People in Focus: Brian McKenna, Aghaloo and “2 things you need in life”

Share Story Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedin Aghaloo O’Neill’s are a club who have always enjoyed a very close-knit bond and a solid record in club championship football. Indeed in 2015 they may well be heading for their best year to date on the playing field, despite having to deal with many adversities and tragedies off the field.

Having captured a minor football championship a number of months back, the club have already picked up the Division 3 league crown and thus securing promotion back to Intermediate football in 2016. Next up is a meeting with Brackaville in the Junior Championship decider and that provides the O’Neill’s with the opportunity of securing a first ever league and championship double at adult level. Significantly it has also been announced this week that Aghaloo will also have the man in the middle for the Senior Club Championship final, Jerome McElroy, when Killyclogher take on Trillick in just over one week’s time.

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The team captain for 2015 is a player who has come up through the ranks of the club as a versatile attacking player, having also featured in All Ireland winning sides with St. Ciaran’s college, Ballygawley. Brian McKenna is that player who could make history for Aghaloo on Sunday when he will hope that sixty minutes of football can see him become the first double winning captain from the club.

Tyrone Life caught up with Brian this week in the latest of our People in Focus profiles as we check out his GAA background, the latest successes and of course all the many other interesting facts and opinions from our Tyrone Life People series…


Brian McKenna is sixty minutes away from becoming the first captain from the Aghaloo club to complete the league and championship double in the same season

demo su opzioni binarie Q&A, People in Focus profile with Brian McKenna, Aghaloo

hook up bars in paris When did you first start playing football and can you tell us about your earliest experiences with the club:

I first started playing for Aghaloo U12s when I was 7 or 8 years old. There were no Go-Games so U12 was the first age group and it would have been a couple of years before I actually got to start a game. I vividly remember one of my first training sessions; it was on a Saturday morning but there had been an incident at the checkpoint the night before so training was moved to Ballygawley playing fields. The first few years at U12s, Oliver Sherry was the manager and I can remember him bringing newspaper cuttings of Peter Canavan to show us how to hold the ball in possession. Mickey Donnelly then took over as manager and trialled milk and biscuits after training but that didn’t last long as he would have had the biscuits ate on us!!

pagina de citas por internet Football Honours & Achievements:

  • site de rencontre texto Club:
    Intermediate Championship (2005)
    2 x Junior Leagues (2009 & 2015)
  • how to succeed in binary options trading School Level
    3 x Ulster & All Ireland Vocational Schools with St. Ciaran’s Ballygawley (2002, 2003 & 2005)
    2 x Ulster & All Ireland Vocational Schools with Tyrone Vocationals (2004 & 2005)

au plaisir de te rencontrer synonyme Hobbies & Other interests:

My hobbies used to include going to the gym, watching a movie or beating all round me on Pro Evolution but now all I seem to do is gardening and washing dishes.


Aghaloo seniors celebrate winning the Tyrone Division 3 league title and are one game away from completing a league and championship double in the current campaign

go here School Years: hitler rencontre mcdonald Can you tell us a bit about your school years, three big moments that stand out for you and who would have had a big influence on you in those years…

I look back on my school years with some great memories but truth be told if it wasn’t for football I don’t know if I would have stayed on at school. I was very fortunate to go to St. Ciaran’s Ballygawley at a time when we had some great teams who were managed by Marty McElkennon, Mickey Harte, Pascal Canavan and Brendan Trainor – all of them had a big influence on me.

Three moments that really stand out would be:

  • beating St. Paul’s Bessbrook in an U16 Ulster Final. The game was nip and tuck throughout and at full time we were level so extra time was played. In the first half of extra time they scored 2-1 without reply and we looked to be dead and buried but somehow we got it back to two points with a minute to go when Ronan McRory scored a last minute winner – to this day I think he just closed his eyes and hit it! We went on to win the All Ireland that year, beating a Carlow school in the final who had Sean O’Brien playing at full back.
  • in my last year at school I had the honour of captaining St. Ciaran’s to an U18 All Ireland title. This was a great way to end my school years as it was alongside some great friends from Aghaloo and neighbouring clubs.

a non-sporting moment that really stands out is the day Aidan Cassidy found a way of getting money out of the pool table in the common room and being able to play for free. I have never seen a man as happy in my life before – not having to put his hand in his pocket was the highlight of Aidan’s school life – he left soon after!


