Skilful Scott was a very special talent from a young age
ANY TEENAGER from Wexford with even a passing interest in sport in the late-1980s and early-1990s was aware of the prowess of Scott Doran, whose sudden death in England recently was greeted with widespread shock and deep sadness.
Whether it was Gaelic football, hurling or soccer, this gifted all-rounder from Lakelands in Bridgetown was a superb performer.
He was feared by opponents, revered by team-mates, and admired by one and all because he truly was a very special talent.
Indeed, as the Kilmore G.A.A. club correctly noted in a tribute, his first name alone sufficed whenever sport was being discussed.
Everyone knew who Scott was, and with good reason, because his reputation for excellence was so richly deserved.
He was a marked man from an early age in practically every game he played because of his ability, but that never seemed to hamper his individual contribution.
Indeed, it only served to underline his greatness, because he came up with the goods without fail for the various sides he graced despite always having that target on his back.
All of those fantastic under-age squads prepared by dedicated Kilmore teacher Joe Caulfield were based around a solid team ethic, but the opposition knew all the same that Scott was the player they really needed to stop.
He was easy to spot on the field, with his jet black hair, dark complexion and, most of all, a left foot of sublime quality. He wasn’t the tallest, but in one sense that helped his game because it meant he had to fight even harder to win his own ball.
And that distinctive physical appearance wasn’t what really made him stand out, as it was something else entirely: tremendous talent that seemed to come so easily to him, and the ability to electrify a crowd with his pace, passing accuracy, awareness and finishing.
I was 16 months older than Scott, and I will never forget the sheer guts he displayed on a summer’s day in 1992, the year I got to know him very well.
I was a young P.R.O. of the old Bord na nOg Loch Garman at the time, and he was a key figure on a very promising Wexford Minor football team under the guidance of Jim McGovern, Mick Caulfield, Paddy Hughes, George Rankin, Jim O’Connor and Scott’s Kilmore club colleague, Pat Bates.
He was actually one of four fine players - along with Darragh Ryan, Ciarán Roche and Damien Fitzhenry - who had missed a first round home victory over Dublin which alerted the entire country to the potential of this excellent team.
They met Meath in the Leinster semi-final in Croke Park, and it developed into a dour struggle, with both sets of players stricken by big day nerves. That wasn’t the case for everyone, though, because Scott saved the day in the 59th minute when he stepped up to take a ’45 into Hill 16 and stroked it nonchalantly over the bar to earn a draw.
It was the ultimate pressure kick, and there was no better young man in the county of Wexford to take it. Unfortunately, Meath won the replay by a goal despite a three-point haul from Scott and went on to clinch the All-Ireland, but I’ll always remember that particular score when I think of him in the years to come.
Just three months later, still aged 18, he made his Senior debut against Sligo in the National League in Wexford Park, as that particular competition started in October at the time.
And ironically, it was against the same opposition, at the same venue, and in the same competition, that his 100th appearance arrived on March 7, 2004, scoring two points in the process.
Less than three months later, he had moved to London and lined out with them in a Connacht championship loss to Galway, while he was also on board with the exiles in 2005 when they were only pipped by a point by Roscommon (0-12 to 1-8).
He returned briefly to make two more league appearances off the bench for Wexford in 2007, and he ended up playing 105 games and scoring the grand total of 25-174 – a magnificent record.
Players with Scott’s composure on the ball are always a joy to behold, and he was one of the finest footballers Wexford ever produced without question. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.