‘Confessions of a Gaelic Footballer’, a book written by former Donegal senior footballer Donal Reid will be published later this month – here is an extract from the book, the proceeds from which will go to Pieta House.
My relationship never deteriorated with Brian (McEniff) after my departure from the Great Northern Hotel. The hotel manager and I also were on good terms and remain friends today. I was back playing for Red Hugh’s and spent a lot more time at home in The Cross. I trained as hard and as often as ever.
I was also afforded much more time to the football because my responsibilities were somewhat diminished compared to my previous employment.
The Mount Errigal Hotel was undergoing some dramatic changes while I was there; both in terms of personnel and furnishings. We reopened the ballroom rehashing it into a trendy Night Club with all modern sound and lighting equipment. We named it Scorpio. It was a huge success after some initial teething problems. It opened most nights of the week but weekends were particularly busy.
England and Ireland were playing a soccer match on a particular Wednesday evening. Terry, Gabriel (Terry’s brother) and I settled down in our house in Ballyraine to watch the game. Just as the match started the house ‘phone rang. I answered. It was one of the hotel receptionists. “Donal you need to come down right away, the lounge is full of noisy people going to a gig in Scorpio.”
I informed the lads and we all rushed down to the hotel. We were greeted by mayhem. Three Ulster busses were parked up in the hotel car park as groups of young people wandered round slugging beer from cans. The foyer was crammed with hippy like people who sat back on the chairs with their feet on the tables. Two bar men were trying to attend to their orders.
A non-descript band called The Pogues were booked in to play that night. They were in their infancy then and practically unheard of. I rang a few bouncers for assistance and went behind the bar to help.
I was immediately grabbed by my tie by one of the louts. I was well able to handle myself and managed to push him off. I tried to placate him and his friends by telling them to be patient and soon everyone would be served. They did not want regular beer though. They wanted ‘slops’. We used to have a few 10 gallon drums to the rear of the kitchen which held ‘Slops’ for a local farmer who fed the mixture to his pigs. We lined the pint glasses on the floor and filled them from stainless steel buckets with slops. Soon the situation was under control and they all disappeared into the Night Club.
By the time Shane McGowan had started we had an army of bouncers on patrol. To be perfectly honest they caused little trouble and leaped about the floor like jumping hyenas.
As the night came to a close and the revellers departed we started the clean-up job. Shane McGowan was sprawled in front of the bar on the floor still demanding drink. He got a quick shift. The night was over and we headed home.
Two years later I was in London on a St. Patrick’s weekend with Marty Carlin for a football match. We came up the steps out of a tube station when I saw a flyer on the ground. I picked it up and looked at the writing on it. The Pogues were performing in the Hammersmith Odeon. I was shocked. They played three nights in the Odeon to full houses. Do you ever know?