DONEGAL GAA manager Jim McGuinness went back to college yesterday to thank tutors who helped him to complete his Leaving Cert – aged 25.
So many adult learners turned up to see the All-Ireland winner that his speech was broadcast on big screens outside.
Mr McGuinness was at an adult learners fair at the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny run by the Donegal VEC.
He had returned there when he was 23, completing his Leaving Cert before eventually finishing a master's in sports psychology in Liverpool.
"It was a nostalgic day, especially seeing the teachers from 1995," said the Glasgow Celtic sports consultant. "I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for education. I feel lucky to have been given a second chance."
Marian Gallagher, Aine McLaughlin and Jane O'Donnell taught Mr McGuinness at the VEC. Yesterday they spoke of their pride in his progression. "He was always coming in late with a big GAA bag and he was always leaving early but he really put the work in," laughed Jane.
Mr McGuinness left school when he was 15 having failed all but one Junior Cert exam. He said it was his mother who encouraged him to leave his work in the fishing boats in Killybegs and go back to school.