Teams played for
Club – Clonduff.
County – Down.
Province – Ulster.
School – St Colmans College, Newry amd Newry Technical College.
Coaching Ardoyne Kickhams senior team in Antrim.
Which Club game, that you played in, will you never forget and why?
2000 county final – we won the county title after a period of 20 years. It was a great day for the parish.
Which club game, that you watched, will you never forget and why?
I’ll have to mention two but for totally different reasons. The first one I was 16 and actually won a league medal that year as I joined the senior squad after the club championship campaign. The second probably speaks for itself – to see your children win an All-Ireland as part of a club originally founded by your mother was a very proud and emotional day for our family and parish.
The championship first-round game between Clonduff and Burren in Petit Park, Rostrevor, one of the great venues in Down football. Burren had beaten Clonduff by 10/12 points in the league only a couple of weeks previously and were odds-on favourites to repeat the result. With managers Desy Monaghan and Finty Mussen and coach, the late, great Sean Smyth, working closely with local pharmacist Leo Lowry, the Clonduff players were put on nutritional supplements that worked a treat.
Petit Park was packed and the game had everything including the perfect result for us – winning by a single point after a great goal by Arty Noel McConville.
Secondly, the 2019 AIl-Ireland Intermediate Camogie final when Clonduff beat Galtir. I had two daughters and two nieces playing. My mother was a founder member back in the 1940s. I’m sure she was very proud looking down on where the journey had taken the club.
Which county game, that you played in, will you never forget and why?
I’d have to mention two because without the first the second wouldn’t have happened for me. My debut for Down seniors v Tyrone in Omagh and the 1991 All-Ireland final. Two days that were very special to myself, my family and Gaels from Clonduff who have supported me since I was a young lad.
Which county game, that you watched, will you never forget and why?
It’s difficult to pinpoint one. As time passes and I get to more games there have been a number of games that I have said to myself afterwards, ‘I’m glad I went to that’.
The Kilkenny v Waterford 2008 AlI-Ireland Hurling final was probably the most complete performance I’ve ever seen. The 2008 Down v Tyrone Ulster Championship replay in Newry – the atmosphere was incredible as the game went to extra-time and a Benny Coulter goal sealed a Down win. Kerry v Mayo 2014 AlI-Ireland semi-final replay in Limerick. 2011 All-Ireland final after Dublin won their first title since 1995 – the colour, the ending and the outpouring of emotion afterwards was incredible
What was the funniest thing you ever saw in a game?
Hope he forgives me but my oul pal Greg Blaney got fed up with a bit ofa man-marking job by a Leitrimplayer in a challenge game in Warrenpoint.
After one too many robust challenges, the Leitrim lad went right of the top of Greg and as he was gathering himself on all fours, Greg decided enough was enough and kicked the lad on thearse. Still laugh to this day when I think of it.
What was the strangest thing you ever saw in a game?
Down were playing a challenge, think it was against Roscommon, when Pete McGrath started to ball us out for the amount of space Roscommon forwards were getting.
He started directing his anger at one player in particular, our full-back, to get tighter.
However the player was walking off the pitch during the game, I suppose you gotta go when you gotta go.
What was the most memorable performance from a player in a game that you watched?
Frank McGuigan 1984 Ulster final; Tommy Walsh 2008 AlI-Ireland Hurling final; and then there is The Bomber 1978, Gooch 2013 first-half v Dublin; David Clifford/Shane Walsh this yea’rs All-Ireland final; Cian Lynch 2021 AlI-Ireland final.
What was the most memorable performance from a player in a game that you played?
Hard to go past Mickey Linden’s performance v Derry in 1994.
A close second would be my club colleague Shane Ward’s performance as an 18 year-old v Castlewellan in the club championship.
Shane scored 10 or 11 points that evening and was just unmarkable.
What did you love about the games you played in?
I suppose you kind of dwell on the ‘good’ memories but I have to say the players I’ve got to know and meet over the years has been great. Also and as important the teams I played on really enjoyed themselves after games, we had great fun.
What did you hate about the games you played in?
Honestly, nothing – well apart from having a number of non-showings. I had a great innings.