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RTE Television

Jimmy's Winnin' Matches The Journey Of Donegal's Champions

The remarkable story of the Donegal GAA football team and their extraordinary journey to become the 2012 All Ireland winners is a fascinating "against all odds" account of a team under the steely stewardship of Jim McGuinness and his magnetic management skills.

This brand new documentary charts the extraordinary transformation of the Donegal team becoming champions in Croke Park this September, from their much talked about semi final defeat in 2011, to a formidable force that knocked out the legends of Gaelic football - Tyrone, Kerry, Cork and ultimately Mayo to become National heroes in 2012.

It had been 20 years since Donegal won the All Ireland and they seemed unlikely to ever reach an Ulster Final - until the enigmatic Jim McGuinness came along and changed all of that. The 22 month journey from zero to hero is recalled by Jim and his team, including his young captain, Michael Murphy - just 21 years old when he took up the position.

Beginning with the 2011 low scoring semi-final loss to Dublin, one year later and Donegal are being lauded as one of the best teams in country, and are seen by many critics as pioneers of modern era of GAA. Their defeat of the mighty Kerry was hailed as a "footballing change of guard." (Commentator Ger Canning)

Ultimately his mantra is based on the power of the collective, from which he has fashioned an almost unbeatable team. After endless cold evenings on the training pitch, night after night, this drilled and disciplined team now stand at the end of All Ireland success.

The 80,000 crowd at Croke Park is seen in strong contrast to the everyday humdrum of life for the team's teachers, bank officials and postmen. One player's father has even an All Ireland medal to his name. Can Mark McHugh repeat his father Martin's achievement 20 years later?

Featuring unseen behind the scenes footage with the team, match highlights and interviews with players, GAA managers, sports journalists and pundits. The documentary includes the song that has become the backdrop to the story, garnering over 1.3 million youtube hits - "Jimmy's winning Matches" - an extraordinary success story in its own right - penned on a beach in Lanzarote by musician Rory Gallagher.

Jimmy's Winnin' Matches is an inspiring and heartfelt programme charting a dramatic rights of passage story; the wayward underdogs transforming into a unified team of unbeatable athletes and National heroes.

Jimmy's Winnin' Matches The Journey Of Donegal's Champions
  • RTÉ One, Thursday, 9.35pm