and there was such a buzz. Everybody was aware of the song, especially the Donegal people and I was going round the different places in Dublin, Donegal was in Dublin, everybody was in Dublin. And there was different places where they were gathering and I went in and I was singing I Want To Dance With You. It was just such a fun time."
"That was just a day during the festival in Dungloe. It started back about 1989 maybe? The first year we did two shows at the festival. People came in from outside the area to it, this was in the dome. I was away from the house and when I came back my mother said, 'there was different people came here today to see you' and that night, on the monday night I was on the stage and I said I know some of you called today to the house and I wasn't there. I find that when you're doing a concert at night, I don't like to be talking all day, I just rest my voice during the day and I said to them, I won't be there tomorrow, explaining why but I said if there's some of you still here on Wednesday, if you come down about three o'clock, I'll make a point of being there and jokingly I said sure we might even get a cup of tea. That's how that started. People were thinking 'God who thought up that great publicity thing'. As I was on the stage thought about it and that's how it started. That first day I don't know how many came and then it went on from there. The last one was about the year 2000. There was thousands of people came. There was too many people then, the whole purpose of it was that I would meet people at home but in the end I wasn't meeting a fraction of the people. But it was great, a few times there was Sky news and CBS and NCB and all different news channels came to see this thing that was going on away out here in the wilds of Donegal."
"I've being to a few (golf courses), God I can't remember some of the names really. A few years ago some of the band played, when I had the old band. Billy Burgoyne and Ronnie, Kevin Sheerin played too, and Pauric. We used to go out. We played in Australia, we played in New Zealand, and in America, loads of places, and it's a lovely way to spend an afternoon, if you've time off. It's a great past-time the Golf. We're so lucky to have Cruit and indeed Portnoo which is not far either. I would play more in Cruit, the scenery is spectacular. It's just second to none. I've being lovely places, but nowhere nicer."
"She really is a great character, Marie Rua. And a great friend as well. She so loves her music and knows all the singers and everybody knows her and everybody loves her. On Highland Radio too she became a personality in her own right and has a great story. She was working in the buses in Glasgow and worked in America."
"A great past-time, I absolutley love it. Now I don't always get it right but when you go to play with really good players they just leave you with nothing, they just whip you but it really is a great past time, theres no doubt about it. The whole pack goes out and then you bid according to points, you have 4 points for an ace and 3 for a king and 2 for a queen and 1 for a Jack. If you have 12 points then you can open the bidding. You bid as to what contract you can make, how many tricks you can get. By you bidding, you don't say what you have but your partner's able to figure out from what you bid, what you have, how many points you have and what contract you should be in. It's great. I love it. It's just great for the mind."
"Patsy (Cavanagh), I mean he's written of lot of good songs but Home To Donegal is absolutely fantastic. I'm not the only one to have recorded it, Mick Flavin I think was the first, Domnick Kirwan and loads of people. I suppose being from Donegal I had the wee grá for the song and maybe that was an extra feather in my cap when it comes to the song. No matter where you sing it, if I drop out, the audience sings the chorus, it's amazing, amazing!"
"Well we love Tenerife, we've sort of gone there an awful lot, we love Tenerife. But I was a place recently, called Rovinj, it's in Croatia and it's absolutley beautiful."
"I remember it well. I suppose any time an Irish person does well, we're all there to applaud them. And I watched it and I found out he was coming home. I phoned up Gerry Ryan, he was on with Gerry, God rest Gerry and congratulated him and then just made my way to Rathmines where he's from and there was a big big gathering there and eventually got into the pub where he was, he took me round then to his home and met his mother. I just think that we should celebrate people's achievements, always. If somebody achieves, it's important to rise them up and make them feel their achievements. He's had a great career and gave a great lot of joy. As well as his achievement, all of that lifts people you know. It lifts people when somebody does well. A World Championship, the whole of Ireland was lifted those weeks."
"I probably have a good memory but I have to say that I can remember things from a long time ago better that I can remember things recently. So that's a sign of the times maybe, that's a sign of age but it's amazing really, I suppose I can go back in my mind to people and places over the years and I suppose that I'm just lucky that I can do that. Some people can and some people don't get it as easy. That has being a nice part of the whole career for me, I've got to know an awful lot of people."
"I recorded this back first of all in 1984. I was singing it before that. John Glenn had recorded it, it was written by Maurice Soy, God rest Maurice from Co. Down. I heard it and I loved it, and I started singing it in our own dances and then I recorded it and it just was another of the songs that people associated with me even though I wasn't the first to record it again. But it really did catch on. Children funny enough like this song. Often if I go into a school, this is the song they would sing. There's always a fire in the kitchen. Funny enough it's called our house is a home but people always say will you sing the fire in the kitchen. It's of a time, obviously it's probably outdated now because there was no phone or no this or no that. And really growing up that was the way we were. We had no phone or no fancy things but we certainly had the comfort of love and a loving home and that was more important."
"My thing about life is, if you can't lift somebody up, you shouldn't try to bring them down."
"I love what I do, I really do. As I said I could finish college now and go straight into a comfortable teaching job, but I love what I do. I might not make as much money doing it but I'm enjoying it."
"More quotes to follow."
"It's a great honour, my job is an easy one really. Because all I've to do in many respects, is guide things that are already happening and tell stories about people who are making their own success. It's all joy, there's no hard work involved in it as such. It's a great privilege to be involved with a group of people who are doing amazing things."
"It's an absolute credit to the nature and character of Irish people wherever they travel, one of the great successes that we have is that we assimilate so easily. We get into the groove and we make a success of it generally speaking wherever we go. In many respects it's no accident that that's the way it is because whether you're in Australia or America or Canada or England, generally speaking somewhere between 20 and 40% of the population is descended from Irish people on one side or both. There's a level of familiarity there. Not only that but a fondness for Ireland and all things Irish, a great affinity that runs strongly in Australia."
"I spent about 3 months living in New Orleans, just working in a hotel. You knew you were in a foreign country. Everything from driving on the wrong side of the road to the way people talked to the type of food you could buy in a shop, you knew you were away. I said to someone when I came here first (Australia) they were asking me 'How you settling in? How do you find it? Is it very different? And I said you know if it wasn't for the climate and maybe the accents, you would mistake it for being Ireland. Same food in the shops, drive on the same side of the road, same sort of easy way of going on. There are differences don't get me wrong but it's an easy place to live from that perspective."
"It's not an easy life here, you've gotta work hard. People here work very hard. They work long hours at their jobs. People have a perception that you're sitting on the beach half the time or you're at a barbeque the other half of the time, it's not like that at all. I live an hour from the beach and I couldn't tell you the last time I was there. You work hard at your job. There's no shame and there should be no regret about having giving something a try and it not working out."
"It's a busy job. I work 60 to 70 hours a week. It's very intense in terms of not just dealing with the media, dealing with the policy and the legislative agenda. But all the political stuff as well in terms of just managing community expectations and giving the right advice to the minister of the day and getting the agenda through. Covid-19 has well and truly added an extra level of complexity to that. We've being very lucky in Australia and in Queensland in particular, we've had a very good run of it relatively speaking with Covid-19. Part of that was being, they were very quick to close the borders, not only the international borders but the borders between the different states and territories within Australia. Obviously in my role, with the transport minister, we had to figure out back in March (2020) and the decision was made. Right, we're going to close our borders in Queensland to the rest of Australia. Nobody in or out, the last time that had being done was during the Spanish Flu in 1918."
"I don't think my mother or myself have missed an opportunity to tell any parent who we've met since then, who's got a child with arthritis to make sure to get regular eye exams because that never happened for me. My doctors never told me about the eye condition, never told me about the risk, with the result that I never had an eye exam. I remember then I was probably 8 or 9, about 4 years after I had gotten rid of the arthritis (via treatment) I was still in national school, I was in 2nd class I think and just started having real trouble reading the blackboard and it was blackboards back then, not the fancy technology they have nowadays."
"Eventually after a few months, I ended up going to a guy out at Lifford, Dr Coyne who was a GP in Lifford but had done some training in Ophthamology, and he took a look at me and said you've got some serious complications going on here, you need to go to Dublin today. You need to go into hospital in Dublin today. And basically the following day I was in theatre being operated on. At that stage I had chronic Uveitis in both eyes which had being untreated for a number years and that meant that I had developed Cataracts and Glaucoma in both eyes. It causes pressure in your eye, it can cause it to either increase or decrease. In my case it caused it to increase too highly and when that happens it damages the optic nerve, so it's an eye sight threatening disease, and basically that day that I went to Temple street hospital in Dublin. My pressure in both my eyes was sky high. I was at risk of losing the eyesight in both my eyes. Very fortunately came under the care of professor Mike O'Keefe at Temple Street Childrens Hospital. Just a phenomenal gentleman. Has being one of the greats lights of my life in terms of not only what he did for me but just the whole way that he approached his practice, so humble, doing all this amazing work for children. But still so humble and down to earth. So I stayed under his care until I was 16. I was counting the other day, I think I've had between 25 and 30 surgeries on both my eyes, have had 3 Corneal transplants on my right eye. I guess the washup of it all is I don't have any useable vision in my right eye at all and I've corrected vision in my left eye. I'm fully functional as I say. I can go to work, i can do my job, can enjoy life and all of that. yes no doubt I have plenty of limitations, but lots of people have limitations and lots of people have limitations that are more severe than my limitations. You just gotta put your best foot forward and get on with it because life's there to be seized."
"I think most players now are very much pro Barry. Not least because they've checked their bank balances in the last few years, and they've gone up. When he first came along I think a lot of players had sort of gone along almost treading water and the minute he started to change things, they became a bit fearful about how it might affect them. Mark Allen was quite outspoken initially but I interviewed Mark a couple of years ago, just before he won the Masters. I asked him now that he had time to reflect several years on what he would give Barry out of 10 and he said 10 for the changes he made. You can't please everybody but at the top end I cant see any reason to complain because the prize money has gone up and the really good players are earning a lot more money than they were. Obviously at the bottom end it's a different story, but in any sport that's the case isn't it? If you're not winning you're not going to be earning."
"Barry, he's an ordinary bloke. He came from a council estate, he understands what ordinary people like. Snooker and Darts, they're working class sports. He's very good at packaging it up, making it an event, making it something you want to be part of. You see it on TV, you think I want to be there, I'm going to buy tickets to the next event. He's got the sort of common touch but also obviously a great business man. He started out as an accountant. He's obviously close to a pound note and runs a tight ship. He puts on these events and in all sorts of niche sports, I mean he's made fishing a TV sport. It's quite incredible! I think we're very lucky he's come along in the last few years."
"Obviously the value of Eurosport is it goes out across a whole continent. We go to something like Sixty countries. A lot of these countries had never seen snooker until maybe 10 years ago. They've discovered what we sort of knew already in the UK and Ireland which is that it's a perfect TV sport. Obviously there are people that don't like it, we won't talk about them, but plenty of people do. It's kind of spread it's wings now. Players have noticed in recent years when they go on holiday, instantly they'll go to Spain or Portugal. Suddenly in those countries they're being recognised. Whereas 20 years ago that would never have happened unless it was British people they were meeting or Irish people."
"His place in the history books is not just confined to winning it which he did 15 times in a row, he also essentially started it. He was the driving force between actually getting a professional tournament on because in those days the leading cue sport was Billiards, and the Billiards community were very sniffy towards snooker which they saw as a bit of an upstart. The fact that he got it on, the trophy that is still presented to this day he went out and bought using half the entry fees. He's a very important figure. The amazing thing about him of course is he had no one to learn from. You look at the players now, you can turn on the TV. If you're a young player now you can study Ronnie, Hendry all these people. He didn't have anyone, even to go and watch live. His father ran a pub where there was a snooker table and he and his brother Fred learnt to play on that. He was definitely a very important figure and thankfully lived just long enough to see the World Championship go to the Crucible in the late 70's. He actually saw the start of that. He would have seen the sort of start of the real television age."
"We've spent years, decades in some cases trying to figure Ronnie out as a person and in the end I think you have to concede defeat. He's a complete one off. The best player I've ever seen quite comfortably but you can't sort of from day to day really predict what he's going to do, what he's going to say and I guess to be fair that sort of keeps the pot boiling for a lot of people. A lot of people enjoy that. He brings a lot of attention to the game. The main thing is I think when people look back in 100 years time they'll look at what he's done on the table. They won't be talking about something he said in a newspaper."
"I've being doing that for a few years. Essentially it started when I wanted to do a play at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016. I wrote a play and it got on there and that kind of started I guess my real interest in doing it and since then I've done various other plays here and there. It's something different. I spend a lot of time at tournaments and if you're commentating you're not necessarily working all day long, you might be just sat in your hotel, so it's also something to sort of do which is outside of the actual event. You can turn off from the event and put your mind to something else. I've always liked writing, I've been a journalist for many years as well. It's just something that I enjoy!"
"It's so important to us, we've only won it 10 times in the history of Donegal (as of July 2020) we didn't win our first until 1972. Brian McEniff was the only manager for those first 5 titles that we won. 1972, 74, 83, 90 and 92. Fortunately enough I got to play and win two medals in 90 and 92, I've also lost 2 or 3 finals. I think winning an Ulster title, the atmosphere around Clones on final day can't be beat to be honest!"
"Last time round, it was my 32nd birthday, I became i think the youngest manager in the country back in 1998, you were playing with some players who were older than you, you were playing along with some of the playing colleagues that won an all Ireland medal back with you in 1992. It didn't actually phase me, when you look back on it now it was a huge step to take to be quiet honest. When you're in the game long enough and I'm long enough in it now, you do pick up a lot of things!"
"The day you sit there and think I have it all achieved now or know it all, that's the first day you start going downhill again. Every day is a learning day!"
"I used to play with Finn Harps in the league of Ireland but prior to that I would have played with Irish youth teams, captained the Irish youth teams and also I was over at Celtic for a number of months, and I was actually very close to signing a two year contract, that ultimately was decided by Billy McNeil going down to manage Man City in 83. There was a 2 year contract on the table at that stage. That went when Billy McNeil went down to Man City and left Celtic."
"We beat Derry in 92 in the Ulster final, got into a semi final against Mayo which we got over the line. We came up against a Dublin team that weren't meant to get beat. I think the belief that came from Down coming out of Ulster that previous year and winning that All Ireland gave us massive massive confidence to go in there and do a good job and that's exactly what happened!"
"In 2012 you just felt they were building momentium, that they were on the cusp of something big and it was brilliant! Great to see! Michael as a young captain, think he was 22 at the time, tremendous achievement. It was a brilliant team. When you look at the defenders, Frank McGlynn and the two McGee's, Paddy McGrath in there, Anthony Thompson, Colm Anthony, Patrick McBrearty, Rory Kavanagh, Neil Gallagher, really outstanding players. A brilliant lift again for Donegal football!"
"Michael brings a lot in terms of that leadership, he's being captain of the team since 2011, he's being a real role model. The way he trains, the way he lives his life, on and off the field, he's a total professional, he demands standards and them standards are set high!"
"The thing about the rural life and all of that business there is that, country music, traditional music, and middle of the road music in general is very very featured very strong in those people's minds because the sentiment of the songs and the sincerity of them comes out, comes through, and that's what I think and I like about being from more of a rural area."
"It's a great song in a way because there's four Rathcooles. There's a Rathcoole in Dublin, There's a Rathcoole in Cork, and there's a Rathcoole in Belfast. And to tell you the honest truth I don't know which particular Rathcoole it was, but some one of them anyway and there's another Rathcoole as well, over the west somewhere. From that point of view, it's a great 'auld number, recorded back as you say a folk song, so we gave it a country flavour. "
"I was with Brian Coll from 1979-1988. A hugely popular man, particularly in this whole part of Donegal, Derry, the North of Ireland. He was popular all over. He went to America as well in 1983. Hugely popular over there with a lot of people who hadn't seen him for a long long time and he did tour America back in the day. He was particularly admired by the American people, by the American country artists. People like Slim Whitman and Charlie Pride who tried to encourage him and veigle him to come to America, that he would have made a great future there, tried to get him to come but he just decided that he was more of a home bird and he liked just performing at home and he was happy with his lot. He just wasn't bamboozled by the huge popularity. He definitely could have made it in America but Brian was Brian. He liked his home people, he liked the people he played to, and he liked the songs he sung."
"I was watching the Late Late show and Philomena was actually on and she was chatting away about isolation and cocooning and missing her grandkids and it just give me the idea to write the song and then I thought maybe it might be an idea to get her on board with the song, and do it as a duet, sent her on the song, thankfully she loved it!"
"Irish Country Music is what I grew up on. I grew up listening to it. All the tapes, all the CDs at home, and we would have listened to it non stop, I love it, if I'm a fan of the music, I find it easy to write for that genre, because I've listened to it for so long, obviously I write for different genres as well, for American country, Rock and Pop and different artists, in general it's Irish Country that I love!"
"She's just magical, absolutely magical, I don't think there's anyone quite like her. I've came across a lot of people in the trad world, when she plays it just lights up a song, lights up the room, it's unbelievable!"
"We had a great time of it, the problem was we got number 7 and number 9 in our first two singles which were top 10's but unfortunately they weren't high enough, you want to be in the top 3, kind of build maybe to a number one or something like that. It ran it's course in the end. We continued as a 3 piece and had a No. 1 in Japan with 'Invisible'. We went out there a few times, maybe 5 times in all and toured a bit, we had 3 albums released our there and a greatest hits. Great experience."
"He introduced us all to music. I always joke, if we asked for money for a PlayStation or new runners, we never got it, but if we asked for a Banjo or a Bodhran, no problem, he'd get it straight away. He taught me a lot about the business, even taking gigs and how to work a diary really, how to work with people."
"I think I was flying to Nashville with Aer Lingus and there was a documentary on about this walkway. I think it's the Greenway or some walkway in Mayo anyway. Along the walkway there's this famine cottage that you can go into and they do a tour. Things haven't changed, boots from years ago and there's all this kind of thing. The boy that was doing the tour of the museum for the documentary said 'years ago there was a saying, down on your uppers' The rubber on your boots were low or woren, and I just said I never heard that before, just so random, that's a great title for a song. I had the chorus written by the time I got off the plane. Then I left it for ages, which is not like me, I left it for months and I was getting the Fire album together and I said look I'm going to have to finish this song off, once I got going on it then, I started thinking about being a young lad, it was quite easy. The hook is down on your uppers, you need new boots, it's almost like a nursery rhyme really you know."
"She lived for her kids, I suppose in a way she was the link between everyone, I suppose it's the same for every family. Mammy was the link between me and my sister in Paris. When I was living in London with my brother at home, and the rock for everyone too, of course she was interested in my career and she was very proud, but she was more about your well being."
"Ronnie's always a pleasure to play and commentate on, he's a commentators dream. Because even when he's struggling the games go by fairly quickly. He takes his shots on, he's a beautiful cueist. I've spoken to Stephen Hendry about Ronnie and he'll say himself he's the greatest player that's ever played the game and if Stephen Hendry says that you know it's gotta be right."
"I was ranked in the sort of mid 50's at the time, so to get to the final or anywhere near a final , I was achieving something I'd never got near before. I really was a fish out of water there. I remember playing that final, I didn't think about winning, I didn't think about losing, I just didn't want to play John Higgins who I thought might hammer me and embarrass me because at the time he was World No 2, I was just playing snooker to see what would happen and all of a sudden I was in a winning position. I ended the afternoon session 5-3 up I think, I ended 8-6 up and a frame away from victory and I was waiting to feel the pressure or I was waiting to sort of start struggling, it never happened. I got stronger and stronger because there was just no pressure on me. I was achieving something I'd never got near achieving before. For that one particular time nobody was expecting me to win and I just carried on doing what I did and luckily it was good enough."
"I remember practicing with Ryan the day before we flew out to Shanghai, and I was 6-3 down on the practice table to him and beat him 9-8. We ended up playing in Shanghai and he's in one half of the draw and I'm in the other and we just kept winning and we ended up playing each other in the final. I was 6-2 down in the afternoon session. I remember making a break of 94, I had a chance to get the highest break and I messed up with 2 reds left, but I won that frame for 6-3 then, so we had a few hours off before the evening session. And Ryan come the evening session, I don't know, he played like somebody that was 8-0 down. He could not pot a ball, he was playing safety shots and hitting them all wrong. He took on a couple of long reds and missed them by miles, he was strangely really nervous. I got in, in the 1st frame, I played a really good safety shot and he's left me right in. I've made a 143 which was the highest break. Incredibly I made it 6-4 and then after that he just seemed to struggle and struggle, I don't think Ryan scored more than about 80 points in the whole of the evening session amazingly. "
"If somebody said to me, somebody's won 2 majors and a couple of other things, and has being to 2 world quarter finals, I wouldn't think that's an underachievement necessarily. The slight disappointment is obviously I was 11-5 down to Barry Hawkins in 2014, I won 7 frames in a row, went 12-11 up, and then he played two fantastic frames, he didn't miss a pot for two frames and beat me 13-12. So I was just 1 frame away from that semi final 1 table setup but never mind."
"Barry Hearn is quite a special guy, he started off as an accountant in Dagenham. He loved snooker, he took on Steve Davis in the late 70's just before he turned pro because he was winning everything in the london area, he also took on the chain of Lucania close which were closing. He bought them out and took them all on. He created this club called the Matchroom club, that's where his name came from, Matchroom sport, it's to do with snooker. He's one of Britains greatest ever sporting entrepreneurs, there's no doubt about it. He's got a great team behind him, he's got a fabulous company that's done so well for so long. Hes just such a clever guy. He sees the potential in something, he invests his money into it and makes it what it is, hence the darts and the snooker. he's being an amazing for the game, there's no doubt about that."
"It suits my personality. I'm a natural sort of extrovert, I love being centre stage. Even if things aren't going right for me, I don't mind, I'm just happy to be out there, it's an honour that I'm centre stage, I'm fortunate. The shoot out certainly suited my personality, obviously it's almost impossible to win that sort of 10 minute format, you don't even play a frame in most cases, the pressure is absolutely colossal. When I won it, it was in Blackpool and in the tower circus, there was a big crowd, they were drinking, they were voustirus and we had walk on girls walking us you to the table. It was razmatazz for snooker, it was unheard of. Of course it's lost a lot now, there are no walk on girls. It's a sign of the times but I was very fortunate to play it in such an amazing venue such as the Blackpool tour circus ballroom, the crowds were fantastic and the music and everything as you walked on. I was very proud to have won it during those days, such an unusual event."
"Do you know he came up with one of the best lines you'll ever hear in your life. He was on the steps of some sort of Magistrates court in Bristol when he got banned for 18 months for headbutting somebody or some infraction of the rules with world snooker. And this journalist, I remember him in this sort of rain coat, he came up to Alex and said 'can you survive without snooker Alex?' And Alex said 'can snooker survive without me? And I thought what a great line that was, that's the one thing I always remember with Alex, it was a bit of genuis that, just like the man himself!."
"Listen, it's just crazy like. And I still think of it as, who's watching this? I still think it's my family and few friends that's watching it. I think if you get too bogged down on what the numbers are you'll start to kind of lose, I don't know. And I never kind of would be looking awh this is how many, I always think jeez it's crazy that it's got to that number. I remember when I had round a 1,000 and then when I hit 1,200, I thought jeez 1,200 people and now I'm kinda like, I don't even look at it because it kind of might scare you."
"He's just such a level fella. He's always been just level. I said to him the night after the final here (2022 County Final) I was like it was just great to see a bit of emotion come out of him when we actually won it the last day. Ah he's a top man. His attention to detail and his analysis of a game is just phenomenal. Analysis of teams and how to break them down. That's ultimately how he beat St Eunans like was having his homework done and knowing exactly who to have where and what to do, he's a quality manager."
"Its great to be able to make a living from it. Not everybody can do it and its not easy to do either but it's so good. It's so much fun. You go out every weekend having the craic, playing the drums. It's stuff you dream of. Obviously you dream of playing in Croke Park and all these places but at the same time there's levels in every thing."
"They just put out a call looking for extras so I just stuck my name in, because I just was interested and then it was Daniel and it was the React boys because I've been following them since they've kind of kicked off. The stuff they put out is brilliant. And then I thought, god if I even get to be a part of that just to see behind the scenes. So there was 3 days really it was. It was 1 full day and 2 night shoots. It was brilliant. I'm a massive fan of Daniel. He's just Donegal's number one ambassador, he's the best."
"I think the more people that talk, the more you realise, everybody's going through something. Not everybody. They can understand right I see now that he's going through that, you wouldn't see it everyday. It's about, definitely I would say go to your GP (If suffering with mental health) because Charlie (Micheál's doctor) was a massive help. And then you get coping mechanisms. Not even coping, but you realise, awh shit that's coming up now. I can feel it, you can feel it happening. You can recognise more better. And when you can recognize it then you can start to deal with it and I think that's the main thing."
"It was just getting physically ready, it was just building that mental strength up and as the seasons went on. It was just building that mental resilience which we didn't have. It was probably a combination of both. We were built on a bedrock of physical fitness, that was the foundation, and you had to lay the belief on top of that then."
"For me personally there's a lot of jealousy, and they'll be very reluctant to give him credit. The genuine football man that knows football and knows coaching, knows that the achievement he done was massive. To take a team I think were placed at 18 or 19 out of the 32 in the overall rankings, to take them to the top is a serious achievement in any sport."
"I'm always keen to remind Murphy of that any time he gets plaudits for the goal 'Only for me now' I was in good form that day. Probably one of my better games for Donegal and lucky enough it was the All Ireland final. I knew in the morning time that I was going to have a good game because I was just in that frame of mind. I've very seldom being in that frame of mind. I got the hand in thankfully and laid it off, and the goal, it was actually just a training ground move. Tight defending, move the ball at pace and deliver it in to the diagonal ball we were working on. Murphy just did the job, unbelievable finish."
"It was incredibly special for us to bring Sam back. It's something that we dreamed about our whole life, as sports people, as Gaelic footballers. It was great to bring the group into Gweedore and have Sam Maguire coming into Gweedore but it was unfortunate that Kevin Cassidy wasn't part of that group. He had dreamt the same amount as the rest of us and wanted it as much as the rest of us. That was the only negative about the Sam Maguire coming into Gweedore but the memories itself it was just unbelievable. Only when you think back on it now, probably went over your head at the time, how much of a buzz that was there."
"There was a bit of panic. I went into Sharkeys, I think we were there on the Wednesday, I went into Sharkeys for a few settlers. The panic was on then that I wouldn't be back in time for the cup coming into Gweedore. I was sure and I'll tell ya, Mum made sure I was there too."
"We just never got to the level. It was a combination of Kerry bringing a good gameplan, making it hard for us and us I don't know? Did we take it for granted? We just never got to the level that was required. Probably thought there was an element of the job done by beating Dublin. It would have being different if we had lost to Kerry with giving 100%, saying that's it, we've done all we can but we lost to Kerry without knowing, that we didn't give it our best. That's the issue I have with it. It was a tough few weeks afterwards and a tough few months. Still even to this day it'll make you glimpse at the thought you lost the All Ireland final. When you consider the likes of Mayo, have lost All Ireland finals, and dusted themselves down and came back at it. That shows a real strength of character. For them to be able to do that, a resilience."
"They're lovely people, lovely lovely people, but in order to win an All Ireland they'll cut your throat for it."
"Healy Park, Omagh. Just can't take rain at all. Anytime it's wet or there's a skip of rain it just turns into a mud bath. It's either that or one that springs to mind now we're talking about it, Pearse Stadium. It's the most cold soul-less stadium I've ever played in. In terms of playing surface I'd probably say Healy Park but in terms of a stadium and a grounds I'd say Pearse Stadium in Galway."
"I don't think anybody was in too much of a rush after me giving them abuse for an hour or so, to give me their Jersey. I think I have the Gooch's jersey. I don't know where it is now. Gooch or Sean Cavanagh's jersey is knocking about there."
"It was a lovely, lovely experience. Probably one of the few times that you savoured the atmosphere in Croke Park. For the last 5 minutes that you were going down the home straight and you knew you had it won and you were able to soak in the atmosphere, it was a lovely feeling, definitely."
"I'm from Longford area. I actually grew up in a place called Roosky, that's where I spent most of my childhood. It's actually right on the edge of Longford, Roscommon and Leitrim. Obviously I would have spent a lot of time in Leitrim, like Carrick On Shannon when I was younger. I think it's a really beautiful county. I do think people go there but I think it's get a bit overlooked in terms of like other coastal counties because it's in the Midlands. But its really really a beautiful place. There's like Lough Key Forrest Park which is lovely hikes, really really nice forestry area, Lough Allen, obviously Carrick On Shannon, Cryan's Pub in Carrick On Shannon is great food and great for good Irish music. You see really good people playing there."
