The parish of Doe has been playing Gaelic football for more than 60 years; the first club was formed in 1938. The club was re-formed in 1952 and the then curate Fr James Deeney in Cresslough was its first president. It took many years before they purchased their own pitch ‘Pairc Naomh Micheál’ in Dunfanaghy. The official opening in 1984 proved great excitement and entertaining with a friendly match between Donegal v Armagh.
In 1953 Cresslough were in the junior county final and were very unlucky to be beaten by a point against Pettigo. Minors and juveniles reached the county final in 1955. Both finals were played on the same day which was unfortunate for the juveniles as some of them were also on the minor team. The minors, who had the assistance of the Downings players, beat Erin’s Hope by 2-05 to 0-6 and thus Michael Mc Caffrey had the honour of taking the first county trophy to our area. The team included Sean and Pearse Ferriter, Micheál Gibbons, Danny Langan, Mick Mc Ginley (Dunfanaghy), Jack Gallagher, John Gallagher, Andy Hanlon, Antoin Mc Gettigan, Anton Mc Bride, Kevin Mc Fadden, Joe Quinn, Neal Gallagher, Hugo Mc Ginley, George Doherty, Francie Carr, Joe and John Doherty. The juveniles, who were a parish team, were looked upon as something special, but a physically stronger Ardara side beat them by 1-09 to 0-7. The team was Danny Mc Fadden, Tom Mc Ginley, Hugo Mc Ginley, Bill Carr, Brian Mc Ginley, John Gallagher, John Boyle, Francie Carr, Micheál Mc Clafferty, Maurice Mc Gee, Mick Mc Ginley, John Doherty, Joe Doherty, Joseph Brennan, Willie and Rodger Doohan, Neil Mc Ginley and Neil Mc Teague. The experts predicted a bright future, especially for the two smallest lads – but for Joseph Brennan the emigrant ship was already waiting, while for Wee Brian Mc Ginley there was a quarter of a century of football still to come.
The departure of Garda Mc Neela was a cruel blow to the association as his contribution was immense. Chairman Columba O Donnell also left the area while the youthful secretary Noel Mc Ginley dropped out to plan his political career. Gus Gibbons did a stint as chairman but from now until the end of 1975 the bulk of the officers were to come from the Dunfanaghy side.
Mickey Mc Fadden, Sergeant Ferriter and Hughie Dunlop proved to be able administrators; Brian Mc Ginley took a hand in the running of club affairs from an early age, while Eamonn O Canainn was still going strong.
An incident took place in the early 60’s which is referred to as “the day Mickey dyed the jerseys”. A well wisher presented a set of new jerseys to the club, but as they were green Gweedore would have a word to say. At a club meeting on Friday night the problem was discussed and the chairman stated that come Sunday he would have everything in order. He took the jerseys home, put them in a pot and dyed them dark green. Mickey Ferry was the first player to remove his sweat-soaked jersey after Sunday’s game and the effect was hilarious. As each player in turn followed suit, we saw a collection of muscular bodies all painted dark green.
Two junior finals were contested in successive years but St Michaels went under to Castlefin in 1961 and to St Nauls a year later. Brian Mc Ginley and Mick Mc Colgan had now arrived and both were to have long innings. Careful attention was given to the underage players in the mid sixties and by the time the under 16s hit the road in 1967 we knew that we were on to a winner. The side bristled with talent: Kevin Dunlop (Capt.) Seamus Cannon, Joe Hunter, Connie Doherty, Danny Lafferty, Hugo Devine, Morgan Ferriter, Henry Shannon, Brian Mc Hugh, Josie Langan, PJ Mc Fadden, Charlie Mc Fadden, Danny and Charlie Mc Laughlin, Leslie and John Sterritt, Manus Greer, Patrick Mc Fadden, Francie Brennan, Liam Ferry, Tommy Doherty, Patsy Devine and Eamon Hunter. They didn’t stop until the county title was won. On final day in Dungloe the scoreline was St Michaels 2-4 Glencolumcille 0-2. Two years on these same lads were beaten by Ardara/Glenties in the minor final. The junior team reached the county final in 1969 also; they came again in 1971 and the semi final stage was reached several times in the next ten years. Although the junior Gaeltacht was won in 1980 it looked like a major county title was going to elude us.
Then in 1983 the tide turned and amid scores of uncontrolled jubilation the junior championship cup made its first journey down the Doe road. The side which beat Milford by 1-15 to 0-7 in the final was trained by Andy Hanlon and lined out as follows: Tony Wilkinson, Daniel Devine, Mick Mc Colgan, Hugh Brogan, Liam Ferry, Tommy Doherty, John Mc Ginley, Colm MC Fadden, PJ Mc Fadden Capt, Maurice Coyle, Seamus Friel, Patrick Mc Ginley, Anthony Gallagher, Patcy Mc Gee, and Tommy Mc Ginley. Sub Tan Kaperski.
They again won the junior championship in 1992 and took us until the year 2000 to reach the first intermediate semi final being defeated by near neighbors Termon after a replay.
In 2003, which will go down as one of the most memorable years in the clubs history, with the Senior team winning the Intermediate championship and securing promotion to Division 1, going through the season with a 100% record.
Following on from this, they built on their success with a magnificent run in the All Ireland Intermediate Championship, winning the Ulster Championship and going on to play in the All Ireland Intermediate final, unfortunately beaten by Cork’s Illen Rovers on the day.
However in intervening years massive effort was being put in at under age level winning a host of trophies and won the division 1B league in 2008 after a few play offs for the two years before that.
Then in 2015, we won the Division 1 League title bringing the Democrat cup back to the bridge for the first time ever.
Perhaps, one of the proudest days for the club was Sunday the 23rd of September 2012, where St Michaels had six players on the Donegal team that defeated Mayo 2-12 to 0-13 in the Senior Football All Ireland Final and brought the Sam Maguire Cup back to Donegal for only the 2nd time ever.