|Date of birth||11 June 1953|
|Place of birth||Kendal, England|
|1978||→ Dallas Tornado (loan)||9||(0)|
|1982–1985||Hong Kong Rangers|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
He began his professional career in 1973 with Bury, before being signed by Liverpool boss Bill Shankly after one year. He spent four years as reserve goalkeeper at Anfield, without making a first-team appearance. There were no substitute goalkeepers in domestic football in those days, and so McDonnell's only first-team squad involvement came in European football.
He was on the bench for the 1977 European Cup Final, a game which Liverpool won. However, McDonnell's winner's medal was lost after the game, believed by some to have been stolen and given to one of Liverpool's first-team players who had missed the final. Following the arrival of Steve Ogrizovic, he was pushed down to third choice, and left to join Oldham Athletic in 1978.
He spent four years there, before heading to Dallas in the NASL, then to Hong Kong to play for Hong Kong Rangers, eventually returning home to represent a number of non-league clubs. He spent some time at Barrow in the Northern Premier League, and later the Football Conference and won the FA Trophy at Wembley Stadium in 1990.