Former Tyrone star Owen Mulligan still feels he doesn’t deserve the last of his three All-Ireland medals, won in 2008 against Kerry, writes John Fogarty.
Mulligan chose not to join in the celebrations following the final having believed his commitment was not what it should have been in the build-up to the game.
The Cookstown man, who could line out for London against Leitrim in Sunday week’s Connacht quarter-final, went drinking with fellow panellist Raymond Mulgrew the week prior to the decider and risked being dropped from the squad.
In his Laochra Gael programme to be shown on TG4 tonight, he recalls how the pair decided to go drinking, assuming they weren’t going to see any serious game-time in the final, Mulligan having not started Tyrone’s previous championship games that summer.
Despite impressing in an in-house game the evening after the socialising and coming off the bench in the second-half, the episode left him feeling guilty.
“We went for a nice bite to eat and met up with a friend I met in Australia. We had good craic and I said, ‘Raymie, we’ll take a pint of Guinness for iron purposes’. He said, ‘That’ll do’.
"One thing led to another, and we had five pints and then the gin started and this was a week before the All-Ireland final. It wasn’t right because of the messing I did the week before but I got 15 minutes in the All-Ireland final, which I was grateful for.
“We won the All-Ireland but I wouldn’t go to the celebrations. I just thought that I messed about too much that week, too much that year.
"I was over the moon for the team, I was over the moon for the fans but as a player I just don’t think I merited that medal.”
Owen Mulligan — Laochra Gael (last in the series) will be shown on TG4 at 9.30pm tonight.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.