The Avondhu - By The Fireside

What are the chances?

- By Mike Monaghan

My brother, Tom Monaghan who is 78 years of age, is originally from Kildorrery but is now living in Cork city. All his life a keen GAA man and with no let up to this day, he was fortunate enough to play at a high level. He played in goals, for the Cork intermedia­te hurling team and also for the Cork junior football team and holds All-Ireland medals for both.

However, his

greatest achievemen­t was winning an All-Ireland Minor football medal in 1961 with Cork, where the Rebel county defeated Mayo 3-07 to 1-05. He played corner forward and scored 2 goals and a point.

Then, as my mother used to say, “time marched on”. It was 2010 and he was on holidays in Spain and my brother Tom would never miss Mass on a Sunday. He was staying in a place called Calahonda and coming out of the church after Mass, it was pouring rain. There was a man standing outside the door with a big umbrella and he squeezed in alongside him. They started chatting and he detected Tom’s Cork accent and told him he was from Mayo.

That very same day in 2010, Cork were playing Mayo in the National Football League final in Croke Park. He told Tom that he had played a few games for the senior team back in the 1960s and that he also played with the under 21s.

However, he said playing in the All-Ireland Minor football final in 1961 was the highlight of his career. The game was played in front of the biggest crowd ever in Croke Park, 90,556. He said they went in as hot favourites to win the game, however Cork got two goals in the first 15 minutes “and that put paid to our chances”. Tom looked at him with a smile and said “twas I got them”!

The Mayo man’s name is Eddie Maguire and he played full forward that day. Both Eddie and Tom spend a lot of time in Spain now and meet up regularly for a chat and a drink.

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