Back in the day - July 19 1998: Joe Brolly fires in last-gasp winner for Derry to grab Ulster crown
Bank of Ireland Ulster Senior Football final: Derry 1-7 Donegal 0-8
AROUND three-quarters of an hour after Derry stole the Ulster title yesterday, Brian Mullins ran down the steps of the Gerry Arthurs stand and threw his arms around Francie Brolly.
Visibly relieved having watched his team grab an unlikely win from a game that had rematch written all over it, an unusually jovial Mullins bear-hugged the father of match-winner Joe, the man whose cool finish had finished off Donegal in the cruellest fashion.
“Jesus, Francie, you told me he was good for something. I nearly didn’t believe you, it was a toss-up whether he was on or not,” beamed Mullins.
Well shackled throughout the game, Brolly escaped just once and proved deadly, breaking free at a crucial moment to make the most of an unselfish pass from Dungiven clubmate Geoffrey McGonigle. It was a moment the dual star enjoyed.
“All I thought about was putting the ball over the bar but then I saw Joe coming out of nowhere,” said a grinning McGonigle, who created history as the first Derryman to play in both Ulster football and hurling finals.
“I had to pass it to him, there’s nobody better 10 yards out. Sure he’s not a bad fella, is he.”
Neither side yesterday deserved to win or lose.
The shock of the unexpected conclusion to the game seemed to stun the winners as much as anybody.
For Derry, a brilliant end to a poor game.
For Donegal, a sickener to lose and the manner of the defeat will take some getting over.
Looking like he’d had the guts ripped out of him, big-hearted Declan Bonner still managed to be magnanimous.
“You make your own luck in this game, Derry got it today and good luck to them,” he said.
“It was nip and tuck all the way and I knew a goal was always going to win it, but when it came so late in the game we were never going to come back.”
ANTRIM’S hurlers will have less than one week to prepare for their AllIreland quarter-final against Offaly.
Due to the political unrest in Northern Ireland, the Ulster Champions have trained just once, last Thursday, since winning the Harvey Cup on July 5.
Antrim were yesterday drawn against Leinster’s defeated finalists Offaly. The quarter-finals will be played at Croke Park this weekend.
Antrim’s Allister Elliot said last night that preparation “could not have been worse.”
“Since winning the Ulster title we have met once, last Thursday. We tried to get a challenge game against Galway but couldn’t because of the Connacht football final.
“But at home we couldn’t travel to train together over the past couple of weeks.”
SOUTH Armagh’s Mullaghbawn are the new seven-a-side kings of Ulster after capturing the Paddy Martin Cup at the expense of Castleblayney by a score of 1-12 to 0-13 in the final on Saturday.
Mullaghbawn: D Keane, C Byrnes, J McNulty (1-3), E McNulty (0- 2), R McDonald (0-2), K McGeeney (0-1), J McParland, N McParland (0-3), P McNulty (0-1)
Castleblayney: D Duffy (0-1), E Murphy, T Millar, A Tavey, M O’Connor (0-5), K Treacy, P McDonald (0-5), R McArdle, P Duffy (0-2)
Ref: M McGrath (Donegal)