Stephen McDonnell (footballer)
|Full name||Stephen McDonnell|
|Date of birth||20 March 1992|
|Place of birth||Dundalk, Republic of Ireland|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Republic of Ireland U17|
|2009-2010||Republic of Ireland U19||7||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Stephen McDonnell is a central midfielder who played with local club Quay Celtic before moving to Glasgow Celtic where he spent 18 months before returning to Ireland in January 2010. He signed for Dundalk the following March and made his full debut for the club when starting against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds in the Leinster Senior Cup on 24 May, a tie which Dundalk lost 4-3 on penalties after the sides had ended level at 2-2 after 120 minutes of action. McDonnell made his league bow shortly after with a second-half substitute appearance at home to Sporting Fingal on 8 June and he scored his first club goal a month later with a bullet header against local rivals Drogheda United at Oriel Park. In total during the 2010 campaign, he made 13 appearances in all competitions, including two in the UEFA Europa League, the second of which was a start at home to Levski Sofia on 22 July.
At the end of the season, McDonnell expressed his wish to try his luck in the UK once more, and he went on trial at Queens Park Rangers, which was arranged by Tony Awor. However, he returned to Ireland and on 2 December he signed a fresh one-year deal with Dundalk, with the youngster stating: “I’m very happy to have signed here again. It will be good to get another year of first-team football under my belt after getting a taste of it this year. Obviously, I know I’m not going to play week in, week out, but hopefully I’ll play a bigger part next season and progress again. It’s a very competitive league and I think another year here will benefit me. Recently, I was over on trial with Queens Park Rangers; I was keeping my options open and having a look around. QPR just didn’t happen for me. I had one or two other interested clubs but I felt the best thing for me was to come back here and play first-team football next season.” He was named vice-captain of Dundalk for the 2012 season.
Stephen has represented the Republic of Ireland at a number of levels, and since joining Dundalk he has appeared in a green jersey on eight occasions. The sixth of those, back on 7 October, saw him score his first international goal when he netted in a 5-0 win for the U19s over Luxembourg in Bulgaria. On 8 August last, McDonnell was rewarded for his performances at U17 level when named the International U17 Player of the Year. After receiving that award, the youngster, who is nicknamed Sam, told dundalkfc.com: “Obviously, it’s great to win such a big award and it’s a great honour in my career. It’s great to have on my CV. There were three of us in the running so obviously I thought I was going to have a good chance, so I was delighted to get it. I’m over the moon with it, really. I was shocked when they first called out my name. I knew I had a chance because it was down to three, but it was a surprise.