DESSIE Farrell has spoken of his ‘soul place’ in south-west Donegal.
Farrell, Dublin’s All-Ireland winning manager, has close family connections in Donegal.
The summers of his youth were spent in Crove, the someplace of his mother, Ann.
The townland is claimed by Kilcar, but its residents have generally leaned towards Naomh Columba.
For Farrell, Crove was a home from home.
“It was a special time in my life, for sure,” he said.
“I have very fond memories. I’d often go up on my own, mam and dad would pack me off on the CIE bus as a youngster.
“We always managed to while the hours away in the best possible way, once the day’s work was done in the bog or tending to the sheep or the hay, or whatever it may be.
“It was just years of bliss. A lot of outdoor life, which was great and there was loads of football on top of that.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, it shaped me as a human being and had an influence on me in later life as well. It’s my soul place, that’s what I call it.”
Farrell was speaking with Ciaran Cannon in a wide-ranging interview on the Ciaran’s Cast podcast.
While in Crove, Farrell would hear tales of the fierce burning rivalries in the south-west with Glen, Kilcar, Ardara and Killybegs regularly meeting in blockbusters.
Farrell said: “It was pretty much the power-base within the county. I witnessed some amazing contests in Towney or in Glen itself.
“The games were brilliant. I have hugely fond memories of that. The anticipation of some of those big games. They’d be spoken about all week.
“In that pocket — south-west Donegal — there were some tremendous footballers and great teams at the time.”
In his debut season with Dublin in 1992, Na Fianna clubman Farrell played against Donegal in the All-Ireland final and was marked by Noel Hegarty.
It was a quirk of fate as Farrell had spent some time training alongside Hegarty and John Joe Doherty in Glen.
He said: “I was very familiar with them and it was ironic then, that in my first season, I played against them in an All-Ireland final. You couldn’t make it up.
“It was unique to end up marking Noel in the All-Ireland final, only two or three summers after marking each other in Glen training sessions.”
Listen to the full Ciaran’s Cast interview with Dessie Farrell here:Tags: