Tribes On Top

'It was very emotional, but delighted that I was able to share the moment with him'

Mícheál Donoghue on Galway’s All-Ireland success, sharing that special moment with his Dad and the impact of Tony Keady’s passing.

IT’S ALMOST FIVE weeks ago now since Galway ended their 29-year wait to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup with a three-point win over Waterford.

Michael Donoghue celebrates with the Liam MacCarthy cup Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

The Tribesmen have been kept busy with celebrations, school and club visits, media interviews and club action, and for manager Mícheál Donoghue the feat is just fully sinking in now.

“It’s just been unbelievable,” he told Off The Ball’s John Duggan on The Last Word on Today FM last night.

“We’re just now getting appreciation for what it has meant to people. People always talk about if you achieve the All-Ireland success, that it really does give the county a lift, and I think we’re really experiencing that now.”

It was an emotional victory, and one image in particular has surely stuck in the minds of people since.

When the team bus stopped off at Ballinasloe during the homecoming, the Clarinbridge clubman shared a special moment with his parents Miko and Margaret, and presented the All-Ireland crown to them.

Inpho’s Morgan Treacy was at hand to capture the moment, which brilliantly encapsulated the enormity of of the success and the pride of the Donoghue family.

“Like any father, he’s one of my greatest influences,” Donoghue said when asked about the photograph.

Micheal Donoghue shows the Liam McCarthy to his father Miko Donoghue for the first time Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

“He was very involved with us growing up in sport and at home, and unfortunately he was diagnosed with dementia around the same time as I got the Galway job. He was an avid GAA supporter. He was heavily involved at club and at county level.

“Obviously the disappointment from my own perspective and the family’s perspective that he probably couldn’t comprehend it in the way we would have liked… Once we won it, it was very important to me how I was going to go about meeting him and meeting the rest of the family, especially when they weren’t there with us on Sunday to share it.

“The way it came about, look, I probably would have preferred it just in a more private environment. But from my own perspective it was just very emotional, obviously to see him.

“With the picture, when he got the cup, it definitely resonated with him. He drove the team in 1980, ’87 and ’88. When he got the cup, it definitely resonated with him and that’s why he was so emotional. But obviously delighted that I was able to share the moment with him and the rest of the family.”

Donoghue also discussed the passing of Galway great Tony Keady shortly after the victory against Tipperary in August, and how that drove them further to glory.

“From the euphoria of winning the All-Ireland semi-final to the untimely news of Tony’s passing, the whole county I think went from one extreme of emotion to the other,” he said.

“Because it was so sudden, it affected everybody. First and foremost, Tony was a husband and a father to four lovely kids. It absolutely hit everybody and put things into a lot of perspective. The turnout for his funeral and the total out pour of the whole thing, not alone in Galway but nationwide, really touched everyone.

Off The Ball / YouTube

“It just gave us all a perspective that there’s more to life than hurling. When it came to go out playing the game, he was very much in our thoughts. We just wanted to go out and give a performance that would do him proud, and try and replicate the way he played with Galway when he played. I think the boys did that justice on the day.”

And with the monkey off their backs, it’s all eyes on next year and carrying their 2017 success forward.

“Obviously because it’s been 29 years, it’s a new experience for us and we’re all very mindful that the standards we set last year are going to have to improve this year.

“You have to work at it and leave it in a better place than when you received it, and that goes for everyone. I think it’s very important when you take a job that you leave some legacy on it so as I said, we all have to be mindful of that.”

You can listen to the full interview here.

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

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