The men from Donegal who have won the FAI Cup over the years


If the Bohemians beat St Patrick’s Athletic in the FAI Senior Cup Final next Sunday at Aviva Stadium, Georgie Kelly will join a select group of players from Donegal who have won FAI Senior Cup medals after making the final.

The first men from Donegal to win an FAI Senior Cup title were Gerry Murray of Ballybofey and Jim Sheridan of Rathmullan, who were part of the Finn Harps squad which won a historic victory in 1974 by beating St Patrick’s Athletic 3-1 in the final at Dalymount Park. .

The Finn Harps team that won the Cup in 1974 was led by Patsy McGowan and seven years later, in 1981, he was back in the final, but by that time he was leading Harps Northwest neighbors. , Sligo Rovers. While there were only two Donegal men on the Harps’ Cup winning team in 1974, no less than six Donegal players started for the Sligo Rovers in the 1981 final against Dundalk.

Unfortunately for Declan McIntyre of Donegal Town, native Mickey Ferry of Milford, Paddy Sheridan of Rathmullan, Charlie McGeever of Derryconnor, Gerry Doherty of Carndonagh and Liam Patton of the Twin Towns, they lost to Dundalk by a score of 2-0. Ironically, Dundalk had beaten Finn Harps 1-0 in the semifinals that year at Milltown, depriving fans of what would have been a tasty Northwestern derby final between Harps and a Sligo Rovers team led by McGowan. and loaded with Donegal players. .

One of the Donegal contingents who lost to Sligo in 1981, Mickey Ferry, was back in the 1983 final and was part of the very first Sligo Rovers team to win the FAI Cup when they beat the Bohemians in the final. 2-1.

The next man from Donegal to play in an FAI Senior Cup final was Denis Bonner of Cloughglass in 1985 when he was part of the Galway United squad which lost 1-0 to Shamrock Rovers. Galway’s loss marred a unique brace as Denis’s brother Packie won a Scottish Cup medal with Celtic that year. There was to be some consolation for Denis a year later when he led Galway United to their first senior trophy, a League Cup victory in a 2-0 loss to Dundalk with Galway goals scored by himself and 1974 Harps Cup winner Paul McGee.

Paul Hegarty of Calgary, Ballindrait, was part of the Derry City squad that won the FAI Cup in 1989. He didn’t play in the final and replayed, as Dery completed the treble with a 1- win. 0 on Cork City, with Felix Healy, also known to Finn Park, the goalscorer.

Galway United took revenge on the Shamrock Rovers in the 1991 final with a 1-0 victory, in the second final only to be played at Lansdowne Road. Bonner was gone by this point, but another man from Donegal, Declan McIntyre, was the goalkeeper for the victorious Galway squad. He would make up for his loss to Sligo Rovers 10 years earlier to become Donegal’s next player to win a Senior Cup medal.

Then came Declan Boyle of Killybegs, who was part of the Sligo Rovers squad who beat Derry City 1-0 in the 1994 final to add to the Premier League title and League Cup success that season. Tony Blake of Letterkenny was deputy guardian. This Derry City team was led by Tony O’Doherty, another member of the 1974 Finn Harps winning team.

An interesting side to this final was that two-player Ger Houlahan of Armagh missed the final because it conflicted with the Ulster Championship opener of Armagh. Houlahan had scored the winner for Sligo in the cup quarterfinals. Boyle lost two cup finals, one with Derry City in 1997 and the other with Finn Harps in 1999.
Donegal’s list of winners would have grown significantly had Harps not been beaten 2-1 by Bray Wanderers in the 1999 final after a second round.

Three men from Donegal – Mark Farren of Greencastle, Kevin McHugh of Killea and substitute Gareth McGlynn of Inch – won FAI Cup medals with Derry City when they beat St Patrick’s Athletic after overtime in the 2006 final , the last football game to be played at the old Lansdowne Road Stadium. This Cup final was voted by fans of the League of Ireland as the biggest FAI Cup final in a 2013 poll.

St Pat’s took the lead three times before Derry fired back, equalizing three times and then winning the goal with an own own goal. Mark Farren nearly tied Charlie Ferry’s 1974 goal streak in every round, with the second round being the only one in which he failed to score. All three were then on the losing side in the 2008 final when Derry City lost to the Bohemians on penalties.

In their next cup final victory in 2012, Derry City had two other Donegal men in their starting XI – current Finn Harps player and Ramelton native Barry McNamee and Stephen McLaughlin of Doagh Island, Clonmany, were part of the squad that beat St Patrick’s Athletic 3-2 after extra time. T

In the 2015 FAI Cup Final, Johnny Dunleavy had the opportunity to become only Donegal’s second man after Jim Sheridan to lead an FAI Cup winning team, but his Cork City side were beaten by Dundalk. However, he lifted the cup the following year, but did not make the final.

Stephen O’Donnell, current St Patrick’s Athletic head coach, replaced Dundalk in this match. It would be ironic for Georgie Kelly to score the winner next Sunday given O’Donnell’s close ties to Donegal.

His father, Dungloe man PJ O’Donnell led Dungloe to an Under-14 County Championship title in 1966 and four years later he became a substitute for the Rosses Rovers in the Donegal final. SFC vs. St Joseph’s. This 1970 final was the last appearance for a Rosses team in a SFC Donegal final.

Kelly, from Tooban, won a Buncrana Cup medal with Donegal in 2012, hopes to do better than in 2014, when he was part of the Scoil Mhuire high school team, Buncrana, which lost Tony O’Neill from FAI Schools. Senior Cup Final at Summerhill College, Sligo in a thrilling match at Maginn Park.

Among his Buncrana teammates that day were current Harps player Mark Coyle and current Donegal GAA player Caolan McGonagle. He also finished second with Dundalk in the 2019 FAI Cup Final when they lost to Shamrock Rovers on penalties. He came on as a late substitute in this game. The year before he was part of Dundalk’s squad on match day for the final, but had no part that day in their victory over Cork City.

So can Kelly become the next Donegal player to play and win an FAI Senior Cup medal after Jim Sheridan, Gerry Murray, Mickey Ferry, Declan McIntyre, Declan Boyle, Mark Farren, Kevin McHugh, Gareth McGlynn, Barry McNamee and Stephen McLaughlin?

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