The Donegal Democrat speaks to ‘The Special one’ Eamon Magee

The Special One! Eamon McGee, tall blue-eyed citizen of Dore and Gaoth Dobhair, has long been one of the county’s greatest natural talents.

And it is surely a mystery why he did not get at least one All-Star award in 2012 or 2014 which his vast array of talents demanded.

It is about two minutes after Gaoth Dobhair have taken their 15th county title and Eamon is, as always, standing tall and straight before the world with his daughter, Daisy, in his hands.

And quiet pride and joy is written deep in his face.

Life has been good to McGee in recent years, but that was not always the case, as he is a man who has clearly seen the two days.

Eamon has tasted life through the teeth, but has always been unfailingly courteous, thoughtful, with a real sardonic wit that makes a rarity in an era of boring cloned clichés.

He is one of the most graceful, intelligent players Donegal has ever produced, an outstanding soccer player, who still glides over the ground at 33 and can draw an opponent and pick out a colleague with a killer pass.

And there are very few players who could get away with telling you directly: “I wish I had Ricey’s (ex-Tyrone star Ryan McMenamin) vocabulary.”

But eternal maverick souls tend to make their own rules and McGee is also a keen admirer of wit.

For true mavericks and free spirits always make memories brighter in these declining days of autumn when Mother Earth flings out her fruit before dying in ice.

Safe was never a word you could use about Eamon as you could never quite guess exactly what he was about to come out with next.

Maybe Eamon was not too sure himself, but who really cares, as it only added to his humanity and life would be very dull if we did not have that je ne sais quoi, that frisson that keeps you mostly awake, alert and expectant.

But safe is certainly a word you could use about his masterly display of superb creativity in attack and calm influence in defence.

He is naturally young at heart and seems to be drawing great energy from playing with so Many Young Men Of 20 and they are so very dependent on his ability to slow down matters when necessary and ability to draw defenders and create space for their youthful invincibility.

Back to Ballybofey on Sunday and Eamon eloquently shows his sheer delight in a special day as he picks up his third county medal, an honour he shares with brother Neil McGee, Kevin Cassidy and Christopher McFadden.

“Twelve years is a long time since we won the last one in 2006.

“They talk a lot about tradition in Gaoth Dobhair.

“But you only have a tradition if you are winning and you are there and we haven’t been there enough, so hopefully this is the start of building another strong tradition.

“For the older lads this is a big thing as we have a lot of miles on the clock so it is another medal, three for four of us.

“The younger bucks have a big future ahead of them

“So hopefully that is the first of many for them.”

When asked about Gaoth Dobhair’s great combination of youth and experience, he said: “The young lads have that bit of drive and we provide that wee bit of wit and wisdom sometimes.

“So it is a nice combination and anything we can do to help those lads progress and to drive on Gaoth Dobhair we are more than happy to do that.”

So does this victory encourage Eamon to keep pulling on the famous green and white jersey.

“You don’t retire from club football, club football retires you.

“So until Mervyn says to me or any club manager says move on or do something else I will still be about Gaoth Dobhair, unless St Eunan’s come knocking on my door,” he quipped.

So what did it really mean to this tall legend of the Fall?

“Your club is your family.

“You don’t choose your family and we have been through lows and highs and have seen boys grow up and to share that moment with them is just brilliant.

“And to share all of that with your club is just the greatest feeling you will have.

“We will enjoy this for a while and hopefully we can push on in Ulster.”

So Eamon now has three county medals, but he is already looking forward to “try and test ourselves in Ulster.”

“There is a lesson to be learned by county senior boards from the great work that has been done by the minor boards in bringing young lads like ours through.

“There are a lot of men who don’t want any plaudits, who put the hard work in and they are why we in Gaoth Dobhair have a medal, because they put the work in.

“And they deserve to be mentioned.”

Yes indeed and I suspect that we will continue to see quite a bit more of Gaoth Dobhair and Donegal’s very own Special One!

Gura fada buan thu, a chomradai san ait is aille ar domhan!


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