Sonia O'Sullivan's controversial views on the 'greatness' of Seamus Darby's All-Ireland winning goal

Here's why she is wrong

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Offaly's Seamus Darby blasts the ball to the back of the Kerry net in 1982

Offaly's Seamus Darby blasts the ball to the back of the Kerry net in 1982

Former Irish Olympian Sonia O'Sullivan was a panelist on RTE's new show, 'Ireland's Greatest Sporting Moment' on Thursday night, and the Cork runner made some controversial points about Seamus Darby's goal in the 1982 All-Ireland. 

Darby's goal was selected as one of the top five Irish sporting moments of the 1980s, and therefore was up for discussion by the panel of Joe Brolly, Sonia O'Sullivan and Eamon Dunphy. It was also voted on by the public.

SEE ALSO: The story of a priest, a bottle of brandy and that Seamus Darby goal in 1982

Discussing the perceived greatness of Seamus's goal, the most famous moment in the history of the GAA, in the 1982 All-Ireland against Kerry, Sonia questioned whether it actually deserved to be in the running. 

She said, "I suppose it was a great moment for Seamus Darby, and for Offaly - he was in the right place at the right time, but in a way if you swap it around, you could say, did he stop greatness?"

"In a way Kerry were the great team and they were going to go for five in a row," she added.

Eamon Dunphy in his infinite wisdom chimed in and added, "I think Sonia has a point - greatness should not be something that's spectacularly surprising and is stopping something like Kerry getting five in a row - greatness should be something that you achieve."

Sonia came back with another nugget of insight to say, "Kerry didn't play to the level that they should of, so they allowed Offaly, they missed the moment," she said.

Clearly Sonia and Eamon don't class beating the so-called greatest team to have ever played the game as an 'achievement' in its own right. Surely winning in the final moment on the biggest stage, in a final, is a great moment, and not just for Offaly.

Joe Brolly said it on Thursday night that Darby's goal chanced the course of GAA history, it had kids in Derry and Donegal and Mayo inspired, believing that they could be Seamus Darby in Croke Park some day. Surely, that is greatness and the essence of sport rolled into one. 

The GAA is the most ingrained sport in Ireland, bigger than soccer, boxing, athletics or boxing, and for a goal from a county like Offaly, the underdog, to make history in the way it did, deserves more credit that to simply say it halted greatness rather than defined it. 

That clip of the diminutive figure of Darby with the number 20 on his back, losing Tommy Doyle and blasting to the net will stand the test of time because it is stamped in the memory of Irish people and the Irish psyche. As Brolly said, the Death Star had fallen, and Seamus Darby's left boot brought it down. 

The GAA seems to be downgraded because it is an amateur sport, and yet its heroes are more accessible and revered in this country for that very reason - they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

In the end, Ray Houghton's goal against England in Euro 88 was voted by the public as the great Irish sporting moment of the 1980s, and Seamus came in second, ahead of Barry McGuigan, Eamon Coughlan and Stephen Roche.

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