Kieran Donaghy

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Kieran Donaghy
Personal information
Irish name Ciarán Ó Duinneacha
Sport Gaelic Football
Position Full Forward
Born (1983-03-01) 1 March 1983 (age 33)
Omagh, Northern Ireland
Height 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Occupation Bank Official
Years Club
2001- Austin Stacks
Club titles
Kerry titles 1
Munster titles 1
Years County Apps (scores)
2004- Kerry 50 (11-29)
Inter-county titles
Munster titles 6
All-Irelands 4
All Stars 3

Kieran Donaghy (born 1 March 1983) is an Irish Gaelic footballer. He plays inter-county for Kerry and club football for Austin Stacks in Tralee. Donaghy has won four All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medals, two Munster Championships and a National League title with Kerry, and is the recipient of two All Stars Awards.

A full forward, Donaghy serves as an effective target man, using his height, catching ability and scoring technique to good effect.


Early years: 2006 - 2008[edit]

Donaghy's emergence in 2006 was regarded as a 'rags to riches story'. At one time he struggled to nail down a place with the Austin Stacks' minor team. In 2004, before he made his breakthrough on the Kerry senior side, Donaghy took part in the GAA reality TV show Underdogs on TG4. He played in a one-off game against Kerry while on the show.[1] He switched in 2005 from playing basketball for the Tralee Tigers to play football for Kerry.[1] He made his Kerry debut against Dublin[1] in 2005 and won a Munster Senior Football Championship medal with the county that year.[1]

Donaghy began the 2006 NFL season as a midfield partner for Darragh Ó Sé, with moderate success. He was sent off in a league game with reigning All-Ireland champions Tyrone. Kerry were crowned NFL champions but there were some doubts about Donaghy's temperament.

Donaghy began the 2006 Championship in the same position, as Kerry reached the Munster Championship final against old rivals Cork. Donaghy was sent off for two bookable offenses and he was banned for the subsequent replay, from which Cork emerged victorious. A round later in the Qualifiers against Longford, Donaghy was moved to the full forward position.[1] It proved a very successful switch as he set up three goals, a number of points and scored a point himself.[1] Against Armagh in the All-Ireland quarter-final, he scored a goal. Following alleged provocation that he was "only a basketball player" he goaded Armagh goalkeeper Paul Hearty in his celebrations after the goal - but later acknowledged his indiscretion.[2] Kerry beat Cork in the semi-final and met Mayo in the All-Ireland final. Donaghy played a pivotal role in Kerry's winning by 4-15 to 3-05. He scored a 1-02 and set up another goal in the match.[1] He later won an All Star award and was included in the GPA Team of the Year. He was named All Stars Footballer of the Year, GPA Footballer of the Year, Texaco Footballer of the Year and was hailed[by whom?] as the new Bomber Liston.[3] He denied this, saying: "It's very flattering to be compared to him, but I'd need to play in a good few All-Ireland finals to be in the same league as him".[4]

Kerry won the 2007 Munster Championship, beating Cork in the final by two points. Donaghy set up Kerry's goal for Colm Cooper and got the score that put them ahead late in the game. Kerry then scraped past Monaghan in the All-Ireland quarter-final, to set up a semi-final clash with Dublin. After talisman Darragh Ó Sé went off injured, Donaghy was moved to midfield and did well against the much vaunted Ciarán Whelan. Kerry met Cork in the All-Ireland final, winning by 3-13 to 1-9 with Donaghy scoring two goals.[5]

During the 2008 NFL game against Mayo, Donaghy made a "middle finger" gesture to their fans who allegedly were throwing coins on to the field. He was punished with a one match suspension for the incident.[6] He apologised for the incident as follows: "During the latter stages of the game and in the heat of the moment, I used an inappropriate gesture towards the crowd. I apologise unreservedly to spectators and all sports fans alike for any offence that I may have caused by this action." Kerry reached the 2008 NFL final, but were beaten by Derry. Then Cork beat Kerry in the 2008 Munster final. Kerry still managed to reach the All-Ireland final but came undone against Tyrone who won the game by four points.[7] Donaghy managed a second All Star that year.[8]

