Neil O'Donoghue

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Neil O'Donoghue
Date of birth: (1953-06-18) June 18, 1953 (age 61)
Place of birth: Dublin, Ireland
Career information
Position(s): Placekicker
College: Auburn
NFL Draft: 1977 / Round: 5 / Pick 127
As player:
Buffalo Bills
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
St. Louis Cardinals
Career stats
Playing stats at
Neil O'Donoghue
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971-1972 Shamrock Rovers 12 (3)
? Drumcondra F.C. ? (?)
1978 Shelbourne F.C. ? (?)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Cornelis Joseph Connor Dennis "Neil" O'Donoghue (born June 18, 1953) is a former American football placekicker in the National Football League (from 1977-1985).

Growing up in Clondalkin, sporting achievement was in his genes as his father Michael played for the Ireland national field hockey team. Con had short spells with Shamrock Rovers F.C. and Drumcondra F.C..


Playing for Round Towers GAA (Clondalkin) he was described as one of the best Juvenile players Towers produced, he played U13 Football at eight years old and won an U13 League Final against St Pats Palmerstown in 1965.

Association football[edit]

Con made his League of Ireland debut for Shamrock Rovers as a replacement for Damien Richardson at Sligo Rovers on the 17 October 1971. In his second League game he scored his first goal at Glenmalure Park against Limerick on the 31st October. He made a total of 16 appearances including 2 each in the Texaco Cup and the FAI Cup scoring 3 goals.[1][2]

In February 1978 he returned home at the end of the American Football season to play for Shelbourne F.C..[3]

United States[edit]

Neil first came to the United States to play soccer for Saint Bernard College – the first soccer scholarship to the States given to an Irish person. When the school’s soccer programme closed he transferred to Auburn University and became the teams starting place American Football kicker. In 1976 he received All-American honours with Auburn going 3-8 for the season.

In 1977 O’Donoghue was a 5th round pick for the Buffalo Bills only to be cut after 5 games, scoring 2 from 6 attempts. One of his team mates was OJ Simpson. After lengthy immigration problems, O’Donoghue was picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1978. The Bucs had only joined the league in 1976 and had a disastrous 2-26 record in their first two years. O’Donoghue played for two years with the Buccs helping them to a 15-17 record with 55/64 PATs and 24/43 field goals.

In 1980 he replaced former University of Arkansas All American kicker Steve Little for the St. Louis Cardinals. [1] He is most famous for having missed a game winning kick against the Washington Redskins in the last game of the 1984 season that would have sent his St. Louis Cardinals to the playoffs, and also for missing three field goal attempts in overtime of a Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants during the 1983 season, resulting in a 20-20 tie.

Even with a host of missed attempts, O’Donoghue still managed to set the long-standing Cardinals record for most points in a season with 117. O’Donoghue was the last Irish-born NFL player.

In his entire NFL career, O'Donoghue had a kicking success rate of 59%.[4]

He is currently living in Clearwater, Florida selling real estate.


  1. ^ The Hoops by Paul Doolan and Robert Goggins (ISBN 0-7171-2121-6)
  2. ^
  3. ^ Fitzpatrick, Seán Shelbourne Cult Heroes (2009, Colour Books) ISBN 978-1-905483-67-9
  4. ^