Saturday 21 October 2017

Comeback kings: the forgotten men who made a difference

Jimmy Keaveney (Dublin): Retired from the Dublin team in 1972, but two years later, aged 29, returned to training and was a key factor in Dublin winning three All-Irelands from six successive final appearances in possibly the most glittering comeback in GAA folklore.



Martin Furlong & Seamus Darby (Offaly)

Both came out of retirement past the age of 30 with great results. Furlong won Footballer of the Year after their 1982 All-Ireland win over Kerry, while Darby claimed the famous winning goal after being out for almost six years.

Darren Fay (Meath)

He quit after the 2005 season, came back in 2007, got to an All-Ireland semi-final and was chosen on the GPA team of the year.

Joe Cooney (Galway)

One of hurling's classiest players, Cooney was brought back to the Galway set-up by Mattie Murphy in 1999 and starred against Clare in the All-Ireland quarter-final draw and replay (pictured above). He also featured for his county in the 2000 campaign.

Mick O'Dwyer (Kerry)

O'Dwyer quit the game in 1964 after breaking both legs before coming back and playing on until 1974 when he was 38 years of age and had a lot more medals in his collection. His last game for the Kingdom was against Sligo in May 1974.

Frank McGuigan (Tyrone)

He spent six years in America before coming back to Tyrone and delivering the performance of a lifetime in the 1984 Ulster final. His career was again cut short after a car accident.

Johnny Flaherty (Offaly)

He spent five years in the US before he getting back involved with the county hurlers and winning the 1981 Leinster and All-Ireland titles. It was his goal that sealed the final win against Galway.

Damien Delaney & Hughie Emerson (Laois)

The forgotten duo returned for Mick O'Dwyer in 2003 and both won Leinster medals.

-- Damian Lawlor

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