It’s a return to Gaelic Football for the latest instalment of ‘Forgotten Friday’. A few weeks ago we looked at Ray Cosgrove, a man who once had his name heavily chanted on Hill 16 and this week we look at a footballer in a similar mould, Mark Vaughan. Ironically, Vaughan came from the same club as Cosgrove, Kilmacud Crokes, and he was another man who made a name for himself as a Dublin footballer but ended up slipping away and having a rather short intercounty football career with the ‘boys in blue’ at the highest level.
Vaughan was a talented player in many sports as a young player. He had potential to play at the highest level in both rugby and soccer before deciding to opt for gaelic football and join the massive revolution that occurred in the 2000’s. He was a skilful player that played in the forward line for Dublin but he was ever associated with the teams that continuously failed to win All-Ireland titles. He won many Leinster titles but failed to secure a Celtic Cross. His bleached blonde hair made him very obvious to the public and he became a well-known personality in G.A.A.
One of Dublin’s biggest Achilles heels was there unavailability of a reliable free taker. To this day it hindered them so much that they had to bring their goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton up to take their frees. One of Vaughan’s biggest assets was his free taking and he kicked a monster score when introduced as a sub in one of his first games with Dublin. In his early days on the panel in 2005 and 2006, he was mainly used as a substitute. He would become a starter, but his days at the top level were low and he was forgotten very quickly.
One his biggest moments was the All-Ireland semi-final in 2006. Dublin had thrown away a big lead against Mayo and trailed by a single point when Dublin received a forty-five out on the right hand touchline. Vaughan stepped up and kicked it sweetly; it looked as if his effort was going to sail over the bar and earn Dublin a draw but it agonisingly dropped short and hit the crossbar. He got a second attempt a few minutes later. It was almost fifty-five yards out and his effort missed the target. It was more heart break for Dublin and for Vaughan who almost became a new hero of Hill 16.
Vaughan managed to earn a starting berth in 2007 and played a very big role for the Dubs. They played out another excellent series of games with Meath and Vaughan played an important part in earning a victory for Dublin after a replay. Dublin clinched another Leinster title and many people tipped Vaughan to be the extra ingredient that they needed to go the whole way and secure the elusive All-Ireland title. He was contributing from both frees and from play. Unfortunately for Vaughan and Dublin, they failed at the All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry as their heartbreak continued.
2008 proved to Vaughan’s last in a Dublin jersey. It was a poor year for both sides as Dublin failed again in the quarter-final when they were heavily beaten by Tyrone. His intercounty return never materialized despite winning an All-Ireland club title with Kilmacud Crokes. He completely went out of the public eye. He seemed like a player who could have been a star for Dublin. He had the style and the image to become a big marketing tool in the modern era of the game but he never made it to the top. He is a forgotten man of G.A.A and most outside of Dublin would struggle to tell you where he is now.
Sean Cremin, Pundit Arena.