Paul Carr made history with Donegal


A member of Brian McEniff's all-conquering squad when Donegal made their historic All-Ireland SFC breakthrough in 1992, Paul Carr was delighted to see the Tir Chonaill men strike for a second Sam Maguire Cup triumph two decades later. And he thoroughly enjoyed this year's fantastic run, which almost culminated in a third national success for the county.

Reflecting on the magnificent 3-14 to 0-17 semi-final dismantling of defending champions Dublin, the current St Eunan's club chairman notes: "I was quite hopeful going up to Croke Park to play Dublin. I had a feeling Jim McGuinness had something up his sleeve, so I wasn't surprised by the result."

Alas, Donegal's dream was subsequently shattered by Kerry in the final three weeks later. Unfortunately, the Ulster champions failed to find their A game on the day. "You would always be wary of Kerry They know how to win All-Irelands and you need to be very careful against them," says Paul, holder of two Ulster SFC medals, an All-Ireland U21 souvenir as full forward in 1982, a colleges All-Ireland with St Eunan's, two Sigersons with UCG and of course that senior All-Ireland in 1992.

For 20 years, the class of '92 were in an exclusive club – the only Donegal men with senior All-Irelands to their name. Paul says he was thrilled when that distinction was removed from him: "It's fantastic when you get to see a bit of success for your county," he enthuses. "You would always have been hoping that Donegal would win another All-Ireland. It has taken a number of years for us to get back to the top, but the 2012 victory was brilliant and this year, as well as the seniors, it was even better to see the minors reaching an All-Ireland final for the first time ever."

The Letterkenny man has derived tremendous satisfaction from the latter run. "There's a lot of great work being done at underage throughout the county and hopefully we will see the fruits of that in the next few years. Hopefully these lads can come through and sustain the senior team.

"This year we also won the McGuigan Cup, which is the Ulster U17 competition, so they have the makings of another good minor team again next year. They defeated Monaghan in the semi-final and Tyrone in the final of that competition, which is no mean feat, so they obviously have good players there and then there are five or six of this year's minors eligible again in 2015, so we should be strong again."

For Paul, the recent successes enjoyed by Donegal have reminded him of that historic summer of 1992 when the hills came alive as Anthony Molloy brought home Sam: "It brings it all back," he agrees. "Especially for the All-Ireland semi-final victory over Dublin, there were a lot of echoes of '92 and it was great to come through that game. It was just a pity they didn't manage to go on and win the final."

Paul Carr is in his third year as chairman of St Eunan's. As a player, he won a county SFC with the club in 1983 and a senior league title three years later. His intercounty career with Donegal ended in 1994 (16 years after it started!) and he went on to line out for neighbouring Sligo in 1996. He is coaching the St Eunan's minors this year and says he hopes to get a good run, although there are a lot of very strong minor sides in the county at present.

Paul was only 16 years old when he made his senior debut for Donegal in 1980 and this is one record that is unlikely to ever be trumped: "It's a nice badge," he admits. "It will probably last for another while as it is probably illegal now to field players that young at senior intercounty level."

Away from gaelic football, Paul Carr has been Managing Partner of S MacRory & Co accountancy practice for the past five years. Prior to that, he worked for a number of years in industry with Abbott Ireland in Sligo and Donegal Town as well as Boston Scientific in Letterkenny.

S MacRory is a general accountancy practice, specialising in accounts preparation, tax returns, auditing and business consultancy. With offices in Letterkenny and Donegal town, gainful employment is provided to a team of 19.

The former Donegal star is authorised by the Insolvency Service of Ireland to work as a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP). Recently, he established Market House Insolvency Services Ltd., to provide solutions to the many people who are currently facing debt issues.