People in Focus: Joline Donnelly hoping to lead St. Macartan’s to historic Silver jubilee Ulster club crown

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St. Macartan’s Ladies Football club is currently celebrating their Silver Jubilee Year, since being formed back in 1992. Certainly it has been a successful quarter of a century in formation for the Clogher valley club and 2017 may yet prove to be their greatest ever year of all.

Having already matched the exploits of 2016, with a probably even more impressive league and championship double in Tyrone, the Senior club team are back on the verge of a historic first ever Ulster Senior Club Championship title win.

The Tyrone league success provided a hugely impressive ‘6-in-a-row’ in the event while the 9th Senior championship title win was possibly their most emphatic to date. It would seem that this is arguably the strongest of the St. Macartan’s senior championship winning sides to emerge on the Ulster club trail.

St. Macartan’s celebrate a famous 6-in-a-row success in the Tyrone division 1 League

“However, despite their impressive Red Hand credentials, St. Macartan’s face a tough challenge against 10-time Ulster club champions and 5-time all Ireland club champions, Donaghmoyne, who possess an eye-catching core of inter county players, a wealth of experience and, under the guidance of Francie Coleman, have enjoyed almost total provincial dominance since 2004. Of course they also defeated the Tyrone Senior champions in the final of twelve months ago and are still on course for a 3rd successive All Ireland Senior club Championship title, having taken the national honours in 2015 and 2016”

However, the 9-times Tyrone senior champions have made no secret of that burning desire to win at provincial level and are a side that is overflowing with talent and players who have achieved at the highest level in schools football too – and of course they only lost out narrowly in the end in that first provincial title showdown with Donaghmoyne last term.

With that experience under their belt and a more composed looking style of play manifesting in 2017, this could well be the moment that St. Macartan’s make their piece of provincial history.

In the build-up to the latest major test, Tyrone Life caught up with the current St. Macartan’s Ladies team captain – Joline Donnelly – who is of course hoping to be that historic first captain to lift the Cup, in the latest of our People in Focus Profiles.

Tyrone Life would like to offer our Best wishes to the club ahead of the Ulster Senior club final on Sunday…

Check out our other St. Macartan’s Player Profiles here…

Tyrone Life People in Focus
Q&A with Joline Donnelly, St. Macartan’s

Tell us about where you grew up, your community and any stand-out childhood memories:

Like most people who play football my memories of childhood are based around playing football outside with my sisters and brother Shane. We all had lots of different interests too – growing up Cathy, Paula and myself were all into traditional music and we use to go to ‘the hut’ in Glencul to the music sessions or to Dun Uladh in Killyclogher with Daddy.

Maria’s main interest was watching TV and she wasn’t really into music at all but she often reminds us that she won two All Ireland medals in ‘Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann’ playing with St. Patrick’s Band, even though she couldn’t play a note on the tin whistle.

We all loved going outside and playing football together and birthday parties would always include a game of football, whether our friends liked it or not.

Joline won titles with St. Ciaran’s College, Ballygawley

School Life:

Tell us about where you went to school, favourite memories and any moments which have really stood out for you there:

I went to primary school in St. Brigid’s, Augher, winning the Knockmany cup at the back of the Youth Centre in Augher is one memory that I will never forget. We beat Glencull who were the team to beat at the time. I was in P6 and got to play as there wasn’t many girls in P7. I remember my teacher lifting me up on her shoulders when we won.

Interests/Hobbies…

Over the past number of years we have got more into running, which is never something I thought I would enjoy as much!

Knockmany Forest and Emy Lough are two places we love to go for a run or walk. I also better mention Loughmacrory too and the famous Lough, which is another lovely place to go for a walk but not nice enough to make me want to move there Stephen Donaghy.

I also enjoy playing and listening to traditional music.

A Club united – St. Macartan’s girls celebrate at Cathy’s Wedding

Sporting background and achievements?

