Next five-stopper will be a Mayo man, reckons Darby

Former Cork camogie and football player Rena Buckley with former Offaly footballer Seamus Darby in attendance at the Laochra Gael launch at the Dean Hotel in Dublin last week. Darby famously scuppered Kerry’s five-in-a-row dreams in 1982. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

If there is to be another Seamus Darby this year, the man himself believes he is likely to be a Mayo man.

The legend of 1982 looks on James Horan’s side as Dublin’s greatest rivals, the same way Offaly were to Mick O’Dwyer’s Kerry, and he sees the seemingly perennial bridesmaids as the team best place to debt Jim Gavin’s side’s five-in-a-row ambitions.

“I don’t think Mayo are going to be too far away,” said Darby ahead of this Saturday’s Dublin-Mayo Division 1 clash. “That’s my opinion. They were able to compete with them and I think James Horan coming back is not a bad move because he knows all the lads and they’ve brought in a few new faces as well and they’re big and good. If Dublin are to be beaten, Mayo will have a say in it, I think.”

Darby was forced to emigrate to England after making a disastrous business decision on the back of his fame when he purchased a pub in Borrisokane. If somebody was to emulate his five-in-a-row denying deed, what would he advise him?

“Just enjoy it. What happened in my case didn’t happen before and I didn’t do too much wrong, really. I suppose people thought I went mad drinking but I celebrated the same as everybody else did. I celebrated and I was presenting medals and I did all that thing and I would have done it without scoring the goal if I was asked.

“Everybody’s different and if you win an All-Ireland the way we won it or say, for instance, if Mayo were to beat Dublin, who would be like ourselves hungry to win, and can you imagine some fella doing what happened me or scoring a goal... he’s going to be fucking here, there and everywhere.

“It all settles down in time. Now, the problem I made was I made a business decision that went totally against me and I just couldn’t see it going totally so bad as it did.

“My biggest problem was I had a very good property that was paid and I put it up as collateral against it and lost the whole lot. Everyone won’t make those decisions because they’re teachers or guards or something.”

The subject of next Wednesday’s Laochra Gael programme on TG4, which is produced by Nemeton, Darby is brutally honest about how his life fell apart following the purchase of the pub. He tells of his then wife Veronne suffering a brain haemorrhage, and with that and his three young kids in mind, pleading with the pub’s receiver to show him clemency, to no avail.

Darby also reveals how his parish priest and county chairman Fr McWey told him the night before the final he would score “a goal or two”.

And he recalls how he met the person who had produced the five-in-a-row t-shirts to sell in Kerry.

“He said, ‘You cost me a fortune. I had every caravan in Ballybunion stuffed with jerseys, Kerry five-in-a-row. You, you little c***, came on and you scored a goal, fucked me up’.

“I said, ‘do you mind me asking, what did you do with them?’ He said, ‘I’ll tell you, I put RIP at the bottom of them and I headed for Tullamore and I sold most of them on Monday night’.”

While not regretting it, the attention he has received since that fateful goal doesn’t sit easy with him.

“It doesn’t, if you want the truth. I don’t mind somebody who knows what they’re talking about but I don’t like when I go into a pub and somebody is there mouthing and talking shite and half-jarred and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s hard to listen to that. I’d be inclined to move away.”

Darby remains in touch with Tommy Doyle who he dueled with for the goal.

“Tommy and I are still very good friends. I could be talking twice in a week and I mightn’t be talking to him then for six months. But I’d be talking to Tommy, we’d always keep in touch.”

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