SUNDAY’S Donegal SFC final replay between Gaoth Dobhair and Naomh Conaill will be the seventh time for the county final to be replayed.
It is 14 years since the last replay, when Naomh Conaill famously toppled St Eunan’s to win Dr Maguire for the first time.
Picture: The Gaoth Dobhair team that won the 1945 Donegal SFC final replay.
Naomh Conaill lost a replay to St Joseph’s in 1965, while Gaoth Dobhair won a replay in 1945, defeating Ballyshannon to win the second in a four-in-a-row blast.
The Donegal SFC final – contested between Bundoran and Killygordon – of 1919 ran into 1920.
Killygordon won the final, played in Ballybofey in early January 1920, 0-10 to 0-7.
Bundoran considered an appeal to the Ulster Council, to contest the legality of the Killygordon team, but instead agreed to a replay of the final.
The replay was played on St Patrick’s Day and finished in a 2-3 to 1-6 apiece draw. The game was played in a 13-a-side format.
“It is pleasing to note that Gaelic football has at last gained a firm footing in County Donegal and that the gams of the foreigner are being washed off the slate,” one report of the time read.
Killygordon came from 2-3 to 0-2 behind at half-time with a late O’Hagan goal earning them another go.
The next instalment was due to be played in Carrick, but was actually played on May 2, 1920 at the Brandywell!
At what were referred to as the ’Brandywell Road Grounds’, Bundoran overcame Killygordon 2-4 to 1-2.
A later snippet in the media suggested that Killygordon had lodged a protest stating that “a non-county player was included in Bundoran team, that the one who played ‘Association’ within the past six months was also included, and that the ground was unsuitable for play.”
However, Bundoran were officially presented with the Cup and the medals.
That final remains the only Donegal SFC decider played outside of Donegal.
In 1945, Gaoth Dobhair and Ballyshannon played out a 1-3 apiece draw in the final.
Even back then, there were new rule changes for players to become accustomed to.
“The standard of the football was all the more meritorious because of the sudden enforcement of the rule, which directs the ball in hand passing must be fisted away,” a report from the drawn game says.
“This rule, at such short notice, came as a great disadvantage to both teams, especially Ballyshannon, who specialised in hand passing for a long number of years, As a result, the game was robbed of much of its spectacular effects and both teams were deprived of scores.”
For the replay, Peter Laffey was drafted in from Mayo to referee and both teams lined out as they had done in the first game.
“In the terrain that lies between Errigal and Atlantic, it is regarded as one of the greatest hours,” Fr Seán Gallagher wrote.
Gaoth Dobhair – thanks to goals by Jim McFadden and Willie Gallagher – led 2-2 to 1-4 at half-time and they took over in the second half.
“It was Híudaí Beag’s half,” Fr Seán wrote. “He scored all of Gaoth Dobhair’s scores, 2-3. It was the type of display that ensures immortality, one of the many displays that earned him the accolade of Gaoth Dobhair’s greatest ever player in the eyes of many.”
In 1958, Dungloe defeated St Eunan’s 2-6 to 2-5 after a 1-6 to 0-9 stalemate while in 1967, St Eunan’s got the better of St Joseph’s 1-13 to 1-9 after a 0-13 to 1-10 draw.
In between times, in 1965, Naomh Conaill forced a draw with St Joseph’s 1-7 to 0-10. The Glenties men, however, lost the replay 1-10 to 0-11.
Leo McLoone senior, father of current Naomh Conaill ace Leo junior, was one of the stars of that Glenties team, with Conal McLoone, Terence Craig, Joe McKelvey and Bernie Gildea other prominent names.
It was 40 years before a Glenties team took to the stage again – this time winning a famous replay in their greatest hour.
They go again on Sunday for Donegal’s latest replay.