Belfast Telegraph

Goodbye Mugsy and thanks for all those great memories

All over: Owen Mulligan has called time on colourful career
All over: Owen Mulligan has called time on colourful career
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

They say that in the wrong hands, social media is a dangerous tool.

No doubt, it can fuel narcissism and it has a responsibility in growing levels of anxiety, especially among teens.

But it also has a great capacity to invoke a flow of positivity from time to time.

Whenever one of the great poets, artists, musicians of our time passes away, you might have caught a snippet on the news, read about it in newspapers and, after a time, a specially commissioned programme might have captured their oeuvre.

Nowadays, the passing of an artist is met with a Supernova of their work exploding all over Twitter and what could be a finer thing than that? The same goes for the changing face of Gaelic games.

On Monday, in his own colourful way, Owen Mulligan announced his retirement from playing football by tweeting a rather artful picture of a pair of flashy Puma boots hanging by their tied laces around a key hook, in classic grayscale. Who would have thought he was such a fan of film noir?

Underneath it, the tweets in reply said so much about the esteem he is held in. Vinnie Murphy, from a different generation of Dublin player, was first out of the blocks to congratulate him.

Several opponents from his time playing. Team-mates.

One fan revealed that his family had named their tomcat 'Mugsy'. Can there be a higher compliment?

Matter of fact there is, with many crediting him as scoring the finest ever goal against Dublin, and then getting a round of applause from Hill 16 for it.

That was a way to bow out. There are few footballers that come along like Mulligan and still there is something sad about the way his county days ended, waiting for a call from Mickey Harte that never came.

Years ago, Down footballers who were seen as dispensable were sent a letter thanking them for their services rendered, but they were no longer required. It drove some mad as they found it callow.

But it's a damn sight better than nothing.

Thank God for the Internet, huh?

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