"My mom is actually from a place called Rhode island. It's actually the smallest state in America but it's called the ocean state because the coast line is very big on it. It's really well known for seafood. There's a place called Newport in Rhode island which is a very very wealthy area. You can go see mansions there. It's just a great place and it's only 45 minutes from Boston."
"Me and my boyfriend and a couple of friends decided to do just a little bit of a Wild Atlantic Way Drive. We went up to Donegal to start. I was absolutley blown away by how absolutely beautiful Donegal is. We drove straight up to Malin head on the first day. Obviously a very popular place for people to go, because it's the most northernly point of Ireland. I seen pictures of it online but when you go there in person it was just so much more beautiful than I could have even imagined."
"A lot of people are worried about food say sometimes when they go to South East Asia, but in a country like Thailand there's like every type of food you can think of. Unless you're in like really rural places, you can even get McDonald's or something if you need it. It's a good place for people who want to go somewhere a bit different, maybe somewhere in South East Asia, but are not 100% sure how to feel about everything."
"Vietnam is a bit like Thailand in the sense that there's like really cool food, temples, all that kind of stuff. More people are going to Vietnam now than they ever have before. It's a little bit less touristy than Thailand, it's a good bit cheaper than Thailand. A lot of people are going to Thailand at the moment so they are raising prices a little bit. It's still quite cheap in terms of like compared to Europe but Vietnam would be that much cheaper.
Honestly coffee there is amazing, I've never had coffee like I had in Vietnam!"
"Singapore is just one of the most amazing cities I've ever visited in my entire life. It's so futuristic. It's like New York but it's better. It's cleaner, more advanced. It's not as big as well. I think New York is 170 times the size of Singapore they said. It's quite small. The hawker stalls are probably one of my favourite things about Singapore. The hawker stalls are amazing. Some of them have over 200 stalls in the area. And some of them even have Michelin stars, it's pretty cool. You can eat there so cheaply. Anywhere from 1 dollar to maybe 3 dollars, which is like 50 cent to 2 euro maybe for a full dinner."
"I would have to say that my favourite country I've ever being to is New Zealand. I could literally talk about New Zealand all day. A few things I think is worth noting in New Zealand. The people are so nice, so welcoming. They're very very like Ireland people. I find in general New Zealand is the most like Ireland place I've ever being to without being actually in Ireland. You kind of get a sense of home when you're there if you're an Irish person. I think there is a bit of an Irish community there as well which is quite nice for anyone if you wanted to go live there long term. It's kind of like Ireland but tropical. It's very green, it's probably the most beautiful country I've ever being to. When you're driving round New Zealand, its basically like you're driving through post cards. You're literally looking at places and if you take a picture it looks like you're standing in front of a green screen, you're just like that can't be real. Your mind is like, how can it look that amazing."
"A mixed bag. Some great days, some brilliant days. You've a lot of regret there too. We won one National League, suppose I never got to play an Ulster final, the year they got there, I done my cruciate the week before it. We never won anything bar the national league but I say, some great days. We battled with Dublin's and Kerry's, division one for years. we were at the top table at that time."
"The panel we had from 2006 to 2012, 2013, we should definitely have won an Ulster if not more. We lost a couple of bad semi finals, bad defeats in semi finals but look Tony, it's one of them things, you can't do nothing about it now, so there's no point in worrying about it."
"Some of the proudest moments I ever had in my career was playing for Derry, some of the biggest days I ever had, playing for Derry, playing for Glenullin, they were good memories you know, you look back on them things and you think you were glad you done it. I got to share it with Patrick too which a lot of people didn't. We were in the same senior team for over 10 years."
"That was probably the biggest day of my career, probably the best day of my career, winning your own club championship. I've got one of them there, it's hanging up on the wall outside. A wee place I built out the back. Probably the proudest moment I have in my career, nobody can take that away from me. The fact I done it with Daddy as manager, Patrick there, your cousins, your friends, your whole family, that'd mean the most to me definitely. Glenullin, we're only a wee small village, and your playing against teams like Bellaghy and Ballinderry, they had massive numbers whereas we didn't. The loup and them places. They were all full of big numbers. Growing up we were lucky if we were able to field 15. Going up through under age. That team went and won a championship, probably could have won a whole lot more too."
"I think since I started playing the soccer, whenever I left the Gaelic, around 28-29, I think I've played in Europe nearly every year. I've being to Iceland three or four times, Belarus. I've being all over Europe. That time I probably didn't know whether it was the right thing to do to go to soccer but now looking back I definitely think it was. I play striker, I definitely enjoy it. I'm still playing a wee bit of Gaelic there for the club, between the two it keeps you in good shape you know. Coleraine, we wouldn't have the budget a lot of the bigger teams would have, we're only part timers, lot of full time teams there. We're punching above our weight the whole time. Last year we finished second in the league, it's some achievement. I enjoy it, the games are on TV, I'm only 20 minutes down the road, the family come and watch you, it's good. I'm just glad now the crowds are allowed back in. Because we played last year and there was nobody in watching it and I'll tell you it was hard to play in."
"Some player.. I marked him up in Glenullin one time. I think it was Dungiven, played them in the Championship. I never seen nothing like it in my life. Growing up that's who you wanted to be was Anthony Tohil. My favourite player. I played along with Patrick but I was always the youngest brother. Patrick was always the player I wanted to be like because he's your brother but apart from that there, Anthony Tohil was probably at number one, something else. He had trials with Man United and everything, he could have done it at every level, he could have done it at any sport. What he done for Derry football, theres not many people done it since anyway I can tell you that."
"A lot of my followers are from Donegal but I've a huge number of followers that are originally from Donegal but have moved away and now live in the middle east or Australia or the US and they do message me daily just saying how thankful they are to be able to see a wee bit of home. I lived away from Donegal for the last 15 years before I moved back here and we are so so blessed. We don't realise when we grow up here how lucky we are to grow up in such a beautiful place. I feel so honoured to be able to show it off!"
"The majority of people I speak to, if you're up in Inishowen, they know very very little about West South Donegal. If you're down around here (Dungloe) a lot of the time they know very little about up around Inishowen. We can drive for 3 hours and still be in our county. It's not surprising I suppose that we don't know too much about it. We know the areas we live and we work and we see everyday, but bar that I suppose you do have to make a real big effort to go and explore those places."
"We all go to other countries and we explore everything they have. We all want to do the top 3, 4, 5 things in each of those countries of the areas we visit. It's very rare we do that in our own back garden, that we actually explore the top 5 things to do in Dungloe or the top 5 things to do in Inishowen. That's what I'm trying to do!"
"I've done 6 group hikes up Errigal now in the last year and a half. I have never done a group one up Muckish. Errigal I suppose is a much easier hike to do in terms of the weather and planning it and taking a group up. So you have a marked route the whole way up, it is a little bit longer than Muckish but it's not as steep. It'll take ya maybe just over an hour to get up to top of Errigal. maybe spend 15, 20 minutes up at the top. It'll take you 40 minutes or so coming down. Coming down is nearly harder because the gravel underneath your feet can go very quick. A lot of people, myself included and I don't think I've ever come down and not ended up on my bum! Going up Muckish is quite different, going up Muckish is much steeper, this is the miners path. Miners path is the only path I've being up, I haven't being up the other side of it. The miners path is much steeper but you're be up much quicker. So you'd be up within 40-45 mins to the top of Muckish but it's a really steep climb. It's definitely tougher steepness wise. When you get up to the top of Muckish as well, so it's a big flat table top surface on it. The cloud can come in there very quickly with no warning on top of you so a lot of people end up having to call mountain rescue. You have to be so so careful on the top of Muckish."
"I went out with Inish adventures there in Inishowen around the Dunree caves, in the kayak! So many people have done that since and tagged me in it and it's so lovely to see other people enjoying that too and visiting the different wee restaurants and hotels and doing all those kind of things, I love it. Love seeing that!"
"Rathlin Sky is probably my most famous song. I wrote it about my father. When he was a young man he use to fish lobsters around Rathlin O'Byrne Island which is just off the coast of Malinbeg, when we were wee children, he used to take us out on the boat and we'd give him a hand hauling the pots. Maybe if there was one pot that he knew they were guaranteed to get a lobster in, he'd get either myself or one of the younger fellas to go up and haul it, great fun and great memories like that. That's the reason I called it Rathlin Sky, he done most of his fishing around that area."
"There was about 30 houses in it, there wasn't one of those houses that we couldn't just walk in the door, you could start at the bottom, walk the whole way to the top of the village and you could go into every house and they'd be asking you what news is going down the town today. They used to call it the town, it was only a wee village. It was like that everybody was just like one big family, it was nice, everyone looked out for each other."
"It's going to a compilation album of I would say some of my best songs and I'm also writing some new songs for it as well. A lot of my songs are influenced about living at the edge of the Wild Atlantic!"
"I thought it an awful pity that nobody ever wrote any song about the Carraig Una, I was listening to some interviews done by relations from the crew on the Carraig Una, there was this lady talking, I think she might have being a grandmother of one of the young fishermen. She said in the interview, she hoped that they'll be remembered and never be forgotten, once I listened to that interview, I could hear it in her voice, so I wrote it down anyway and thanks be to god it's become very popular."
"I came from a big family, we had a lot guitar players in the family and I would say my older brothers helped me a wee bit, I've brothers Kiaran James, they done a wee bit of songwriting so it kind of spurred me on. I wanted to be as good as them. I really likes the likes of Christy Moore, when I was growing up then I was mad into Pink Floyd and Roger Waters and David Gilmour. They were two main writers. I like the acoustic feel to their music. Another fella, I have to mention him is Pat Gallagher, when we were growing up as well, the Goats were fairly big at the time and I couldn't believe how good the songs were, those type of songs will last forever!"
"Myself and the wife we go to a lot of concerts, away back years ago we went to U2 in Dublin, actually went to see them a few years ago out in the Indianapolis Colts Stadium. Well I was never more proud to be Irish in my life. They actually blew the crowd away, these bands nowadays there could be 20 or 30 people playing music behind the stage like that, but it was just these 4 boys came out, just drums, guitar, bass and singing. They just rocked the place! it was brilliant, it was class!"
"I was so lucky that I got here (Leitir) before the Pandemic, I kind of got to know a lot of the people. Last March when things really turned on its head for not just for this parish, but indeed for the whole of the country, since then and i think it's the best way of putting it Is, I've being thinking outside the box pretty much since last March. As you've just referred to, the car park mass, it has become one of the most successful things in recent times and I know for this area it's served it well. The context of the sheer numbers allowed and able to come to the car park, I think it's being very successful, very."
"Well Tony, I have to admit I wasn't on Facebook before the Pandemic ever came along, I actually didn't have a personal Facebook page. Because of technicalities I had to then eventually, so it's totally new to me. It really has kept people connected to their faith. I'm just talking now in the context of the celebration on mass. It really had kept them connected. Because we've had so much disconnect, we've being isolating so much in the last year, year and a half, in so many other ways. By that service alone, I've heard so many times people say to me in more recent times, it kept us going Fr, it kept us connected with people. It kept us together, even not able to be physically together. And it was something that was positive, rather than hearing so many negative things that was going on in the news or whatever."
"I know for myself, it slowed me right down. I had to take stock and re-think about how I done things, personally in my life and even I have to admit my spiritual life even got more wholesome and stronger because I was given the time to concentrate a little bit more on it because there was a lot of quiet days, in the sense of if you remember we were back to 2 Kilometres and all this sort of a thing. How far you can actually travel from home. So in actual fact I had to slow right down, and there's some positive in that too."
"There's a massive change. I entered seminary in 1994 and it was in different world of a church in the context of life in society, as well as with the church. There's being incredible changes over that time. I can say vocations even to the priesthood, and that's just as a simple answer to that. When I went to seminary in 1994, there was 22 seminarians in seminary, for me. That was just for Donegal. Today we've only got one seminary in seminary. So you can see the massive shift of what's going on even just in that kind of a simple little glance. I know numbers aren't everything but it gives you an understanding. Coming back to the core it though, I've worked in as I say 5 parishes, and a hospital setting in Letterkenny, but you know when it comes down to grass roots for me in my working with young people as well as of all the generations, there's a lot of hunger yet for spirituality. There's still a great need. It's just that they're not exactly always in, how to say, in the grá, in the love of the constitutional church, the main body. There's still a hunger for God, there's still hunger for a spiritual meaning in their lives, but it's just not the same way as it was going back 20, 30, 40 years ago."
"I'm part of a group that goes to Lourdes every year, obviously for the Covid we haven't had that opportunity. But we normally bring somewhere in the region between 50 and 60 youths from all parts of the diocese, from parts of the county, from their ages of 16, 17 year olds to Lourdes every year. They're no holy joes , they're all normal teenagers, simple as that, boys and girls. It's only for four or five days they're out there. We're working with the sick, we're doing a little bit of everything with them. They're (the teenagers) given another understanding of what life can be, with a spiritual dimension. It's a transformation. It's amazing how they come, go over to Lourdes, and when they come back there is a spiritual transformation that has changed them. Now they're the same kids, they're the same ordinary teenagers and they're very recognizable to their parents and whatever else. But they get something that they've never experienced before and it's so beautiful because they see a different side to their eyes that they maybe never being exposed to before."
"The ceremony celebration in Eunans was at 3 o clock on that Sunday afternoon. It was full of life, it was a beautiful celebration/ordination itself. But then remembering coming home, that actually brought a tear too to my eye so it did. I know it did to my family too. It was incredible in remembering coming into the parish of inishkeel; which is way the other side of fintown; there was bunting, there was flags, and there was bonfires literally carrying me down the road through fintown and into Glenties, and it was just an incredible experience. And then to be met by Ardaghy pipe band, walked through the town, as a son of Glenties as they say, it's still very vivid and very memorable. And of course there were speeches and that up in the chapel bray. I have videos and all that as well of course reminding me. In a sense yes I'm kind of in the centre of it all but in actual fact, truth be said, the way I look at it in the context is, it's for the people. The celebration is as much for the people as it is for me. Because I don't become a priest for me, I become a priest for the people, and the church and Christ. So yes ok I'm kind of stuck in the middle of the celebration, but in actual fact, it's for the people, and it's for God too in the context. So I'd like to kind of stress that in the senses."
"I inherited a great thing of sport, I really love my sport, in different disciplines. I played a lot of soccer and I did play some gaelic too for that matter. But when you're getting to my age, you know by just playing golf you're not getting taken out of it. Golf I've being playing it nearly 30 years. I play with my father, my brother, my nephew. Then I get to play with a lot of lads, there's a pool of us, about 15 or 20. It's a great social for me. It's definitely one of my most enjoyable past times and hobbies, it's a great escape for me, it's probably the best way of putting it."
"It's a very simple one (prayer) but it's a beautiful one because it's in good days or on bad days. It can be well used. I use it myself and it's called 'The Serenity Prayer'. 'God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference, Amen'."
"If Pope Francis hadn't become pope, I would not be talking to you as Fr Brian D'Arcy. I would have being sidelined out of the church. I know that Pope Francis is trying hard, not always succeeding but the holy spirit is with him. Every human institution has it own rotten core, no matter who it is, no matter what it is, because it's human. Careerists in the Vatican are no different from careerists anywhere else. There are some good men and some other people who are not. The problem that there's too many men and not enough women. It's outlived its usefulness in its present status. I'm not saying anything about the Roman Catholic church, I'm saying about the Vatican Bureacy."
"Pope Francis is changing the face of church very slowly, not quickly enough for many people. He's doing the best he can. It's a big ship that he has to turn and for a man of his age I think he's fantastic and I pray for him every day."
"I have found the hand of god guiding me especially when I was lost. When we're not lost we think we don't need god. We often experience the hand of god most when we're lost because that's the time when we're open enough to being helped."
"The one thing that we say about God is that he'll will never be outdone in mercy, compassion, love and understanding. Never be outdone. He knows my thoughts better than I know them, he knows your thoughts better than you know them, he created you he created me. He loves both of us. He died on the cross for us. He rose from the dead to ensure us and he ascended into heaven just encase we'd have any doubts about where we're going."
"Brendan and the Royal started off and invented an industry that eventually had 10,000 full time employees in it, the showband industry. They were 10,000 people fully employed in the showband industry in the 60's and into the 70's. They were the people who started it. TJ Byrne was their manager, the Royal were all young people. Clipper Carlton were the first showband but you could really say that the first professionals were the Royal. It was such a big thing that the Beatles were the opening act for the Royal showband would you believe and after the show, Lennon and McCartney, both of them came round to Brendan and said 'did you hear our act'? and he said I did. They said well what do you think of it, do you think will we make it!? And Brendan with great diplomacy said 'yes of course you'll make it, but for me he said I like the songs you wrote yourselves better than other stuff that you did'."
"Brendan goes to Las Vegas and a man with a walking stick comes up in the middle of an Elvis set one night and begins to poke him. He was dressed up in a hat, and a stick, and a cloak on him, nobody knew who he was. The man was Elvis Presley who went into see Brendan Bowyer in a disguise and the next night he came back as Elvis. He said to Brendan, 'Come up to the suite' and he brought the whole band up to his suite in the Holiday Inn, top suite of the Holiday Inn and he gave him a drink, and he said to Brendan 'I loved the set that you did of me, because you didn't try to imitate me, you just were yourself singing my songs and I love that. There's one song you sang tonight, I don't know where you got it, I would like to record it'. What is that said Brendan. Elvis replied 'This Time You Gave Me A Mountain'. Brendan explained to him that it was written by Marty Robbins, a great country singer. Elvis didn't know that. Elvis recorded it and it became a million seller. He first heard it from Brendan singing it in Las Vegas."
"He and Cash were great friends. 'Sunday Morning Coming Down, nobody would record it until Kristofferson hired a helicopter and landed in Cash's backyard. The police came and Cash wondered who this fella was, they thought it was an attack. Kristofferson was an Air Corps pilot, he was trained. Kristofferson said 'There's no other way that I can get to you, this is a song thats going to make a big hit for you. Cash said to him 'If you're that serious about a song, I gotta hear it!'. The song that he did hear was Sunday morning coming down. Cash and Kristofferson became really, really close friends after that."
"It's a memoir and probably could well be the last book that I'll ever write. I just wanted to do it while I still had the health to do it and wanted to do it and various people wanted me to do it as well. For my family, just to put it down, exactly as it was because some events in my life might have being open to interpretation by others and I wanted to tell the truth about the various ones."
"I've given all the profits to the homeless charities, so far I've being able to distribute just under €20,000. (As of June 2020)."
"Fermanagh were playing Kerry one day and we (Fermanagh) didn't win, put it that way. Pat said to me as only Pat can say to somebody, "You know Brian, Fermanagh will never win anything" I was about to hit him and he says, "People play football the way the way the people of the county are. Fermanagh are afraid of a friend any anybody and they'll never win anything. Teams that win have a steelyness that'd walk over you. It comes from Kerry, it comes from Dublin, it comes from Meath, it comes from Galway, comes from Donegal and Tyrone. Look at the counties that have won All Irelands". It's an extraordinary accurate point. When I drove myself home, I was not angry with him. I was very glad that he pointed out something to me. Maybe it's the water, maybe it's not but there's a kind of an easy-goingness about Fermanagh people that is gentle and good, it also like every quality has it defects."
"I was ordained a priest on the 12th June, 1977 in my native parish of Glenfin. It's a long time ago. The bishop who ordained me that day was the late bishop Anthony McFeely who was our bishop here in raphoe at that time and who is now deceased for a long time."
"The big story that weekend and the big news headlines was about James Earl Ray. He was the man in America who shot dead Martin Luther King. He escaped from prison that weekend. I think he escaped on Friday, and he was loose that weekend, all the news about him. He was captured i think on the following day, the Monday. He went back into prison and he never came out again till he died."
"6 weeks later or so, I was appointed to Gweedore. I went to Derrybeg I remember on Friday the 29th of July 1977. The following day there was a wedding in Derrybeg. Fr Sean Gallagher was the chief celebrant of the mass I remember"
"I do always be looking out for ideas. I would read quite a bit and you get ideas of sermons from reading, that's the first thing. And there are a certain amount of magazines and things that do have reflections for Sunday readings. I get a certain amount of it from life experience. They say that you should prepare your sermon with the bible in one hand and with a newspaper in the other hand."
"The most important thing the good Samaritan did and I often think of this was to stop with the man. We live in a world that's very busy, people are always in a hurry, and they go by quickly and they don't stop maybe for someone. I think that's one of things about the parable of the good Samaritan, is that he took time and he stopped with an injured man to give him help. I would be thinking that that's something we should be telling people to do at times, to stop, give time to people. Time is very important, time is very previous, time is scarce, everyday and so on, but it's important that we give time to people."
"I'll say the prayer of Cardinal Newman, it's a prayer I often say. It's a lovely prayer and it's a prayer that we should say suppose sometimes and I'll say it now just. 'May the Lord support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and our work is done. And in his mercy may he gave us safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last amen'. And I'll say just, our lady of lourdes pray for us. Cause I would have a lot of devotion for our lady of lourdes, I went to Lourdes many times and also I usually take young people to lourdes. I took a lot of young people to lourdes in the past, from Coliaste Na Caraige."
"My memories of my ordination are very interesting in that I was very sick that day. I had a bacterial infection. I was at the 'Now Doc' the night before. Thank God for the 'Now Doc', otherwise I wouldn't have been ordained that particular day. My memories of my ordination are fantastically happy memories. Memories of the generosity of people. I was ordained in the Cathedral in Letterkenny. Eamon McLaughlin, my classmate, who is now in Rome, that'll you'll all remember from Leitir was ordained with me. Manus Ferry from Falcaragh was ordained that day. Manus was ordained for one of the sacred heart orders. He's based in Dublin, he's a parish priest in Dublin. The outpouring of genoristy of people, the coming out of people to welcome me home. The first bon fire was out at Campbell's in Fintown. Then the whole way in through Fintown there were bonfires in Doochary down into Dungloe."
"I felt excited going into my first parish. Everything was new. I had spent some time as a deacon in over the summer holidays with Fr. Eddie Gallagher who's now back in Leitir again. He was my first parish priest in Glencolmcille. Fr Eddie was in Carrick, but he was also the parish priest in the entire parish and Glencolmcille was the curacy in the parish. So I had very good guidance from Fr Eddie."
"It was very special coming to Arranmore Island where I had many fond memories of growing up. My earliest memory is going not on a boat with my father but going out with my mother on a boat and the skipper was Phil Bán, Phil Boyle. He's now living in Letterkenny. Going across to a regatta, my father and them were already over in Arranmore, so that's one of my earliest memories in life. Going to Arranmore (as CC in 2006) was very special because I was going among people that I knew and going among people that knew me and knew my father and again Fr. Pat Ward was the parish priest, and again he couldn't have been more helpful or more supportive to me. And I could sit in the sitting room in the house in Arranmore and look across, not that you could get across every day, but I could see my own home from there. The people are very special on Arranmore. They have been people that have had to make huge sacrifices leaving their families and going away to work in other places in order to etch out a living."
"My happiest place is on the sea or beside the sea. Away from it, I feel cut off. They (fishermen) make great sacrifices. And I suppose I was very annoyed just over a year ago last year when the small boats around our coast, they had Northern Ireland licences, something which they were encouraged to do by the government previously. There was an instrument brought in by the minister to say that they could no longer land in their home ports, but they had to hog the coastline around Killybeggs or so on so that their fish would be weighed and most of us this was non quota fish, and it was putting the fisherman's lives at great risk, and that is still true and I'm very annoyed at those in government who have decided that because what they should be doing is trying to make life easier for fishermen rather than to try to persecute them and make life more difficult for them, and that has sadly been the case over the last year, so I hope common sense will eventually prevail and that those in government and those in what I would describe as a dysfunctional department of the marine will do something to help fishermen rather than to persecute them."
"Very good memories of the Twin Towns, again very nice people. People who showed me great care. And a great parish priest there, Fr Ciaran McAteer, and he had a great team set up around him. Stranorlar I would say is probably very interesting in that there was a parish council set up there, there were many committees set up there by Fr. Ciaran McAteer down the years. I suppose that is the way we will be going forward as a church with parish councils and various committees where we will have less priests in parishes. That people will take more ownership of making the day to day decisions and running the churches in their own area and that was already very well set up in Stranorlar and I have many happy moments from Stranorlar. It was a much busier area as you can imagine, a bigger population. But yea very happy moments, very happy times there."
"Creeslough's a great area. Again Fr. Martin Doohan's my parish priest here who gives me great help. There's a retired man here, Fr. Seamus Murphy. The Ards Friary is here and Ards Friary I recommend highly to anyone. If you want peace, go to Ards Friary. It's amazing the amount of people I meet from the Rosses coming to visit Ards Friary. It's just an oasis of peace, and its a lovely area. But no matter where I go, when I say I'm in Creeslough, no matter where I would be speaking to people in different parts of the country, they will say one thing back to me, 'Cutting the corn in Creeslough' of course which was written by Percy French but made very famous by the great Bridie Gallagher, who I didn't know, she's dead 10 years this January. It's the 10th anniversary of her death."
"Lord make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me so love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. Oh divine master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love, for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Glory be to the father, and to the son and to the holy spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen."
"Of course the first attraction was I used to come here on holidays (Burtonport) for sailing. We did a lot of sailing then myself and my brother. But now I'm afraid at my age the fishing rod is my only resource."
"We lived a very short time in Castlefinn, My father was the seargant in the guards there. He joined the guards in 1922. He had been involved in the old IRA in Co Clare and then when the settlement came he became one of the first guards to join up."
"I spent most of my growing up time in Quigleys point and then later on in Moville and then I went off to the seminary in 1954. And ordained in 1960. So home was far away then. I enjoyed the seminary. I enjoyed it!! I don't know why because it was a very strict regime. Still in touch with some of the people that were in the seminary with me. "
"There are so many lakes and rivers around here where one can cast a fly, in the hope of success. But it's not so much the catching, it's the going to catch. And the hopes that are raised everyday that this might be the big one."
"Very humble by it, absolutley. It came out of the blue to me. I didn't know what it was about. In fact I thought it was a scam to tell you the truth! I was getting emails from them saying you have won such and such. As soon as I see that, I think awh that's a scam, I just bin it you know. I binned it about 3 times and then I was cross referenced in an email to people that I did know saying 'we can't seem to get in contact with this character'. I apologised to them because I did ignore their first couple of emails!"
"Even this year I've noticed people maybe who have left the faith for a long time and suddenly kind of came back to it because of the Covid-19 and because of the online experience of prayer that they had. Some lovely testaments to what happened this year as regards people's faith and maybe in the middle of worry and a feeling of isolation and desolation that they actually found something very precious that they're holding onto. That's definitely happened for people and there have being a few that weren't people of faith that joined us and have discovered something, so that's lovely to hear as well."
"Everyone knew him as Gaga. That's what he known as by everybody. He was a force of nature first of all. He loved to upset your day, that was one of his main objectives he had when he came to visit you. I didn't get to know him properly until we went to South America. I had being out there for a year and he came out the following year. That's when we spent time together for the first time. It was the beginning of a very strong friendship. We both played a bit of music. He was a genius on the wind instruments. He could play anything. He could play Peruvian stuff after listening to it for about 20 seconds. I couldn't get over it, and not only that but he could play it in whatever key they were playing in. We had some great evenings playing music in South America. Going off together and visiting different parts of it. He was a man of the people, without a doubt. He was hugely intelligent."
"Sometimes you know exactly what you want to say and other times you're looking at the readings and my question is what is God saying to the people of Burtonport today? That's my first question when I'm reading the readings and sometimes I get nothing. Sometimes I'm looking at the readings and I'm looking and I just cannot see what is the message that is for the people that I would be speaking to today. I'm very conscious of the fact, it's not what Pat Ward thinks, it's what God wants to say through me. That's what a sermon is. It has to be based on the scriptures. You're trying to use it as a modern language and maybe give people a thought for the day."
"I think all the songs I write anyway Tony are all stories. Most of them are about things that's happened to me, or things thats happened to the family or about the family. And obviously I've written quite a few songs for Al about how I feel about him."
