|Event||1992 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship|
|Date||20 September 1992|
|Venue||Croke Park, Dublin|
|Man of the Match||Manus Boyle|
|Referee||Tommy Sugrue (Kerry)|
The 1992 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final was the 105th All-Ireland Final and the deciding match of the 1992 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, an inter-county Gaelic football tournament for the top teams in Ireland.
The shock result was hailed as one of the most unbelievable seen in Championship football at that time; Dublin entered the game as heavy favourites to take the Sam Maguire Cup over the River Liffey. Wild scenes were reported throughout the country for many months afterwards.
Donegal's triumph over the citizens inspired many other counties with little success at that time, including Derry, Armagh and Tyrone, to believe they could achieve the All-Ireland — these three counties achieved their dream in the next eleven years. Donegal's march to the title was still regarded nationally as an "almost mystical expedition", all those years later, until the arrival of the yet more enigmatic and impressive Jim McGuinness, who surpassed even this achievement.
Brian McEniff was the man in charge of Donegal that day, with a backroom team that included Michael Lafferty, Seamus Bonner, Anthony Harkin, Naul McCole, team doctor Austin O'Kennedy, "man in the stand" Pauric McShea, and "man in Dublin" Sean Ferriter. The match was shown live on Network Two by RTÉ Sport with match commentary provided by Ger Canning and analysis by Colm O'Rourke.
In 2018, Martin Breheny listed this as the seventh greatest All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, placing it ahead of 1978, 1966 and the 1988 replay in his top ten finals and behind only 1998 in that decade.
Route to the final
Ahead of the final, Donegal made two changes to their starting line-up that defeated Mayo in the semi-final. Martin Shovlin and Tommy Ryan dropped to the bench. Manus Boyle and John Joe Doherty, who had not started the semi-final, came in from the start. Boyle had featured as a substitute against Mayo; Doherty did not. Neither Shovlin nor Ryan played in the final.
With Donegal playing into the Hill 16 end in the first half, Martin McHugh missed an early free kicking to the right before Charlie Redmond opened the scoring for Dublin in the third minute from a free. Dublin scored another point before Martin McHugh hit the post, with the rebound being put over the bar by James McHugh for Donegal's opening score. After eight minutes Dessie Farrell was pushed when running in on goal, the resulting penalty taken by Charlie Redmond was kicked high and wide to the right. At half time Donegal had a 0–10 to 0–7 lead.
In the second half Manus Boyle kicked over his sixth point of the match from a free to give Donegal a 0–13 to 0–8 point lead. Declan Bonner kicked left footed his fourth point and Donegal's final point to leave the final score at 0–18 to 0–14.
This was the first time since 1971 that a team won their maiden All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. However, this surpassed even that, as Offaly — also unfancied — had appeared in the 1961 and 1969 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Finals.
Fans burst onto the pitch - among them future Irish international soccer goalkeeper Shay Given and future Donegal players such as Paul Durcan. GAA President Peter Quinn presented the Sam Maguire Cup from the Hogan Stand to Donegal captain Anthony Molloy in front of the Donegal fans that filled the Croke Park pitch. He famously exclaimed "Sam's for the hills" as he did so.
The winning team boarded the train westwards, trundling through the midlands towards the wilderness of Sligo, intent on embarking from there by coach bound for Donegal Town. However, crowds gathered at train-stops in Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, Longford, Leitrim and Sligo to gawk in awe at the team that had put Dublin to the sword. 9,000 people were waiting in Sligo alone. It was many hours behind schedule when the team arrived in their home county.
The sides have met in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship since then. The first meeting was 10 years later in 2002 with Dublin requiring a replay to beat Donegal in the quarter-final. They met again in the 2011 semi-final, where Dublin narrowly beat Donegal in a controversial game. Donegal then defeated reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin in the 2014 semi-final in one of the biggest shocks the sport had ever witnessed.
- "Manus Boyle Profile". Hogan Stand. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- "Class of '92 to be honoured". Hogan Stand. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- "Back to the future for Donegal and Dublin: The Ulster champions face Pat Gilroy's side at HQ this weekend for a place in the final with Kerry". The Score. 26 August 2011. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- Crowe, Dermot (2 August 2009). "Faith healer Doherty revives Donegal belief". Sunday Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 2 August 2009.
- "Donegal's backroom team in 1992". Donegal Democrat. 11 August 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- Breheny, Martin. "Martin Breheny's Greatest All-Ireland Finals". Irish Independent. 1 September 2018, p. 11.
- "Donegal's four previous Championship meetings with Mayo: August 16, 1992 - Croke Park". Donegal News. 2 August 2019. p. 65.
- High Ball magazine, issue #6, 1998.
- "Inside Back: Where are they now? and Have Your Say". Sunday Independent. Independent News & Media. 31 August 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- Breheny, Martin (31 August 2019). "'My 100th All-Ireland final - tales from the great occasions': From being nearly drowned on Hill 16 in 1971 to covering what could be a historic final, Martin Breheny reflects on the drama of it all". Irish Independent.
- Dervan, Cathal (23 September 2012). "Shay: I'd trade it all for Croker medal: I'd swap it all for All-Ireland medal". The Sun. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
“I was in the Canal End when we won in 1992 and ended up invading the pitch with the Donegal fans after we beat Dublin. That was one of the best days of my life. A Donegal victory again today would be right up there with that and whilst I'd love to be out there on the pitch, I'll do my best to be Donegal's number one fan now.”
- "Ten Questions with Paul Durcan". GAA.ie. 20 August 2012. Archived from the original on 14 September 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- "The heroes of '92 - Where are they now?". Donegal Democrat. Johnston Press. 8 January 2009. Archived from the original on 18 December 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2009.
- "Heroes of '92 allowed Donegal to remove psychological barrier". Sunday Independent. Independent News & Media. 9 October 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- "Donegal annihilate Cork in All-Ireland Football semi-final". BBC Sport. BBC. 26 August 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2012.