ARDARA’S Anthony Molloy is to be given the Freedom of Donegal this evening.
Anthony, who captained Donegal to All-Ireland success in 1992, will receive the honour from Cathaoirleach Ciaran Brogan at the County House in Lifford.
The sporting legend who brought the Sam Maguire Cup back to the Hills for the first time will be surrounded by family and friends and team-mates from that 1992 All-Ireland team as he collects his honour.
The Freedom of the County will be awarded in recognition of his contribution to Gaelic Football in County Donegal and Ireland and his excellent work as an ambassador amongst the Donegal Diaspora.
Anthony will be the seventh recipient of a badge and pin specially commissioned by the Council. The badge (and lapel pin) is reserved exclusively for those on whom the Freedom of the County is conferred.
Other recipients of the Freedom of County Donegal include Phil Coulter, Shay Given, Patsy McGonagle, Daniel O’Donnell, Packie Bonner and the 28th Infantry Battalion.
Speaking to the Donegal News ahead of the award, Molloy said he was both honoured and humbled to receive the award.
“I’ll take any title these days,” he quipped.
On a more serious note though, he said that he would receive the award on behalf of everyone who was involved in that historic Sunday afternoon at Croke Park twenty-four years ago.
“Seldom a week goes back without somebody stopping me on the street to talk about 1992. Fair play to the Councillors who felt that I was deserving of such an award. I’m very honoured,” Molloy said.
Trainer of the Ardara Senior team, Anthony remains immersed in gaelic games and he’s due to travel to Cork with the team for the All-Ireland Gaeltacht finals this weekend.
Donegal this summer
He’s also looking forward to another successful summer following the fortunes of team manager Rory Gallagher and the current Donegal squad.
“There’s a lot of talk about Tyrone this year which should take some of the pressure off the lads. They’ve a tough opening game with Fermanagh but they’ve nothing to lose. If they play to their potential they’ll be looking forward to another Ulster semi-final. He’s still got the nucleus of a good squad although I would be worried about the possible absence of Big Neil (Gallagher).
“No doubt we’ll talk more about that when we all meet up in Lifford next Tuesday. It’s always nice to get the opportunity to meet with the ‘92 lads – it’s probably something we should do more often,” he said.
Cathaoirleach Ciaran Brogan said that he was privileged to be in the position to award Freedom of Donegal to Anthony Molloy.
“You’ll probably find that most of the other winners of this award were all in Croke Park cheering on Anthony and the Donegal team back in September 1992.
“I’ve spoken to him a few times these past few weeks about the award and he’s a very decent man – a gentle giant. It’s the highest honour we can give anyone and, once again, it shows the huge part that sport plays in the everyday lives of people here in Donegal,” Cllr Brogan said.
“He brought an awful lot of joy to so many people back in 1992 and from conversations I’ve had with people from America to those closer to home he’s a very deserving recipient of the award,” he added.
From being part of the Ardara winning team in the U14 Championship in 1976 to leading the winning Donegal Senior’s to all Ireland glory in 1992, Anthony Molloy has had an outstanding career in Gaelic Football.
His role of honour includes 1 All Ireland U21 medal in 1982, 3 Ulster S.F.C in 1983, 1990 & 1992, 1 Ulster U21 FC in 1982, an All Star Award in 1992 and Donegal Player of the Year in 1988 & 1990. He also received 2 ESB All Ireland Championships with NW Boston and 2 New York Senior Football Championship with Donegal New York in 1986 & 1992.
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