"It's a song I never ever meant to record. I had written a song, it took me many years after I lossed my mum, to be able to put on paper exactly how I was feeling because I was devastated. I had recorded it at home and put it away in a drawer and Al heard it. And he said to me one day 'you know you've got to get that song out there and let people hear it. So many people are feeling exactly the same way that you are'. So I decided to go into studio, record it and boy am I glad because it was no 2 for I don't how many weeks over in New Zealand & Australia. The only person that beat me over there was Michael Jackson when he died! He out done me! It was a huge hit as well in Ireland. It was amazing. It helped me a lot to know that so many other people were getting something from the song."
"Everytime you used to go into Al's mum and dad's house, his mum would always be sitting on her chair at the fire, always a big welcome when we went in. He said to me one day. I miss going in. Seeing my mum's chair empty; I wish I could put it in, in a song. I wish I could write down how I'm feeling. And he went away out and had a walk with the dogs. And I was baking, I was actually making scones. I took off the pinny, lifted the guitar and by the time he got back I had the song written. And i said is that anything like what you were meaning, he said it's exactly how I was feeling. That was written for Al's mum."
"Well it's a gift Tony, I don't think that I'm anything really special to be honest, its a gift thats being given to me by the man above and I hope that I have used it in the right way."
"I met my old accordion man when I was 8 years old and my parents were farming people, dairy people. And once a month there would be a dance in the local hall, the local village hall. And mum and dad used to go to it every month when it was there. And i kept saying to them, I want to go, i want to go, as I said I was 8 years old. This time they relented and they said ok you can come along with us tonight. And when I walked into the hall, I looked up on the stage and here was this man sitting with the accordion and all his band around him and I looked up at my dad and I said I want to do that some day. That was the first meeting I had with Jimmy Shand senior. That's who the song was written for. And when he was very ill, his son phoned and said he was ill, and I said I've written this song for your dad, can I send it to you, and I sent it up just on a cassette. A couple of days later Jimmy Jnr phoned and said that they had got the tape with the song on it and I said and what did the old man think of it. He said he absolutley loved it. That he was so ill with pneumonia, he said he couldn't say very much but he said the tears were streaming down his face, and he said he absolutley loves it. The old accordion man was written for the wonderful Jimmy Shand."
"I'm into photography, I'm very much into photography. This all happened because of lockdown. I started doing wee bits and pieces of jewerlry and people were interested in it but my real passion after in music is photography."
"I feel very much at home there, I always think it's part of Scotland to be honest. I always feel like I'm going to my second home when I go over there. We love doing the theatre in letterkenny. We love Ireland to be honest, the papers here when there was any big stories about Isla Grant in them, there was a double page in one of the main papers over here and they had it up as the 'Emerald Isla' because they know how much I think about Ireland."
"Must be coming up on 300, 350, something like that. I recorded 10 albums and they were all Isla Grant songs. Since then I've actually recorded another 7 albums and the majority of the songs on there were self penned as well."
"It was absolutely horrific, I was off the road for 5 years. I was told I would never ever go back up on stage again by the specialists, so it took 5 years. The song I wrote for people after the car accident, the first song that I opened the shows with was a song I wrote to let them know how i felt and it was called 'A Dream Come True'. so that was my way of saying to them thanks for still being here for me when I come back out again. It's being covered by many many people but a lot of the artists don't know why the song was written. It was written for everyone that was still there for me after the accident."
"I always make the joke that if you can carry your leg in the door but please run back out the door, it's good looking for business. I absolutely love my patients. I've had patients from day 1. They've stood by me. I've seen them flourish and grow, I've seen them go through hard times. Very very tough times. A lot of pain. A lot of commitment to what I'm telling them they need to do. And maybe not getting it right some of the time and we have to go back and try something else."
"I would have worked with a lot of boys in their 20's. There was a lot more boys because of the nature of the diagnosis, that there's a lot of males diagnosed than girls, due to the presentation. I would always said to the boys there, that, that autism, that diagonis, that's only 1 slice of their pizza, they're still a whole another person. Its just one slice of the pizza. and that's it. We all have our own differences. We all have our own little quicky ways. And we don't actually all need labels. So that would be my take on it."
"I knew I liked running when I made up a story for the GAA coach that I had a test or something for whatever course I was in at the time and that I couldn't come to training but really I was away off running, I think the northwest 10k, so that was it then, I stopped the Gaelic."
"More quotes from Helen McCready to follow soon!"
"In the Pro tour now, in the PDC, if you win one round, you win 500 quid, over a weekend if you can win 3 rounds, that's like a month's wage for a lot of people. It's very lucrative in that sense because when I first started in 2007, I think if you won your first round, I think you won 50 quid or something like that or 75 quid it might have being. Massive difference to how it is now."
"It all came about as a bit of a joke. In 1995/96, I had to go to hospital to have my pancreas taken out because I had tumours all over it and I was blacking out all the time and I was really poorly. So I became diabetic. At that time there was like one in 50 people was diabetic, it's something like one in three now, it's a lot more common these days. But because I had my pancreas removed, the pancreas creates insulin, it's a hormone in your body, it creates insulin which when you eat it sort of breaks it all down. So now obviously with no pancreas for the last 25 years I have to inject insulin. So it's what I class as a jab. How that came about (nickname) I was playing in a tournament, it wasn't a professional event, it was in Inverness in Scotland. I was playing along with a couple of lads who I travelled up with, all sort of decent county level players at that time. It was the best of 9 and I was 4-0 down, I think it was the last 16 or something like that. My friend from the back out of nowhere just shouted, 'C'mon Jabba, get a grip'. And that was it, I won the match 5-4. It was just that bit of spark, bit of inspiration if you like, it made me laugh and that sort of made me relax, and when you relax you play your best stuff. It was literally from then."
"I think the 18 months is a like an estimate really, probably a bit younger. I was in a pushchair. I was out with my uncle, just talking me out, walk round the park or whatever. I just started screaming. Obviously I don't remember it, I was only little. My eye was all swollen and went all red around the area and things like that. I had to go to the doctors, emergency doctors who sent me to the hospital and they discovered I'd being stung in the eye by a bee, in the eyeball. It's a case of wrong place at wrong time. The thing was if it was a wasp I think the damage wouldn't have been so bad because a wasp will sting and carry on but when a bee stings yous the sting actually breaks off and that was the problem, so I had the sting in my eyeball and thats what caused the damage."
"When I made my first World Championship the press thought it was unbelievable. 'Cycloptic, and this that and the other, it's incredible, he can't even see' it's on my right hand side. Being right handed, I'm left eye dominant because I have to be. So I don't see my darts as I've thrown it, it's all muscle memory really more than anything. But they were making a big deal of it and I always thought you know it's no big deal to me because I've never known any different. If I was a Pro dart player and I was earning a good living and all of a sudden I lost the sight in my eye and I had to start again, yea I get that. That'd be a big story. Maybe I'm just too modest I don't know? But the fact that I've never known any different, it doesn't change anything really, it's not a big deal as such."
"I wrote a book, we released it in 2013, called 'The Way Eye See The Game', but 'I' being 'eye' because of my sight in my eye. I'd being a Pro dart for only 5 years and I thought I've not got enough content to really put into like an autobiography or anything like that. So what we decided was I'd write about how it's being for me, my problems with the pancreas, the tumours and things like that and use it as more of an inspirational account. Basically if someone's got any adversity and they want to achieve something, there's no reason why you still can't do that. No matter when all the odds are stacked against you. If that can make one person turn his life around or her life around, and go and achieve something, because they've taken inspiration from that book, then that's done it's job."
"When Gary is actually at his best, I would probably put him against any other player ever at their best. Including Taylor, Van Gerwen, Barneveld. All of them. Over the years when everyone's at their best it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see Gary beat them all."
"Eric was my hero as a kid. He was marmite, you either loved or hated him. He had so much arrogance and swagger. I think you need that. There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance and a lot of the time he overstepped that line but he didn't care. He'd walk into a venue, he'd look round and then say to all the other players 'I don't even know why you're here, because I'm winning this'. and that's before a dart's been thrown, that's before he even put his flight in! and sure 9 times out of 10 he'd win it. He just knew, he knew how to put people off without overstepping the mark, without cheating if you like. He put doubt into their head before they even started to play and he was a master at it and he was brilliant and I loved him. I always say this when people ask about my career and bits and bobs, what's the best thing you've achieved!? And I always refer to this. Eric was my hero when I was a kid, and if you'd have told me when I was a kid that my hero would become one of my best friends, I could pick the phone up at anytime of the day, if I had any problem with personal stuff or the game itself and ring somebody, and that be that man that was my hero, I think that sort of justifies my career."
"16 times World Champ, 16 times Matchplay Champ, he's probably won 80 televised ranking events, major tournaments. He's probably won a thousand or more tournaments over the world. Still busy doing exhibitions. I think there's a place for him in the sport if he wants to return. I can't say enough about him. Everybody has their own opinions on him. Everybody has their own discussions about him, but my god, what a player, what a player! Around 2010, I'd say sort of 10 years ago, he was at his absolute pomp then, he was at his best. I remember I played him in a final, one of the pro tour finals, it was uk open qualifier North West or something like that. I think this was about 2011 maybe and he was just unstoppable. He beat me 6-0, I had 1 dart at the bull. Phil's average was 128.0. My average was 107.0."
"I fell victim to a very violent bully at school. In secondary school, and for 6 years I was at the mercy of that bully on a daily basis. It was a very tough place to be. I didn't have the skillset, starting out at 14, and finishing at 17. I didn't have the skill set really to deal with it. I was probably green behind the ears. I certainly wasn't streetwise. The effects of a bully of a daily basis were tragic for me. They were physical and mental torture. I walked out of the school at 17/18, and I lost an education. I didn't have any qualifications in life and it was a really tough place. The road for me was quite dark. I suppose today when I look back with the skill set that I have today, I was definitely struggling with a mental depression, very much a youthful depression. It was quite torturous because I didn't tell anybody what was happening. I didn't have the courage to speak out about what was happening and I sucked it up every day. I didn't tell anybody at home what was going on. In fairness its probably my biggest regret that I didn't have the courage to say help! It's something I really encourage young and old today because bullying comes in so many different forms."
"It was only whenever I got the opportunity through my expeditions on a big silent mountain that my mind was screaming and the demons in my life, the skeletons that were in my closet were my limitations and were really holding me back. I was privileged through the expeditions not only to grow as an athlete but to grow as a human being. Having an opportunity to find peace and to find silence and to check in with yourself as a human being is a special thing. To a lot of listeners they'll be scratching their head wondering what that means. It's a simple exercise where you find time in your day or your week just for that 1 hour, whether you go for a walk. Rather than to listen to music on your headphones, just check in and listen to yourself. Ask yourself the question, Jason, am I on the right road, am I doing the right things, am I comfortable in life or do I need to change direction. Do I need to adjust my occupation. Do I need I adjust my health. Do I need to adjust my weight. Do I need to adjust my mindset, really important things."
"Sadly with Covid-19 at the minute, it does create that negative spin on life. It depends what way we see the world and what pair of glasses we put on. I choose to put on, not rose tinted glasses, but I choose to put on a set of positive glasses. I look to see the best in everybody. There's a line that I keep reminding myself of which is to measure the gains in life and not to measure the gaps. And I really like to measure people's gains in life. Rather than to look at people's gaps and what they haven't achieved, it's to celebrate what we've achieved as human beings and everybody has their own level of success and nobody's any better than anybody else and we should have the courage to celebrate everybody's success, because in that person's life their level of success is monumental, whereas my level of success is at a different level, to me personally, but across the line its got the same level of respect, and we should all celebrate that at the one level. Nobody's better than anybody else."
"People always ask me the question, god Jason you're always on expeditions, you're always taking on this challenge or that challenge. For me the greatest version of Jason Black exists in that world because mother nature was my salvation."
"In 2013 I was successful on Mount Everest. It took me 8 years to prepare for it. Travelling throughout the world on high mountains, preparing myself for it. In particular on Everest, I spent quite a few years going through the ice fields, climbing up to camp 1, camp 2, camp 3. Just learning how to climb and what it took to survive. I chose not to climb through Nepal, I choose to climb through the North side through Tibet. I spent 2 and a half months climbing through Tibet, through China, to the summit of Mount Everest and standing there on the 19th May 2013, the pride that I felt in my body was just incredible. It wasn't even the pride I was standing on the greatest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, the tallest. But It was the fact that I had survived life. When I stood there, the success was overcoming the bully, the success was overcoming the death of my Mum, the success was overcoming the death of my brother, the success was silencing the dream stealers and the success was fulfilling my own dream in life and being able to do it with the pride, respect and empathy and courtesy and courage that my parents had instilled in me as a human being growing up. It was so powerful."
"To be successful on K2, the most dangerous mountain in the world and to be now one of the few 320 in the world to be there. It's not a chest beating experience, I'm not any better than anybody else, you don't ever conquer any of these things. You're given the permission to survive them. For me I was given permission to get in, summit and survive and to tell the story. It's a very humbling feeling to survive a mountain of that magnitude and it's only when you're there, then you see the crazy altitude that you're climbing at. Because you must remember, all the aeroplanes that are globally flying throughout the world are all beneath you. And when you're standing on the summit of a great mountain like Mount Everest or K2, the world is a round ball and you're looking down on the world. That's the physical impression a mountain like that leaves on you but It's terrifying at the same time because they have claimed so many lives down through the years. One in three die on K2. It's one of the biggest killers in the world. I reflect on that a lot. I do think that the success of why I survived K2 was down to the apprenticeship of life."
"I set two records on the mountains, one in Kilimanjaro in 2014, where the first human to double ascend the mountain from both directions, from the Western breach which hadn't being climbed in a long number of years. I climbed through the volcano that happened on Kilimanjaro through the crater rim and up onto to the summit and I dropped down on the eastern side and I turned around and went back to the summit. 22 hours to climb Kilimanjaro twice, the highest mountain on the African continent. One of the seven summits. Such a privilege for a Letterkenny man, Donegal man, an Irishman to hold that record and still is there today. Then I went back in 2015 to South America, and climbed Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America. One of the highest mountains in the continent, as one of the seven summits. I hold the world record on doing the traverse, going from one side, from Argentinean base camp through the summit and to the other camp on the far side. I climbed through a storm that most mountaineers on the mountain didn't think was possible."
"You must remember, I've had more non successes than I've had successes, but the non successfull summits or finish lines in races have prepared me well. Having the courage to look at what I did wrong in life and how can I improve has probably being fundamentally the cornerstone of allowing me to be successful."
"My greatest success today Tony is not what I've achieved. My greatest success today is to stand in the classrooms throughout the world in front of young kids, the same classroom that I was bullied in and to stand there with a conviction and an honest human story that while life can be challenging it also can be so embracing and it's a playground for success. It allows you to be the most incredible person if you choose to be that. The world has a glass ceiling, there is no obstacle once you remove yourself as being the obstacle. Its formidable and as a human being success is in our hands. Inspiration is a word that doesnt sit well with me. I'm more comfortable with the word 'empower' people. I want to really empower people to have goals dreams and aspirations and to really go after life. If we believe that life only gives us one go at this thing, well let's really embrace it, let's really make it a successful life."
"I've had over 250 amateur fights with probably no more than 15 losses. I've had an unbelievable career now I have to say as an amateur. See every single one of those losses, I can remember them very very very clearly, because with every single loss that I've had I have learnt so much from it. It has created and moulded me into the person that I am now today and it has pushed me on in my career and in my life, every single one of those defeats."
"2 or 3 memories stick out in my mind.. First of all, fighting on Canelo Lara undercard. The MGM Grand Las Vegas, like thats your pro debut. I don't think there's many boxers out that can ever say that's where they made their pro debut!"
"I've been offered the fight, to fight Canelo. I have accepted. There's obviously 2 or 3 other opponents there as well. There was I think 6 shortlisted opponents for that fight, i think that was down to about 2 or 3, and I was one of those 2 or 3. That's all well and good but over the last week or two Canelo has run into problems with Dazn, the guys that have the boxing app now with all the major pay per view fights over financial difficulties because of covid and everything like that. So it's Canelo now and Dazn that are going back and forward. There's not even a mention of the opponent yet. We're looking for Canelo to sort out his differences with Dazn, get things squared away there and hopefully then they'll be back on track with possibly a late September or early October fight and possibly it could be myself against Canelo Alvarez."
"Better man won on the night and that was Tureano Johnson. In terms of performance wise there's so much more in me. Not that things weren't right but I just wasn't settled in Sheffield. Everything was Dominic Ingle and stuff like that. Dominic's a great coach, great person, got on the best with him. It didn't just gel right for me and him boxing wise. Relationship wise, everything that was 100 percent. I had to make a move and I did make that move. I have to say now I'm absolutley delighted and really enjoying boxing again, really enjoying everything that I'm doing again, going to training, learning off Andy, it's being a breath of fresh air with my new move. Especially closer to home in Ireland here as well, training in Dublin now with Andy all the time."
"I'd lost in the first round at the Crucible for the 4 years previous or 5 years previous. I'd never won a match at the crucible. That year that I was there (86), I was there as a top 16 seed. I'd got into the top 16. So i was waiting for a qualifier rather than qualifying and playing one of the top seeds."
"A bit like fate really, I'd never beaten Dennis Taylor. When Mike Hallett beat him, I always had good results against Mike Hallett so it was really fortunate for me that Dennis went out. No disrespect to Dennis because I love him to bits, but I was pleased he went out because he'd always beaten me."
"Not a lot of people know that I'd never played Steve Davis as a professional. I'd being a professional six years and never played him but we played money matches as amateurs. He'd come up to Leeds to play a money match at northern snooker centre with me and I beat him quite comfortably and then he made a return visit and I beat him quite comfortably again. So the last 2 times that I played Steve Davis I beat him quite comfortably. So he didn't hold the same fate for me that he held for other players and I'm sure he had that in his mind that the last time we played I'd beaten him, it does make a difference that."
"What comes to mind is that special 69 break by Alex Higgins, when he played Jimmy in 82 I think it was. Alex produced a break that is still unbelievable down to this day, probably one of the best breaks I've ever seen and that denied Jimmy White from getting to the final where he would have played Ray Reardon. I'm not saying that he would defintely have beaten Ray Reardon cause he was a great player, he was a really great player Ray, but he would have had a chance of beating Ray Reardon. Had he beaten Ray and won the world championship, then he may have won four of five. Who knows!"
"I always thought Stephen Hendry was a little bit more consistent if you like and a bit more ruthless. There's no doubting Ronnie's ability, he's right up there, he's probably the best player that's ever lived in talent. But I always thought Stephen Hendry was a little bit above him in match play."
"It's being a part of my life from when I was a child, I enjoyed every bit of it. Now there was a few days along the way wasn't enjoyable, we lost a good few as well but the winning made up for those bad days. I've being very lucky, very honoured and the fact that my whole family, I've 5 boys, and they all played the game, even brought more joy."
"When my Mum was expecting me, they went up to Dublin and she went into a hospital for a couple of days. I was born in Dublin, but I was only there for a couple of days. I was rushed back down the road and I've lived in Armagh ever since. A few friends in Dublin claimed that I'm a Dub but no, I'm South Armagh born and bred, and always will be."
"The batch of young boys that came though from Mosney to the U21's, they were just growing and growing. When I came in, in '93, they weren't ready. A few more players came in '94, '95. A few players left, all of a sudden we had 12 U21's where the backbone of this team, the McEntees, Francis Bellew, Oisin McConville. The old senior head that time was Jim McConville. We had a very young team with a few older heads which was great, there was a good mix, but they didn't believe the first few years, while we won U21's, the seniors was tough. Mullaghbawn was a good side led by Kieran McGeeney, the McNultys. They beat us in '95 and that was a very sore one. And to make it even sorer they went on and won an Ulster title, something we never done. So that hurt. I'm a great believer when you're hurting from a loss, that if it still hurts the following year, there's more in you. And certainty we found more in our boys and we beat Mulllaghbawn in a fairly tough championship match, and we scored 6 or 7 points without reply and won by 4 and I said now we're on our way, they learned how to win. And they learned how to win the hard way, tough games. From then on, they just kept improving."
"I had an old saying for the boys, you play safe, you lose. Manchester United never played safe (under Fergie) and neither did we in Crossmaglen or for those few years I was with Armagh. We knew that if we finished strong every day, that's when games are win and loss. The team that plays safe and is in front. They take their foot off the pedal and they allow you to get the momentum. When you get on top and you start pounding teams, they're waiting for it to happen and when they're waiting for it, why not do it."
"They went out and they played unbelievable the second half. Last 12 minutes, no score. It was the longest 12 minutes of my life. For nobody to score it showed the intensity of the game. There again I talked about Barry Duffy, John Donaldson, Tony McEntee came on. Tony was playing the first round of the championship, broke his ankle, and didn't appear since. And there we took him on with 10, 15 minutes to go. He touched the ball 6 times. His toe, his hand and he passed it to an Armagh man everytime. The difference in that last 12 minutes to have somebody with that composure, that ability to make the right decision at the right time. All those wee things help. We got there in the end anyway, thank God."
"One of things I loved doing was talking to other managers, taking in other managers in, I had Sean Boylan in. Sean Boylan was unbelievable. I took him up to Cross one night and he said 'what do you want me to do? I said do whatever you want to do. It was a November, wet dirty night. And when the boys see Sean Boylan they were 10 foot tall. He said play a bit of football, work away, So the boys played under Sean for about 20 minutes and they knocked the pan out of each other. I mean they were men going for balls as if it was the last one. They wanted to impress Sean Boylan. One of our players took a bit of a knock, and he let a roar out. Cathal Short, a good player, good forward we had. And sure we all ran over to see, didn't know how bad it was. Sean went over, looked at him and said he's dead on Joe. He said give me a lift, so I lifted Cathals shoulders, Sean lifted his legs, and we put him sitting beside the goal posts at the top goals. And Sean said come with me boys, and he took everybody else down to the bottom goals, and when I'm going down the field I'm thinking, what if Cathal is bad here, what do we do!? Sean says here boys that lads ok, he'll be fine, it's just a bruised shin, he'll be ok, but if he is injured, he's no good to you, hes gone, get a sub on and get on with the game. 3 months later we played in the All Ireland club final against Na Fianna, Jim McConville was running riot, scored three points in the first 20 minutes and turned and broke his ankle, carried Jim off. We scored 4 points without reply the last 7 or 8 minutes, Na Fianna never scored. We got on with the game. We learned so much that night from an incident that could have cost us. They thought we were gone, that we lost our best forward and we were going to struggle, except we got on with the game. Wee things like that you pick up from different managers."
"I asked Micko one time, what way do you want your players the day of matches. He said 'Joe have them fresh, ease back the week of the match. Ten days. Ease back on everything. The training , the amount of time you play football so they're not going home tired. You play a match on a Wednesday night and the boys are mad to play and play on. You play a half hour and then they want to play another 10 minutes. I used to cut it short. Ah no, no I want more. Then they'd go home, they weren't tired. They didn't feel injured, they woke up, they were fresh and they were chomping at the bit. That came from Micko. I enjoyed taking people in, I learned so much, I loved watching my players reaction to these people who'd won everything, it worked both ways."
"Somebody said to me, you should have won more, and John McEntee who's a very level headed fella, you know he said maybe sometimes we should stop thinking what we should have and be thankful for what we have."
"Stephen McDonnell who was probably one of the best poachers I've ever seen in the game. Stevie was scoring goals and I heard a wee rumour that some of his brothers were maybe putting a few pound of him to score a goal. And Stevie used to run in behind, and then he wasn't winning enough ball because he wasn't showing for it. So one night in training we closed down the pitch to play inside the 50 across the pitch, so it meant we had 30 players on top of each other. But it was about catching the ball. I never said what I wanted. But I sort of put Stevie under a bit of pressure. Steven McDonnell was the best catcher of a ball in that situation. And from then on Stevie stopped hiding behind the man looking for the handy ball. For a wee skinny light fella, he had a pair of vice grips in his hands. And from that day on Stevie McDonnell showed, and caught the ball and he done it for years, unbelievable."
"Sometimes you need a wee bit of luck on the day. I'll never forget, i think we were 9 points down at half time after withstanding a fair auld barage from Dublin. And after half time, we won a ball. Sean Devlin took a shot, hit the foot of the post, which would have made it 6 points. And they went down the field and scored a goal immediately which made it 12 points. The game was over. Whether they backed off or what and we scored the two goals. And we missed the penalty, but we were beaten by a better side on the day, but did we learn anything, yea we did."
"Years ago I was a sales rep, for manys a year and then I felt I needed to work for myself. I set up an insurance business here in the mid 80's, and then I set up the estate agency, so my son Stephen took over the insurance business and the mortgage business, Aaron took over the estate agency and my youngest son, me and him set up a software company. We had an office in Dundalk and Newry and also in India. A lot of the staff come from India, they're geniuses out there. It makes it more affordable. One of our clients would be the likes of Boylesports, we do a lot for them. And Statsports, we deal with a few multi national companies. So we've come a long way. I never thought I'd be dealing in software. But my knowledge wouldn't be the best. It's my youngest Ross, he's the brains behind the whole lot and he runs it. So that's what I'm doing at the moment, helping him open new accounts etc. Part time retried and still doing a wee bit but enjoying it."
"I'm very lucky I've 5 sons, there's 4 of them living within 2 miles of me. And we have 12 grandchildren. And my 5th son Paul, he got injured against St Galls in the Ulster club in casement about 8 years ago and dislocated his shoulder, and he dislocated it 3 more times and he had to have an operation and he said that he couldn't stay at home and watch the boys playing. So he went to Australia for a year, so I knew where that was heading and he's still in Australia. They have a son there, they live in Melbourne. We were out not last Christmas, the Christmas before, we went out for a month and stayed with him and his girlfriend. He's there for good. We hope to get out again. I had him helping me when we were out in the international rules, when I was manager of the international rules, he did my runner in Australia, it was great to have them there. It's sad that he's not here on certain days but that's his life out there, the other 4 boys here, it's great having the family beside us, we're blessed."
"I think football has advanced so much over the last 10 years in particular that the days of giantkilling is nearly gone. Because the level of professionalism that has being brought to the game as regards the training, the diet, the mental preparation, all that, that has taken any level of back in the day when you had a underdog, maybe another team wasn't up for it, they could raise the game. Everything else was so mixed match because you'd have a guy going out one day, he'd be firing another day he wouldn't. Whereas I think now the game is so analytical that the days of some guy having a super big game are nearly gone. It's all about the process, it's all about the system, it's all about the structure."
"One of Jim's greatest traits; he's very analytic, he's very organised and he's very structured as we've seen from the success we had with Donegal. But his motivational side of the equation is immense. He's a phenomenal guy to motivate groups and from that perspective him coming into any situation is definitely going to have a positive effect."
"It was amazing. It was a surreal experience. We'd never gotten to a final in my lifetime. We kind of came out of the blew, we were in division 2 that year and nothing was expected from us, we were a very, very young side, it was probably the highlight of my sporting career as such. I think any player will tell you that bringing their club championship back to their home town is a special feeling but it's even more special when we'd never won it before, it was the first time. Thankfully it happened in 2005 and not 2020. Because I can assure you that the social distancing in Glenties wasn't to be heard of for at least 3 months after that, great occasion, great time."
"The amount of work that had went on for 20 years without any success by really good club members in Glenties is now starting to reap the rewards of that. And then success breeds success. Players want to play, it's a small rural community, there's not a hell of a lot of things going on, there's no huge draw to anything else, the club's successfull, and it's a very very good club so people are drawn to it. All young lads and girls up there wanna play, they wanna play for the club and there's huge pride in the parish for the club itself so there's a lot of things feeding into the mix."
"You look at the talent that we had, we had Tony Blake in goals, the likes of Damien Diver, Raymond Sweeney, Kevin Cassidy was coming through, Niall McCready, Paul McGonigle. Your forward line was exceptional. A forward line of Christy Toye, Michael Hegarty, Brian Roper, Brendan Devenney and Adrian Sweeney was exceptional in any generation. There was a reputation then that the team didn't take it seriously enough, the other thing is our ambition wasn't set high enough. We didn't have somebody laying out the road map, laying out the plan. Again that was no fault of anybody, that was just the way things were back then. Armagh and Tyrone were probably a couple of years ahead of everybody else in the way that they brought this organisation to the game. Whereas we went out and played every Sunday and we went at it and we gave it everything and then the system beat us or the structure beat us. But I wouldn't swap it for anything. We had great times, we had some phenomenal days out. Do we have any silverware? No. But we have a lot of good memories."
