Four Masters made a breakthrough in 1979 when they won a first underage title at U-21 level, a success that was to lead to a senior breakthrough in the 1980s, winning two senior championships and competing in five senior finals.
It has been decided to mark the occasion with a reunion of the team with team members Eamonn Gorrell and Paddy Muldoon the prime movers and they have recruited Conor Breslin to help co-ordinate matters.
Eamonn Gorrell takes up the story: "The late seventies and early eighties were different times and tough times in Donegal for young men to get work after finishing school and gaining entry to college. Emigration was rampant with young men 18/19 years old going to the United States and England to seek work and pursue their careers and networking with GAA clubs abroad.
"Local club teams here were unable to get 15 underage players in villages or towns to compete at U-21 level and this is the reason that some players from the neighbouring clubs at this time played for the bigger urban clubs in this competition.
"Eddie McCaffrey, Sean Timoney, Gerry Cassidy, Thomas Cassidy, all Naomh Brid; Michael Carr, St Nauls, all played key roles in run up games and county final," says Gorrell.
"Recently with deaths of former players Brendan Martin and Francie Brogan, we were prompted to have a reunion of this team as it was not marked after 25 years.
"We have the plans in place for Saturday, August 24 with captain Diarmuid McGettigan organising golf during the day and we will meet in Dom's for a meal to reminisce about the game and the past," said Gorrell.
Four Masters defeated the reigning champions Naomh Columba in the final and the Glen men would have been favourites. "It was a great achievement, even though we only won by a point. I remember my mother was at the game and at the final whistle nobody knew who had won until the referee gave them the good news and they were able to celebrate."
It was a strong Four Masters side but also fairly young as three members - Michael Kelly, Michael McBrearty and Seamus Meehan - would go on to win All-Ireland U-21 medals three years later. Joyce McMullin was also a member of the panel, although only 16 at the time.
Paths to the Final
Four Masters V Gweedore - Home and away
Four Masters V Gweedore - Play off in Glenfin
Four Masters v Bundoran - Quarter Final Bundoran
Four Masters V Kilcar - (County semi final)
Four Masters V Naomh Columba - (County final)
TRIBUTES AT AGM
At their AGM report which was carried in the Donegal Democrat in early January in 1980 mention was made of the success, the first at underage since an U-16 championship win in 1958. The chairman Mr J J Mulhern said it had been an historic year for the club. He hoped that something greater would come of this team. "The future of the GAA in the area could be said to depend on them," said Mr Mulhern.
Mr Mulhern stepped down from the position of chairman after four years. The other officers in 1979 were Brian Gallagher (treasurer) and Frankie McMullin (secretary).
Four Masters vs Naomh Columba
U-21 Football Final
At Fintra Killybegs Sunday 26th August 1979 Throw in 5 pm
Four Masters . . . . . . . 1-6
Naomh Columba . . . . . 1-5
The U-21 County Football Championship final between the 1978 holders, Naomh Columba (Glencolmcille) and Four Masters (Donegal Town), played at Fintra Park, Killybegs, was a tense hard fought game with tough keen tackling and close marking.
There was comparatively little between both teams on the run of play and it turned out to be an exciting match. The Four Masters team took most of the chances in the first half and were four points in the lead at the interval.
In the second half the scoring came from Naomh Columba side who managed to narrow the Four Masters lead to only one point, nevertheless the Donegal town side managed to hold on to their lead and take the U-21 title.
First half scores came from Michael McIntyre, a point in 5th minute and Dinny Gara put the Naomh Columba men further ahead on the 8th minute. Enda Nolan opened Four Masters account with a point with Marty Kelly scoring from the left to tie up the game. After a few failed efforts by Masters, finally a long ball in was caught by Michael Carr who gave a gift pass to Declan McIntyre who shot a great goal to the back of the net. Just before half-time Marty Kelly again shot over for a point to give Four Masters a comfortable lead at the break, by four points (1-3 to 0-2).
Second half started and Four Masters boys were first out of the blocks with an early point from Marty Kelly. Michael Gallagher for Naomh Columba reduced the deficit with a well taken point. Again it was Gallagher and Connie Gara that added further points. With pressure on and game turning to be a tight contest captain Diarmuid McGettigan scored a point to secure Masters lead.
Four Masters made a change and substitute Patsy Mc Glanaghey was introduced for injured Eamonn Gorrell.
With Four Masters still attacking Marty Kelly once again got the score to put four points between them. In the closing stages Naomh Columba were determined, Michael Gallagher sent in a long ball, well taken by Paddy Gavigan and he sent the ball past Vinny McGroary to the net, with the margin down to one point.
Naomh Columba kept the pressure on with some shots all sailing wide.
The final whistle went, Four Masters had won the U-21 county tile and there were jubilant scenes both on the field and with all the Donegal Town supporters rushing on to the fine turf.
FOUR MASTERS: Vincent Mc Groary; Mark Mc Ginty, Seamus Meehan, Michael Breslin; Ken Harvey, Gerry Breslin, Michael Mc Brearty; Declan Mc Intyre, Dermot Mc Gettigan Capt; Martin Kelly, Thomas Cassidy, Enda Nolan; Eamonn Gorrell, Michael Carr, Paddy Muldoon. Subs: Michael Kelly, Patsy Mc Glanaghey, Gerry Gorrell, Eddie Mc Caffrey, Gerry Cassidy, Sean Timoney, Seamus Meehan (Meenacally)
NAOMH COLUMBA: Michael O’Donnabhain; Paddy Doherty, P.J. Mc Ginley, Martin Lyons; Ciaran Cunningham, John J Gara, Jimmy Kennedy; Michael Gallagher, Michael Mc Ginley; Paddy Gavigan, Dinny Gara, Jimmy Mc Ginley; Connie O’Gara, Columba Ward, Michael Mc Intyre.
REFEREE: Noel Kane Robert Emmetts, Castlefin
The cup was presented by Mr Eugene Boyle, Ballybofey, and Secretary of Donegal Minor Board to the captain Diarmuid Mc Gettigan.
U21 Four Masters Manager: Donal Monaghan, Assistant Frankie Mc Mullin
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