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'The emotion on show by Mícheál and his father seems to have really struck with people'

Morgan Treacy on the brilliant photo he snapped at Galway’s homecoming.

AMIDST ALL THE outpouring of emotion since Galway finally claimed that long-awaited All-Ireland senior hurling crown, one image has stood out.

When the Galway team bus stopped off at Ballinasloe for their first port of call during yesterday’s homecoming, it was a special moment for manager Mícheál Donoghue to greet his parents Miko and Margaret, and present the Liam MacCarthy Cup to them.

MlDonoghue Galway manager Mícheáll Donoghue shows the Liam MacCarthy to his father Miko Donoghue for the first time in Ballinasloe. Source: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The success is a milestone for Galway hurling and the Donoghue family provide a link to the All-Ireland wins that have stood 29 years apart.

It was Miko’s buses that ferried Galway’s great teams in the 1980s home across the Shannon with silverware in tow.

In 2005 Liam Donoghue was in goal when Galway were denied at the final stage by Cork before his twin brother Mícheál was at the helm on Sunday when the breakthrough was at last made.

The photograph by Inpho’s Morgan Treacy encapsulates the enormity of of this success and the pride of a family member being involved.

Covering All-Ireland homecomings isn’t new for Treacy but the reaction to this has caught him off guard.

“It’s by far and away the biggest reaction I’ve got to an All-Ireland final picture. Now it’s hard to compare different eras as social media has changed things that way compared to ten years ago.

“But the reaction has caught me totally by surprise. Being honest aesthetically it’s not the most pleasing picture. Looking at it, there a few things wrong with it, like the bus in the background.

“It’s not the best I’ve ever taken but the emotion on show by Mícheál and his father seems to have really struck with people. It has definitely resonated.”

Experience had taught Treacy that it was best to base himself in Ballinasloe when covering Galway’s homecoming celebrations.

“Past experience dictated that you’re always better off going to the first town or village in a county where a team is stopping. The excitement level is quite high there plus it’s the best chance of getting pictures out at a reasonable hour.

“I remember covering the Donegal homecoming in 2012, the team were due in Letterkenny at half 8 but didn’t arrive until 12. So rather than going to Pearse Stadium yesterday and the Galway bus being delayed, I went to Ballinasloe.

“I was waiting a while for the bus and then when it arrived, I said I might as well get the players and management going off the bus. I looked down past the barriers and saw a group of people, and a fella near me pointed out Miko in the wheelchair as Mícheál’s father.

Donoghue Source: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

“That meant Mícheál was probably going to greet him so I went down and Mícheál got straight off the bus, straight through the barrier, hugged his mother first and then just buried himself in his father with the cup.

“It’s not something you see every day, two grown men showing the special bond that they have. I became a father myself recently and there’s a very strong emotion there. You could see that with Mícheál, getting to bring the cup to his father meant so much.

“There was no words between them, the hug and holding the cup together illustrated everything. I’ve seen a lot of emotion in sport but this was something really special.

“It’s great to get such feedback on it. People can really relate to it and it’s great that people have had such a connection to it.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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