  • Club: 6 x Senior Championships, 8 x Senior Leagues, 1 x Minor Championship, 1 x U16 League
  • St. Marys Belfast: 1 x All Ireland Lynch cup, 1x College All star
  • Tyrone: 1 X Ulster Senior Championship, 1 x All star 2010

Ladies Gaelic Football – My thoughts on…

Tell us about your experiences growing up playing ladies football – how you started and Biggest influences?

Cathy was the person who had the first big influence on me going to football. My first memories are playing out the back of the house and in the fields with Cathy. We had our own we game ‘Over the bar’ which we played all the time and got very competitive through the years when Maria, Paula and Shane started playing.

Cathy was the one who got us out of bed and made sure we were at training, something which mummy could never understand as she was always the last out of bed on school mornings. We haven’t missed any training sessions since she got married. I always looked up to her growing up and still do. We have many great memories together now from winning club championships and leagues, playing together on different Tyrone teams, playing in the senior All Ireland in Croke Park together and both receiving All Stars in 2010.

Mummy and Daddy have both supported us over the years, four girls playing football in the house isn’t easy and can be hard on the washing machine (so Paula tells us anyway). They have followed us all over Ireland and are great supporters of the club. Daddy will always ‘whisper’ a few supportive words from the sideline and mummy keeps us grounded and covered in holy water.

Sean Mc Elroy (RIP) is another person who had a big influence on me growing up. He managed us right from u14 to winning the minor championship. He had a great love of ladies football and for our club too. He would have taken me to watch Tyrone Ladies play and always told me that I would play for Tyrone someday.

School Teams: Can you tell us about your memories of playing Schools & Colleges football…

I went to St. Ciaran’s, Ballygawley, where we won in Tyrone at both u16/u18, under Maria Curran. I loved playing for St. Ciaran’s and, along with the girls from other clubs, we had a great team but could never get past St.Louis’ of Monaghan, though we came close a few times.

I then went on to St. Mary’s University, Belfast. We won the All Ireland Lynch Cup in 2010, beating D.I.T – a great achievement for a small college and I was lucky enough to Captain the team.

Joline pictured with Tyrone Ladies players winning All Star Awards in 2010 – Sinead McLaughlin, Cathy Donnelly, Gemma Begley and Joline Donnelly.

Club Life: St. Macartan’s Senior Team and club…

Memories and influences with the club…

I started playing senior football in 2004. Back then we hadn’t won a championship since 1998. It took us 11 years to win another championship title. Although we played in lots of finals over those 11 years, we could never get over the line and wondered if we would ever win the senior championship again.

The girls would never give up and we were rewarded in 2009, finally winning the Championship against Glenelly and we went on to win the league that year also. After that we continued our run and won 3 championships in a row, which is something that we will never forget. We have came a long way since then having now won 7 out of 8 possible senior trophies in Tyrone in the past 4 years, and securing back to back league and championship wins this year. The girls have put in serious work over the past number of years and we have a great mix of both experienced players and young players who are all working well together.

We have been very lucky in the standard of management over the years and lucky that Ricey, Conor Mc Carrol and Chris have stayed with us. Training has never been better.

St Macartan’s Senior ladies with jersey numbers showing 1992-2017 and 25 years

Winning Tyrone was always our main aim any year as we have went so many years winning nothing in the past. Now we are back in an Ulster Final for a second year running, a great achievement in itself. We are looking forward to the huge challenge of playing the All Ireland club champions from last year and hope that we can do ourselves, management and families proud this year.

Inspirational players in squad-

Cathy Maguire – Lives, eats and breathes St. Macartan’s. She continues to give everything to the club even after moving to Fermanagh (We are hoping Ricey will do the same). She is an inspirational leader both on and off the pitch for both young and old and we are lucky to have her.

Lynda Donnelly – Another leader both on and off the pitch. Chairperson of our club and playing member. Nothing gets left undone on and off the pitch where Lynda is involved. Again we are lucky to have her in our club.

Donnelly girls celebrate 6-in-a-row in the Legue

Maura Kelly – One of the best ladies Footballers in Ireland. Wise head and has helped us get over many a hard battle on the pitch. Maura is another girl who would do anything where the club is concerned, she even roped her husband into managing us.

