Séamus Darby was the Offaly hero who scored a late goal in the All Ireland football final of 1982 depriving Kerry of their historic 5-in-a-row. He tells the story of how one of the most famous goals in GAA history impacted on his life.
It will be discussed for ever more. Kerry people want to forget about it. Offaly people never tire of talking about it. Mick O’Dwyer was in tears after it. The country was in a state of shock because of it. It was all about one substitution, one kick, and one goal.
It is the most famous and talked about goal in the entire history of Gaelic football. The scene is the 1982 All Ireland Final, two minutes to go and Kerry are on track for an unprecedented fifth All Ireland title in a row. Séamus Darby comes on for Offaly and in his only kick of the game scores what was to be the most talked about goal of all time. Kerry were prevented from becoming the first team in history to win the elusive five in a row and Séamus Darby would as a result be forever etched into the annals of Irish sporting history.
In the intervening years however, Séamus Darby’s life would take a very different path to what would be expected of a sporting hero. An elusive figure, Darby speaks at length for the first time in this documentary about his sporting career, that famous goal as well as the break-up of his marriage, his emigration to England, his personal struggles and how he has now found peace with himself and the legacy he created. The documentary examines the great GAA campaigns of the 70’s and 80’s and explores the life changing effects of sudden stardom on ordinary men.
Recorded over the summer of 2015 Seamus Darby and the goal that made champions is the definitive account of the life of Séamus Darby but it is also the story of 1980’s Ireland, a country deeply affected by emigration and unemployment. The documentary also features interviews with Séamus’s former team mates Padráig Dunne, Ritchie Connor, Martin Furlong, Sean Lowry and Manager Eugene Mc Gee as well as with Kerry legends Eoin ‘the Bomber' Liston and Tommy Doyle the Kerry wing back who marked Darby on that famous Sunday in September.
The documentary takes the listener from the packed terraces of Croke Park on All-Ireland Sunday to Toomevara Co. Tipperary via the lonely streets of Elephant and Castle and East Dulwich in what is an examination of Séamus Darby’s life as well as the burden of fame and life after sporting success. The programme attempts to dissect the concept of a sporting hero and while historical and sporting in nature is essentially a human interest story. Séamus Darby kicked the goal that changed history but that same goal changed him forever. This documentary attempts to explore the reasons why.
Narrated and produced by Marc McMenamin
Sound supervision by Mark Dwyer
Production supervision by Tim Desmond
Saturday October 24th 2.00pm. RTE Radio One.
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries