25 Sept 2022

Dominic Mullin - the Kildare man who was part of GAA uprising in Killybegs

An avid and knowledgeable GAA supporter he regularly attends club games throughout the county especially at underage level and gets immense enjoyment from seeing his sons and grandchildren playing for Killybegs

Dominic Mullin - the Kildare man  who was part of GAA uprising in Killybegs

The St Enda's team of 1969

We are all aware of the Killybegs’ dominance of GAA in the late 1980s and throughout much of the 1990s, but in a week when Kildare come to Ballybofey to play Donegal in the Allianz National Football League, a Kildare man who came to Killybegs in the 1960s played a vital role in the GAA revival in the fishing town.

Dominic Mullin was born in the tiny village of Prosperous in the north of Kildare, very near to the Bog of Allen and also to Mondello race track.

After completing his leaving cert in 1963 at Prosperous secondary school he headed north to the fishing town of Killybegs after seeing a BIM programme on television showing the boats fishing herring out of the port town in Donegal.

Photo caption: St Enda's, 1969. Back, l to r, Dominic Mullin, Charlie Tully, Jack Furey, Columba Diver, Seamus McGee, Edward O'Donnell, Seamus Gillespie, Sean Brennan. Front, l to r, Patsy Gildea, Charlie O'Donnell, John Joe Doherty, Frankie Campbell, Dave Kelly, Kevin McDonald, Peter Oliver McNelis, John Boyle.

As a 16-year-old apprentice he began his fishing career on skipper Thomas Murrin’s boat “The Ard Carna” with his good friend Jackie Mulroy from Co. Louth.

He would remain a fisherman for another 35 years, finally retiring after spending 20 years fishing on Hughie Moore’s vessel the “Shaun Shaun” before taking a shore-based job for a number of years.

On coming to Killybegs Dominic enquired about football and hurling which at that time were only infrequently played in the area. Clubs used to join forces when the numbers were lacking and one of the first teams he played for was an Ardara/Killybegs/Dunkineely amalgamation called St. Enda’s.

Later another outsider, Des Houlihan, from Laois, was instrumental in setting up a GAA club in Killybegs where Dominic was a willing and active playing member in both hurling and football.

Along with Killybegs players Bill Walsh, Tom O’Keefe and Des Houlihan he was a part of the Donegal team that won the 1972 Ulster Junior Hurling Championship where he played alongside Eamon Farrell of Setanta and many of the great Burt players of the 1970s.

Dominic refereed three Donegal senior hurling finals in-a-row in the 1970s, the first of which was after no referee could be got to stand in the middle of what could be described as very robust and competitive local derby matches.

He won great praise from all sides for his sense of fair play and knowledge of the rules during these matches but despite being asked would not be able to give the required time to refereeing full-time as he was fishing at sea and had just started a young family with his wife, Killybegs girl Philippa Bray.

Playing for Killybegs, Dominic was also a key playing member of the club’s one and only appearance in a Co. hurling final in 1970 which they lost to Burt 3-12 to 2-5.

In football he played in the Killybegs team who lost by one point to Four Masters in the 1975 Junior Co. final before playing a starring centrefield role in the 1976 Junior League and Championship winning Killybegs team.

In latter years Jimmy White would often refer to this great team when trying to inspire many a Killybegs half-time dressing room. Dominic won an Intermediate championship medal beating Glenfin in 1979 and mainly due to the seasonal nature of the fishing at that time gradually eased back on his playing career. But he often threw the boots on for many a junior team until the mid 1980s before finally calling it a day.

John ‘Baker’ Boyle said Dominic was one of the greatest footballers he ever seen and played with and was especially known for his high fielding from centrefield and kicking scores from play. His drive and will to win were the basis of many a Killybegs victory or comeback and in an age where hard men played football, few ever came out on top against Dominic.

Dominic’s older brother Michael Mullin of Allenwood, who sadly passed away a few years ago, was a well renowned and skillful player for many Kildare hurling teams down through the years and was affectionately known as ‘Butcher Mullin’, more for his solid build than the nature of his play.

His nephew Johnny McDonald from Naas was also a Kildare player of note playing in many of the Kildare teams managed by the great Mick O’Dwyer.

Dominic himself formed many friendships with opponents especially those of the great St Joseph's teams and in particular Brian McEniff often states that only for the fishing career that Dominic had chosen, which kept him out at sea for much of the year, he would surely have been one of the finest players to ever wear a Donegal senior jersey if it had of been possible.

Dominic’s great friends Eamon Byrne and Des Houlihan sadly passed away before their time but he was a great admirer of Kilcar man Michael Carr as being a superbly skillful footballer.

An avid and knowledgeable GAA supporter he regularly attends club games throughout the county especially at underage level and gets immense enjoyment from seeing his sons and grandchildren playing for Killybegs.

He has been known on the odd occasion to give his very knowledgeable opinion on refereeing matters to many a referee after a puzzling performance with the whistle but nothing ever in bad taste.

He has travelled to many of the Donegal v Kildare league and qualifier clashes down through the years no matter where they would be held. Dominic journeyed to Croke Park with all the Kildare faithful to support them in the 1998 All-Ireland final loss to Galway and regularly checks the Kildare results in the paper long before the Donegal scores.

St Enda's GAA 1969

Ardara and Killybegs form St Enda’s
As the Ardara club decided to re-grade their players to Junior again for 1969, the officers of the club approached Killybegs with a view to combining forces to compete in the Senior League and Championship.

The matter was first discussed at a club meeting in March, with Packie Keeney stating that he had spoken to a few of the Killybegs club men about the issue. He stated that their only concern was that they would only be left with two or three players on the team.

It was agreed that a selection committee with equal representation from both Clubs would be appointed. On the issue of home venue, it was agreed that matches with St Patrick’s (Kilcar/Glencolmcille), would take place in Fintra, and that games against Glenties or Dungloe would be played in Sandfield. Gate money would be split evenly between both teams. The team proved to be a formidable outfit and had some good victories in the Senior League in section C, which included St Patricks, Glenties, Clanna Gael St Josephs and Dungloe.

St. Enda's had comfortable win
Dungloe 0-8, St Enda's 3-9
St. Enda’s had a comfortable win over Dungloe in their Senior Football League tie at Rosses Park, Dungloe. Scorers for Ardara were Patsy Gildea (1-05), Edward O’Donnell (1-00), D. Mullan (1-00), C. McGill (0-02), D. Kelly (0-01), Peter O. McNelis (0-01).

The teams under Referee, Mr. S. Rogers, Co. Councillor were:-
St. Enda’s: Charlie Keeney, Charlie O’Donnell, Columba Diver, Charlie Tully, John Gallagher, Packie Keeney, Jack Furey, Sean Brennan, Dominic Mullin, Patsy Gildea, Cathal McGill, Peter O. McNelis, Frankie Campbell, Edward O’Donnell and Dave Kelly.
Dungloe: N. McCole, J. Boyle, J. McElwee, C. Elliott, H. Sweeney, E. Bonner, M. Gallagher, D. Boyle, P. McHugh, J. O’Donnell, L. Reilly, P. McGinley, M. White, G. McElwee, P. J. O’Donnell.

The seasoned St Joseph’s side, however, qualified for the League semi-finals from the section, with St Enda’s finishing second. In the Senior Championship the team were paired with Dungloe, St Patrick’s and Glenties in an all-South West division. St Enda’s proved to be the strongest force in the section. They defeated Dungloe and Glenties before clinching the division with a narrow 2-3 to 1-5 victory over St Patrick’s on the 29th of June.

Enda’s through to County semi-final
St Enda’s 2-3, St Patricks 1-5
St Enda’s (Ardara/Killybegs) qualified for the Donegal Senior Football Championship semi-final with a thrilling 2-3 to 1-5 win over St Patrick’s at the Parish Park Cashel, Glencolmcille on Sunday.

St Enda’s had all their scores by midway through the first half, and St Patrick’s had the home supporters on their toes as they cut the deficit to a single point in the second half.

St Patrick’s were somewhat unlucky in failing to get the equaliser in a thrilling game. In the first quarter, although playing against the breeze, they had the edge on their opponents but threw away some good scoring chances

St Endas: Seamus McGee, John Boyle, Charlie Tully, John Joe Doherty, Dominic Mullin, Columba Diver, Kevin McDonald, Packie Keeney, Sean Brennan, Patsy Gildea, Peter O McNelis, Dave Kelly, Seamus Gillespie, Edward O’Donnell, Frankie Campbell.
St Patricks: Michael Gillespie, K. Gillespie, Francis Campbell, C. McShane, Ian Hegarty, Connie Hegarty, Donie Cronin, Francie Cunningham, J. Gillespie, Seamus Gallagher, J. Cunningham, Pat John McIntyre, M. Byrne, C. Gillespie, Paddy Beag Gillespie.

This qualified the team for the County semi-final where St Eunans provided the opposition. St Eunans came out winners on a 1-15 to 1-3 scoreline.

The St. Enda’s team which went down to St. Eunan’s lined out as follows - Seamus McGee, John J. Doherty, Packie Keeney, Charlie Tully, Dominic Mullin, Kevin McDonald, Columba Diver, John Gallagher, Des Houlihan, Peter O. McNelis, Cathal McGill, Dave Kelly, Patsy Gildea, Edward O’Donnell and Frankie Campbell. Subs were Jack Furey and Tom Diver.

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