Celebrating League title success with Dad – “I can always rely on him to shout ‘encouraging words’ at me during a match but there is no doubt he is happiest when people are slagging him and he’s able to give out bad manners”

dating in new york reddit Teenage years: When growing up can you tell us about your three biggest memories of football in club or county,

(i) as a spectator…

  • Aghaloo winning the 2002 Intermediate championship against neighbours Killeeshil was a great occasion for the club. Must bring the DVD into school some day!
  • I remember going to all of Tyrone’s games in 1995 with Daddy including the All Ireland Final
  • Tyrone’s three All Irelands were great occasions to be at – from Gormley’s block to Canavan’s goal.

(ii) as a player…

  • Aghaloo minors reached the championship final in 2003. This was my only final with Aghaloo at underage and it was played before the senior final in Omagh. It was great to play in front of such a big crowd but unfortunately the result didn’t go our way. The county board scheduled a senior match the day beforehand and 5 of our players had to play 2 games in 2 days – would like to think it wouldn’t happen today!
  • Making my senior debut for Aghaloo in 2004 against Tattyreagh.
  • Any of the school games mentioned above.

Tyrone Life – My thoughts on… 

…your community & your club where you grew up?

I am proud to say I grew up just outside Aughnacloy, in the countryside, where the majority of my time was spent playing football. A Saturday would have consisted of walking up through the fields to play football with Stevie Donnelly. As I am a lot younger I would have been made run after his wayward shots – I think he was just avoiding doing work for Cuthbert! Longer school holidays would have seen me going to the Harte’s in Glencull (they went to primary school in Aughnacloy) and this would have been more football and walking to Jim Kelly’s shop.


Aghaloo GAA grounds from above…

In recent years Aghaloo club has experienced many a dark day with a lot of tragedies but this has brought our club closer together.

Our youth has been going from strength to strength, with some great work from the likes of Mickey Donnelly, Kevin McGee, Martin McCarron, Paddy Colton and all the coaches of the ‘baby reds’ who regularly have over 70 at training. Just like every club, without volunteers we wouldn’t be able to survive.

…some of the big characters in your community/club when you were growing up and any memories, stories, etc… that jump out when talking about them?

There are many characters in our club – the one that everyone would know would be Cuthbert Donnelly – Sam Maguire’s best friend! The work Cuthbert has done and continues to do in our club and community is second to none.

My father, Rory McKenna would be annoyed if I didn’t mention him – a man who is heard before he is seen. I can always rely on him to shout ‘encouraging words’ at me during a match but there is no doubt he is happiest when people are slagging him and he’s able to give out bad manners.

Unfortunately one of the main characters in the club, Leo McKeever was taken away from us. He would have been the first man you would have seen at an Aghaloo game and was always umpire. He fell out with many a club and referee disputing scores but was a great clubman behind it all.


“There are many characters in our club – the one that everyone would know would be Cuthbert Donnelly – Sam Maguire’s best friend”. Cuthbert (centre) winner of the of High Chieftan of Aghaloo and his Clan who raised £48,000 altogether for the club.

…three players from your own club and three from another club who impressed you in any club matches this year?

For us, Conor Mullen and Jody McGlone have really stood up this year while Niall McElroy enjoys nothing more than changing his boots during every game.

In other clubs, Lee Brennan and Mark Bradley are very exciting players while Conor Daly put on an exhibition for Carrickmore reserves in this year’s championship.

…from watching Aghaloo teams over the years, some Aghaloo club players who stood out for you. What things impressed you about watching these players?