Middle years: 2010 - 2011[edit]

On 11 July 2009, Donaghy was injured when he landed awkwardly during Kerry's victory over Longford in the football qualifiers. He left the ground on crutches. Scan results showed that he had suffered a broken bone in his foot and would likely to miss the rest of the 2009 Championship.[9]

Later years: 2011 - 2014[edit]

In later years he vanished. in the 2012 Championship Kerry fell to Donegal in the most unexpected of circumstances - an All-Ireland quarter-final in early August.[10] The Irish Times said in September 2014 that Donaghy had "all but disappeared from view."[11] He had played three minutes at the end of the 2014 Munster semi-final against Clare.[11] In the 2014 All-Ireland quarter-final win over Galway, a midfielder and three forwards were replaced without Donaghy being chosen to play for any of them.[11] Despite this, he went on to play a pivotal role in Kerry's 37th All-Ireland Football Championship in 2014. In the semi-final vs Mayo, he came on as a substitute in the closing minutes of a game that was felt by many to be beyond saving and was vital in assisting a goal that led to a draw. In the subsequent replay he scored a vital goal which helped Kerry to win a place in the Final. In the final against Donegal , after a tight 51 mins Donaghy capitalised on a Paul Durcan mistake on a kick out to put Kerry up 2-05 to 0-07. Kerry were able to hold on despite late pressure to achieve their 37th All-Ireland, with much of the credit going to the revived Donaghy. His post match interview became famous for the catchphrase "What do you think of that Joe Brolly?"

Following his club's victory in the 2014 Kerry Championship he was named Kerry Captain for 2015. He later went on to win the Munster Club championship with Austin Stacks.

According to Malachy Clerkin in The Irish Times, Donaghy is known as an "incessant trash-talker" on the pitch.[11]


Donaghy won the Kerry Under 21 Football Championship with Tralee District in 2001, Austin Stacks in 2002 and lost the final with Stacks the in 2003.[1]

He played in losing County Senior Championship Finals in 2001, 2010 and 2013 with Austin Stacks.

Donaghy has represented Ireland in the International Rules Series in 2006 and 2008.

Donaghy has played for Munster in the Railway Cup.

In 2005, Donaghy won a National Cup title with the Tralee Tigers and was named the player of the year,[1] despite missing much of the season due to football commitments.

Personal life[edit]

Donaghy works for Ulster Bank.

He is also a keen poker player and appeared on the Late Night Stars of Poker, which aired on RTÉ Television in November 2009. He supports the Chelsea senior soccer team.

In January 2013, he married long-term girlfriend Hilary Stephenson in Waterville, County Kerry.[12] He then went on honeymoon to America where he attended the Super Bowl.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "cul4kidz profile on Donaghy". Cul4kidz website. 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  2. ^ Shooting 'Star' burns brightest
  3. ^ Shooting 'Star' burns brightest
  4. ^ Shooting 'Star' burns brightest
  5. ^ "Kerry 3-13 Cork 1-09". RTÉ News. 16 September 2007. 
  6. ^ "Donaghy's apology not enough". The Irish Times. 3 March 2008. 
  7. ^ "Tyrone 1-15 Kerry 0-14". RTÉ. 21 September 2008. Retrieved 10 December 2008. 
  8. ^ "Football All Stars". RTÉ News. 17 May 2007. 
  9. ^ "Donaghy broken bone confirmed". RTÉ Sport. 2009-07-14. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  10. ^ "Donegal Topple Kerry to Set up Semi with Cork". 98FM. 5 August 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012. Karl Lacey's injury-time point booked a date with Cork for the Ulster champions, who handed Kerry only their second-ever All-Ireland quarter-final defeat. 
  11. ^ a b c d Clerkin, Malachy (20 September 2014). "Kieran Donaghy is loved by his own, loathed by opponents: Thoroughly likeable off the pitch, Kerry’s full-forward is an incessant trash-talker on it". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  12. ^ O'Sullivan, Majella (19 January 2013). "All-star turnout as Kerry football hero Kieran Donaghy says 'I do'". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Kerry Star turns up at the Superbowl [sic]". Hogan Stand. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 

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