September 25, 2012
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Donegal GAA legend Martin McHugh has revealed the heartache behind ‘that’ emotional moment with son Mark after the final whistle of Sunday’s All-Ireland final.

Pictures of the Kilcar father and son hugging and crying with eachother have gone around the globe.

Now Martin has revealed the reasons behind the magical moment.

He says the loss of his father Jim and his mother Kathleen’s Alzheimer’s condition all got too much for him.

“On a personal level, we’ve all taken hard blows.

“My father Jim died last October, and he was thrilled to see Mark win an Ulster title last year. He would have been overjoyed to watch him lift Sam Maguire.

“My mother Kathleen has had Alzheimer’s for around 12 years now,” he said.

The 1992 All-Ireland winner revealed how he and Mark headed to father Jim’s grave before his son travelled to Dublin for the clash with Mayo at Croke Park.

“We said a few prayers and we shed a few tears. Then we called to see my mum.

“All of that came together when I spotted Mark after the game. All of those emotions came to the boil.

“I have had people telling me they were moved by it, and that it was a great television moment.

“But the reality is that it was a private moment played out in public.

“For a moment, we forgot that the television cameras and the photographers were there. It was about family and blood, something that the GAA is all about,” he said.




  1. For me this was a beautiful moment for Mark and Martin which brought me to tears and I will never forget it !

  2. Martin shedding tears like that in Croke Park on such a wonderful occasion with your son who followed in your footsteps is nothing to be ashamed or hurt about. Everyone is entitled to their moments and no doubt your late father was looking down on both you and Mark. I was in the Hogan Stand and I must agree it was a very emotional moment which I never will forget and to be honest I did shed a tear too.

    1. Martin and Mark you’ve done us proud,a private moment but nice to see. Now we know I’am sure all GAA fans will say a wee prayer for you.Enjoy this time with your family and friends.

  3. Good on you both, moments like that are special and to hear the story behind it makes it an iconic image of sport, community and family all rolled into one uniquley Irish experience.

  4. That moment there sumed up the emotions that was going through the whole of Donegal.. Did it bring a tear to my eye, yes… You can’t make raw emotions like that up… TV Moment of the year.. Well done Mark..

  5. Great moment and a credit to you both. Society needs alot more moments of men sharing their emotions in public, then maybe teenagers and young men will talk more openly of their feelings.I was delighted when I seen these images and I know they were private moments but they are what society needs.

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