"In 2018 I definitely sensed a bit of a lull, maybe the fact that we were playing Dublin, and most people didn't really give us a chance, within ourselves; maybe we felt the same, so the build up to it, it wasn't as mad as it normally had been, through the noughties for instance. But we were definitely up to full scale again this year. I could sense that there was a serious buzz about the place, all the town's throughout the whole county had their bunting up. Everybody was just mad for it this year. I think possibly we felt that we could do it. Before the match nobody could have predicted the way the two teams had set out and played through their own selective side of the championship. But I think if anybody said, I'll definitely tell you, Tyrone will win or Mayo will win, I think were just lying because there's no way we could have separated the two teams."
"There's so many fine lines there as well Tony like, if you think about Donegal, penalty, Michael Murphy got sent off, so easily we could've got beaten, so easily. Same thing against Monaghan, we done well in the first half, 5 or 6 points up, second half we were very very lucky to hang in and stay there. And the same thing against Kerry. There were situations were Kerry naively seemed to think well we'll get a score here eventually, but that's not how it works. If they had of took their scores we weren't there either. So there was very very fine lines all year, you do need that wee bit of luck."
"When I think about the likes of Art McRory, a man that dedicated his life to Tyrone, he was absolutley unbelievable. Man way ahead of his time when it came to setting teams up, Getting the training, getting different systems going and stuff, he was ahead of his time. Him and Brian McEniff would be good friends there. The two boys would have worked together and you can see where the success of both teams came from. The guys knew themselves what they were doing. Art had a great relationship with everybody. Do you know this sort of player/manager relationship, Art McRory had the best relationship. There was not one player in a Tyrone team or an Ulster team that he was involved in or at schools, again he was loved at his schools. Art would have been a big basketball man, won numerous titles with schools with basketball, football. It was the love of him and his concern and his relationships that he could build up with players, so that was the key for Art. Art was a great motivator."
"On the game, I know for a fact that, Art had us, again he talked about how he felt that Kerry were naive, they probably think all they have to do is come and win this match. We knew ourselves that we could have beat Kerry. We thought in our own selves we were good enough to beat them. They were starting to fail, they were getting older these lads, they were coming near the end, we had a big big chance to beat them, and we covered every blade of glass that we needed to do so to get into that game and to win the game but unfortunately one thing that we didn't talk about and possibly now in hindsight if we had have maybe thought about it might have changed things, the fact that we went 6 or 7 points up, something we never sort of chatted about, we probably found ourselves in that position, unfortunately we let it slip, missed the penalty, didn't miss the penalty but we didn't get a goal from the penalty, put it that way. Unfortunately for myself I ended up cracking a bone in my leg that day, Eugene McKenna ruptured his achilles tendon, and we at that stage just didn't have a full panel like you talk about nowadays. The likes of Sean McNally for instance was our best forward on the day that day, and Art actually had to pull him back and cover my position once I went off. So you're really taking 3 players out of key positions there. So all them things happened and obviously Kerry got back into it and the experience of winning, I think they were going for 3 in a row that year, the experience of winning All Ireland's prior to that stood to them and take nothing away from them, they were an amazing team of classy classy players. The likes of Spillane and O'Sé and Bomber Liston and Ger Power, all them household names, but we did feel we could have beat them you know, it was disappointing."
"Paídí was deadly, a brilliantly defender. There's always a great clip in that match, if you ever watch it again. Paudge Quinn got a goal that day ('86 All Ireland Final) I remember actually going to the funeral of Paídí's, and who was along with me only myself and Damien O'Hagan and Paudge Quinn, Eugene McKenna. And we're sitting listening to the eulogy, and he said that 'this man has never got a goal scored against him in the All Ireland Final', and we're looking across at Paudge and thinking, you got anything to say about this Paudge. Paudge scored a goal that day and if you see it again, Paídí sort of stepped out to try and cover the goals, and he gave Paudge that wee space just to get the goal. 15, 20 mins later a very similar thing happened and Paídí was on Paudge, and I think it was Mickey McClure going through with the ball, and if Paídí had of done the same in the first incidence all Mickey had to do was flick it across to Paudge and it was in the net again but he steps out and then he steps back in again, he was thinking about doing it but he stepped back in. To me it just showed a man learning by his mistakes literally on the day. He knew himself not to step out."
"It was nice to get a personal award going through the exploits of the year. But I would easily swap it for a celtic cross. Listen it's lovely to get it. Especially nowadays in later years, like you just said, you refer to someone as being an All Star, it's nice to hear. I got myself to a level at that time and unfortunately we just couldn't maintain a lot of it but at least I got myself there. I remember getting it at the time. It didn't really effect me that time. Look I was dissapointed we lost the All Ireland when we knew we could have won it."
"There are so many reasons, but if you had to pin one, me personally, others will have different views, I think the moment that we failed to secure the resigning of Fraser Forster started a potential rot in the team. Because Fraser Forster is a fantastic goalkeeper. He's sitting wasted on the bench down in Southampton, when he was playing up in Scotland he was imperious. In fact he won last season's league cup on his own against Rangers. I'm a great believer that you have to build from the back. Fraser Forster great shot stopper, organised the back 4 well, and we didn't lose that many goals. If you look at what happened to Celtic, we scored a lot of goals this season but my god we lost a lot of goals this season. It was as if panic would set in everytime a ball was crossed into the box, from set pieces, free kicks, corners, we lost so many goals at vital moments. It didn't mean that we lost that many games but it meant we drew too many games. And that's 2 points dropped continuously."
"It was a fantastic run to Seville, just the result wasn't for us, There's a DVD out there, 'The Bhoys From Seville' I've still never watched it, I can't watch that final at all. So heartbreaking, we played so well. Henrik Larsson scored two goals and still lost a major final. I was right behind the goals when bobo made that tackle (sent off in extra time) rush of blood, he was a committed player, these things are on a fine line. We did our best, it was so close but it wasn't to be. I think anybody who was on that run to Seville will have fantastic memories of the Celtic side and anybody who was in Seville, over a hundred thousand of us left Scotland, the largest air lift in peace time since the war, will always remember the fantastic way in which the Celtic fans conducted themselves. People of Seville welcomed us with open arms. We enjoyed ourselves in their city. We treated it with respect. We showed that Celtic fans are welcomed anywhere. Other clubs perhaps across the city might want to learn some lessons from that."
"I know we voted Jimmy Johnstone the greatest ever celt, what a genius that man was, but for me Daniel Fergus McGrain is the greatest football player that's ever played for Celtic. Through so many hardships, diabetes, ankle injury, he was a truly world class fullback on the left or right."
"He must have amazing shoulders because he carried the club for many many years when I watching them in the late eighties and nineties. He had sublime passing ability, he had the tenacity to do the tackles, determination and he loved Celtic. There was times when we truly atrocious and the only quality we had was Paul McStay. He was a shining light in those dark days. I was so glad they endured some success with us. You talk about players being Celtic legends, you can talk about loads of players being Celtic legends but there's only a few that really are and Paul McStay is one of those."
"The man had it all. He had the ability to be what you would now define as being the No 10. But for me he's one of the greatest strikers footballs ever seen. Scoring goals for Scotland, scoring goals for Celtic, for Liverpool, 102 caps for Scotland. A man who again gave loyalty to Celtic, he could have left a year earlier but he decided to stay when Jock Stein was recovering from his car accident. So again, a wonderful player and somebody that can link with the midfield. It's all very well having great natural goal scorers but you want to build a team."
"A truly immense striker. I was at his first game at Easter Road, when he came on and he passed the ball to Chic Charnley who scored and we got beat 2-1. Everybody thought who's this player we've bought, he made us eat our words. The joy that that man gave us and the goals that he scored. A goal machine but again a man that could link up with the play. He could take on a defence by himself but he linked up well with all the partners that he had, Chris Sutton, John Hartson, this was a man that could play in any team and he proved it. When players leave Parkhead, you say ah well that's the end of them, they won't win other things, greater success. This is a man that went on with Man United & Barcelona, won the champions league."
"The thing about the book is it's about 17 gangsters that have Irish American roots, what I wanted to do was not just tell their story but to actually try and identify what made them into the individuals they were."
"I've got 4 boys, 2 of whom are on the autism spectrum. I spend a lot of time , well you have to, fighting for the resources for them because they are so little available. In that fight I've learned a lot of stuff, so what I've tried to do is share it as much as possible. I have a website called autismdad.ie where I blog and try and share just insights of what works for our boys, what doesn't, so people can actually share it. There's a Facebook page autismdad, and there's also a twitter account autismdad where I just try and share and build a community where mums and dads of children on the autism spectrum and in fact adults who are autistic can share knowledge, can learn, can moan, can rant and can fight for the services that our children deserve."
"I think Mayo can have no complaints, I suppose I'm saying that with my, if you like analysis hat on. Obviously it's heartbreaking. I'd be heartbreaking particularly for the supporters, because I know there was 4 or 5 or 6 players maybe that have played in numerous All Ireland's but for most of those lads, some of them it would be their first, some of them just their second, but for the supporters, I suppose they've had 11 times marching out down Jones' road after the match having been defeated. The best supporters in the country we'd like to claim and I think Mayo have justified that tag over the years but it was a huge disappointment."
"The longer it goes, the more difficult it becomes. Because if Mayo had won any one of those, '89 was close, '96 was probably the closest of the lot when it went to a replay and we were 6 points up with 15 minutes to go against Meath, and I've no doubt if that one was won or if any of them there, '89 or '96 were won, Mayo would have won a second one, because I know from my own experience in Galway, we wouldn't have won 2001 if we hadn't won in '98. In other words the mindset in a player, having been successful, means that if you get back to that stage again you always have a great chance because you know what it is to be successful, you know that you've been through the mill."
"I was retired from inter county football at 23 years of age so I kind of took up coaching my club and in schools and Athy's College, that's where I ended up then in 1983 as manager of the Mayo U21 team and I was only 30 at the time. So I suppose my inter county football career was cut short but my coaching career started early, so we won that All Ireland in '83 and I suppose that launched me then on the managerial side of things, and I went on from there."
"We went ahead over the winter in '88 and the beginning of '89 to kind of lay the plans for using Bill Cogan the psychologist, and effectively to work with the group but also to work with individuals. It was a game changer, there's no doubt it. I think we were probably the first team that used it. Now at the time we had to keep it a secret within the squad, because if the club's and people in Mayo thought we were using psychology, it was kind of thinking outside the box really, people would say you had to bring in people in white coats or that we were gone in the head or something like that, but it really was hugely influential and it brought out the best in players. We had intense meetings during that year which was just as important as the training that we did. Every team uses them now (psychologists). We have Caroline Curran there who's very successful with the Limerick hurlers, she's in with Munster rugby now. She was with Dublin and she was with Tipperary winning All Ireland's. Everyone accepts that it's a huge part of the thing now."
"Mayo hadn't been in an All Ireland since '51, but they also hadn't won the back to back connacht titles since '51 either, so I suppose to win in '88 & '89 and then to go on to the All Ireland, it's just a pity we just couldn't close the deal (losing the '89 All Ireland final to Cork)."
"They were desperate to win a Connacht title and they saw me as somebody who had done that with Mayo. I took the job and I'm thrilled I did because I had 4 very happy years there. It was unbelievable the emotion within the county when they bridged that 67 year gap in 1994. There was memories there that we'll treasure for the rest of our lives really. In winning a Connacht title for Leitrim in that year was the same as Galway or Mayo winning an All Ireland."
"They had won only one Connacht title in '95, I think for 11 years when it was '98, and I always felt that if Leitrim could win a Connacht championship surely Galway was a sleeping giant. Again I didn't go looking for that job, clubs in Galway approached me to see if I'd let my name go forward and I said yes, I ended up with the job. But I remember saying to my wife actually, if I get this job we'll win the All Ireland next year because I knew there was such a lethal talent there. Once I was asked to do it, I jumped at the chance and I suppose the rest was history then you know."
"I remember saying to them at half time, look it, we're within 3 points here and we haven't played at all like, and that was the abiding memory that I have of the half time. We brought the team into the warm up area and just pleaded with them to pull the trigger and show the potential that they had. An amazing thing happened then, it was just the 15 that were playing were in that room but unknown to me the other 15 members of the panel lined up outside the area where we were coming out onto to the field and clapped. For me as manager to see that happening, in that group you'd have people who were dissapointed they hadn't been starting and all the rest of it but they clapped them onto the field, and we literally won the game in 10 minutes after half time because we got 1-4 I think in about 7 minutes. The performances of Ja Fallon and the whole team really, Padraig Joyce's goal, Neil Finnegan, Tomas Mannion, Michael Donnellan, they just kind of took over the thing and we won by 4 points eventually."
"When you get into the management side of things, I would have attended I think every final since '71 since I played in the minors, and you always kind look down on a team if a team was winning in the last few minutes, you look down at the winning bench if you like. I often dreamt of what it'd be like to be in that situation and thankfully that great Galway team gave me that privilege, it was special."
"I didn't actually get back to the dressing room for about an hour with all the emotion that was going on. In fact I missed Mick O'Dwyer who was hugely gracious. Came into the dressing room to congratulate the Galway lads. I missed that, that's the one regret I'd have. The great thing about O'Dwyer is that he was ultra competitive but once the game was over he was so gracious."
"We played poorly against Derry (All Ireland Semi) which mabye was a blessing in disguise, because again we were written off. Meath had beaten Kerry by 15 points. We were written off when we got to the final but to be honest that was the winning of it for us because Sean Boylan would have admitted afterwards that he found it hard to take Meath lads back down after beating Kerry by 15 points who would have won it the previous year, so we came in on the blind side again and won it by a good 9 points. '98 was the elation of bridging the 32 year gap but 2001 was the satisfaction of having won it again. The feeling of with 10 minutes to go when you knew you had it won was some feeling."
"I was privileged to be elected by the people, it's a wonderful honour and you give it everything. I'm glad I went into it but I don't miss it to be honest. Because as the years have gone on, in fact I would say the politics that I left in 2020 was a lot more fragmented would I say and more vicious if you like than the politics I entered in 2007. Mabye that's a reflection of society that we've a divided society or whatever. I'd have huge respect for anybody who would work in politics, whatever party they represent. That's the other thing that you represent your party and you've your policies and so on but you always respect people in other parties and their viewpoints and so on. Sometimes if you like, that kind of togetherness isn't as much in politics, to win in sport you need everyone singing out of the one hymn sheet. I often felt in politics that's never the case. In politics sometimes not only have you to watch the opposition but you have to watch your own team as well. There are differences. Look it, I enjoyed the time, it was full on, but I don't miss it now that I've left."
"I grew up listening to the American Country music more. The Dixie Chicks, Shannai Twain, and moreso to my grandad then would be George Jones, Merle Haggard. I got really into all the real classics, I love that steel guitar sound. All those real authentic original sounds of country music. I think Hank Williams Snr would be someone who I'd really really really admire. I have a Hank Williams vinyl there in my room. And you could take my TV, you could take my PlayStation, all my money but you could never take my Hank Williams vinyl, that's the most valuable possession I have."
"They're both very different in their own senses but I think that the story telling towards them, they're both great songs. They really stand out when in country music which is why they've been so successfull for the respective artists. To cover them as well, you almost hope to do it justice. I'm glad with the feedback that I've gotten and being told that I have done it justice as well in my own way, it's great."
"I'm a very sensitive person with feelings and stuff like that and I would say that's why I connect so well with songs and meaningful songs, and I connect with my fans. The amount of messages I get saying it reminds them of a certain person or it brings them back to a certain place. You know it's really really touching. I think country music is so powerful. Music in general is just so powerful but it just so happens to be country music that really does that with me. Over time and over life experience I hope to touch more people with my songs. It's just going to be a long process and a long journey but I think at the very end, it'll be a lovely thing to look back on."
"The head is the main thing. I know what I wanna do. I'm nowhere near a finished article. I will never ever overlook advice. I'll never ever overlook helping someone. I'm a beginner. Even if I have been on TV, even if I am on tour at the minute I'm still a beginner, I'm still only learning. There's a lot of people out there, there might be pub singers for the last 20 years that know way more about music than me, know more about performing and stuff like that. I'll never overlook that or take that for granted if anybody's to give me advice or to help me out and I'll never forget anybody who does help me out because its so so appreciated. You meet a lot of great great people in music. It's fantastic."
"I went over when I was 12 to one of the summer camps and I won player of the week or whatever it was. I'll never ever forget the feeling of being there. I have the same passion for Liverpool as I do with country music. When you appreciate where you are, everytime I stepped on a stage no matter where that'll be I'm always appreciative of where I am and that was no doubt the same when I first stepped on the pitch over in Liverpool. It's a nostalgic feeling every time I think back on it because its something you never ever forget. Luckily a couple of years later then when I was 16 I went back over and played again. I remember when Firmino had first signed for Liverpool and the segways were out, it was during a pre-season and the senior team were training up behind us, Firmino he came down on the segway just straight into the changing room from the pitch and we are all just standing there in pure awe. It was just so cool to be there. Hopefully if I don't make it in the country music side of things, I'll hopefully be at Anfield someday to lift the Premier League trophy."
"It was such a strange match. I was 15-9 down going into the last session of 9 frames and needed to win 8 of the 9 frames and managed to pull it off and against one of the top players in the world at the time because he was twice Masters Champion. In the top 8 of the world, Paul Hunter. He was playing sublime snooker. I dunno how I came back to be honest, I sort of just dug in there and said don't give it to him easy. Stick with him, stick with him stick with him and eventually it paid off for me but I must say the match even though it was such a great win for me and one of my best ever matches that I've ever played but it was tinged with of course a hint of sadness. I had a tear in my eye watching it the other day, because I hadn't seen the full match, I've seen bits and pieces of it on YouTube but I must say I had a tear in my eye watching it again because poor Paul Hunter, he died only 3 years after that in 2006."
"Going into that World Championship, I hadn't had a good season. I needed to win my first match to stay in the top 16. So there was a big sort of build up just for my first match. My first match against Mark Davies, I just managed to scrape through which was 10-8. I played Steve Davis in the second round who had beaten me 6-1 here in the Irish Masters, he beat me 6-1 in the Benson and Hedges Masters in London only in February. When I won that first match, it's a funny thing it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders because I was more concerned about staying in the top 16 for the following year, a big thing at the time. I went into the Davis match a few days later and I just played care free snooker. I played as well as I've ever played at the Crucible. I beat Steve Davis, who was the legend of the Crucible all the way through the Eighties, I beat him 13-3 with a session to spare. Nobody ever did that to Steve Davis during his time as a professional. I was the only one. From then on my confidence just grew and grew and grew!"
"I'm up against Stephen Hendry, the King of the Crucible for the 90's. He hadn't lost a match at the Crucible for 6 years. He was going for 6 years in a row which was 30 matches completely and I had to stop him and I did! I went into that final, it's funny people always talk to you about visualisation, but for me I used to go to bed during that world championships at night and I could see myself lifting the cup like Alex did in '82, like Dennis Taylor did in '85. And they were my huge inspirations. During that world championship I'd go to bed, I dreamt that I could see myself lifting up the cup, giving it a big kiss and raising it up to the crowd like they did back in their day. That was the visual moment that I had, I kept that with me and it relaxed me completely. I could just see myself lifting it. I played the best snooker that I've ever played against one of the greatest players that's ever lifted a cue."
"I sort of gave off the impression that I was very relaxed which I was but I was nervous as well don't get me wrong. I wanted to give off the body language that I was relishing it, that I was loving it, which I was, but I wanted to show him I that was loving it. I wanted to show Stephen Hendry that I wasn't afraid of him. And I was laughing and joking and smiling and talking to the people in the audience. I was loving every minute of it and I think that sort of unnerved him a little bit. It helped me big time."
"You always get the smart arses saying to you 'awwh I remember when you won that World Championship but do you remember you missed the black for the 147. I said 'do you remember? Of course I bloody remember it!! It cost me a car. I still have nightmares about it!!"
"I worked so hard to pot Yellow, Green, Brown, Blue and then the Pink. I just came a little bit off straight on the Black. If I'm straight on the Black then I'm perfect. The cue ball has gone towards to the cushion, when I got down to the Black, everybody had started to stand up around me and and they all got excited. When I look back at it now on YouTube I think why don't you just steady yourself, why don't you just roll the Black in? I stunned the Black instead of just rolling the Black and giving it a chance to get into the pocket you know. Experience will tell you, just to roll it in and give it a chance. It stops you sort of twitching on the Black if you roll it in anyway. It was a bit of a nightmare. The funny thing was that I used to the pass that car in the foyer of the conference centre every day for that week going into the tournament and I got to the final and I thought to myself ah well look it, it was a Yellow car, I didn't like the colour of the car so I wasn't really bothered. That's my excuse!"
"I met Daniel O'Donnell for the first time when I was in Louis Copeland's. I was buying some clothes, he was getting fitted out, he had a concert that night in the Point. He invited me along, I couldn't come along that night I said, but I said my mother would love to go I'm sure. so I got a couple of tickets for my mam, she had a great time. When I came back from winning the World Championship in '97, apparently Daniel was in Capel street with Louis Copeland on the day when I came back and there was a big party in Raneligh in Dublin of course, my own village. He was in there with his mother at Louis Copeland's, he's come all the way out to Raneligh. He came into the pub, Russell's at the time in Raneligh, to congratulate me. I had the cup and there was a big party going on. The whole pub went quiet when he walked in with his mother. Nobody could believe Daniel O'Donnell was coming in. He walked in, he came over to me and he says, 'I was in Dublin, I was in with Louis Copeland and I wanted to come up and just congratulate you personally for winning the world championship. I put my arms around him, gave him a big hug, gave his mam a kiss and i said look I appreciate it immensely, thank you very very much. I said can I get you a drink. He said no no, I'm going to go round to your mother, I know where she is, somebody told me where she lives, I'm going to go round with my own mother, to your mother and I'm going to have a cup of tea with her and then I'm going to go home. I thought I'll tell you what, such a beautiful gesture. I'll never ever forget what he did that day. Such a lovely lovely man, down to earth and a gentleman, absolute gentleman."
"I was playing against probably one of the best eras. You had the class of 92. You had the likes of O'Sullivan, Higgins and Williams to contend with. You had Peter Ebdon, another great champion. Very very tough match player. When I turned pro first you still had Jimmy White playing at his best in the 90s. You had Stephen Hendry who dominated the 90's. And you even had Steve Davis who was sort of coming to the end but he was still a top player. He dominated the 80's. He was a still a top 8 player Davis when I turned pro. He was still as good as anybody around. He was unbelievable. It was such a tough era and it was hard to win tournaments. I lost in the final to Jimmy White in the Grand Prix in 92. I lost the final the following year to Peter Ebdon. I lost in 13 major ranking finals. It's an awful lot. Win 6 and lose 13. But the ones I lost to. I lost to Williams, I lost to O'Sullivan, I lost to Hendry, I lost to Higgins. Anybody who beat me in a final it was like one of the best players of all time so there was no real disgrace there. They were tough times. It's the ones that you lose, that sort of get away from you. They're the disappointing ones you know. And the close ones as well. The World Chamionship, 18-16 to Williams. I lost 10-9 to Jimmy White in the Grand Prix final. I lost another 9-8 to Alan McManus over in Thailand. I lost to Higgins a few finals, world championship final in 1998 of course as well. I lost to Williams 10-9 in the same season in the UK final. I lost to Hendry when he made 7 centuries in 10 frames against me in 94 so yea they were tough times. Tough standard."
"He was my hero Higgins. When I saw Higgins as an 8 year old on pot black I was hooked. When I saw him win the world championship in 82, the tears running down his face I wanted to be a snooker player then. He was iconic, he did so much for the game of snooker. And listen, he was a bit crazy, he was on the edge all the time as well but that's why people loved him. I must say I loved him. I had some great times with him. When I won the world championship I did a benefit night for him up in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast when I came back with the cup. There was 2 and a half thousand people there and I'll tell you what, they tore the roof off. And i played Higgins, cause Higgins was my hero, so to play him in front of his own crowd , and bringing the world trophy out in front of the crowd, it doesnt get any better than that. It was just a magnificent night."
"It's a funny one. It's a very difficult one. I mean most people now would say O'Sullivan because of what he's done, the way he goes about the game, how he makes breaks so easy. He makes the game look ridiculously easy but you know Hendry had a lot of fire in his belly. He was such a tough character. Psychology a lot stronger than O'Sullivan believe it or not. O'Sullivan is a great front runner but when you put it up to O'Sullivan he could buckle. Mark Selby has shown that over the course of his career and Hendry could have beaten O'Sullivan even at his best as well. It's very hard to choose, I think they're a very even keel for me. "
Kevin : A - "That's right, My job description is. I pick things up and put things down. Ah ya know I love it because you'll be out and about and you'll be in different places every day. The same tree doesn't be there the next day when you cut it down! One Halloween my son dressed up as a Lumberjack, it was kinda funny!"
"I remember the day before the fight my lawyer friend Mike Moynihan, we made a plan, we said we're not going to fight tomorrow night, I told Tyson's promoters I'm not fighting tomorrow night and they said 'what do you mean? The big fight is on tomorrow!' I said I don't trust you's, you're not going to pay the money. The only way I'll fight tomorrow night is if yous come up with the cash or get a cashier's cheque and give it to the boxing commission. They went to the bank that day and my Mike, my lawyer friend said you're all set Kevin. I was probably the only one that got paid before the fight.."
"If you look at the fight, I was smiling a lot. I had a hypnotist called Patrick Brady out here. Packie Collins, Steve Collins' brother, he was running with me and training for the fight, he got me to go with the hypnotist. It all works because through that fight, it's such a big moment, you don't want to leave any stones unturned. It's like anything in life. It's like a Christmas cake, you need all the ingredients to make it right. I wasn't leaving anything out. Thanks to that guy Patrick Brady. I think he passed away, he gave me more confidence. I remember Gerry Quinn, my manager at the time he actually out up the money up front, he's from Galway. He put up the money for the sparring. Big shout out! Only for him coming up with the money I wouldn't have had the right preparation for that big fight.."
"You can imagine going into a fight like that in front of 20,000 people in Washington DC. Someone asked me after the fight what was through your head before the first bell, I said honestly 'what the hell was I getting myself into'. Tyson's a very intimidating fighter.."
"Through the fight itself I remember in the sixth round he hit me so hard I thought there was leprechauns playing drums in my head!"
"I said to him (my father), I'd love to fight Tyson one day and he said to me if you work hard and believe in yourself, one day maybe it'll happen, and true as god, like a miracle, it happened."
"Then he started trying to break my arm, he tried to bite my nipple off but thank God he had his mouthpiece in, because I would have being known as the Irishman with one nipple."
"The whole night was so beautiful that I win the fight and then I get to meet Muhammad Ali, the greatest, he threw a few punches at me and said I'm the greatest, you're the latest, money can't buy that. to be in the presence of two legends, Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali."
"I was promised for a world title fight after that and it never materialised. Time goes and the iron is hot after it for a while, and when it goes cool, it's hard to get up for fights, that fight with Tyson was like a world title fight to me."
"He let me hold the cup and he says that's the closest any Monaghan man will ever get to that cup, I thought that was as funny, the same year Monaghan lost to Kerry by 1 point, it was so close. (All Ireland QF 2007 Kerry 1-12 Monaghan 1-11)."
"They do it with the snooker and it's being a big success so hopefully it takes off, I'm sure it will do. And it'll carry on throughout the year and next year and so on I hope"
"Iconic PDC venue there. Very low ceiling. Superb atmosphere in there, it was brilliant. Me being an Essex born and bred guy used to get a lot of support down there as well."
"Back in the '80's and the '90's the money wasn't that great. It's enticing for people. The youngsters coming through now that they can make a living out of it and set themselves up for the rest of their lives. You can see what the prize money is at the top. If you get yourself in the top 16 and regular TV tournaments you can have yourself a comfortable living doing something you enjoy. There's a lot more people playing the game now."
"Yea it was a good win because I'd only just sort of joined the PDC. That was the second time I played him there, I played him there the year before. I think I should have beat him then as well. I was a qualifier then and I was a qualifier again and I drew him twice on the trot. We used to draw each other all the time as the PDC went on. But yeah great win for me. Obviously he didn't know too much about me when I first came on the scene there. I'd been playing my darts over at the BDO, probably quite a shock for him."
"Under pressure there was nobody better than Phil. One time I sat on 32 to win it, and Phil took 98 out in two darts. Even when he hit the treble 20 with his first dart I still sort of thought well you know double 19's not very nice, bang, 1st dart. But that was what Phil done. Under pressure he was very good. I was 4-1 up and 5-3 up, but I wasn't thinking I've won this, this is done and dusted, because we all know what Phil's capable of. It's just a shame I never got a shot at a double because I think if I had I'd have got it but there you go. It'd would've been worse if I did get a shot and missed it and you're thinking what could have been. Still obviously think about what could have been, could have been a world champion, but if you don't get a shot, you don't get a shot."
