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Nishy Taggart

Nishy Taggart opens the interview by recalling the fortunes of his club, Derrylaughan, in the 1960s, in particular their losses in three consecutive county finals in Tyrone. The interview covers Taggart’s family background and his introduction to Gaelic football in primary school and paucity of organised sport at underage level. He made his debut on the club senior team aged 16 and continued to play until he was in his mid 30s in 1986. The highlight of playing career came near the end – in 1981 - when the club won only its second Tyrone championship. That victory, he notes, occurred against the backdrop of the Hunger Strikes. Taggart recalls the impact of the Troubles at that time and the experience of harassment that GAA players, himself included, endured. He reflects on the intensity of inter-club rivalries and the players he played against, among them Frank McGuigan. On ending his playing career, Taggart coached underage teams and refereed games across the county, quitting the role to take up another one as Secretary of his club. Taggart discusses his own children’s relationship with the GAA, as well as the highs and lows of his experience. In addition, he reflects on a lifetime support Tyrone team and the big game defeats that preceded the historic All-Ireland success of 2003. The GAA, Taggart confesses at the end, has been a ‘second religion’ to him.

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