Sport Gaelic Football

Sunday 17 December 2017

Where are they now?

Micheal Magill (Former Down footballer)

Down's 1994 All-Ireland triumph gave Micheal Magill more than a medal, an All Star and memories to last a lifetime. It brought him an enduring friendship with an opponent commemorated in his son's name. Magill was right corner-back that September Sunday and marked Dublin legend Charlie Redmond.

"After the match my now wife and I decided that if we had children we would name our first boy after Charlie Redmond. Charlie and I got very friendly with each other and he attended charity events that we organised and stayed in our house."

Magill made his senior debut for Down on October 18, 1992 against Meath in a National League game remembered for Colm Brady's comeback from a cruciate ligament injury. Five years later, a similar fate befell Magill when he missed a year with a torn cruciate. He came back to captain the county to another Ulster final but the arrival of the Paddy O'Rourke era in 2003 saw Magill and several senior players ushered out.

The friendships he made during his playing days and the people football brought him into contact with have helped in his professional life. Magill is a director of the family business Michael Magill Entertainments. "We specialise in live band entertainment, we organise bands for Mediterranean cruises, theatre tours in Northern Ireland for the bigger acts and entertainment for up to 500 weddings a year."

He and his wife Nuala have five children. He coaches the Burren under 12 football team that have won the Down league for the past two years. His sons Charlie and Danny are part of the team and his youngest son Harry plays on the under 10 side. His eldest daughter Molly is on the under 12 girls team.

"Both sides of the family are steeped in the GAA and its history. As one of my uncles said, 'It's not Sunday if you are not eating sandwiches out of the boot of the car'. We live for that."

Parallels with that championship-winning campaign provide omens for a successful summer for Down, but they are tinged with tragedy. "Down played Monaghan in Armagh in the semi-final of the Ulster championship but it was the day after the Loughinisland massacre. It was very difficult simply because Gary Mason was from Loughinisland and we didn't know if there were members of Gary's family involved. We spoke about it that morning and we had the feeling that it put football into perspective but the fixture had to be fulfilled."

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