"It wasn't just the bullseye thing at the end, there was a couple of things that went on in the game that I didn't really like. We both got told off, got a fine for it, next time we saw each other we were like 'alright Phil, and he's like 'alright Kev'. No big deal. That's what happens in sport."
"I'm not the type of character say for instance like Steve Beaton, very laid back and doesn't get excited too much about anything going on in the game. I wouldn't be able to play like that. I need to be fired up to be able to play so that's how it was. Some players are different you know."
"Yea it was a great game that. Well it was for me. I really enjoyed that game. Obviously Raymond being the world champion at the time, it was nice to get the win. To be honest with you I think I should have won that world championship that year. I believe I had a better chance winning it that year than I did in 2004 against Phil. I think me and John Part were by far the best two players over the two weeks at that world championship. It's a shame we met in the semi final. John beat me 6 sets to 2, but it was actually only 18 legs to 17. It was a closer game than the actual set score said. I won both of my sets 3-0 and lost all of John's 3-2. It was painful that. Obviously John went on and beat Kirk Shepherd in the final. Kirk had beaten Wayne Mardle in the other semi. I believe I should have won it that year, I was playing really well. After beating Raymond, I beat Adrian Lewis quite comfortable and then as I say lost to John in the semi I think if I'd have beaten John, I'd have beaten Kirk, and I'd have being a world champion, it's just a shame."
"Yea brilliant, obviously there was a few people thinking that I might not win get a major which would have been a bit of shame as far as what I done in the game and missed out a few times on various bits. I'd lost in the semi final of the vegas classic, I had semi finals at the UK open, 2 or 3 semi finals at the worlds, so it'd have been a shame if I didn't get it done. So it was a special moment and obviously winning that as well got me in the Premier league, it was great to finally get the major under my belt"
"Yea I really enjoyed the Premier league, obviously it's a lot different. The pressure is intense to do well when you're in the Premier league. You're not going to get any easy games. I enjoyed every week. It sort of distracted me from my general pro tour really. Because for the 10, 11 weeks or whatever it was that the Premier league went on , it was all I could think about all the time. I just wanted to be in that and play in that. And I didn't really play very well in the pro tours that were in between all that. I was just too excited playing in the premier league, it was great. There was 8 players in at the time, and I didn't come bottom. If I'd have won my final game I'd have being in the semi finals. And I lost to Andy Hamilton and he went into the semi finals. Me and Andy were the debutants that year. And of course if you get in the semi final you're going to get an invite back into next years (Premier league) which is what Andy done. The disappointing thing for me was all 8 players played well in that premier league that year and I was the only one that got left out the following year. And I didn't come bottom either. It's disappointing that. And they extended it to 10 players as well the following year. If I'd have got dropped out of it when it was still 8 and 1 person replaced me I could have took it a little bit more as oh, ok fair enough. But to have 3 new players come in and me the only dropped out, I thought that was pretty disappointing on the PDCs behalf that. I think I should have had another go. Especially as I was 1 game away to get in the semi finals, it's a shame."
"I'm in training education. I'm a senior scientist. Basically what that involves, I would train medical doctors who are going on to be consultants in the area of blood transfusion. I would also lecture to under graduates, students that are doing bio-medical science. So they would come in, so from CIT, DIT, Cork, they would come in for a week with me and I would go through all sorts of science, like viruses, anything to do with blood transfusion. I would do project planning within the building, I'm involved now in a major project that'll be amalgamating some of the testing labs."
"The lab work that I work in is genetics. It's kind of similar to the corona testing, except that we're testing for genetic diseases. We're facilitating bone marrow transplants. We would be the reference lab for that, what means is, we are the one lab in the country that does that type of testing. So anybody that has Leukaemia or anything, they would come through us and we would find a match for them. We have a massive team. We work along with the doctors in St James' in Crumlin. so for the adult transplants we would work with St James' and for the kids we would do Crumlin."
"I was in New York with my Mum and we were just walking around Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue and I couldn't help but notice (I sound like Carrie Bradshaw now) all these women, I don't know about you but New York women have a fantastic way of pairing corporate wear with fablous statement jewelery. They just look really well. And I happened to say to Mum, I love that look. I've never pieces like this in Ireland. So I did a bit of research, this is something I could do. I love jewelery, my mother's a magpie as well, she was so excited about it, that's just kind of where it took off."
"A couple of years ago I was shortlisted from 5,000 boutiques. We were shortlisted down to 15 and I won the prize for best accessories in Ireland, that was good. It was a really good experience!"
"So we did the interview *Judging The Mary From Dungloe Festival) at that stage nobody really had an idea what way it was going, I think it's kind of a mixture of the interview and how they do on the night. It's just overall impressions of the week. Personality is absolutley key. What I would like to say, It's not just a beauty pageant or lovely girl competition, there is substance behind it and I think it's really good, just for young girls looking up to these people, that you can do all of this and you can go into a nice competition like this and showcase yourself, it's just a lovely week!"
"I found that it was the music and the arts that brought us through the darkest times during the pandemic, when people were doing free virtual concerts, that kept me going. I was able to go in and listen to every type of music, and go to art gallery's, virtual walks around art gallery's, you know, different things to do with creativity. But when it comes down to the crunch of people like us trying to make a living, it's kind of looked down upon. As if we're undervalued monetary wise, and you know we're depending on this like the man on the street is depending on his next wage packet."
"I remember and this is going back, I was in the cot and everytime I'd stand up, I'd be singing my father told me and my mother, they used to say I'd stand up and I'd start to sing. But I do have memories of standing in the cot and holding on to the sides of the old fashioned cots long ago and then I remember my father playing the fiddle in the house which was nearly all the time, but we would jump into the fiddle case and pretend it was a curragh or something like that."
"I went and I became a teacher, because just like my dad, you were kind of mixing with children, it's a very creative process when you're in a class with children, they're fantastic to be around. And also the long summer months would have me to have time to go to festivals and to mix with other musicians. It kind of suited my sensibility at that stage. All of a sudden then we got an invite to make an album for gael linn, its an Irish company in Dublin . And Myself and Frankie (Mairead's late husband) as teachers, made an album called Ceoil Aduaidh and that was an import in America. And all of a sudden these people were ringing us up, 'Would you like to come to the states to play here there and everywhere'. And we thought awh this sounds good. So we took a career break and off we went. We were young and wanted to travel and that was a great opportunity because we had purpose for the travel. We went to America many times then, decided then to take a career break, and then offers came in from Europe, and from Asia, and it's kind of worldwide now."
"He never had an unhealthy day in his life until this cancer struck him. He started late playing music. Like he was 18, 19 when I met him. He started playing whistle and flute and at that stage we used to just go down to Huidi Beags with my father and play sessions there and through that we learned a lot of music and met a lot of people, and thats where we kind of started off in Huidi Beags many many many years ago. Meeting a lot of other musicians our own age, and of course when you meet people, peers your own age, it just makes it more in common with people, you can exchange tunes, it was a great community, it still is. I'm so delighted that my daughter has started playing music because it just gives a you a community. The music community is so good. They look after you so well. Even when I went to college in Dublin, As soon as I started playing music, I was getting lifts everywhere, lifts home every night. I didn't have to run for buses. Everyone looked out for you and made sure you were alright. You got a gig here and there and that's fantastic as a student, there's nothing like having a few pounds in your pocket."
"I must say during the Covid period I composed so much, I was composing a lot of music. Because as you know living in Donegal and beside the sea, you're inspired right away. All you have to do is look out. Even on a bad day, it's brilliant, it's inspirational."
"Now we're back to actually 4 members. Martin Tourish from Ballybofey who's the youngest member of the band, he's an amazing piano accordion player. He was young musician of the year about 10 years ago, amazing player and an amazing composer so he's brought another element in. So now it's Ciaran Curran, Mark Kelly, Daithi in America, and myself and Martin Tourish play. So it's usually 4 members on stage and it makes it nice and compact. And easy to travel and easy to tour, not too many people. Pearing back the numbers actually made it easier for us as musicians. But now we have to wait until the touring starts again but we're working away on getting material together for recording and hopefully we'll be doing that during the coming months."
"Well we're very very happy. It's something that we always said 'oh we'll have to do that, we'll have to make an album, we have to make an album', and eventually I think it was Ciaran O'Mhaonaigh the nephew said, look we'll have to do it sooner or later, stop talking about it and do it. I'm really delighted that my mum has heard it and I'm sorry that Francie (Mairead's late father) wasn't around to hear it but we have him on a track on it anyway, my dad, who played the fiddle. We got an old recording of him playing with the rest of us and put it on as well. We did a few tvs shows recently, the heart of Saturday night, And we're doing Ireland in song, we're recording that soon, this week I think, and we did a few gigs over the summer so it's nice to have an alternative band and to have the family involved, it's just another extension of the music."
"My father wrote that the night before he got married, It was back in 1954 I think. My mother was the 1st to hear it sung and it's based on the melody of 'Paddys Green Shamrock Shore'. Aisteori Gweedore who were the Gweedore players were being invited to go to Glasgow to play to the diaspora in Glasgow. It was the winter of 54. It was boxing day they got married but the night beforehand he decided to write that for the immigrants from Gweedore who were spread all over the world actually. Because it is an immigration song. And he thought it would go down well with the people in Glasgow, and at that stage a lot of people from the Rosses, Gweedore and Cloughnaeely were living in Glasgow, all the younger people who couldn't get work here automatically would go to Scotland. So that was sung there the first time in Glasgow in 1954. I think they went over Boxing day of 54, that's when they went to Glasgow. It's the first song in Irish that ever went into the charts in Ireland when the Johnstons recorded it back in the 60's. It was Paul Brady who chose that song because he learned it at Summer college in Gweedore. Next thing my father got word that it was going to be recorded as a single, but it went into the charts here in Ireland, first Gaelige song ever to get into the charts. That was a really big deal for us. We were young and we got excited about that."
"To be honest with you my father was very very talented with words and with poetry. He had a way, he could do it within a few hours. Write a whole song within a few minutes actually. We actually used his talents manys the time. I remember the first time we recorded with Dolly Parton, she asked me to translate a few lines of a song. She said she wanted me to sing it in Gaelige. And I sent the song, it was Barbara Allen, which is a very well known ballad, and I sent Francie the words of that song from Dollwood actually, we were recording. And my father said that's the same version your granny sang he said so he had no problem, it was the fax at the stage because it was 94. So he wrote back within an hour with the translation of the verses that she wanted. And she was so delighted. So I recorded that with Dolly Parton. And then he did the same with the sweet by and by years later she asked me to do another one. So happy to be part of that and that Francie was a huge part of it."
"Huge encouragement and always encouraging us to be ourselves and to be happy and I have to thank her for a lot of goodness. She played a bit of music as well, she played the accordion when she was younger. Great dancer. Knew all the highlands and the mazurkas, the barn dances, she was a great dancer."
"Awh I couldn't believe it but you know I felt if i got it, it was because I was brought up in a very good area with a lot of other people that inspired me and gave me the language, gave me the music and gave me the incredible background where I was able to launch a career and put Donegal on the map so I was happy to represent them in that."
"That was kind of, it's like getting the Oscar's in your own category which is musician of the year. And again I couldn't believe it. I felt very humbled by that. Again it's bringing Donegal music to a world stage and if I was the person they chose to give the gradam to I was happy. Delighted to have got that and it was my peers that actually chose, so again it's just one of those things that I can look back at even now and just say thanks, I can't believe it still."
"Music's just so uplifting if you're feeling down, just start playing music or sing a song, it just brings you to another area of your mind. You forget the daily woes."
"Podcast quotes to follow, please bear with us!"
"I was born in the town and reared in the town, I was there till I was 17. And then I moved and never kind of went back again. My parents had moved away at that stage, so as soon I had done my leaving and got to 17, I went to London, started to work over there, that was the end of my Thurles days. I was in London then for about 10 years and then I went to Scotland, I was there about 8 years."
"I had a fantastic upbringing and I absolutley loved the place (Thurles) while I was there, everybody knew everybody else. And when you went up the town, you just knew everybody. When I go down there now, it's just so different. Awful lot of changes. I go down and I see the old school that I went to and where I lived and everything and it brings back fantastic memories, but I don't really have a connection with it anymore."
"I have one brother and two sisters, I was the youngest until I was 10. My sister is 2 years older than me and my brother is 4 years old than me. Then my sister was born as I said, when I was Ten in 1970, shes the youngest."
"Everybody knows that I suffer with depression, I have a charity I set up here in Donegal dealing with stress and what it can lead to. Even though I've come out the other side of cancer and yes I've being through a lot with my marriage breakdown, depression is something that I always have to manage that's always there, there's never going be a kind of a it's gone and it's going to go away forever, it's something I manage and thankfully I manage it pretty well."
"There's not much really that you feel you want to do when you are down, especially when it comes first, I can be on the settee and just not able even to get dressed, never mind do anything else. But then as I go through it, I try and get myself to get up and just go for a walk on beach or try and read something positive, try and remember and be grateful for all the little things that I have in my life. Just that sort of thing. Trying to come back out of the darkness if you like."
"I set out to raise, I thought about €10,000 would be great. I remember Daniel saying to me 'oh for God sake no you should go for more, you should look to €100,000 and I was saying Daniel, there's a recession on at the moment, people can't afford to be giving away that kind of money. I said OK I'll raise my bar to €50,000 and please god we'll get €50,000. At the very end of it all, once it was all put together it was just under €700,000 which is pretty amazing. By the Monday, the late late show being on Friday, it was at €250,000, in 3 days, it was just wild really!"
"I met him in my mother and fathers bar in Tenerife. They had a bar and Daniel when he would be on holidays in Tenerife, he had a place over there would go and visit Irish pubs, a few of them, ones in particular. He would go and just say hello to them I suppose and he came up this particular night and I was there, I had actually moved to Tenerife for 2 years, after my children went into boarding school. He was there and I was there that night, we got chatting, he asked me if I wanted to go out the next night and it sort of started from there."
"I have my DJ Mc page there, it's on Facebook (Meta). I just tapped into live and I just gave it a go, and see how it went. I had a few of my own mates who were watching away, and thankfully they were sharing away for me as well and it was great. Over time then it just grew and grew and grew. As I always say it's like a big fire, it can extend to anywhere. I had been always used Tony, to being out and about, going out for my walks and seeing people, that's what I'm all about, I like meeting people and seeing them. To be told then Tony, after so many years, you have to sit down, you can't go out and see anybody or travel far. That's the main reason too why I started the online broadcasting from the kitchen at home in Meenmore. Thankfully everybody enjoyed it. I wasn't really sure Tony what way it was gonna go, but I suppose you have to say, you can't be kind of down about it and say "ah shur no one gonna to pay attention". You have to go full force and that's the way I am from now on, full force."
"Music is a lifeline, it's like a heartbeat inside your body. It keeps you going. It gives you something to live for."
"It was him that got me into them. I went out the road with him one night in the car for a spin and he had them on in the car and I thought awh I like that, and more and more. 'Don't Look Back In Anger', 'What's The Story Morning Glory', and all the different songs, like 'Champagne Supernova' etc. I said to him would you mind if I borrowed that for the night, and he said 'I'll tell you what, I'll take all the albums in after work tomorrow and you can put them on a disc if you want. So I took them all with me and put them on the discs. They were just brilliant."
"All during the Birthday lockdowns for the last year or two that we had, I was getting loads and loads of messages from people, and asking me to do Birthday videos. I felt very honoured and very very happy about that because that could have been some other 29 year old lad who could have done what I done, but for some reason somebody sent me a message in my head and said go and do that thing on FB live and see how it goes. I mean I could have been just like anybody else sitting at home twiddling my thumbs but I actually took my time and I enjoyed what I do. I've met so many different people and I know so many new names and never even knew half the people."
"I'm not a carpenter, or a plumber or a builder or nothing. It came from my grandfather's side (my music interest). They were all musical. My granny's side, my granny would have sang songs, my great granny before me would have sang songs. Funny enough there's a home DVD made and my aunt Mary said it on the DVD, on the video of it she said, this fella's gonna be full of music. It kind of brought a bit of a tear to me because she knew more than what anybody else would have known. They used to sing 'Danny Boy' and all the big songs when I was only a wee baby at the time, looking back on it now, it's nearly 30 years ago."
"I said it many times, if it weren't for The Keynotes, there wouldn't have being a Margo. I wouldn't have gone down the road that I went, and certainly I knew that I sang songs, I never thought that it was anything special. It was them that brought the special part out of me that appealed to the people. The likes of Cundy Boyle, he's down there in Meenbanad, he had a wonderful insight to what the people wanted and he never ever ever got the credit of noticing talent. He could actually read talent. He was a wonderful man. Himself and there was Tony Boyle, and there was Hughie Ward and Charlie McCole and Paddy Joe and Johnny Gallagher and Francie Diver. I could go on and on, and then there was the new Keynotes, Martin Campbell and Johnny Cullen and all of us and Eddie Quinn. And when I think of them all. What a wonderful wonderful group of people that I was placed beside to go in my life from there. At the time that I left The Keynotes, I never would have left them had my father not passed away young. I never would have left them, never ever ever. At that time I had got an offer of 100 pound a week and a car on the road and a driver. It was going to ease all of our problems because I was the 2nd eldest. It was me and John that were sort of helping to keep Mam OK and our siblings. When I got that offer and I talked it over with Mam, there was only one road I that could go. The day that I left The Keynotes and I left Donegal, I left with a broken heart. I really and truly did. I was so unhappy in Dublin when I was rehearsing with the County folk, the new band. They say you'll never ever miss what's meant for you. That obviously was the road that I was to go down."
"The great thing about Brian Coll was he never once called me Margo. I met him first up at the Marquee in Dungloe. He was with the Plattermen at the time. My mother took me up because I loved him singing and I was only a little girl. I've known him all them years and all them years he never once called me Margo, he always said Margaret. I had great great admiration for Brian Coll. He was a legend. He had a voice of gold, he really did."
"I have a relationship with Dolly that's very, very personal. We recorded together. I visit her family every time I go to East Tennessee. Dollys just not a fabulous artist, she's an icon. She's really a class above everything else because she's a very good person. She helps people who are much less fortunate than she is."
"I never ever thought that he would go so quickly. But when his wife Rose passed away he lost the will to live. Brendan Grace god rest him as well, he came here one day to me and he just looked at me and he said I think Tom died of a broken heart and I said absolutley. I think the recording with Big Tom was the icing on all of my cakes that I ever had down through the years. I had known Tom from 1964/65. I went up to see him up in Ardara in the Iona Hall. The day that they (Big Tom & The Mainliners) released their first record. Big Tom that night sang gentle mother I remember. I'll never forget the feeling I got from the voice of the man that was pure golden. The great thing about Tom was, Tom was Tom. He was the same Tom when you'd me him out in the field as he was when you'd meet him to a packed audience. He was just a lovely, lovely human being and I am so honoured to be able to call him my friend."
"To be quite honest with you Tony he was just a very, very normal person and he blended in very, very well with the whole community you know. When he was working, he was working. It's as simple as that. Some people were giving out, 'awh he wouldn't take a selfie with me' and things like that and they don't realise that this man has a job to do. But once he was off duty you couldn't get a nicer fella."
"I have a fierce appetite for news and I believe news should be what it means, new news. I just got to a stage where I felt that if there is something new and it's happening you've gotta get it out there, there's no point sitting on it for 2 or 3 weeks or something like that because it ceases to become news. And I think there are great stories out there that you come across. An awful lot of them are by accident."
"It all started really that aspect of the thing in the Hibernian hotel in Dublin who essentially we kind of got the contract for government catering. Now in those days we had the European summit. I did 2 European summits, but that involved an awful lot of meetings in between where various heads of states and department of foreign affairs and all that would come to Dublin to meet with our guys. So yea I fed the Pope (John Paul 2nd), Maggie Thatcher, I had the, don't know whether its to say the pleasure, well it was the pleasure in fairness of bringing her breakfast in bed in Dublin castle."
"Italia 90, that was the biggest lift that Ireland ever got. It lifted the whole spirits of the nation and again I was lucky, Fran Fields, god rest him, if you remember him, remember he was the president of the football association. Fran brought me out and he appointed me as liaison. It was good craic but you behaved yourself. Under Jack Charlton, it didn't matter if you were just kind of with the lads, you had to observe the same rules. There was no going out at night or that kind of carry on. But there was a great atmosphere, great relationship amongst everybody you know. I'll never forget coming back into Ireland after that experience and the welcome that the Irish team got and they deserved every bit of it."
"Well I suppose marketing was always kind of one of my fortays you know because I just actually love meeting people and if you have this love for your own country or your own county, it's that much easier to go out and sell it and tell people about it. Because at the end of the day it's all about getting people into your country, into your beds, into your taxis. Tourism is such a kind of a ripple effect all round the place, that if tourism isn't good neither is the rest."
"Bing Crosby was probably the housewives favourite, but he was one hell of a crabbit man, to use a Donegal expression. He hadn't got the same gravitas as well as the rest of them. Sean Connery. I'll be honest with you, he kept very very much to himself. You're right about it by the way, he was thee bond. I don't think anybody really has ever replaced him. As a person, he really played in character nearly all the time. I always remember he used to come to reception in the morning and at times he use to wear a cafton as well, but he had the gravatast that Bond had you know. He use to come up to the reception desk every morning without a doubt and he'd say, My name is Bond, is there any mail for me today. And he sounded like you know 'my name is Bond', that type of thing, that's the way it came across. Again like everybody else he was just very easy to deal with. If he wanted something he'd you ask for it, he wasn't into wagging his finger. I'd a funny feeling about people and I still have it, I think the people who've made it will treat you as an equal, the people who are trying to make it and haven't made it mightnt be the nicest people at times. I think they've made it, they're fine. We had them all, we had Grace Kelly, the whole lot of them, but you didn't become over awed with them after a while, you were at the start, there's no doubt about it, you were star struck."
"Please bear with us!"
"One of the things about Sandfield is, the pitch and putt, there's never a dull moment, you've always got plenty to do and nature takes it course and we fire on. So it's a relentless task getting the course up and then keeping it in good condition. That's something that I've certainly being aware of. The history of the course and the standards that's expected. It's a challenge but its a nice challenge and its really rewarding to be able to do it."
"In the last two years we've had 47's recorded by local people, and that's 7 under. We've called this the magnificent 7 under club, and put that on the website and anybody that does that. Although what we do have, we have a leaderboard up and if anybody wants to submit a card that's under par then we put that up and we put it on the website and we put it on our social media as well, so you know people get recognised for doing good scores."
"I always identify myself as being an Antrim man originally. I was actually only born there and spent the early months of my life there. I wasn't even a year old by the time I moved to Dublin. But I spent a huge amount of time growing up there and absolutley love now going back to Belfast for any reason whatsoever. And then you move a bit further north to the part of the country I'm from originally it can be absolutley beautuful. Unfortunately I think it relies a lot on the weather, I think it can be a miserable place if it's chucking it down which it often is. I've always had a great affection for Northern Ireland and I've always been very proud of the fact that I come from that part of the country even as I've gradually moved my way South. Moving to Dublin and now I'm down in Cork where I've been based for the last 7 years. But what a unique place in so many ways. Because its such a troubled history that corner of our island. But look at what they've achieved in sporting terms. You look at the world cups back in the 80s if anyone's old enough to remember that. 2 world snooker champions. Rory McIlroy who's still I think has got plenty of time to cement his status as potentially one of all the time greats if he can get right back to where he was a few years ago. And so many others as well. There can't be many countries in the world that have punched above their weight in terms of sport and indeed in so many other endeavours as Northern Ireland."
"They were very different in how they achieved their success. Both very attacking players. O'Sullivan probably with more of an all round game. I think Hendry would be the first to admit that. But Hendry's temperament and his ability to turn around matches from hopeless positions. To pot so many impossible balls. I suppose you could say given the circumstances he was potting them in was just so impressive and just so nerveless. I think anyone who remembers the final (crucible) 30 years ago when he won the 10 frames in a row to beat Jimmy White will always talk about that unbelievable brown that he potted to get it back to 14-10 which for me is still arguably the greatest shot I've ever seen. Hendry had more moments like that I think. But two wonderful players, O'Sullivan a genius, Hendry just a relentless competitive animal. Both of them on 7 world titles now. Wouldn't it be something If it was to end that way and for all time they stood jointly at the top of the Crucible standing."
"I'm not saying that it's never going to leave there, but what I would say is I've been going to the Crucible since 1998, pretty much for all of that time this debate has been going on and we're still at the Crucible after all these years. For what my opinion is worth I hope we stay there for all time because you could not replicate that anywhere else and it would never feel like the same event again if you tried to."
"He's a unique character, he's just infectious. That's such a cliqued word to use but it is absolutley right. He raises the standards of everyone around him. Partly because he demands high standards of people but also because you can't help but have some of that enthusiasm rub off on you when you deal with him in any way. And he wants other people to succeed as well. He wants to be responsible for giving people the opportunity to make the most of their lives and their careers as well. Wonderful jobs with snooker, with darts and pool also. I'm involved in that. I commentated on the world pool championship final just the other week. I've done a couple of Mosconi Cups. The pool calendar is increasing at an unbelievable rate. It's just experiencing such growth. Again it's just the golden touch of Barry. A lot of the day to day leg work is done by other people but he leads from the front and don't believe all that talk about him retiring, he's still just as active as ever. "
"I remember being there right at the back of the 18th green. The pin was cut on the right hand side of the green that day and just happened to be where my vantage point was. So really was only a few yards away. There could have only been 1 or 2 people standing any closer to it than me. And I remember thinking to myself ok this could be the moment now because it wasn't a certainty the putt, he certainly could have missed it. But you felt ok this could be it, if this goes in, this is the moment that for the first time in my lifetime and for the first time in the modern game, an Irish player wins a major and I better make sure that I take it all in because it might very well be the only time it happens. Now of course it was an absolutley wonderful sensational moment and I remember so so much about that day. I remember it just so fondly. But of course rather than being the climax of what had become a really good time for Irish golf, turned out to be just the beginning. Because he won it again the following year, when again I was fortunate to be at Birkdale, then he won the PGA, that was before Rory came along and won his 4 majors to date, Graham McDowell, Shane Lowry, Darren Clarke. So I look back now and think yes it was a very special moment. Not because it was the culmination of that era but because it was actually just the beginning of this incredible time. When you consider 30 years ago whatever, it was a big story if an Irish player got to play in a major. Except perhaps in the Open when we generally had a decent representation. The fact that we were to find ourselves winning majors with such regularity since 2007 it's just what would have seemed like stuff of absolute fantasy, certainly when I was growing up. And it all started with that great week at Carnoustie. I was standing next to one of my very best friends who was also there working on the Championship so that just made it even more special. We just had a wonderful wonderful week. It was weeks like that make you think yea this was why I came into sports journalism in the first place. Just experiencing and witness something like this. To be standing as I say only a couple of yards away from the moment where Harrington holed that historic putt, was just an absolute privilege and one of those moments where you do have to remind yourself how fortunate you are to be making a living out of all this."
"They did well in the group, they did very well actually. They came from behind to draw with Cameroon, came from behind to draw with Germany, Robbie Keane in stoppage time. And the comfortable win then against Saudi Arabia as expected which took us into the last 16 so we done well. But then of course there was the match against Spain in the last 16. I mean that stadium in Suwon was absolutley magnificent. Perfect for football. And you almost felt like you were right on top of the pitch. I just remember sitting there heart in mouth for 3 hours. It was that sort of game, that sort of atmosphere. Spain could have been out of sight by half time. Had it not been actually for a number of very marginal offside calls that went our way, then perhaps they could have been. But having said that i think they were generally correct offside calls. But of course that doesnt necessarily mean they're going to go your way. And then again Robbie Keane, late equaliser, 1 all, into extra time, and then the unbelievable feeling of the penalty shoot out. Huge sense of deflation at the end Tony, as much as anything the adventure was over at that stage. You look back on it now and you think well would Roy Keane have made the difference in that game. It's very easy to say yes. But it's also kind of a fair comment to make, because it was the sort of game that you felt he could have just taken control of it. When Ireland had got back into it he could have been the difference. And when you look back now and think if Ireland had of got through, who knows what would have happened. But what we do know is we would have then had a week in Seoul leading up to playing South Korea in the quarter finals of the World Cup. That would have been amazing. And it would have been a match that we would had a very very good chance of winning. And then you're talking world cup semi final. But 1 point that's rarely made about it Tony, had we had Keane for the group stage, who's to say we wouldn't have won the group. And if we had done, now I'm talking off the top of my head here so I may be getting this slightly wrong, but I think if we had done, our route from there would have been to play, I think it was maybe Paraguay, USA and I think South Korea then in the semi final, it would have been. All good sides. But you think when and ever would an Ireland team which had a lot of good players in it at the time ever have a route like that to potentially get to a world cup final.. We'll never know, we'll never know. But like I say more than anything my first thought when I look back on the world cup is that I'm just very very glad I got the opportunity to do it because it could be a long time before our next one."
