Dungannon Clarke's: So many men were crying. So was I, to be fair. It's just unbelievable'
“YESSSSSS!!! Yesss!! Yessss!! Sixty-four, it’s f***ing over, it’s f***ing over!!”
In a week that has seen cult heroes created through the Dungannon Clarke’s setup, few catch the imagination the way Pedro Gomes did.
When Sunday’s Tyrone SFC final went all the way penalties, he and his friends catapulted from the terrace side across behind the goals into which the players of Dungannon and Trillick were shooting.
Ill-timed issues with Tyrone TV’s stream, which went down for some viewers at the beginning of the shootout, meant Pedro – who was born in Portugal but moved to Ireland with his parents aged four - was quickly fielding calls.
“My mate rang me and said ‘tell me what happens with the penalty shootout because our TV just went off’,” he says.
Warning: Video contains strong language
Caught up with Dungannon's number one supporter, Pedro Gomes for today's paper. Born in Portugal, moved to Ireland aged four and is GAA mad. This is the video of his celebration at the final whistle, if you hadn't seen it. It is absolutely brilliant #GAA https://t.co/sbTg1fVtIL pic.twitter.com/KgNTpac7oz— Cahair O'Kane (@CahairOKane1) September 24, 2020
So he did the best thing he could think of and went live on Instagram.
“Within a matter of seconds, about 400 people were on it. It was just mental. A massive crowd was watching it.”
The 16-year-old can hardly contain himself as Ciaran Barker steps up to take the vital kick, before bursting on to the pitch, screaming in delight.
The video of his celebration have spread around WhatsApp like wildfire in recent days, and he has become something of a local celebrity.
“My heart was going, I tried to just keep calm to show my mates what was happening. I was in two places at once, showing the penalties and watching as well.
“We were near the press box, to the right hand side, and when we saw everyone moving down to the goalposts we said we’d need to go too to support them.
“I ran to Mark McKearney, who’s one of my good mates. I dropped my phone then, and it [the video] just ended there. I don’t know what happened after.
“You couldn’t write it. There were grown men in tears. Dalaigh Jones was in tears. So many men were crying. So was I, to be fair. It’s just unbelievable.”
The lower sixth Dungannon College student became almost instantly involved with the local GAA club when the family moved over from Portugal in 2009.
“I’m the only Portuguese lad [in his age group], but there’s five or six East Timorese lads that can speak Portuguese. You see a good few of them at matches, the adults too, maybe 20 or 30 at senior matches.
“My Mum follows a bit of it, it’s more my sister that follows it. She used to play ladies football for six or seven years for Dungannon. She still follows matches. She was watching the game on Sunday.”
Having no ticket for the game, or indeed the semi-final against Errigal Ciaran, Pedro had to be inventive about finding his way into Healy Park.
He grabbed the team kit off Collie Holmes and masqueraded as the kitman to make it in through the gates.
Gomes has developed into a key player for their under-16 and minor teams and says that his dreams are to emulate, and even better, his friends on the current senior team.
“I’m really close with the younger lads on the senior team. I’m friendly with Conall Devlin, Mark McKearney, Dalaigh [Jones], Paul [Donaghy], Ryan Jones, James Morgan, all those lads.
“Gaelic’s been everything in my life. My life revolves around it. I come home from school and I’ve Gaelic training. Saturday mornings a match, Sunday mornings training again – my whole life revolves around Gaelic. Nothing matters only Gaelic.
“My ambition is to be on the senior panel in a couple of years’ time, hopefully win another O’Neill Cup and maybe go further. To have no Covid and win Ulster.”
The 64-year wait is over, but for Pedro Gomes, life with the Clarke’s is only just beginning.