Former Tyrone footballer, Owen Mulligan opens up in his edition of Laochra Gael on TG4, which airs tonight at 9:30 pm.
A three-time All Ireland medalist with his county, “Mugsy” admits he felt extremely guilty about the last of those Celtic crosses which came in 2008. He explains how he did not even celebrate with the team after beating Kerry in the final.
Mulligan is of the belief that his commitment to the team ahead of the championship decider was sub-standard and he is probably correct. Recalling how he had grown frustrated with lack of game-time that summer, having not started a championship game all year, the Cookstown clubman informs us that he went drinking just a week before the showdown with the Kingdom.
Explaining how he and team-mate Raymond Mulgrew ended up on a drinking session with just days to go until the biggest game of the season, the 35-year-old remembers how neither player was expecting it to affect the team as neither were expecting to have any serious role to play in the final.
“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.”
Mulligan recounts how he couldn’t bring himself to join the team party afterwards, weighed down with the guilt of his actions in the preparations for the All Ireland final.
“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,” he says.
The Tyrone legend has since moved abroad, to London, earlier this year for work and is line to appear for the London footballers in the Connacht SFC when they take on Leitrim in two weeks. His progress across the pond will be tracked by all followers of Gaelic football of the noughties, when a young Mulligan was at the height of his powers, tearing defences to shreds in Croke Park.
Hat Tip to Irish Examiner.
Tune in to TG4 tonight at 9:30 p.m for more tales from Mugsy’s epic days in the Red Hand kit.