"I left Dublin when I think it was about 1986 to go to the comedy circuit in London because there was no comedy clubs in Ireland then."
"That's my main job really is stand up. The Fr. Ted thing was really a once off. I don't pursue an acting career if you know what I mean?"
"I was doing a stand up show in London. It was actually with Ardal o Hanlon and another guy called Dylan Moran. It was in the Bloomsbury theatre in London. I think it was an Irish comedy night. I think there may have being some other comedians on, I can't remember. After the show Graham and Arthur the writers of Fr. Ted who I didn't know at the time came up to me and said they're writing a series about these priests on an island off the coast of Ireland and that they might have a part for me. I didn't really think anymore of it at the time. I think it was about four or five months later I got a call, it was kind of an audition but it wasn't really. I think Graham and Arthur had decided they wanted me for the part having seen my stand up act. In those days my stand up act was I'd just do a one liner and then pause for about ten, 15 seconds and just stare at the audience. Very like Fr. Stone really."
"I knew Dermot quite well. We only lived a few miles away from each other in Dublin and I done stuff with him in Dublin as well. It was just a coincidence that I got the Fr. Ted thing, it wasn't as a result of knowing Dermot. It was just cause I was already in London anyway. I also knew Ardal as well. He came to London to start doing comedy as well. not at the same as me, it was a few years later."
"I think it's what convinced the producer Geoffrey Perkins that I should take the part. It's when they're trying to get rid of me out of the house, eventually Fr. Ted comes in and says the house is on fire, and he says 'you're going to leave now? I said, well yea there's a fire!"
"I had a great relationship with Jack, I loved Jack, it was a working relationship. You just felt happy in his presence. All the players that spoke over the last couple of days just loved being in his company and being part of that squad. It was like a club team, and I was no different."
"It was a brilliant complex that we were staying in down in Stuttgart. It was a sports complex with a hotel on it, the pitch that we were training on was right below myself and Gerry Peytons window as we looked out the balcony, my god the pitch was there so we were in our element myself and Gerry and he says, let's get down a little bit early here, we'll do a wee bit of goalkeeping before the boys come out. So we got our gear off little Charlie. We're out on the pitch next thing Jack and his son John walks round the corner. Jack says 'What you's doing?' Ahh we're just doing a little bit' He says knock the balls out to me. We knocked the balls out to Jack and he put John his son into the penalty box and he started hitting crosses in for John his son who starts trying to score goals on myself and Gerry. It reminded me of playing over in Keadue when we were meeting up to do a bit of training and the lads would be all in round the penalty spot and you'd be hitting crosses in, that's exactly what it was like. It was brilliant!"
"I remember going to clay pigeon shooting with him. He had a wee small trophy for the winner, whatever we were doing anyway, a competition. I remember I had this gun. Jack was renound for his fishing and his shooting and all that of that game stuff that he used to do. We were shooting at the target, a thing you would shout and the thing would go up in the air. Suddenly you would try to shoot. I kept missing. Jack says 'What's wrong with the bloody gun'. So he looked at the gun and he shouted your man to shoot or whatever it was. and the thing went up and he shot and he missed it. He was the expert but he missed it!! He missed about 3 and he looked at the gun and says 'That Gun Is Useless' he was great like that, great humour. All of that matters, when I look back on Jack now, the story's we have about him are wonderful!"
"He was very very assured that if we got past Italy, and we were going to play Argentina, if Argentina got through, they were right up our street. We'll beat 'The Argies' he says if we get past this one. But getting past Italy was a real issue. It was a host nation. The world cup sometimes is geared round the home nation, let's face it."
"I remember being at that game. I wasn't playing. He (Jack Charlton) had put Alan Kelly into the team. Probably right because I was now getting older but I was on the bench. I remember in that game away, that was a 0-0 game. we must have created about 40 chances. I remember just at the bench there was a ball sitting right beside the bench during the game and whatever chance was missed, he turned around and he smashed the ball, it hit the bench and went out into the middle of the pitch during the game. The game had to be stopped to get the ball off the pitch, it was incredible how we missed so many chances. Just extraordinary!"
"There were parts of the country were soccer wasn't played. Very much Gaelic orientated and even some places Rugby orientated and Soccer was not part of the social fabric. That changed under Jack (Charlton). People were out playing football. I listened to two people, young boys talking about their time watching Ray Houghton score that goal and then out to trying and emulate what Ray was doing, didn't see the end of the game, because they wanted to do what Ray did. The heros now were not just foreign players. The heros now were the local Irish players. And Jack created that in many many ways, so there's a lot to be thankful for Jack and the knock on effect is that the game is now played throughout the country."
"I've spent great years in Donegal, probably one of the best counties in Ireland for me. When we had out that famous song home to donegal, we got some work around Donegal I'll tell ya with festivals. I use to play up the street here actually in Dungloe for many years at the Mary From Dungloe festival, we got fantastic support, great people up this part of the country, great people in Donegal."
"I had a great auld life when I was a young lad because I was brought up on a farm. Sure I was as mad as a march hare as they say you know. I was mad for hunting and after rabbits and all like that. I'd nearly run as fast as the rabbit myself you know with my big long legs. And then I was a devil for fishing as well. I love fishing too. And all the outdoor things that maybe a lot of kids don't do nowadays. That's what I was into. All that. And then when I was only a young buck there in the late 50's I started listening to country music. Well rock n roll was big in our house then because there were brothers and sisters of mine, they were all into Elvis and Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran and all those greats. And then I remember a neighbour of ours giving us an album of Hank Williams, and I started playing that on an old record player that we had and I just loved the sadness in his voice and the stories in his songs and I got hooked on country music then."
"Probably Declan (Nerney) that encouraged me to go full time because I was just playing the pubs and and I was working for Longford County council. I was doing maintenance work and that kind of thing. Going round to different houses, colleges. Repairing windows and doors and all that. That's what I was doing. And then at the weekends I was just playing the bars and playing the pubs, myself and 2 other lads you know. And then I met Declan in Longford one day back in 86 about March time, and he said 'Mick I think you should record a few songs' and arrrgh says I sure what would I be doing that for? He says 'look it, local radio's going to be very big in this country' and he was so right like in years to come you know. And that was kind of the start of it. We went over to Athlone to a little studio and recorded two songs. I had no car at the time. He played them on a cassette player that he had in his car on the way home. Hopping and trotting. He was playing with Brian Coll at the time. And I was working every day. We got it finished up anyway just before Christmas of 86. And I put an inlay card into it, I got a boy in Dublin to do it for me, and brought it out. Gave it round to all the pirate stations. Sure it started getting played up and down the full length of the country and the breadth of the country but as a result of that by Jenny I got a contract with a company called harmac and I did the first album for them, 'I'm going to make it after all' By jenny I did a second one. Then I left them and I went to Ritz in 89. I did a whole lunder of stuff for them. CDs, DVDs, and all like that. I was lucky really you know because there's very few companies now. There's a lot of young lassies and young lads there trying to make it but it's so expensive now to try and get into the business. Even with all the media and Facebook and all these different things but it's so hard to just crack it you know."
"My father was a fantastic singer believe it or not. He had a fantastic voice, very strong voice. When he was working in England he got a chance to go on that Hughie Green's show, you know that 'opportunity knocks' you might have heard of it. In the heel of the hunt anyway he got cold feet and he wouldn't go on it. He often regretted it. He often told us about it you know."
"That was a fantastic song, Conway Twitty had the original of that. My woman is fanatic for country music as well as myself. But anyway midwest radio I'm sure you know Midwest radio down in Co Mayo. There was a guy on, he was a DJ, Joe Scahill, he's not there anymore. But anyway Joe played that song one Saturday night and my woman picked up the phone and she rang in and got talking to Joe and she said 'that's a fantastic song, would you be able to send it onto Mick'. And he said of course I will. And he said furthermore if he records it I won't play the original of it. Which was nice of him. I recorded that song. It was only just an album track. The amount of young people that just love that song. Young boys and girls, still. And any night that I would sing that song you'd see them out on the floor. Now I'm going back maybe a few years do you know when you'd have a lot of young people at dances and that. They would all come up and they'd be all mad looking for that song."
"I was at a concert one night in Dublin of Charley Pride and Pride brought him up on the stage and he said if this man had of been born in Nashville, he would have been one of the biggest things ever to come out of it. That was something like coming from Charley Pride."
"Just over ten years yea (Busking). On Henry Street. I don't play anywhere else in Dublin. Henry street to me is home you know, it's what made me who I am. Singing on that street to the people that are on that street on a daily basis. It just happens that the day we were in town myself and my partner, it was in November last year, and there was hardly anyone around, my heart was breaking because I couldn't be out busking. We walked the full length of Henry street, and Leonitia said to me 'Mick, sing a song, go on'. So I took the guitar out, sang the auld triangle, and it was posted on Facebook. It got a good reaction in November and then New Years eve somebody tweeted it and it just took off again. Paul McGrath tweeted it, Calum Best retweeted it, it was a lot of people that were getting behind that video. It made me feel proud to be a Dubliner singing the auld triangle on an empty street during a pandemic in Dublin. It brought so many people that weren't in Dublin home again, and made me realise how much I missed Dublin. I missed being in town, it broke my heart. With the comments that I was getting from people saying it brought them home for that whatever length of time it was, that's 3 mins of that video. There's people that watch it on a daily basis. There's one comment and I took a screenshot of it and I have it now, and I'll remember this one forever, it just said 'This will be the definitive version of this song for the rest of my life'. That hit me. That in itself, for someone from New Zealand to post that, that made it something special. "
"I was in lockdown and I decided just to start doing some live shows on Facebook, and it grew and it grew and it grew and then people were waiting for me to go live and messaging me 'are you going live on Friday?'. I know that everyone had to stay at home but people were building their evenings over sitting streaming me on the tv and watching with their friends or their family and having a few drinks and watching me singing live. It just became something that people enjoyed to do and were waiting to do. People then were sending in requests, people were requesting songs and CDs, giving people shout outs for their birthday or somebody found out that they were ill. Somebody requesting me to give their dad or their mam or their son or daughter a hello. Meant so much to people. People would say to me how much of a difference me being live on facebook made to them, I still find it hard to understand it."
"It came out by chance the fact that it's so low (his voice) I got Laryngitis. Was informed the fact that I had Laryngitis, I was to not sing and I had a really important gig that night and I decided to for want of a better phrase give the doctors the two fingers, and go and do my gig. But probably the best and worst thing I ever did, because the worst thing that happened because I lost my voice for just under 3 months, nothing came out and I mean nothing, not even a peep. When it did come back, it was just under 3 full keys lower. So I couldn't hit those high notes anymore to the way I used to be able to do them. I had to drop down, which then brought to somebody asking me to sing Dublin In The Rare Auld Times, and when I did the comments were mind blowing, the fact that people would say to me, jeez you sound like Ronnie Drew. And then when I'd song a Luke Kelly song, they'd get the fact holy sh!t, you can hear Luke Kelly in that voice. It's just because I sing with such gusto because I love these songs. I'm so passionate about keeping the Dubliners music alive."
"It's from what I was brought up with. My Dad, there was music, his friends played guitars, Dad played mandolin and the accordions and god knows what else, my Dad would play. The best thing about it was, Dad always supported me, he never said no. He would always let me try an instrument. Guitar is just my passion, I love playing guitar. But it wouldn't even matter if I couldn't play guitar, because I can sing, it's the singing moreso for me."
"Even when it comes to the busking, some days it's not about money. It's just about going out for my own sanity and singing my heart out. There's times I get through a song and be tears rolling down my eyes because I'll feel that song."
"I was homeless for a couple of years and nobody knew, I never told any one. I just didn't want to burden anyone with my problems, I never did. When Dad found out he was like why didn't you just tell me. Because you'd think you had better off things to be doing than be looking after me and worrying about me. So I kind of just dropped out. Everything was cool, not a bother, sound as. I done a similar interview for an Irish newspaper. I told my story, it was when Dad read it, Mam and Dad read it, when they seen me the next day I don't think they knew what way to react. It took mam a couple of weeks, and she said to me we never knew, that's because I never told you. I just didn't want to burden them, They're my parents, they reared me, they brought me up the right way. I left the nest. I leave the nest, I'm on my own. I love my parents, I love my parents with a passion, but I just didn't feel the need to burden them with my problems at that stage in life."
"I met so many good people when I was homeless. Some people that showed me where to go and what street not to walk down at a certain time. Who to talk to and who to trust. It was nice. There's a camaraderie among homeless people that unless you've being homeless, unless you've experienced that situation, you'll never understand."
"I had a breakdown just before the lockdown. Then I kind of realised when I spoke about my problems, that people were finding hope in it. It comes to hope. I live by hope, you have to. I got some tattoos during the lockdown. A lot of people get love and hate tattooed on their fingers. I changed that hate to hope because love and hope is all we gotta live by, it's just my reasoning."
"The lockdown happened and that hit me hard, because I had built up some gigs, I had built up a good following. I had built up a decent income and a decent life. That was all whipped away, and that hit me hard because I was living on my own at the start of the lockdown. When you're living on your own and you've no communication, and you've no outside world bar virtual, it kind of got to me and I did attempt to take my life on an overdose of valium and vodka. The amount I took should have actually killed me but for some strange reason I woke up the next day. For that whole few hours, maybe 5 or 6 hours of the hangover and feeling foggy, I had this realisation that, right, I shouldn't be here but I'm here, right, let's start talking about this. So I started to make my feelings and my situation and the fact that I suffer with mental health problems, I suffer with depression and anxiety, public. Maybe with me, because a lot people follow me, people might hear me talking openly about the fact that yea I suffer with mental health, maybe that'll make them realise hang on well if Mick can open his mouth about suffering with mental health and people kind of are afraid to open their mouth, if he's not afraid, well maybe if I'm not afraid I can open up my mouth and talk and get some help. I talk to anyone openly about my situation and if I can offer help to anyone I will. My phone number is public on my Facebook page. My information is public on my Facebook page. I'll talk to anyone, I'll chat to anyone, I'll answer my phone to anyone."
"I started up a Facebook page called 'Big Boys Do Cry' and that's helping a lot of people as well, I got a lot of support with that as regards people sharing my page and maybe girls showing their boyfriends, look, there's a page. People have contacted me. For instance I done a podcast before, and when I spoke openly about my situation, a couple of days later I got a message from a lady and she told me basically that she went to work this particular morning, and her son was getting ready for school and she went to work and left him at home, but he had other ideas, he was going to take his life, he was going to hang himself. But when he went to say goodbye on Facebook, he came across my interview and listened to it, and rang his mother and asked her to come home and told her absolutley everything. And she contacted me to thank me for giving her son the power to open his mouth and save his life."
"There's a lot of people I've encountered in life that I'm here because of and there's one woman in particular right now in my life that I would not be here only for her, because Leonitia Jordan is my partner, she's the woman I am going to grow old and frail with, for the rest of my life I will owe this woman my life. When I had a breakdown and when I was feeling low and I wanted to give up, again she wouldn't let me give up, she was the one that showed me who I was, what I was worth inside rather than just being the musician that everyone seen me to be. Without her giving me the faith that she did give me, I wouldn't be around today."
"The first photograph I actually ever took was a very dear friend of mine, Eileen King from Co Tyrone. With the country flavour."
"When the big St Dominic's Hall opened with my very best friend, Charlie McCole & Hughie, that was like the grand old oprey of Nashville. That was the opening of all the big stars coming to Glenties. From Joe Dolan to Dickie Rock and Big Tom, Gene Stuart, Margo, Daniel, everybody you know. But Brian Coll was the man who opened St Dominic's Hall. He was the man that put St Dominic's Hall on the map. Because when Brian Coll made his first appearance on a Saturday night, you were talking nearly about two thousand people squeezed into St Dominic's Hall, between the balcony and everything. I remember that night he came, Seamus McCusker was down at the door his manager along with Charlie McCole. Brian was always late coming and you couldn't get him home. Charlie always used to leave a place outside the hall vacant for Brian because Brian had a big huge silver datsun. And you'd see Brian coming up the street, he'd be flashing the lights to say I'm coming now, have the place ready for me'. So Charlie would tell me 'you go up now the back of St Dominic's Hall, back of the stage and open the door down the side of the stage' and he would go up the alley way back of St Dominicks Hall and I used to let him in. That was the first time I ever let Brian Coll in, and he went up to the dressing room to get ready, and that night when he came out on the stage, oh my god. it was electric, the crowd just went mad for him altogether. There was nothing to touch him in St Dominicks Hall and all over Donegal. He was the biggest draw. Then at the end of the night, the crowd that was around the stage, all the women and everybody, all trying to get talking when he was down on his hunkers, signing autographs and all that."
"The first big American one to come ever to Ireland to St Dominic's Hall was the late Hank Locklin."
"The man who taught me the photography was Brian Coll. When Brian was finished talking to everybody (1st night in St Dominic's Hall) Brian came into the dressing room and I shook hands with him and I said to him, Brian I would love to get a photograph with you, he said no bother at all. So I gave Jim Bradley the wee camera, and I was standing with Brian for the photograph and Brian looked over and said hold on a minute, what's that' I said that's the camera Brian, he said 'Did you get that in a lucky bag'? Noh I bought it in the chemist. 'Hold on one minute said Brian I'll show you a camera. He went over to the case and he took out this canon camera, oh my god, when I seen that i couldn't believe my eyes. He said to me if you're so interested in photography and you want to be a photographer, I'll give you the names now of a camera, and save up and get yourself a decent camera. Buy yourself a canon, a nikon, or a Pentax, but he said go for the canon. I saved up anyway and I got a canon camera and I when I got it, I brought it to Brian, now you're on the road he said. I'll show you now how to work it, set it for light metres and all that."
"If you didn't have that, you wouldn't get back stage, there was no way you would get backstage to meet some of the big names. Donal was involved with the Donegal news, he was involved with Ireland's eye magazine. But Country music round-up in England was a huge magazine, it was mostly about American singers but then Donal done the Irish column for it for all the Irish acts that were going over there."
"I've known Sandy Kelly long before she got married to Mike Kelly. The first time I met Sandy was up in St Mary's hall in Dunkineely with Gary street and the fairways. Sandy used to drive the wagon. She's an absolute wee lady, you couldn't meet anybody like Sandy. I've known Sandy must be over 20 years, I've being with Sandy Kelly. I was down when her first baby was born, Barbara, her first daughter, I was down for the christening and everything. I used to stay up in Sandy's house and of course then I travelled on the road with her."
"The first time I met Johnny Cash was in Omagh. I couldn't believe it. Sandy was doing a show down actually in Cork. She was on a radio station promoting the Patsy Cline show. The DJ says there's a big American gentleman here on the phone, he wants to speak to you. She thought it was some of the band acting the cod. And she says hello who's this and he says hello this is Johnny Cash and Sandy said yea I'm Dolly Parton, pull the other it's got bells on it. I am Johnny Cash! She nearly passed out when she discovered that it was Johnny Cash. And he said my very good friend Waylon Jennings when he was on tour over here you were supporting him and he told me all about you, I'm in Ireland at the moment and I would love to meet you in person. And Sandy couldn't believe it. So we headed up to Omagh, It was a big football stadium or something he came to. It was Kieran Cavanagh, Daniels manager now who was Sandy's manager at that time. We landed anyway and I stood with Johnny Cash's band and his manager and Kieran brought Sandy down to meet Johnny Cash, I just said I'd let Sandy meet him first."
"I just stood back at the side of the stage, and his manager said when he comes up to go on stage, don't approach him because you don't know how high he's going to be to go on stage to do his performance. If he comes over to you that's ok. Next thing I could hear the feet of this man coming up the steps up from the dressing room. This huge man in black with a guitar swung across his shoulder. The first thing I noticed was that he was chewing away at something. I found out later on it was a cube of ice he was chewing to keep the voice cool for singing before he would go on. He would walk over half ways to me and then he would look at me and he would turn back and walk over again. And next thing he looked over at me, he just walks over to me, puts out the hand and said Hello I'm Johnny Cash, pleased to meet you. I couldn't believe it Tony. The first thing I noticed when I shook his hand, I'd shaken many a peoples hands in showbuisness and country music and all different famous people but by god when I shook hands with Johnny Cash, your hand felt like jelly. His hands were like steel and that came from picking cotton in the cotton fields when he was a young boy. If he closed his fist, it would be light outs I can tell you."
"Sandy said to June afterwards, I'm surprised he (Johnny) got on well with my friend Neily. Oh said June, if he didn't like him he'd be on his back."
"Lou says, Well I'll do my best anyway, we'll see what happens, then I saw Johnny coming walking out with the coat hung over his shoulder of his suit he was he wearing, the Black suit and Lou says to him Neily would like to get a photograph with you Johnny. And he shook my hand he said oh how you doing Neilly, the last time we met was at Markree Castle. He just stood there for the photograph with me Tony and it's a beautiful photograph of myself and Johnny Cash together. I have a big massive one up in the house Tony. I knew that was going to be the last time I was going to see Johnny Cash because he was very sick that night. But he still remembered me and he still done the photograph with me. Just to get that photograph with Johnny Cash on his own, it was like winning the lottery, I cherish that photograph to this day."
"The club was founded back 44 years ago in 1976. The reason how the Na Rossa club came about, it actually started as a breakaway club from the Dungloe club. Back in the beginning to the mid 70's there was a situation developed in the Dungloe club where you had a lot of players. There were these good Dungloe footballers that would be away at college and wouldn't have played any games during the league in the winter. When they would come home then during the summer they would actually get playing in the Championship which meant that some of the fellas that had played on the bad pitches through the winter were actually dropped. So these players took exception to this and they decided they were going to form a club of their own."
"They've only been two secretary's of Na Rossa. I'm there secretary since '82 but their first secretary was a man called Johnny Doherty who was actually from out Maghery, Tearmann direction. Johnny had a busy time being the first secretary. He would have done all the correspondents with the county board. He was a good man to pick because Johnny was an educated man, he taught in the community school in Dungloe. He was a career guidance teacher there for years."
"There was Gaelic played for years in Dooey, going away back decades because there was actually a club up in Leitir years ago, a Gaelic club called Gweebara Rovers. Now that's a club where Dan Bonner, the father of Declan Sean and those, he would have played. His brother Sean would have played for that club. The likes of Connell Boyle, the big farmer who was a councillor, and his brother Fr Hugh, all good footballers, they played for that club Gweebara Rovers. Gweebara actually won the Donegal under 16 championship in 1950. The club that won the two under 16 championships before that in 48 and 49 were St Eunans. Gweebara were the 2nd team in Donegal to win the under 16 championship."
"The first team that took the field for Na Rossa, they were 7 players from Leitir on it, there was 7 players from Sheiskanrone and the goalkeeper was from Dungloe but it wasn't me. It was a fella called Packie Boyle."
"When '78 came around, Packie Bonner had gone to Celtic and Packie Boyle had gone to Keadue Rovers so Hugo Trimble (One of the Na Rossa founders) asked me to play in goal for Na Rossa so that's when I started. Unfortunately they were knocked out of the intermediate championship at that stage. I played in the league. I was over the moon (to be asked to join Na Rossa) because Dungloe had always too many goalkeepers, unlike Leitir."
"Johnny Doherty, he got married, I think he was going to live in Derry. He is still living in Derry so he had to give up the position. I think it was Brian Cannon that asked me to take over as secretary, Brian Cannon would have being the chairman of the club at that time, that was 82. When I was elected there at the last AGM that'd be the start of my 38th year. (June 2020) Pat the Cope checked it out and it seems it is a record for a club secretary. It's not a record for a club officer in Donegal. Because believe it or not the Sean MacCumhaills treasurer and a fella I know very well, Eugene Gallagher, he's being treasurer for over 45 years. It's one thing being secretary but treasurer, you're responsible for all the finances of the club and fundraising."
"It has changed a fair bit. The big thing when I took over I suppose was every year the players have to be registered. you have to register all the players. That was a manual task. You had this sort of folder that Croke Park would send out, you had to list every player and their dates of birth. The dates of birth were probably more important for under age players. When Na Rossa were formed there was no such thing as under age teams in the Na Rossa club. It was just the adult team. The underage came along later."
"It was very fortunate too that Na Rossa were based in Leitir because there was one family of players that were to come along, that actually formed the backbone of the Na Rossa club for years and that was the Bonner brothers. Sean, Declan, Donal and Michael. They were all county players. You couldn't have wished to get 4 better players into your club."
"That was in '78. We had an away game. Brian Cannon was the team manager too and he always insisted that everybody travel on the bus. So I would drive up to Leitir and get on the bus. We were going from Leitir to Doochary and we stopped at this house. I didn't know whose house it was. But this young fella came out, obviously a young teenager and I says awh god is he going to be playing for Na Rossa. He lined out at right corner back that day and I'll tell you it must have being one of the most impressive debuts ever for Na Rossa. I knew he was definitely going to have a long career, that was Sean Bonner. He was 15 when he made his debut. You wouldn't have to be a rocket scientist to know that he was going to be a class footballer."
"It's basically just telling the facts, what happened there which is awful. I was just taken aback by it when I heard it the first time, when I was very small, we'd heard stories about it. I read a book then back in the early 90's by Liam Dolan called land war and evictions at Derryveagh, I read that book and I put the song together. With the school we visited Glenveagh way back and I was surprised then to find out how little time they used to talk about the subject that there was 244 pepple thrown off their lands there, out on the road. There was less than 5 mins talked about that and there was over a half an hour talking wildlife, scenery and all the famous guests that were in Glenveagh. I was going to highlight it but the song just came naturally then. Capturing the mood of the music I think was the magic part of it."
"Always had a fondness for Aranmore, lots of friends in there. Met a couple of men that were heading off to the tunnel one time, they were talking about tunnel Tigers and stuff like that so I just put the song (Aranmore) together around that. But the tunnel Tigers were from all over Donegal."
"I was brought up in the Chapel road Dungloe, late teens we moved to Burtonport, and I married in Bunbeg. I've lived actually longer in Gweedore now than I lived in Dungloe."
"Things are a lot better, venues are better, sound systems are better, the roads are better. As far as the actual music industry itself is concerned I'd love to see young people buying a little bit of music, because they don't buy any. They look at you as if you got horns on you if you asked for money for a tune or for a CD. It's just the way the world is. I'd like to see something fair whereas they can produce music at a reasonable price and sell it. You gotta survive. You cannot afford to go into a studio and pay 20 grand to make an album, and then give it away!"
"Myself and Ryan (my nephew) we were counting one night, ex members, who were in the band (The Goats Don't Shave), people come people go. We've only 3 of the original members left, we've always kept the band size, membership was 6 or 7 people. Through the years I think we've had 16 or 17 members. We haven't being active all that time. There was a period there we didn't play for about 12 years, that's just the way bands are."
The original members would be all from Dungloe and Burtonport area. Shaun Doherty, Jason Philbin, Declan Quinn, John Foggy Boyle, Peter Healy, Hughie Boyle.
"It's a thing I never force, it just happens, you feel that way and you go with it. Your antenna is always on incase somebody comes up with a turn of phrase or something somebody does or you read something in the paper."
"I'm out of politics now since February of last year (2020), and I still use my time doing some work for people who still contact me and there are many of those. I walk quite a lot which I believe is good at this time of Covid-19. I think mental health is very important and do at least 5k every day. Last year, the calendar year 2020, I never missed one day from the 1st of January to the 31st of December and that included the general election period! This year I've started off again on the 1st of January and I've never missed a day, I'm nearly obsessed with it now Tony!"
"My mother and father were living in Dungloe on the main street, just as you go into the main area of the Cope, below the archway. My mother was expecting me. Paddy the Cope and his wife Sally the Cope lived there as well. Sally the Cope was dying and my mother was shipped off to Burtonport where she came from, she was Campbell from the pier in Burtonport, so that's the reason that I was born in Burtonport. But of course shortly afterwards when my grandmother died, Sally the Cope, it was back to Dungloe, I was reared there on the main street and spent most of my life there until the Cope decided that they were going to do some major renovations. It was then that we built a house on the Carnmore road and moved out there but I loved the main street!"
