Tharla sé Daichead a Cúig mBliana is an Lá Inniu … It Happened Forty-Five Years Ago Today

September 24th, 2017

Dúchas CLG Thír Eoghain, Cuimhnigh Air Seo: Tharla sé Daichead a Cúig mBliana is an Lá InniuGaelic Tyrone, Remember This: It Happened Forty-Five Years Ago Today

On 24 September 1972 Tyrone played in just our third-ever All-Ireland Minor Final. Captained by the prodigious Frank McGuigan (earlier that summer he had been picked at mid-field on both the Tyrone Senior and Minor teams for the Ulster Finals at Clones) and managed by Art McRory and Donal Donnelly, Tyrone had retained the Ulster title they had won the year before and had cruised to a 3-9 to 0-9 All-Ireland Semi-Final win over Meath. Cork, then the ‘Minor football power-in-the-land’ with five All-Ireland titles in eight years, lay waiting in the Final.

The Final was a strange game for Tyrone, one that we dominated for the most part yet lost by 3-11 to 2-11. Any Tyrone Gael who was there will tell you why we lost: two words ‘Robert Wilmot’. The Cork left-half back was moved to centre-field to try to curb Tyrone and literally had the game of his life, over-shadowing even the great Jimmy Barry-Murphy for his team. Tyrone pressed and pressed but just couldn’t seem to make their chances count. A great team. A great display. The wrong result.

Our team that day was: Patsy Kerlin (Owen Roes), Gerry Goodwin (Dungannon), Hugh Mooney (Edendork), Dominic Daly (Kileeshil), Oliver O’Neill (Omagh), Colm McAleer (Beragh), Justin O’Doherty (Omagh), Dessie McKenna (Augher), Frank McGuigan, Captain (Ardboe), Mickey Quinn (Stewartstown), Jimmy Hughes (Coalisland), Bosco O’Neill (Clonoe), Tommy Campbell (Omagh), Mickey Harte (Ballygawley), Paul Quinn (Aghaloo), Declan Kennedy (Dungannon), Mickey Coyle and Frank Grugan (both Carrickmore), Joe Cunningham (Pomeroy), Pete Owens (Beragh), Martin Lennon (Kildress), Jim McDaid (Omagh) and Barry Campbell (Dromore).

The following year ten of those players would return to win the Minor All-Ireland.