Exhaustion is the easy bit for Donegal – Brolly
“They did not talk much. They were happy with the inordinate happiness that comes of exhaustion and achievement, and with which nothing else in life – no joy of either the body or the mind – is even able to be compared.”
George Orwell’s words, written in his 1934 classic “Burmese Days”, sum up the feeling we shared in the dressing room after we had won the All-Ireland in 1993.
It is a sort of ecstasy that is hard to explain. There was no cheering or bouncing about or spraying water over each other. Lads just showered and got changed quietly, letting it all sink in.
Even Fergal McCusker was calm. It was quiet, but it was ecstasy all the same.
The funny thing about it though was how quickly that feeling evaporated. In the days afterwards, I was surprised and disappointed to find that it was an anticlimax. The girls, the carousing, the singing soon lost it’s charm.
Having reached the summit, I had discovered that the only thing for it was to try to climb back again. Within a few days, I was back standing at my favourite spot in O’Cahan Park, near the corner flag on the right, popping balls over the bar as my younger brother Proinsias fetched them back.
After about 15 minutes, he shouted over to me “Our boy, I thought after sunday we wouldn’t have to do this anymore.”
“So did I,our boy, so did I.”
It is all ahead of the Donegal men. “Can Donegal win the All-Ireland?” is a question that appeared this week on the main GAA conversation board. The answer is “yes”.
When I first saw them in a league game against Derry in Celtic Park last year, I realised that they were going to break the mould and wrote a piece predicting their inevitable rise. Ulster final day came around and I travelled in the absolute certainty that we would lose.
They made heavy weather of Kildare, but I still felt they would be too much for the Dubs and tipped them to make the final.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday July 26. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here