"As I grew older I went to work with the Campbells, an uncle of mine James Campbell and cousins John Campbell & Paddy Campbell. They were in the fish business and each summer I worked with them in Burtonport and then when I finished college I was offered a job with them, managing the factory. They had one in Burtonport and one in Killybegs where we did Salmon, Herring, where we did Lobster and other species of fish. So I worked with them all those years, and after that I was working with them both in Killybeggs and Burtonport. They then decided to consider the building of a canning factory. In those days, the fish were shipped out, they were either salted or frozen. But we wanted to add value to the fish and create more permanent employment over the 52 weeks and John Campbell decided that he would embark on the canning of both herring and mackerel. And we had various meetings with John West who marketed the fish. We then built the factory in Meenmore and it's still going well. It's provided long term sustainable employment there, so I must say I enjoyed that, that was a great period for us."
"I was very disappointed when the government decided to abolish the drift netting of Salmon. I was totally opposed to that because Salmon was important to the islanders, it was important to the small fishermen along the coast here, helped to educate manys a family and of course pressure came on the government because the stocks were dwindling somewhat but not by a lot. I was anxious then that they would be a buyout system whereby those who wanted to get out would be paid whereas those who wanted to stay would be allowed to stay but no the government decided no, and of course there was a big lobby from the angling fraternity throughout the country who were saying that the drift netting at sea is affecting the salmon which are going up our rivers. But I only wish now, a lot of those who are passed on, I would like to debate it with them because there's no deep sea fishing of salmon and there's still not a lot of salmon going up the rivers. A lot of the damage is being done further out and the damage wasn't being done by the small fishermen, that there was a big disappointment to me."
"I said throughout my career, in government or out of government, the one sector that paid too great a price for membership of the European union was the fishing sector. And I say now, it's the first time I've said it publicly that while the Brexit arrangement has being welcomed generally speaking, I say again, it's history repeating itself that the fishing industry has paid too great a price for this. They have lost 43 million. That's the value of the fish that has being lossed as a result of this and that's only the fish that are landed. Whereas that could be double that with all the value that could be added. We're told that efforts will now be made to secure greater quotas but I'm around a long time and I hope that they're successfull but I would be concerned. "
"We're married over 31 years now. It looked as when I was running around that I would never settle down but I met Ann. I settled down sometime after that. And of course I was in politics when I met Ann so she was quite happy to work with me over the years. I give so much of my time and so much of my weeks and months and years to politics but Ann never complained. At least she now has me at home all the time and of course I must say that we're enjoying life."
"There is nothing to compare with Gaelic football when you consider it. I often heard Brian McEniff, one of the successfull Donegal footballers and managers say that he would prefer to go up to the local pitch to watch an under 12 Gaelic football game than he would to watch some of the soccer matches!"
"Know what I think the problem is, we've nothing up front. That's the main thing. I think all over the field we're playing a nice brand of football, we're not conceding too many goals, in fact we're conceding very little in games. You're saying to yourself, the only problem is we're not scoring any."
"We played our football on an ash pitch. It was like gravel. From a goalkeepers point of view, you made a dive, you were picking stones out of your knee that night. When we came here and we saw the grass pitches I thought I was in heaven!"
"My mother and father, they were both from the Quay Road in Dungloe. They were actually 4 houses away from each other. But they didn't really meet till they went to Glasgow. The half of Dungloe and maybe Gweedore and Falcaragh were all over in Scotland that time."
"What actually happened was at 15, when you're young, a lot of one's can relate back to it, you either went to college or you got a trade. I wasn't college material. I was too busy building things, wee huts or I was playing football, sports and swimming. The trade came along and I was a carpenter and I done 3 years. The first 3 years was in Langside college and the third year you went to the advanced, it was in the college of building and printing, it was up in St George's square. That third year I got an award, nice to get it!"
"I landed here, I wasn't three days in Ireland when Patsy Mc Gowan from Finn Harps came up and he'd sign me for the youth squad, Finn Harps youths. Like I didn't even know where Ballybofey was!"
"Arannmore was the best team. (Pat played with). There's no question of that. If I think back on all the memories I've had, it's definitely the time in Arranmore. We won everything bar the premier. We came runners up in the premier. We started off in the lowest division, won every division, came through, went straight into the premier, runners up in that. Keadue Rovers actually won it that year. So the two Rosses teams were the top 2 in the county at the time. It was good but it as the buzz of Arranmore, it was the fans, like you had 3 coach loads going to games."
"I made my debut that night. Robbie White was the manager. He phoned me up and he asked me would I play on a Wednesday night. I asked him who we playing against and he said to me never mind, if you want to come, you be there. So I landed at the game and I saw Con McLaughlin, and I saw Charlie McKeever and I thought we've some team today. But I didn't realise we were actually playing them boys. I actually thought we were going to get battered as they say but no, we won, we beat them 2-0. It was nice to say you played a senior side and beat them."
"I look at there, I had a young fella Declan Doherty, played for Ireland, Patrick Bonner played, captained Ireland, Lee Boyle went to Aston Villa, Carl McHugh captained Ireland, he's now in India, Mark Forker Hearts. You look at the likes of Gavin McGlanaghey, Gavin was at Finn Harps, David (Pats son) was at UCD, Cory Gallagher was at Finn Harps, Martin Redmond. I have a week book I write down who makes the county team, who makes the Irish panels, through the years. In the 18 years that I was running the schoolboy teams do you know how many lads from the Rosses, not from elsewhere, represented the county!? 57 boys! I have them all named now. Having said that 5 went on to play for Ireland, 5 went across the water. 9 of them played for league of Ireland clubs, that's all local boys."
"I'm lucky to be in the beautiful county of Sligo. Very proud of it. Proud to be a Sligo man. It's beautiful like I suppose anywhere else in Ireland. When the sun shines any place in Ireland is beautiful. In particular with the coastline. You have Rosses point and strand hill. Some great beaches in Enniscrone as well and streedah beach. Sligo itself then would be renound for music. Renound for mostly traditional music. Gurteen itself is steeped in traditional music. It's the home of traditional music. Michael Coleman country they call it. Peter Horan, great musicians like that. In old hands it has passed down through the years. Its the home of traditional irish music. I'm very lucky to be steeped in that as well along with the country music."
"I did do some voice training when I was younger in my earlier years. And then I stopped it because I felt that it was just beginning to change maybe my style and tone a bit. It did stand to me from a singing perspective. Being able to sing from your stomach like. It did help me and thankfully touch wood it has protected my voice and my vocal chords. It definitely does help you to have that bit of training. Because there's kind of little tools and techniques for warming up and stuff like that as well that helps you reach the notes that you want to try and reach. I'm lucky that I'm in that kind of style of tenor style singing."
"It's an old song that was written by a man from Co Cork, Sean McCarthy. And he wrote many many great songs. I came upon it just by fluke, we done our own arrangement and there was a fantastic reaction, bigger reaction than ever I thought."
"That's a really old song. That was a song written by Percy French. That's going back well over 100 years that song. Sometimes you know the saying is true, the old songs are the best. You know for an artist I suppose it's like serving your apprentice. Over time and as time goes on you get to find out what songs mabye suits you and what style of song suits you. Its trial and error. I've released songs that I thought were going to be popular and they mightnt get two plays. Then songs that you think wouldn't get plays have been very popular. You learn as time goes on what suits you and what doesn't."
"I have to say PJ Murrihy would be the top man that I have to say has been great with his songs. His style of songs just seem to suit my voice. Co Clare man. He's written some fantastic songs down through the years. That song I released Soldier on was very popular and then this drawing little men in the ashes, the current single, they were all songs written by PJ Murrihy. I mean he has an encyclopedia of that type of stuff. He has that knack and there's a wittyness in his songs and in his storytelling. So he's my Nuala Woods."
"The room I'm sitting in now is the room which I wrote Home To Donegal in, the same corner. There was no fancy equipment or nothing like that. There was a wee small keyboard and a guitar and a wee 4 track recorder, that's where Home To Donegal got it's life at the start. Basically the theme of it was, the thing of people coming home, for your town or my town or any others where they run their festivals during the summer. And let people thats away from home, come home for the festival and that's where I got the idea for home to Donegal."
"I had the thought of the melody sitting down at the keyboard and a few words. I met Mick Flavin out in Ballylifin one night after a dance. I never met the man before in my life and he was asking about songs and he says about a good Donegal song because he was very popular in Donegal, still is, and that is where Ii sort of the got the wee push to go ahead and finish the song and I posted it off to him and it wasn't that long afterwards that he rang me up 1 day and he played it over the phone to me, see what I thought of it."
"At the start I never seriously considered that the songs were maybe worthy of being recorded I suppose. I sent a song into a radio programme, it was radio Eireann at the time and the song was picked up first by Brendan Shine, and it's being covered multiple times since, the song 'Can't Hold The Years Back'. It was my first breakthrough into getting my songs covered and it gave me a lot of confidence in writing more. It gives you, I suppose a respectability in your writing that if people are recording them, they must be okay."
"Greencastle's a fishing village. It'd be very well known as a fishing village. Its in Lough foyle. Most young men of a certain generation would have all spent some time fishing. A lot of boys went away on the Merchant Navy or going away to work in England and things like that in their young days. It'd be quite a common thing, the immigration theme is a always a big one, mostly all over Donegal I suppose."
"It's nearly self explanatory. I went out the back door one morning and the birds were singing and the country was in total lockdown and I thought to myself it was making no difference at all to the actual Irish countryside. No one told the robin and I led it on from that!"
"Like a lot of other ones around here, I worked as a fisherman. I worked at fish processing and then I ran a small fish processing business for a good number of years. I went full time at the music in probably mid 90s or early 90's. We were brought up that music was a sort of a sideline of a thing if you like, you played in lounges and that type of work, and hotels. You never let go of your day job but eventually I did decide to do it and to be truthful I should have done it years earlier."
"There was a young man, (when he was young) John Browne was his name, and he spotted me in Fr Murphy's in Stonebridge park, and he then phoned Johnny McCauley and then Johnny came down and it started from then. From there we'd go around to Johnny's house in Charlton avenue West, he'd have his acoustic guitar and he'd play a few songs and then it just went from there. He had a little dog called Toby and we'd sort of hang around. What would happen is, he said he had a couple of little songs that he was doing for Tom. One of them was four country roads and then he said he had where the grass grows the greenest and he'd play that."
"For me I pinch myself everyday because I just can't believe people don't know this side of Johnny. I'm probably one of the only few that knew Johnny in that way. I was six years old when I met him. From there he'd put me on other little shows, we did Wimbledon theatre, we did all little social clubs around London and then the big one was Roundwood park with Big Tom and I never met Big Tom until that day."
"I remember Johnny taking me down round the back of Roundwood Park. In them days they had scaffolds with a ladder going up onto the stage. A guy called Colin took me up onto the stage and performed the songs that Johnny wanted me to sing. Which were I think 'One Day At A Time' 'Boys From The Co Armagh' and songs like that and it just went from there."
"Johnny had this song 'Sundays Child'. We had it on cassette, and then sent that over to Tom and it just went from there. The next time I seen Tom was at his house. We went to his house. And he picked up the banjo and then he'd start playing it on the banjo the song, and then we'd just practice it and then that was the end, just little bits you sort of remember now. I remember being in the room, he had loads of cups and memorabilia all around the room. And Rose would come out, she had tea and stuff like that. I just remember them little things. And then it sort of disappears in your head then of that whole thing. And then the next time I can remember is being in Rainers lane recording the demo of it. A guy called Jeff Newman had done the production of the song. Before that we had gone to a hotel in Wembley, and he had written down all the chord structures and then he went on ahead to Nashville, did that. And it was Rainers lane then, we did the practicing in Rainers lane. And then I had six weeks off school. I was in Ireland at grannys. We had a phone call then. Johnny said would you pop up to Blaney, and Tom would meet us in Blaney, take you up to the studio and we did the recording there."
"Yea my dad's from Crossmaglen and my mum's from Tyholland in Monaghan. God rest my mum. I'll always cherish the times. I'm just glad you get to spend that little bit of time with that person. My mum she said to me Paul you've got to give up them mechanics and do your music. You're good at it, you should be doing it and that's exactly what I've done."
"It took about 20 minutes to do (write), it was done and dusted in 20 mins. I had all the lines done and Tommy Londy he changed the chords, so it went from D, A, D, A, that's the way the song went. Tommy changed from D, A, D, A, to B, A, B, A. Little up to the G and little things like that. And Phil came along and he said oh no oh no oh no, thats where it all came from. At that time I wasn't into choruses, I'm into choruses but i don't like having a chorus every 5 minutes or every 30 seconds so I said look let's do a song that doesn't have a chorus and just had to say a line and that's all we want to say about the song. And Phil's going no no no, and that's how it came about so when it's on the tape, you're laying down on the tape, you're realising here you are, this is another idea, and you take that idea and you put it into the song and that's how it all developed."
"So what happened was you'd have to pay to get it played. I went to try and get it in the shops. First of all went to Wexford. Some places would take 3 cassettes, in them days it was cassettes. Wouldn't take a CD. And then some places would take maybe 100 cassettes and maybe 10 CDs. But once the song was played on RTE, Pat Kenny was the first to play it on his show. Once it got played it went from 10 CDs to 300, to a 1,000."
"Damon Albarn, from the Gorillaz, she's worked with him. She's worked with George Harrison. Joe Browne was another person they worked with as well. That's what she does she arranges strings, she'll work out bowings, down bows, up bows, right on the piece of music, it's just about arranging everything. When you look at somebody playing the violin, and chellos and violas, you watch them playing, all the bows go down and they go up and they all have to be in time. That's written in the music, that's what Antonia does. She's with the rock orchestra at the moment. They're doing really well. Ridiculously well. And they're selling out all over the place in London, all arenas there as well."
"He was asking me where dreams came from, she would say to me, Daddy you know when you go to sleep, you know when you're snoring, is that were the dreams go in and out and that's where the song dream inside came from. We went to Hollywood and we got best international song of the year in Los Angeles for that song in 2015."
"It was born out of a necessity really. My business partner, the guy that runs it with me is a voice director. He directs voice actors in video games. He many years ago said to me 'I'm fed up with using the same voice actors in the games that we run'. It's quite a specialised niche in voice over/voice acting in that there are certain techniques in things you need to know about how to do voice in video game. So he said 'I end up training people on the job in front of clients' and that's not ideal. He and I had this conversation and we came up with an idea that we would form a buisness to train actors to become voice actors in the video gaming industry. So that's what we did. Then from there, the business then grew into what is now the biggest voice acting academy or university virtually in the world. We've trained something like close to 50,000 voice actors around the world in all aspects of voice over. From video gaming to audio books and everything else in between. I'm really delighted and very proud of what we've achieved there."
"I grew up in Belfast and left there when I was 23, 24 nearly. That's where I started my career in front of the microphone, was at the BBC in Belfast. Before that it was in hospital radio, I worked in a hospital radio station at the Royal Victoria hospital in Belfast. Then I went to Queens university to do a degree in psychology and I worked during that period for the BBC in Belfast as a radio announcer. So I was reading news both on T.V. and radio in those days."
"I've never seen anybody, before or since be introduced onto a studio floor in a television studio in front of a live audience and be able to walk on the set and have the audience literally stand up and applaud him before he had even uttered a word. That speaks volumes for his reputation and how much he was loved. Then to watch him reel in an audience literally like they were his rightful prey. He just had this uncanny ability to judge an audience's mood and instantly know what they wanted and be able to give it to them and have them eat out of his hand within about two seconds, he was unique. Of course that kind of talent doesn't come overnight. This ability to do what I've just described comes through many many many years of failure and practice in front of live audiences which Bruce had from his early career when he was a young boy. I think he started when he was about 9 or 10 as the mighty atom, touring Britain's music halls which he continued to do for many many years in front of some the toughest audiences you could ever imagine."
"One of the highlights of my career I think yea. It was a remarkable opportunity and never to be repeated again in my lifetime and so I grasped it with both hands. Was so honoured and thrilled to do it. I just can't tell you how fun it was!"
"I've always and still have a great deal of affection for it. Because I suppose you could argue that, that show and that show alone have done over something like probably about a hundred broadcast TV shows and series over my lifetime. That show alone is probably the one that catapulted me into the public consciousness with the voice that I did for it. I loved doing it, I think 16 years is a very good run in any formats kind of history. It's being a fantastic show for me personally and for many many people that went through it. Including the people who won and those that didn't win but still went on to have stellar careers out of it. "
The show had its detractors. People thought it was exploitive. Those young people, not so young people who were on that show, they were by and large amateurs, they weren't professional performers. some of them had very limited experience, certainly no TV experience and to ask them each week to sing and perfect a song and learn the lyrics of that song and walk down some stairs and negotiate props on set and dry ice and God knows what and find your mark on the stage, and sing the song and remember all the words is a very tall order, I really don't think I could do it myself. It's something that is remarkable to me that so many of them managed to do it all.""
"I was only talking to a friend of mine the other day, and we were taking about the head guy in Apple, who passed away some years ago; Steve Jobs. This guy was worth billions, and he couldn't buy his house, he tried his best to find doctors to turn around his cancer diagnosis and he couldn't do it. The money that we have and the things that we have aren't going to enrich our lives to any full extent. I think it's more so the experiences in life that we have and the people around us is whats more important. The pandemic definitely shone a light on that for me anyway."
"When you get on the stage and the music starts, there's a buzz that happens with the amigos that I haven't found in any other collaboration that I've done. Jimmy's got a great sense of humour, Patrick is a powerful ballad singer, it just works. It's like if I had the formula to write a hit song, if I knew the formula and can write as many hit songs as I wanted, I'd be a multi billionaire. I can't tell you exactly why it works, we do have admiration for each other's talent. When we get on stage, it comes out. The choice of music that we pick, it's sort of middle of the road. Bit of rock'n'roll, bit of country, bit of gospel. All of those things, the crowd buy into it. The comedy that we do is organic, it's sort of off the cuff, there's not too much of the show that's staged or pre prepared. Every night can be slightly different as regards what may happen on the stage."
"Its my wife that's responsible because she had said to me one day I'd love a bench for out in the back garden and i said well sure look, I'll look up something and I'll try and make something, so I found a bench similar to what I'm making on the internet and I sort of made it my own and put it together and she loved it and said you know I think other people might want one of those too, and I wasn't sure. But I put up a post one day after I made it, bit of a joke about it and I called it the 'Say You Love Me Seat' and low and behold, the internet started going crazy, of course the weather was good, it just happened at the right time, so I started making them that first summer and I did very well with them, took a break then for the winter. The last two summers I've been making them and people are very good to me. And I will say that probably 90% of all the seats that I've sold were music fans. I sent benches all over the country, to every county in Ireland I think in the last couple of years, once again it's testament to the fans of country music who saw what I was doing, they liked the idea, thankfully they liked the seats, I haven't got one yet that came back broken."
"The Farmer is a great song. It was written by a lady called Nuala Woods, I met Nuala in Donegal some years ago, she was up at one of my shows. If you look at Nuala, she's just an ordinary woman, lovely lady who loves country music. We sat down one night and she said 'Robert, I have a song I've written, I don't know if you'll like it now but I think the words of it are good. She opened up this piece of paper and she had the words to the farmer and another song as well she wrote, two rooms and a kitchen. Two rooms and a kitchen came first. I was amazed by it. I was amazed by the lyrics. They were lyrics that really really suited the Irish country song. We went into the studio and we built a track around it. I have to say those two songs are probably my most popular songs I've recorded in the last 5 or 6 years. And its hard to believe they came from the same person. I was very thankful to Nuala. I think the reason why they're so popular is when you listen to the lyrics, they're about ordinary people doing ordinary things and I think that's what country music is really all about. I've had hits with American songs too but the fact that they're Irish songs written by an Irish woman, talking about Irish people, it really resonated with a lot of people and made sense to them. I need to get back in touch with her again after the lockdown to be able to make sure that she keeps writing for me."
"No I didn't think much of it at all. I think the main reason, no disrespect to the guy who I heard the version for it, Dessie O' Halloran (RIP) had a version of it out. Dessie was a Sean nós singer, and I wouldn't have known much about that, it wouldn't have made much sense to me when I heard it. So I sort of dismissed the song at the very beginning. But I think when I actually got the song recorded, it's on the first album and i know it's track no 7 on the first album and the reason I know that is because when I first got the album when it was finished all those years ago, when you play the album, when you come to no 7 that song just jumps of the CD. I couldn't tell you exactly why, the lyrics themselves sometimes in the song they don't make complete sense to me, you know as a song, but its just you never can understand, as I said if I knew the exact formula for writing hit songs I'd be a millionaire, but people just love it. Its just something that catches people, the chorus is very catchy. Believe it or not I would sing that song 2 times every night, once at the start of the night, and once at the end. And I've sang that song every night for the last 25 years. A song like that is a blessing and a curse in one way because I love the fact that it got me known to the Irish people, but then it's very difficult when you're coming back to record after a song like that to try and come up with something good, but look I've been fortunate I have 13 albums. Most of my albums have all done very well."
"When I got past my early teens I started listening to the likes of George Strait and Vince Gill. Then I discovered George Jones probably later on in my life. I think that George just had one of those voices and I always describe his voice as, it's a voice that's got width, it's got bottom, it's a big big big voice. A lot of the singers now you hear nowadays, their voice is very thin. And they have to be compressed in through computers to make them sound better than they are. But George just had that natural ability and of course the songs, 'Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes' 'The Bartender Blues', 'He Stopped Loving Her Today' 'The Race Is On'. I mean you could just go on and on. Endless amount of songs. And George then opened doors to me. I'd be very fond of Merle Haggard. There's lots of them I love. As a matter of fact I was over in America some years ago and I met George in Fort Worth, at a concert he was doing over there, and I brought over a CD collection that I had, and he signed it for me so it's pride of place in the house. Getting a chance to meet him and to his shake his hand and to thank him for music was a pleasure for me."
"Mama Courtney was my foster mother, I'm sure a lot of your listeners would recognise that. Fostering, I think its a thing that happens around the world. Often times when people talk about foster children or foster parents, I've heard negative press on both ends of that discussion. But for me, I think that my mother and father both had difficult times in their lives and at different stages but I was taken out of the house at a young age and Mama Courtney was that person, she held my life together at that time and the lives of so many other children that used to come into her. I remember growing up in the house with Mama Courtney and all different hours of the night the phone would ring and the state department would ring up and say that look we have another child needs to be taken, some children she only kept for a couple of days, couple of weeks a couple of months, whatever the case may be. I was with her for and I think it was because we struck up this relationship, I was in Mama Courtney's life for all of my life until she passed away. Mama Courtney was one of these people if I can describe her, she was a Baptist woman, and for listeners who don't know what a Baptist is, she was a southern Baptist woman. She was very religious. Very stern, very strict, but a beautifully balanced person. She was great fun, she was the greatest craic of any woman you'd ever meet. But when Mama Courtney spoke, you listened. Surprisingly enough her stature, she was only 4 foot something, she was a tiny woman, but you never let the size fool you because if you didn't do what she told you to do, you wouldn't be long finding out about it. She raised children in different times than there are now. I don't regret one moment that I spent with Mama Courtney and Papa Courtney. For a woman who loved children so much she couldn't have any children. She never had any children of her own. She adopted 2 girls who I still stay in touch with quite a bit in America, and of course she fostered, it says 32 in the song, but we don't really know for sure how many, there were lots of children that she helped and she benefited. Mama Courtney is more famous here in Ireland than she ever will be in Louisiana because of my life with her and my connection to the music, there'll never be another mama Courtney as far as I'm concerned. I suppose having the song that as you well said that Henry McMahon wrote, she can never be out of my memory. I think the song helps do that, I'd often think about her."
"As a matter of fact I always tell this story that, after we had met a good few times, one of the first times that I actually got speaking to her, she came up to the stage, we were chatting about music and stuff, because her father he plays piano and her brother plays in a band called the logues which are very popular. Her brother plays banjo, Christopher. We got talking and I said to her what do you do, what do you spend your time doing. She was just finishing up university at that time, she said I'm just finishing up college. I said oh well sure look if you don't mind if when you finish college I said I'll marry you, sort of a throw away line, we had a laugh about it, then of course some years later we look back and we joke about it, but we eventually did get married. A lady like Adele doesn't come along but only once in your life. She's given me 2 beautiful children and only for her this place that we live in wouldn't exist. She's the glue that holds everything together and the rock that it stands on."
"From a young age I did want to become a primary school teacher, I kind of had like a tunnel vision for it. I didn't really consider anything else."
"I always found that I'd loved teaching but I felt that I had a little bit more to give. If I was to say it honestly I probably would be maybe functioning about 70 to 80% of my full capacity with teaching and I just found that making videos and getting out and about and all that kind of maybe brought me up to that next level. I didn't want this opportunity to pass, for it be too long. To look back at this and basically say look why didn't you take the career break now, why didn't you go and pursue a career in this. Look if in a couple of years it doesn't work out, and I go back to teaching its not that I'm going to be unhappy, because I love that job but I'd always want to be able to say that I have gone for it. And If that means that your successful, well be it, and if not, you can reset, and adapt and go back."
"I love Errigal. I think it's just such an iconic mountain. It's a stand alone mountain. The scenery around its amazing. I'm always searching for that little bit of difference up there. Whether it's the clouds or the sunrise or whatever it is. I've probably climbed it I would say in the last maybe 2 years probably about 25 times I would say. But in saying that Tony, not everytime you go up you're going to get the nice scenery. Becayse I'll always say as well that if anybody is saying 'awh I'm going to climb Errigal on this date, will it be nice' Well look you're gonna have to keep an eye on the weather forecast. The weather forecast is really subject to change right up until the night before. And I suppose that's one thing that you always have to be careful and aware that the mountains are dangerous. You have to be very safe up there. Especially on Errigal there's a ridge going between the 2 peaks, it's not for the faint hearted. The more you go up the more you used it you become. I suppose you do get that sense of achievement and delight whenever you're up at the top. There's nothing like standing up of the top of Donegal and looking out over everywhere. Looking North to South."
"I supposed we're blessed with the scenery in Donegal. We're blessed with the mountains and everything that we have here. Its just a case of trying to showcase that."
"My spark is driven by his time here. Trying to live my life as best I can remembering him."
"Pieta House and a lot of other services do provide fantastic services whether it be dealing with grief or dealing with your own internal battles or whatever it is. There is help out there. Sometimes the strongest thing is to go and talk to somebody. And I know it's quite cliche for me to say this and everything but as somebody that has gone to counselling over some different things and numerous different things that have happened over my life. I can tell you now that it does help. And it does help to vocalise these concerns. You have to always remember that although the battle or the mountain that you have ahead of you might seem completely overwhelming, somebody has been there before and somebody has gotten out the other end. It's just a case of maybe you know, somebody will lend you that helping hand and they will help you get over it. Look, whether it's a friend or maybe you might have to go see somebody professional in that capacity there is something out there for everybody. I suppose just if anybody is having those thoughts to just try and make sure and talk to somebody whether it is in a professional capacity or a friend."
"One of the first songs I've ever wrote. I wrote it when I was going to the tech in Carrick. I used to play in a indie/grunge kind of a band, Beatle influences and stuff as well. We were called 'Bulb'. And it was myself and two O'Donnell brothers, One of them Micky D who joined me in the Revs then after. We were only about 15, 16 at the time. You wouldn't really realise until you listen to it 3 or 4 times, it's actually about racism in a very simplistic way. It's written almost from the point of a view of a toddler or a child. It's that whole thing, 'Colours don't mean a thing' and then it's like a nursery rhyme and the chorus 'I'm so blue, I'm living in a shoe with a photograph of you."
"I originally wrote it for a guy in Lanzarote called Jimmy from Senegal and he done the video with me of course. He really launched the whole thing with the brilliant way he lists off the Irish towns. He was a bit of a star in Lanzarote. He would go in selling the fake Rolexs and the chains, just a brilliant character. I wrote him the song first and it was called 'Jimmys selling watches, Jimmys selling chains, Jimmys going to sing about Molly Malone again'. He used to sing Molly Malone with me every night. That was the original chorus, that didn't take off, it didn't do very well, it got about 5 thousand views. Then my mother was on holiday and she said to me, 'you really switch that around for Jim McGuinness, you're a Donegal fan anyway', and I was like 'Yea but Its Jim McGuinness, nobody really calls him Jimmy and she was like 'ah you'll be grand' so I switched it round. I told Jimmy about it, told him who Jim McGuinness was, how well Donegal were doing, the buzz that was behind them locally and he was sat down on the beach with me and we did it in 2 takes. That's the 2nd take, the video that got a million views!"
