03 Oct 2022

All-Ireland winner explains why he played championship football last weekend... at 60!

Martin Shovlin

Martin Shovlin

At the ripe old age of 60, 1992 All-Ireland winner Martin Shovlin returned to action for Naomh Ultan in last Sunday’s clash against Naomh Brid in the Donegal Junior B Championship - out of necessity. 

A two-time Ulster SFC winner, Shovlin was part of the Donegal panels that won the All-Ireland under-21 title in 1982 and Sam Maguire in 1992. In 1990 he was named as Ulster GAA Writers' Player of the Year. He played championship football from 1988 to 1997.

He explains how it came about in Ballintra: “It was a case of need. I was watching the senior game with my brother Colm. We were just spectators and during the senior game the Junior B manager Dermot Brosnan came to us and said he had only 13 players and he was going to have to forfeit the game to Naomh Brid. That would've meant no football for 13 young fellas.

“We said we had no boots or gear. Liam Kennedy, who is 57, was also at the game and he received the same request from Dermot. So it ended up with myself and Liam agreed to play. We got the loan of boots and by the time it came to togging out a 14th player had arrived late.”

“It was decided only one of us would start the game. Dermot left it up to Liam and myself so we decided Liam is a little younger than me so he started and I came on as a sub for the last 15 to 20 minutes.

Naomh Bríd ran out winners on a 1-11 to 1-10 scoreline, with Shovlin playing the last quarter.

“I went to the middle of the field and I got through it. Unfortunately we lost by a point,” he added. “It was very much a case of necessity. I don’t know what happened. We had about 10 subs the previous Sunday. Hopefully they are back again this weekend and myself and Liam can return to watching from the terrace.”

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