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'You had the President of the GAA and two bishops in the dressing room after the match'

When Leitrim were kings of Connacht.


“No-one could ever tell us we won a handy Connacht title.”

26 YEARS AGO this summer, Leitrim’s boys of ’94 did the impossible.

They beat Roscommon, Galway and Mayo en route to lifting their first Nestor Cup in 67 years. They captured the county’s hearts and left a legacy behind them that is set in stone. 

In the second documentary of our Warriors podcast series, producer Kevin Brannigan tells the story of Leitrim’s amazing run to Croke Park and an All-Ireland semi-final against the Dubs.

declan-darcy-connacht-final-1994-leitrim-v-mayo Declan Darcy celebrates a famous victory. Source: © Tom Honan/INPHO

Interviews with Declan Darcy and John O’Mahony, key figures in the Leitrim success story, plus playwright and actor Seamus O’Rourke, are neatly woven into the tale.

It would be incomplete without some brilliant archive footage, including Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh’s dramatic live commentary from the dying minutes of the Connacht final.

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Here’s O’Mahony, a man some people considered too big to take the Leitrim job, describing the hours after the famous victory:

It was brilliant. I can still remember the trip home on the bus to Carrick on Shannon that evening. The elation in the bus – the team bus was always very controlled in advance of matches but we could have been pulled for overcrowding on the way home that evening. And the dressing room immediately after you win – they are the precious moments. You had Jack Boothman who was the President of the GAA and you had two bishops in the dressing room after the match.

“There was a lovely picture of the old dressing rooms in Dr Hyde Park and George Dugdale reaching out to his father, who was outside. His father died since but all he could do was shake his hand. It was the old window with the top part of it open.

“The journey home, the dressing room, the open-top bus around Carrick where there was what seemed like thousands of people. Then the tour of the county the next day with Seamus O’Rourke on the back seat, giving us his first one-man show!”

The series is available to our members, along with Really Into Years, Rugby Weekly Extra, The Football Family, Behind the Lines, the Bylines Project and other great benefits.

Originally published at 13.11

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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