  • Mick McCaughey our captain from 1974 is still talked about – his ability to use his elbows to get out of any handling (or start a handling) is legendary.
  • Eamon O’Neill – he used his experience from other clubs to show that you don’t actually have to run to play football.
  • Stephen Donnelly – his scoring exploits over the years has been remarkable and he even did goals last year.
  • John O’Neill – Has played for Aghaloo seniors for over 20 years and I don’t think he ever used his right foot – a great servant to the club and current chairman.

“John O’Neill has played for Aghaloo seniors for over 20 years and I don’t think he ever used his right foot – a great servant to the club and current chairman”

…Aghaloo’s season so far, winning the league and the build up to the County Championship final! Tell us about your experience of previous championship finals and triumphs with the club too?

This year, Paul Feeney came in as manager and at the start of the year our main objective was to secure promotion to Division Two. We targeted the league because anything can happen in the championship. We worked hard to establish consistency in our performances and get results week in week out. Thankfully, we have achieved this and were crowned league champions last week and hopefully this will take some pressure off us on Sunday and we will be able to enjoy the occasion.

Social Life – My thoughts on…

…things you enjoy best about the ‘weekend’ and favourite things to do?

An ideal weekend would be a lie-in on Saturday morning and then a meal out somewhere with the better half and onto the cinema. Sunday would involve football in some way – either playing or watching.

…3 big sporting moments that stand out for you?

  • United winning the treble in 1999
  • Ireland winning the Grand Slam in 2009
  • Jessica Ennis winning Olympic Gold

…places you have travelled to (anywhere in the world) – and best memories & places that really stood out?

Paris 2014 – have been paying for it since!

For fun…

3 Funniest club colleague(s) in the changing rooms:

Ruairi McGlone and Felim Og Gildernew are more laughed at but the main man is undoubtedly Shane McGee – training is not the same without him. Will be interesting to see how marriage affects him next year.


“the main man is undoubtedly Shane McGee – training is not the same without him. Will be interesting to see how marriage affects him next year.”

Use one word you think best describes the 3 players you named above:

Ruairi – Spacer

Felim Og – Whatsapp

Shane – Legend

Tell us your favourite Joke?

Parallel lines have so much in common… it’s a shame that they’ll never meet

Funniest thing you would say has happened to you in your life:

Never a dull moment in Primary 6 – some real characters that you get a laugh with (or at) every day.

Funniest person you know? One sentence that best describes them?

Gerard Devine – plenty of stories about this man from wearing different shoes on a night out (without knowing) to his culinary skills, Gerard is one of a kind. Kyla Hackett gets an honourable mention too – “Is Sepp Blatter not too old to be playing FIFA?”

Name 2 people who you’ve always thought were ‘spitting doubles’:

Daniel Hackett and Philip Lahm


My life & favourites…

Gaelic Footballers: Peter Canavan and Maurice Fitzgerald

Sports: Gaelic and Rugby

Sportstars: Brian O’Driscoll

Best thing on the internet? Peter Canavan’s club scores. And here it is…

Celebrities: Peter Kay, David Beckham

Band/Singer(s): Emeli Sande, Ellie Goulding

Music Video: Circle of Life Lion King

TV Show(s): Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Friday Night Lights

Movie(s): Remember the Titans

Food: Anything Ciara cooks

Place (apart from home): Sweet Spot in Omagh – wide selection of sweets suitable for all occasions.

Pub: What are they?

Nightclub: A distant memory

Sports Venue: Augher on Knockmany Day – Paul Treanor still the only player to have been sent off.

Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Why?

Twitter – more personal and better connection with followers.

Inspirational Quote you like?

There are two things you need in life – a good pair of shoes and a good bed because if you’re not in one, you’re in the other. Pat Treanor (1912-2015)


Brian pictured with grandad, Pat Treanor, who provided his most memorable quote “There are two things you need in life – a good pair of shoes and a good bed because if you’re not in one, you’re in the other”