"That was an electric hit we originally had with the Revs. I wrote the verses before we had the Revs formed. Then when we were playing it in the rehearsal room, we all started shouting 'Wooooooooooo' in the chorus and we said, right that's the song. We scribbled that down, that was our first single in 2001. It was one of those things. We won a hot press battle in the band competition and that was the single that we got to release as the prize. So it was going to get a bit listened to anyway, we were lucky enough we'd won that big competition in Dublin. When it came out, it went into hot press on 2FM, they had to give an original glance and luckily enough it was just again a very catchy melody. simplistic melody with quirky lyric and cheeky lyric as well. It took off big time. It went into number 16 in the Irish charts and it stayed there for the whole summer 2001. And we got to play with the foo fighters and white stripes, great times."
"From the age of 8 or 9 I remember it, they went 'You have the talent, you're playing away, try and write your own music, thats where you can get the bigger break'. It was nice to have them say that, so I always had that in the back of my mind, try and do more original music. When I started doing a lot of reading, when I went into the tech and you start developing your English a little bit better. I would have being reading Mark Twain, James Joyce, whatever kind of stuff was on the English curriculum, probably helped my lyrics a little bit. But I always tried to keep a lot of the stuff i did that would connect with my friends as well. I would mix deep writing but with whacky writing as well. Like a feel good night out. I always had it like a house party really, my gigs. Where'd you go 3 mad songs in a row into a nice slow ballad and then rise it back up again."
"He writes with so many different people. I met up with him two or three times. Lovely fella. Very talented and very easy going. He's the same as myself where he has that thing where you don't say worry about saying something in a room, you write that down and if it's not great, you move onto to the next thing. You don't suggest a verse line and he goes 'No way, thats not what I would sing', there's no bad feelings, you keep scribbling down ideas. You might have nine pages, you might have 400 chord ideas, then you start listening back the two of us and go well that's a simple route there, that's the nicest word. We've wrote maybe 4 songs together and I think he's putting 2 of them on his new album next summer."
"We formed in the year 2000, myself Micky D & John. John's father was from our area, he'd have being more from Glencolmcille but he would have being down every summer. We kind of got together and we built our way up from pubs to winning a hot press competition, to getting into the Irish top 20 to then we were doing loads of great supports all across Ireland and the UK to bigger bands that were coming over. We got to do Slane castle, playing along with the Stereophonics and Counting Crows. We got to play the Viper Room in Los Angeles, Johnny Depp's club. We got to do loads of tours in Texas and New York. We had a top 20 single in Australia, in the rock charts. We would have toured Australia three times. We played in Thailand, we were in Singapore, we had a top 20 song in Germany as well. Just brilliant times. We had two top 5 albums in our first 3 years, imagine that, in Ireland. It went so fast, all of a sudden then when we started to go, right let's put out the kind of music that we really love, it's that old story of 'nah we preferred you the way you were'.."
"This is the one that's just always being connecting with people since I wrote it, when I was 18. I wrote it round the the time that a friend of mine Jonathan Bradley passed away. I would have went to school with him in Carrick, just one of the boys. He was over on work experience in Florida, too much to drink and fell into the swimming pool and couldn't swim. It was night time and I don't think anybody could hear him from the apartment. I wrote the song round that time but weirdly enough I didn't actually sit down and go I'm going to write a song for Johnny. It was just that thing where your scribbling things down all the time and that was one of the songs that came out. When I wrote it first, I was like the melody might be a little bit too much like Roy Orbison, I don't know if it'll work. I would have being playing it in the pubs and after every gig people would come up and say 'that song waterfall is lovely, what's it about' and I would say I don't know, it's just something that came into my head. Years later I was thinking, hang on that was around the same couple of weeks Jonathan passed away. It's got the lyric 'I'm not waving out, I'm drowning' and it's like 'so long I'll see you all' He was such a positive guy as well, there's lyrics in there 'I know I'll have a ball, I've got to dive into this Waterfall' Everybody takes their own meaning out of it."
"Please bear with us!"
"I had a good childhood Tony. I wasn't there for too long. I left it when I was 13. Done a bit of hurling in my time. I moved with my parents to London in 1961. I think it was '61/'62. The years that I spent there, going to school in the Christian brothers, it was good times, I enjoyed it. My father worked in the forestry and he was made redundant, he moved over to London and got a job and we moved over a year later and that was it, we never looked back."
"Yea that was my first band. There was 4 of us in it at the time. I use to play the drums that time and do a bit of singing and I had a guy called Matt Dillon from Tipperary now living in Kerry. And I had Bob the guitar player and Sadie Howe, she played the keyboards. We were on the circuit in London and I'd say we done it for best part of 3 years. We had a great time but yea that was the first band I had. And I had guy called Phillip McLaughlin from Buncrana, he played with me at one stage, sadly Phillip died. They were great times back in the early 70's."
"Well being involved in the music as I was in London, he would have been one of my heros. I was at his funeral. To me Big Tom was the greatest I have to say. The crowds that he used to get, especially in the galtymore and the gresham and places like that was unreal. I'll never forget it anyway, them times, never. He was an absolute gentleman. And I've been to his house many times in Blaney. And I met his wife Rose. I'll tell you there was a welcome there for anybody that went. I know there was hundreds of people used to call there and he used to love it, he was that kind of a person."
"From the late '50s I think Brendan Bowyer and the royal showband were the trendsetters of the showband business. I met Brendan manys a time. Always found him a gentleman. I remember one occasion he played in the Gresham ballroom in Holloway road of a Monday night. There was such a big crowd, there were gates across the front of the Gresham. People knocked the gates down, stopped the traffic on Holloway road. Police had to be called. That was the kind of adoration they had for Brendan Bowyer. Same for Big Tom too and most of the bands at that time."
"It came about because when I was in London, there a was a friend of mine, he had a company. He had machines and a construction company and he had JCB's. I had a band in London at the time and I used to play at his Christmas parties, so we decided for the next Christmas party, we'd do something for him. That's how the song came about, although I changed the name, I put in Delaney instead of O'Donoghue at the last minute. The idea of the song was for O'Donoghue's construction company. He was the man that had the JCB's. I went to the festival in Southport , up near Liverpool, an Irish week. They had a talent competition and somebody just put my name up for the competition. I went up and I sang that song and the rest is history basically. The people that were running the festival week had a record company called IMB records. They had Foster and Allen on their books at the time and the late Johnny Loughrey as well. It was cassettes that time. I recorded 4 songs with them. The JCB song, a song called Paidin's party, the 6 foot seven woman and the town of Ballybay. Those were the 4 songs that were on that cassette."
"Most of my songs, people send me. I have a drawer full of songs that I'm going through at the minute. I'm hoping to bring out a new CD."
"I do like a song with a story. There's a song there I sang, it's a very popular song when I play at live gigs is a mother always waiting you at home. There's another there the crossroads of life, those kind of songs, they have great meaning and a lot of people like those songs. The lightning express is another one I get a lot of requests for, the boys in blue is another one. And then you get the other ones like the Big Bamboo of course and bang bang Rosie which is the other end of the spectrum, and the JCB song. The most popular song that I ever recorded and it's still popular to this day, the amount of requests I get for it every night is the Transit van. It's the one song that I have to sing maybe twice or 3 times a night, every night. That was released back in 1996, and it's still as popular today as it was when it first came out. Written by a guy called Sean Moan, he's from Keady in Co. Armagh. He wrote the original one. I changed it around to suit me. He wrote a couple of other songs like the Keady swimming pool and a few other songs. He's very well known around the Armagh area."
"I'd have to say it was extraordinary and it was highly embarrassing. Because I would have thought of so many extraordinary incredible Meath people over the years and then I realised that I happen to be a figurehead. But I was carrying the bags, I wasn't playing but I represented an extraordinary bunch of men. For that 23 years or whatever that it was. When we won the All Ireland in 1987 Tony, 17% of the population of Ireland were unemployed and 23% of the population of Meath were unemployed. We were the richest people in the world, we had the Sam Maguire. We had a common denominator and we all need that. And we all need that boost. So it was extraordinary. Am I deeply honoured about what happened (Freedom Of Meath) I am, did I feel I was worthy of it, quite truthfully and honestly I was embarrassed because I know I could never be what the lads were. They were extraordinary. I know what it means and I'm thankful."
"I remember when I was playing for Meath hurlers, Mick Reilly came to me one day. Dunboyne camogie team were in the county final. And they were playing Kilmessan who had beaten them 16 points earlier in the year. And they asked me would I do a little bit of coaching with them. And they were beaten by a point and those girls went on to win 9 senior titles in a row. And that all started. There was no pitch. It was in the front field at home. It's just amazing how that happened. And I remember back in the 60s, Meath hurlers and footballers happened to be training in Navan the one night. And someone said who'll take it, Fr Tully wasn't there, and they said no Sean will take them. And I don't know where that came from either. I love football and I love playing football but I adore the game of hurling."
"The very first night I met the players, it was in Pairc Tailteann in Navan, under the stand. There was 6 selectors with me, and the players were there. And then some of the better known players they still hadn't arrived. So when they came in I heard one of them under his breath saying who are these so and so's because they obviously didn't know some of the lads who'd been brought in with the new selectors. So after I'd say about 5 or 6 minutes, I just said now I want to say something to you. I don't care whether you're from Oldcastle in the north of the county or Dunboyne in the south, whether you're from Bettystown over in the east coast at the beach or you're from Ballinabracky on the Offaly Westmeath, Meath border. I said you can knock the lard out each other on the Sunday but when you come into me on a Tuesday, yes you're from Ballinabracky, yes you are from Oldcastle but you're coming in as Meath men. So whatever's happened on the field of play that day, you leave that behind. And we are collective in what we need to do and we have do that collectively. And that was the start beginning and end of all that."
"I never doubted that I could help them to achieve excellence. That never crossed my mind that I couldn't do that. That may seem cocky, it's not a bit cocky, it wasn't me. If they could play football well for 5 minutes, they could play well for 10 , they can play well for 15. And it's a question of collectively if we can put the jigs all together and that's what happened. The way they called each other out, the way that they trained. We never trained for longer than the actual length of time of a match. But for that period of time that continuity of thought was there, there was no distraction. That's what made it happen. Great county board, the club's were brilliant. And it takes everybody coming together."
"I think they're like drummers in a band. They want to keep the beat right for everybody else and they're the one's like goalkeepers, taking the responsibility. We can't manage without them. Respect is a powerful thing."
"Starting off it was all to do with the county championships, and trying to get your name on the title for that, after that then it's just stuff of dreams in the last 10 months really winning the All Ireland with Donegal is definitely the biggest achievement. The icing on the cake then recently enough, winning the Irish singles title."
"The feeling I got doing that, it doesn't really matter what I win from now on, I'll never ever get that feeling back again. That was the big one I wanted out of them all really. "
"That's the buzz for me. When you look around and see 9 of your best mates just as happy as you are. You're winning individual titles, you're the only winner, everyone else lossed, even though your family and friends in that small group be's happy, when you win as a team it's so much bigger, so much better, just to see the joy in their faces as well as your own."
"Yea, delighted, I'd say this past 2 years especially now. Winning the double last year with the girls and then the singles, and then again this year winning it alongside Shaun. That is stuff of dreams. Probably made history there, because I don't think that's been done in any kind of field of sport around here or maybe in Ireland, we never really looked into it."
"My son Niall Melly, he's just 10 at the moment but he's got the bug as well. He comes with me now to the IPA events. He plays from the under 20's down, just to get on the table and get the experience, but his age group is the under 12's. He won the U12's category there a few months ago, his first time. And he got to the semi final of the All Ireland back there when we were playing ourselves. He has definitely got the bug. Cue's in the hand all the time, loves it too which is great."
"I can honestly say I don't know if I'd be playing at this high standard if it wasn't for him you know because he's always there driving you on. My biggest motivation big time. When I'm playing as well he's always there in the background if he's not playing himself. It only takes a wee glance around, make eye contact and he's there driving you on. And even when your back is to the wall, it's great because we have to travel a lot, so we don't have much support with us. It's always nice to somebody in your corner cheering you on."
"ea you have to put in the hard work, it's like any sport, you only get out what you put in, this sports no different. I use to practice 4 or 5 hours every day there for about 4 or 5 years. Just trying to reach your goal. Obviously I wouldn't put in them sort of hours now. I would still practice maybe 2 to 3 hours a day. Might take an odd day off here and there. But the practice now I do would be more mature. Better practice as in when you're younger you just be running around potting balls, you kept losing concentration if you're playing someone. You pick up the pace of your game and you're going for trickshots. It doesn't benefit you in the long run. Where if you practice proper for less you don't really have to practice for that long. That's the way I look at it. In the lead up to big events I will put in the hours."
"The first call I got about it I think might have being from Stephen Barrett, said 'do you want to come in and join, at the start I was hesitant you know because I was working, you know yourself, when you're thinking about these things, time and commitment and everything else, had a young fella at the time, decided to go for it anyway, then very quickly got very interested in it. Once the friendlies and that started then I was delighted to be a part of it."
"The first year, this is before I would have joined, they had applied to the Donegal league to get access for to get playing, that would have being for the 2012/13 season but the club was turned down on the length of the field in Maghery was a bit too short, and the steel goalposts, they deemed them to be a bit unsafe. So we had to replace them with fiberglass goals, and the pitch was lengthened, so then for the second season then, the next time we went for it, the 2013/14 season, they did get access because all the criteria had being met at that stage."
"Stephen Barrett was the driving force at the time, it was his brain child more than anybody else's, he came up with the idea, himself and his brother in law David Molloy, and Jonathan Stewart, I think they'd actually being playing maybe a bit of astro turf or a bit of indoor football and from that there they came up with the idea of the field in Maghery was just lying there going to waste I suppose or there was no football being played on it since the late 90s, so they drove it on then and fair play to them, with their determination they got there in the end, other people might have given up after the first year when they hadn't gained access but that only spurred them boys on and they kept at it. Only for them there'd probably still be no club in Maghery."
"I remember we started that year in August, and the first point we got was maybe, could have being November, I think it was up in the Curragh we were playing. I think Tommy Brennan might have scored a 30 yarder that day, just an unbelievable goal, so that was the first day we actually got a point, before that it was all defeats. After that then I know it was February time when we got our first win. That was a massive day out in Maghery. We beat Tullyvinney Rovers, they're no longer going but it was just a massive day I remember, it was a terrible day, weather wise, which was fairly common out in Maghery that particular year. Every day you would go out the wind was blowing a gale, so you were playing against that and the team. We managed to get over the line that day, it was a great day, I think Jonathan Stewart scored the winner, so that was fairly ironic that he would be the man that would get the goal, after helping to create it, (the club)."
"Packie came in that year, we had to do a bit of work on him to get him to take the job, but we kept knocking on the door, I think it was myself and Darragh Hanlon was at him a few times and he was hesitant, but eventually we got him to give in and himself and Jim O'Donnell came in as the assistant manager, they hit the ground running you know. He made me captain. That happened fairly soon so straight away I had the bit between my teeth then because it was a great privilege for me to be the captain I suppose of the team at that time because we had a few new boys coming in around that time, excellent footballers coming in."
"Big signings, the two Greenes, Conor & Ryan came in that year, and that was an influx of goals, I think they might have scored something like 18 goals each or something so that's a massive injection for a team like us who had struggled maybe to get goals, their top scorers might have had 5 or 6, years before that, now you're talking about two boys coming in and scoring 18 each in an 18 game league so that's massive."
"At the start of that season, we won the first 5 games I think in a row, and from that there, when you get off to a good start like that, you start to believe yea we could do something here. I remember the first game of that season, we played Castlefinn Celtic, always a tough place to go Tony. And the first attack of that game I remember Conor Greene getting the ball and he kind of just pushed a few boys out of the way and had a shot. The ball went wide but I just remember thinking to myself, this is different kind of gravy here now altogether this year. We were on a different plain to where we had been. We had Shane the hat O'Donnell who came in from Gweedore United, he had won premier league's with Gweedore United, first divisions and cups, anything there was to win, he probably won it. So that experience coming into midfield was massive too. I think at that stage now we had a fine fine team that year, couldn't fault it and to be captain of that was something special."
"Yea I was proud, and even when you're giving the speech there, I don't even know what I said like at this stage, you're just kind of caught in the moment, the emotion of it all. We were just delighted to get out of it and we had a great day. In fairness to Arranmore that day were brilliant. I remember Jerry Early making a speech after the game. They had won plenty of things, they had beaten us the year previously down in Gweedore in a cup final, and he just made mention of us coming back from that, so that was a nice touch too."
"It was nearly even better, it's hard to win something but it's probably harder again to repeat it, because your cards marked if you know what I mean, everybody's saying well this is Strand now, they think their the top dogs. So everyone is out to get you from a certain point of view. I just thought we were very solid that year, there hadn't being the last day drama, we were just kind of in control that whole season. It was a great way to do it. I know the first year had being exciting and everything but the second year we just had that wee bit more about us, more belief."
"Jim was quite good on the line, and talking. Positivity a lot of the time. If you can get encouragement from the line, I think that works a lot better that criticism will ever work. I don't anybody really responds that well to criticism. When Packie was manager the first year, Jim was the assistant, and the second year when Jim was out, Packie wasn't too far away. That was like a combination anyway. You wouldn't really say either one was the manager, you would always kind of say it was a duo."
"As far as I know Maghery Celtic was formed maybe around the late 70's or around the 80's. I wouldn't be too far up on what they won or didn't won. I know they competed anyway and they had a team going there till the early 90's. I think then they had a name change to St Chrones, this is where I would remember now at this stage, being over every Sunday, watching the games. Every second Sunday I suppose was a home game. That's suppose where I got the love of the local team. Whenever you seen it coming back again it was a big thing. After St Chrones I think they had gone back to Maghery Celtic again, and at that point then, they actually had a very successfull end to the 1990's. They won promotion two years in a row from division two, up to division 1 and they got right to the premier league, and that would be fairy high standard at that stage. It was maybe just a case of too much too soon, because the team folded then in the premier league, they were getting beat week after week, that was the end of the football in Maghery then from around about 99 or 2000 until we formed Strand Rovers."
"When you think back to his time in Kildare, he was really only 1 point away from getting them to an all Ireland final in 2010, if you speak to any of the Kildare players who would have played under Kieran, they always have great admiration and great respect for Kieran and that's the exact same for the current group of Armagh players."
"They definitely instilled the drive to succeed in that Armagh squad, we would respect those two managers no end for what they went on and done. Effectively they opened the gates for Armagh to kick on and become the force that they did!"
"He had an aura about himself, Joe is a massive massive presence, a massive figure head in Armagh football. When he came in, we were prepared to listen. Joe came in and really instilled the confidence which is one of things we were probably lacking on the national level. He added a few fresh faces. Ronan Clarke is the one outstanding candidate that I'm talking about. Joe seen for such a young lad that he had the mentality to play at such a high level. Joe's planning and preparation for getting the team right, when I look back at those times, there really was no stone left unturned!"
"There was a good gap, maybe a 6 to 7 week gap between league and championship, as it was always the case back then, it gave us plenty of time to prepare and get ourselves right for the opening round game against Tyrone. In that time Joe decided to take us away to La Manga. We were heavily criticised for it at that time. We often remember going up the hill in Clones where we were going over to the warm up pitch and supporters from Tyrone asking us where our tans were. Tyrone were expected to win that game, they were favourites, they had won the national league. We drew with Tyrone that first day out, a lot of people thought that we missed the boat but to come back and the replay AND to beat them, made people realise I suppose we were a force to be reckoned with once again."
"When you're away, you're afforded the opportunity to get in 2 training sessions per day. We trained early in the morning, you're eating properly for a full week, everything's laid out for you, then you're doing a proper training session in the evening, you're getting good recovery sessions in the pool, not only that. evenings were spent analysing our opponents as well and having team meetings and that was crucial. We really seen it as an opportunity to really gain an advantage over our opponents in terms of where their strengths lay, where their weaknesses lay. Not only on them but to watch footage on ourselves and what we were good at too!"
"The Carrickdale was our first port of call because even though the Carrickdale is just across the border in Co Louth, we always see it as an Armagh hotel anyway, that's where we regularly would have ate and met as a team. There was thousands upon thousands of people there and literally they followed us all around the country. We went from there across to Crossmaglen where once again you couldn't see any of the green grass on the Crossmaglen field, it was just full of people then from there through the countryside into Armagh City Hotel where, when entering the city of Armagh, we were put into an open top bus and that was a special feeling, they reckon there was up to 60,000 people in Armagh that evening. To see the sense of joy in many peoples faces young and old is something that will always live with me!"
"I felt that I done everything right up until the moment I went to pull the trigger but in reality I didn't see Conor Gormley coming and if I had of seen him with the corner of my eye, I always feel that I would have maybe tried to check inside him and he would have no option but to pull me down and we would have got a penalty, it's just one of these things, it's one of the most outstanding blocks you'll ever see."
"Another memory of that particular day was when we were leaving Croke Park, and you're going through the streets of Dublin, to head back North, the Dublin supporters lined the streets, applauded us and clapped us. That's a special feeling, you gain a level of respect from their supporters as well. You certainly don't forget that! Ever since then I probably have a wee bit of an easy feeling for Dublin."
"I really whole heartedly believe that the Armagh team of 2005 was the best Armagh team of all time. We were just on a different level that particular year. We went 16 games unbeaten until Peter Canavan kicked over the winning point against us in the semi final, and that was from the national league, we won the national league that year right through to the All Ireland Semi Final, there was something really special about that team, and if we had of have seen that semi final out I would've no doubt we would have kicked on and won the All Ireland as well."
"My first meeting professionally of John was in Oslo. I was to do a sound check, I walked on stage, I don't get nervous. I don't get nervous meeting people, I'm blessed like that, but let's say the blood pressure might have being up a bit and I'm walking towards John and I'm like this really is John Prine. This is thee John Prine that I sat in the audience looking at for 20 years. Within seconds he put me at ease. His lack of ego, his humanity, his sense of humour. He really had no ego, I really mean that, the guy was just an ordinary Joe who wrote exceptional songs."
"John got a lifetime achievement Grammy in February. It was actually quite surreal, people were texting me. He was at the Grammies on a Sunday and he was on Ardara on the Thursday. I had text and I says 'imagine he got a lifetime achievement Grammy on Sunday and now he's sitting in Nancy's having a pint!"
"The singing mailman he was known as. When he came back from Germany and the US army, he was a mailman and he used to say that he'd be delivering mail to post boxes, and he'd look at the name and put it in the post box and he wondered what the life of that person was like, he would maybe write a song about them, Maybe that's where Sam stone came out of? I don't know."
"Lonesome Friends Of Science was on John's last album, 'The Tree Of Forgiveness'. A lot of great songs on that album but The Lonesome Friends Of Science really tickled me cause to me that's John Prine. He wrote about Pluto, he heard Pluto had being demoted from a planet to a star. And he thought about poor lonely Pluto, after being famous for all those years and then poor Pluto was demoted. Only John Prine could write about that and it's fabulous, it's a great song!"
"He (John Prine) was playing in a night club in Chicago I believe it was. Somebody persuaded Kristofferson to come and hear this talented songwriter and he did not want to be there you know. He came in, it was the end of the night, the audience were gone, and he says right, 'sing me something'. And John sang Sam Stone. And Kris said 'sing it again' and John sang it again. and then Kris said 'sing every god damn song you've ever written for me'! So he did. Kristofferson had him on a plane the next day or the day after to Nashville!!"
"'When I get to heaven', was the last song John wrote and released publicly and it's the last song on his last album. And it's about when he dies. He talks in the song about what he's going to do, and he's going to meet his mum's sisters cause that's where all the love started. I'm going to have a cigarette that's 9 miles long cause John really really missed smoking. He really missed smoking. He use to say he used to stand outside beside people smoking just so he could sniff it. John had to give up the cigarettes. John as you know had cancer. John was told he had to give up cigarettes. But he really missed smoking. It was one of the things in the song that cracked me up about the 9 mile long cigarette. And his cocktail, vodka and ginger ale, that's in it. It's an upbeat song, it's about him dying, but it's an upbeat song, it's humorous."
"Me personally, I strive, I wish I could write like John Prine. I hear his lyrics and I go awwh, how did he come with that. I don't think there's going to ever be another mind like John Prine. "
"I teach people from scratch, I trained a 4 year old kid, I've got a 72 year old guy as well who can actually fight. I taught them how to fight from scratch for real, certain skills and defence. Not that they're gonna fight but if they have to, they know how to do it."
"He trained 20 world champions, back to Joe Fraizer, Ken Norton, Leon Spinks, 3 guys that actually beat Muhammad Ali. Modern day when I came here, he had Riddick Bowe and Mike McCallum, Mike was a three time world champion from junior, middle to light heavy and Riddick Bowe was the heavyweight champion of the world. Also Montell Griffin who was in the same Olympics as me, he was trained by Eddie as well, he became light heavyweight champion. I was rubbing shoulders with these guys and being taught by Eddie. 20 world champions, I was his last and his smallest."
"I flew to America on the 20th February 1993, my pro debut was 3 days later, I was in the country 3 days, I fought a guy called Alfonso Zamora, he had two fights, 1 win and 1 draw and his uncle from the eighties, same name Alfonso Zamora was a former WBC champion, so he came from a pedigree of fighters. I knocked him out in the fourth round, it was televised on T.V. My 2nd fight a few weeks later was at Maddison Square Garden against a Puerto Rican who was Hispanic as well, he was a golden gloves champion making his debut, he was no pushover, I knocked him out in the 3rd round. Eight days later I went back to LA and fought another Mexican, a southern Californian golden gloves champion, I beat him. My first six fights were all against Hispanic guys, my 7th fight was in Belfast, 8th fight in Dublin."
"I didn't expect anything going over there, we knew it was hard to get a result in Japan. We had two American judges, and a Korean judge and we thought right away, oh no we got a Korean judge! we're gonna have to make sure. Yakushiji was a hell of a fighter, he could fight, the 5th defence of his belt, not just in his home country, it was in his home city of Nagoya, he was popular there. Eddie Futch had the gameplan we worked on in training camps, he had a great jab. Eddie had me work my jab in training camp on different angles, so all of a sudden I'm going out there automatically out jabbing a guy who has a good jab. It was working, and I'm thinking holy crap, if you can do it in the gym, you can do it in the fight!"
"Right there, your history changed, it's forever, and to do that in Japan. I would have went back and fought him and give him a rematch but for some reason he never fought again. Somebody said it was because he left his manager and it's disrespectful to get a new manager in Japan. A lot of respect in Japan, they treated me well. They kicked my door two nights in a row but I'm like 'that doesn't scare me', I'm talking about the people, the hotel, they treated me well food wise, no problems, out running in the morning, no problems."
"The reason why he fought me in '98, I was out of the ring 15 months, I fought a guy called Juan Polo Perez who was a former world champion, I won the fight but I looked like garbage, my promoter didn't turn up for the fight, my promoter was screwing me. My head wasn't in it, but i still won the fight. Soon as that fight was over, 2 days later, my wife says 'do you want the fight? I said With Hamed? You know I do! Without even thinking about the money. I said yes to my wife! He thought I was done. It was a blessing. He didn't know what I was going through. When I fought Hamed, I knew in my mind he was never gonna knock me out. He had 18 KOs in a row. I had fought a different calibre of fighter than he had. I told him, if you hit me on the chin, I gurantee you're going to run from me because I'm not going anywhere. He believed in his mind and the media for some reason they were all suckered in too, he had knocked out 18 guys in a row bla bla bla, and I'm thinking I've never even touched the canvas, I've never even being phased in a fight! A lot of my friends who watched it and a lot of the media guys thought I did enough to win because he ran from me, he was the HBO fighter. HBO at that time, they actually signed fighters up, so when you're fighting on HBO against their guy they're gonna have to protect their asset understandably."
"In the 9th round in that fight, he was ready to quit. He was actually lying on the stool. He was a young guy. He was 23 years old or something, I was 29. He was knocking people out. 9 guys in a row. He wasn't used to being hit to the body that hard and being at that pressure. I talk to him every other week, he calls me the crazy Irish man of course. Respect for each other in that fight was just tremendous. Classic fight that'll probably be watched forever."