Carney left Donegal in 1979, after winning two Ulster titles, to team up with Mayo and found playing against his native county to be a surreal experience.
“It was something I was very conscious of. I found it very strange playing against Donegal, found it difficult to adjust to it,” he said in an interview today.
“I had been in Mayo for five years before I joined them, but Donegal was still the team whose result I would look out for and suddenly I was playing against them.
“There was a lot of travel involved, but the commitment required then wasn’t anything like what is expected now.
“Things were changing in Donegal too. The side I had come through with was just starting to break up and I saw my future, workwise and everything else, in Mayo.”
Carney did have links to Mayo. His uncle Jackie was part of the 1936 All-Ireland-winning side and he later managed the side during their back-to-back 1950-51 successes.
“I wasn’t an absolute stranger to Mayo by any stretch. I was well versed in their history and tradition, but it was still strange,” admitted Carney.
“I remember playing against Donegal in a league match in my home town of Ballyshannon in 1985, that was a particularly tough, hard-hitting match.”
By the time Donegal had their finest hour in 1992, Carney had long been ensconced in Mayo.
He went to that year’s forgettable All-Ireland semi-final between the two sides and, in his own words, “kept the head down”.
When Carney played for Donegal for the last time, he was operating in midfield alongside a gangly school kid called Packie Bonner who would shortly become Jock Stein’s last signing for Celtic.