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REVEALED: The Donegal Sporting Mount Rushmore

Donegal was always going to provide us with a contentious Mount Rushmore debate, and this morning...

REVEALED: The Donegal Sporting...

REVEALED: The Donegal Sporting Mount Rushmore

Donegal was always going to provide us with a contentious Mount Rushmore debate, and this morning the four heads were carved into granite.

Our own Enda Coll and Kieran Cunningham, Chief Sports Writer with the Irish Daily Star, joined Adrian and Eoin on OTB AM to make their picks.

There was, as expected, plenty of focus on GAA and soccer (goalkeepers in particular with the latter), but ultimately we had four sporting icons settled on.

Here are the final Donegal sporting Mount Rushmore selections, which will be carved into Glen Head in Glencolmcille:

GAELIC FOOTBALL - Michael Murphy

There were no arguments over the first choice on the Donegal Mount Rushmore, and Enda argued that Murphy will go down in his county's folklore for what he has achieved so far.

"Donegal is a GAA first county, so Michael Murphy is definitely number one on that list. We saw Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard make the list for other counties so far, Michael Murphy will be Donegal's Christy Ring or Nicky Rackard.

"In 100 years' time, people will talk about the mystique of Michael Murphy and how good he was. When Michael Murphy first started for Donegal, they had five Ulster titles and one All-Ireland. He's still playing, they now have ten Ulster titles and two All-Ireland's.

"He is an absolute mountain of a man."

23 September 2012; Donegal captain Michael Murphy lifts the Sam Maguire Cup. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Donegal v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE


SOCCER - Shay Given

The Lifford man earned 134 caps for his country, keeping 52 clean sheets among them, and Enda said there was no question he should be in the final four.

"He definitely deserves to be here, he played at an unbelievably high standard. He played at a couple of major tournaments for Ireland, he had a brilliant impact and won multiple individual honours with Newcastle.

"He's held in very high esteem in Donegal, I think he's an automatic selection. He's probably played at the highest standard of any Donegal sportsperson relatively speaking."

18 February 2004; Shay Given, Republic of Ireland. International Friendly, Republic of Ireland v Brazil, Lansdowne Road. Dublin. Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE *EDI*


SOCCER - Packie Bonner

We had been focusing a lot in the build-up on the Shay Given versus Packie Bonner debate, and in the end both made the cut. Kieran Cunningham made the point that Bonner's place should never have been in question.

"It's amazing the amount of debate on it, and I think it depends on your generation. You have to look at the character of the county.

"For a rural county, soccer has a really strong tradition in Donegal and it goes back to patterns of migration to Scotland. Generally Donegal people have looked to Glasgow rather than to Dublin or Belfast.

"He played over 600 times for Celtic, he is seen as a Celtic icon. For that reason alone, if he hadn't done anything for Ireland, he would be revered in Donegal.

"Then when you look at Ireland, it's not just about Genoa. The three most significant games Ireland ever played in international football were England in 1988, Romania in 1990, and Italy in 1994.

"[Packie] was the goalkeeper in all three, he kept clean sheets in all three, he got a Man-of-the-Match award against England, Ireland's first-ever game at an international tournament.

"He saved a penalty in Genoa and he kept out Italy with Baggio, a team that went to the World Cup final in 1994.

"Of course he made mistakes, he had mistake against Holland when Ireland were knocked out in 1994... but Shay Given made mistakes as well."

25 June 1990; Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Packie Bonner saves the penalty of Daniel Timofte of Romania during the penalty shoot-out of the FIFA World Cup 1990 Round of 16 match between Republic of Ireland and Romania at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa, Italy. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile


ATHLETICS - Sinéad Lynch

In the end Jim McGuinness was edged out of the final four, with Kieran choosing Sinéad Lynch to replace him.

"There's only one world champion in Donegal, I'm open to correction on that - Sinéad Jennings (Sinéad Lynch as she goes by now) in rowing.

"Her career wasn't just about rowing - she represented Ireland in triathlon, in cycling, and she came very close to going to the 2012 Olympics in track cycling. She was very unlucky in that she won her world title in rowing in 2001, but it wasn't an Olympic-class boat.

"She got a rowing partner in 2016 in Claire Lambe and they ended up going to the Olympics. They finished sixth at the Olympics, and Sinéad at the time was a couple months short of her 40th birthday, she had three kids, and she's a GP.

"To do that at that age and after all she'd gone through was incredible. Better still, she came home from the Olympics, the following weekend the Donegal half-marathon championships were on, a road race. She won it.

"World champions in any sport have to be respected, to me she has to be on there."

12 August 2016; Sinead Lynch, right, and Claire Lamb of Ireland react after finishing the Women's Lightweight Double Sculls A final in Lagoa Stadium, Copacabana, during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile


Some big names missing out there - Enda did fervently put forward 2012 All-Ireland winning manager Jim McGuinness, to no avail in the end.

The 1992 boss Brian McEniff also came close, with the likes of Karl Lacey, boxing world silver medalist Jason Quigley, international rugby star Nora Stapleton, athlete Mark English, footballer Geraldine McLaughlin, and late rally driver Manus Kelly among the others in the discussion.

Who would your top four have been? Let us know in the comments! 

Here is Nathan Murphy's selection of Mayo's Mount Rushmore from Episode One!

Here is Colm Boohig's selection of Cork's Mount Rushmore from Episode Two!

Here is Will O'Callaghan and Paul Rouse's selection of Offaly's Mount Rushmore from Episode Three!

Here is Shane Hannon and Gráinne McElwain's selection of Monaghan's Mount Rushmore from Episode Four!

Here is Diarmuid Lyng and Liam Griffin's selection of Wexford's Mount Rushmore from Episode Five!

Here is Neil Treacy and Jack Anderson's selection of Limerick's Mount Rushmore from Episode Six!

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Read more about

Adrian Barry Donegal Donegal GAA Enda Coll Eoin Sheahan GAA Goalkeeper Jim McGuinness Karl Lacey Kieran Cunningham Michael Murphy Mount Rushmore Packie Bonner Shay Given Sinéad Jennings