There is a strong Galway flavour in RTE’s Road to Croker programme tonight at 8pm. The show looks back at Galway’s All-Ireland winning season in 1998 and has some clips from the championship campaign of that season.
It is difficult to believe the brilliance and star quality of players such as Sean Og De Paor, Michael Donnellan, Tomas Mannion, Ja Fallon, Martin McNamara, Kevin Walsh, and Padraig Joyce which shone so brightly on that particular All-Ireland final day took place 10 years ago this weekend.
Whoever was privileged enough to see Donnellan’s magnificent runs, Fallon’s hat-trick of second half scores, Sean O’Domhnaill’s skyscraper of a point that day, will enjoy reliving those memories.
Leo Moran from the Saw Doctors also talks about the occasion and the homecoming in Tuam on the Monday night and sings the group’s hit “To win just once” from his home just beside Tuam Stadium.
There was a wonderful panel of players in Galway in those years with some really magnificent footballers. In my humble opinion it was a group of players who should have won at least another All-Ireland. 2000 was one that got away and had Tomas Mannion and Ja Fallon been available, it is a strong possibility that The Kingdom would have been beaten. Still, going down the Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda road never leads anywhere fast.
However when you look at club football in the county now - 10 years later - and observe that the likes of Derek Savage, Paul Clancy, Declan Meehan, and obviously Padraig Joyce are still some of the absolutely best and most effective players on the club scene, it highlights what really special players they were a decade ago.
The show also looks at the 2008 footballing campaign and showcases Sunday’s final between Kerry and Tyrone. It is the last show in the current series, and from a maroon and white perspective, especially for people who like a bit of nostalgia, it is one not to be missed.