Saturday, April 18, 1998, is a date etched vividly in the memory of one Michael Donnelly.
It was the day when Cliftonville Football Club wrote their own little chapter in the rich history of Irish League football - the day their 88-year title drought ended.
You couldn't have written the script, although the mathematics were simple. A Cliftonville win over Glentoran would mean the Gibson Cup would take up residence at Solitude.
Failing that, the Reds needed Coleraine to avoid defeat against Linfield at the Ballycastle Road Showgrounds. The only problem was the Reds were ordered to kick-off an hour early.
The champagne was put on ice when Harry McCourt scrambled Cliftonville into the lead, sparking scenes of mass jubilation in a ground that was packed to the rafters. However, the silence was deafening when Philip Mitchell equalised. The game duly finished level... and the wait began.
It wasn't until 4.50pm that the bubbly was finally uncorked courtesy of the final whistle sounding on Linfield's goalless draw on the north coast.
"It was mad," smiles Mickey, who, as skipper, was presented with the Gibson Cup by the late Jim Semple on a madcap afternoon.
"I've had a lot of birthdays since that day, but it will always remain vividly in my memory - it's still as fresh as anything.
"At the time, I didn't realise what we had achieved. I think Marty Quinn used about 15 players over the course of the campaign. Big James McDonagh was always on the substitutes bench and he was sweating on whether he would get a medal.
"There were no prima donnas in the squad - we were all in it together. We were winning games by the one goal. In fact, we got the name of 'Cliftonville one-nil'!
"The day itself was total mayhem. The fact that Linfield kicked off one hour behind didn't annoy us at all, although it would never happen in this day and age.
"I suppose it put us under more pressure and it was a disadvantage. The powers that be made the rules and we went along with it.
"As players, we knew what we had to do, but we failed to complete our part. It was then out of our hands for that hour. If Linfield had won at Coleraine, it would have been so different.
"It was an agonising hour. Solitude was packed and no one left. When word got out, even more people piled in - they didn't even see our game. There is some great video footage of what was going on inside the dressing room for that 60 minutes.
"Board members sent a lot of beer down, which probably wouldn't happen these days. The boys tried to remain calm, but it was impossible. There was live radio commentary from the Showgrounds echoing around Solitude.
"Then there was pandemonium when the whistle sounded at Coleraine. It had been 88 years since the club last had their hands on the League title. When I look back, I am so proud of what we did as a team - it was a great achievement."
There was also a romantic side to it for Mickey, who smiles: "I'd just met Collette, now my wife, a fortnight before the game and I brought her along. She must have thought we played in front of a crowd like that every week. That was her first game, so she brought me a little bit of luck."
Following weeks of celebrations, which included an open top bus ride round north and west Belfast, it was back to the business of pre-season. The pressure of being champions soon had an adverse effect.
"The big disappointment was we didn't follow up the title win," adds Mickey.
"We did start the following season well by beating Glentoran in the Charity Shield final, but things quickly went downhill. We were almost relegated at the end of that season, we had to face Ards in a play-off.
"I think some of the boys' heads swelled. Suddenly they were looking more money, driving a hard bargain on new contracts. Personally, the money side of it didn't come into it for me. I was more interested in the medal in my pocket.
"If they are honest with themselves, the players did get above themselves. There were no prima donnas in the lead up to the title win, but the dressing room was full of them after it.
"As club captain, some of the bonuses the boys were looking for, I couldn't even agree to. I was sent in to negotiate on their behalf. Jim Boyce was sick looking at me.
"When Marty (Quinn) left the following year, things began to unravel and it all deteriorated on and off the pitch."
In his 17 years at Solitude, the title win was undoubtedly the highlight, but Mickey also experienced heartache and controversy in the game's top knockout trophy - the Irish Cup.
"It's the only medal I haven't got," he states.
"I came close a few times. Probably the biggest disappointment was getting to the Final in 1999 against Portadown, but the game never took place.
"With no disrespect to the 1979 team (the last Cliftonville side to win the Irish Cup), I was fed up listening about it. I thought it was our time. When we beat Linfield in the semi-final, we had Chris Scannell and Simon Gribben on the bench.
"Although Simon hadn't played a lot of football for us, Quinner opted to bring him on. Sadly, he didn't inform the club he had played for a junior side earlier in the tournament.
"When Quinner telephoned me a few days later to say we were thrown out, I thought it was one of his wind-ups.
"I was away with one of the directors to get measured up for a Cup Final suit - I was the only player to get one - but Portadown were duly awarded the trophy."
Two years prior to that, the Reds also suffered defeat in the 1997 Final with Tony Grant bagging the only goal of the game to earn Glenavon the trophy.
Mickey admits: "I was partly to blame for that defeat.
"Marty didn't want the players meeting up the day before the game, but I suggested it would be good for morale. We stayed in the Wellington Park Hotel.
"It was a mistake because no one really slept well - you never do in strange bed. The warm-up before the game was 110 miles per hour, things were just not right. We played the occasion rather than the game."
Mickey also had a hidden secret to cope with.
He explains: "A letter was left for me at the hotel reception. I received a Mass card, with a message which read 'Donnelly, you play well tomorrow and there will be a bullet flying through your head'.
"I tried to keep it quiet, I never wanted the papers to hear about it. I didn't want the sectarian thing brought into football. Marty didn't want to make an issue of it either. I wasn't one of those players who needed to have an arm around me.
"It didn't affect me on the day, although it was probably my worst ever game for the club. A day or two later it hit me, but things happened back in those days. Nowadays it's on social media that threats take place."
When Mickey left the Reds, he moved across town to join Donegal Celtic so his late father, Joseph, finally got his wish of seeing his two sons play in the same team.
"My dad thought I should have stayed at Cliftonville, but he always wanted to see my brother Joe and I play in the same team - so he got his wish.
"Dad always gave me great support throughout my playing days, so when he passed away, close on four years ago, I took my League winner's medal out of its frame and placed it in his coffin.
"My wife knew how I cherished that medal - and I still do.
"Even though it's not among my personal belongings, I know it's somewhere safe and it's with someone who was proud of it.
"Probably my biggest regret was I didn't have dad there on day we won the title. I didn't really like him going to our games. When things are going well, you are the greatest, but when things turn sour, you are the worst in the world.
"My dad couldn't have handled it if he heard people giving me stick, so I kept him away for that reason.
"My brother Joe was a Steel & Sons Cup winner and his medal went into dad's coffin as well."