Some of the GAA's reluctant All-Ireland winners

Owen Mulligan’s admission he didn’t deserve his third All-Ireland medal in 2008 isn’t the only example of a player reluctant to lay claim to an All-Ireland title.

Jim McGuinness (Donegal, 2014)

Some of the GAA's reluctant All-Ireland winners

Donegal were trailing Kerry in the closing stages when Colm McFadden had a goal chance to put them ahead. However, Jim McGuinness was glad he hit the post. In his autobiography, he wrote: “Colm is reaching and I have one thought. I don’t want the goal. I didn’t want it because it would have felt shallow. We would have been sneaking something out of it. We didn’t deserve it. Kerry deserved it because they came with a plan and made it happen.”

Colm Cooper (Kerry, 2014)

Some of the GAA's reluctant All-Ireland winners

Cooper was presented with a Celtic Cross, having been named on the bench for the final defeat of Donegal, but the Dr Crokes star admitted he was hesitant about taking one considering he was injured for the entire championship and didn’t kick a ball.

Kieran Bergin (Tipperary, 2014)

Some of the GAA's reluctant All-Ireland winners

Recalling John O’Dwyer’s late free, which was ruled wide by HawkEye, in the drawn All-Ireland final, his Killenaule team-mate Bergin admitted he was relieved in a way it wasn’t awarded because of the nature of the free given against Brian Hogan and in favour of Pádraic Maher. “If you had to look at it from an objective kind of view I don’t think it was a free myself. I suppose I shouldn’t really have said that!”

Henry Shefflin (Kilkenny, 2012)

Some of the GAA's reluctant All-Ireland winners

A large part of Shefflin, pictured, wanted Joe Canning to miss his late equalising free but then some of him also wanted the Galway forward to convert it, which he did albeit with a mishit. In his autobiography, Shefflin admitted: “People might find this hard to believe, but I didn’t think it fair he might go down in history as the man whose miss had got us there. Don’t get me wrong. Given the choice at that moment, I wanted the ball waved wide. But when the Galway roar erupted, part of me was relieved for Joe. Relieved history wouldn’t identify him as some kind of fall guy.”


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