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16 October 2014
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Mike Boyle

I am from Drummuck near Maghera. I attended Trench Belfast in the mid-1960s and Seamus Heaney was one of my teachers. I am now working on a new play about N.Ireland in 1956. Would you believe it that as a "nipper" I was a Christmas Rhymer in South Derry and that then a few years later I took part in the famous mummering tradition of Newfoundland?

The Golden Goal by Mike Boyle

If you draw a diagonal line on a map of Ireland between Belfast and Derry then at the mid point you will be at the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains and close to the ancient parish of Termoneeney .Today it is called Lavey from the Irish leamhan as there are many elm groves in the area
.A blizzard last March resulted in many cars and lorries being stranded on the Glenshane Pass and many weary travelers from all over Ireland took refuge in the brand new Lavey  G.A.A Club pavilion  in Gulladuff. The local Erin’s Own Club won the All Ireland Club championship in 1991 and many members of this club have lined out for Derry county teams.
In 2009 I returned home from Newfoundland for the opening of these facilities. Afterwards in a crowded hall many people having tea and sandwiches and my brother Harry and I had a chat with a local legend in the form of Ballymacpeake’s “wee’ Tommy Doherty who played in Derry’s first All Ireland appearance at Croke Park in 1958 against Dublin. Growing up in South Derry everybody could recite player by player the complete team line out of the 1958 team and this mantra sounded like a prayer.
“In goals Patsy Gormley and right fullback Patsy Mac Larnon full back Hugh Francis  Gribben ,Tommy Doherty at left fullback  and……….on to  left full forward Chuck Higgins.”
Interestingly enough Michael O’Hehir was in an indirect way responsible for the nickname “Wee “Tommy to distinguish him from his cousin “Long” Tommy Doherty  who also played for Lavey and Derry county. O’Hehir first used the term in a radio commentary in a game between Derry and Cavan and in this game Derry played against Cavan legends Mick Higgins, Victor Sherlock and the Gunner Brady.
Back in the Lavey clubrooms my brother and I wanted to rewrite history and get the inside story from the swarthy and weather beaten wee Tommy .We felt that Derry was robbed by “the Dubs” and we wanted to talk about Dublin players like Kevin Heffernan,
Snitchy Ferguson and the Yank Murphy.
 Tommy was too humble to dwell on his own moment of fame and he smiled. ”Harry let me tell you about when your Mickey Boyle from Drummuck played for Lavey”.
I cringed for a second because I had only played a couple of games for the senior team. But then I knew the story Tommy had in store for us.
.I played minors for Lavey and then I joined a nearby junior team Tirgarvil and everyone in county Derry remembers my transfer headline in “The Mid Ulster Observer”
 ‘Boyle transferred to Tirgarvil and Lavey don’t mind.’
This new junior team Sean Mc Dermot’s was in the middle of the unionist village of Upperlands however that did not hinder the club having the Offaly tricolored jerseys as the team uniform. But as a result of emigration this club folded and I came back to Lavey.
 I relaxed as Tommy grabbed Harry’s hand and pointed to me.
“Harry, I remembers it well. It was the 1968 Derry championship against Slaughtneil on their auld pitch by the road I was manager of  the team that day”
Then instant replay kicked in for me.
I sat on the bench for three quarters of the game listening to a few cat calls like “Lavey Donkeys” and I never expected to get a run out as it was a very close game. But with five minutes to go our full forward Willie O’Neill broke a leg and as I watched him being carried off “wee” Tommy pointed to the field of play. .”Mickey. You’re on in Wee Willie’s spot.”
I felt and I knew could out run anyone in the field but I have a little handicap in playing
contact sports because that I can’t see the ball very well as I wear glasses.
At the upper end of the pitch near the Slaughneil goal mouth a high lobbing ball broke loose and bounced in front of me and I just swung my right leg on the volley and the ball rattled the top left hand corner of the net .Goal- our crowd roared.
 I still don’t know if we won the game.
Tommy beamed to me,” After all these years I remember that goal”
My brother Harry and I are still laughing at my five seconds of fame.
 I never scored another goal in my life but I was amazed at Ballymacpeake’s Tommy Doherty talking more about that goal than his 1958 All Ireland final game against Dublin.

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