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All-Ireland winning captain Anthony Molloy awarded the freedom of Donegal

Michael Murphy, Ciaran Brogan, Donegal County Council Chairman, Anthony Molloy, Sean McEniff, Cllr. Tom Connaghan and Rory Gallagher at a reception to award Anthony Molloy the freedom of Donegal. Picture by Clive Wasson
Seamus McKinney

DONEGAL'S first All-Ireland winning GAA captain has been granted the freedom of his native county.

Anthony Molloy was joined by his team mates from the 1992 team at a special ceremony at Donegal county council headquarters in Lifford on Tuesday night.

Only the seventh person to receive the award, Mr Molloy is the first ever GAA representative to be given Donegal’s highest honour.

He achieved legendary status among Donegal people all over the world when he lifted the Sam Maguire Cup to a roar of “Sam’s for the Hills” in 1992 after his team defeated the mighty Dublin.

Echoing his 1992 war cry, he told the Irish News: “It’s another award for the hills.”

Mr Molloy said: “I’m immensely proud that my own county has given me this award.

"When Ciaran (Brogan), the chairman of Donegal county council phoned me two weeks ago, I couldn’t believe it, especially to be the first Gaelic footballer to get the award.”

A native of Ardara, Mr Molloy was singled out for his services to the GAA and his work as an ambassador among the Donegal diaspora.

Members of the Donegal team which won the All Ireland in 2012 as well as county boards from both winning years also attended Tuesday’s ceremony at which Mr Molloy was presented with a specially commissioned badge and pin.

Other winners of the Freedom of Donegal have included former goalkeepers, Packie Bonnar and Shay Given, athletics manager Patsy McGonagle, singer Daniel O’Donnell, musician Phil Coulter and the Irish Army’s 28th Infantry Battalion.

Before attending the ceremony, Mr Molloy said he was looking forward to a good evening of celebrations.

“It’ll be good to meet up again with the ’92 men; it’s always good to meet up with them. I suppose this honour is for them as much as me.

“I am always proud of what we achieved and I suppose this shows if you work hard look what you can achieve,” he said.

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