25 Years for The Club: We are celebrating 25 Years this year. 1992 was the first year we ran a 7aside tournament. Monaghan Harps beat Carrickmore in the final. We are running a reunion competition on Saturday 25th November to mark our anniversary where we will welcome back some of the great teams in ulster and players of the past including members of the winning  st. Macartans 92,96 and 98 panel.

Life – My thoughts on…

Working Life…

I teach in Bunscoil an Traonaigh in Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh. It is an Irish Medium school. I have just moved from teaching P3/P4 children to teaching P1/P2 this year and enjoying it so far. I love teaching through Irish and seeing how the children soak up the language, it is truly a rewarding job.

If someone was to ask you about coming to Tyrone could tell them some of the best…

Places to see:

Knockmany Forest, Augher – any time of the year it is beautiful. Once you get to the top the view is gorgeous and worth the climb.

Dungannon Park – Another lovely place to go for a walk and feed the ducks.

Forest Road, Knockmany Forest

Best Places to go for a night out…

When we get a chance we love going to Monaghan to ‘shifys’ for a cocktail and then into the ‘VIP’ area in spy with the help of the girls and their friends in high places.

Favourite things to do at the weekends…

I like going down to Loughmacrory the odd weekend to visit Stephen but the best weekends are when he comes to Augher! Just love to relax, watch tv and try to stay awake.

Joline and Stephen celebrate their Engagement and St Macartan’s SFC glory in 2017

Spa days with Cathy, Maria, Paula and Lynda is another favourite thing to do, I think we are due one anytime soon!

Spending time with my nieces and nephew, Brídín, Proinsias and Nóra. They are great craic and keep us entertained. They are big supporters of St.Macartan ladies too.

Going to the ‘Eastern Balti’ Indian in Monaghan is another favourite thing to do when we get the chance one of the nicest places to go for food.

Nights out with the St. Macartan girls are always ones to remember. We are all the best of friends as long as Lynda gets left home first.

Could you tell us what places you have travelled to – and best memories?

I was lucky enough to go on two all star trips to San Francisco to and Toronto. We were very well looked after on both trips. Getting to meet the girls from the different counties and getting to play with the best footballers in Ireland was an unforgettable experience. A few funny memories with Sinead McLaughlin in San Francisio involving a cot and Pat Quill who was the ladies president at the time is a stand out LOL moment but I’ll say no more.

We went to Krakow last year and it was probably one of the best City breaks we have been on, highly recommended.

I can’t forget the family holiday to Portugal this year. Mummy came home with a new oven-mit and I came home with an engagement ring, a productive holiday for all involved including my cousin Claire Donnelly who got engaged the morning after us over there too.

Celebrating with family

For fun…

Funniest Moment…

There have been a lot of funny moments Cathys Hen Party last year stands to mind. We blind folded her and dressed her up as Alice in Wonderland, see attached video…jk.

Funniest person you Know?

Tie between Lynda Donnelly/Mairead McKenna(Holland) – Both Whitty and honest at the same time=recipe for funny and when they are together it is stand clear.

Tell us your favourite Joke?

Did you hear about the magic tractor? It went down the lane and turned into a field!

Funniest Laugh out Loud Scene in a Movie:

The toilet Scene in Bridesmaids.

Spitting Image – Name two people you always thought were spitting image doubles?

Niamh McKenna (Augher) and Katie Taylor

“Spitting Image – Namh McKenna and Katie Taylor

Favourites…

Ladies Football Players:

  • Maura Kelly
  • Ciara McAnespie
  • Cathy Donnelly/Maguire

Maura McMenamin in action for St. Macartan’s in the Ulster Club semi final v Clann Eireann

Young Ladies Footballers:

  • Chloe McCaffery
  • Grainne McKenna

GAA Stars:

  • Peter Canavan
  • Colm Cooper
  • Brian Dooher

Song(s): Any songs made up by the St. Macartan girls most recent one is called ‘Didn’t know what to do’ its very catchy.

TV Show(s): Suits – Can’t wait to it starts again

Movie(s): Bridesmaids

Perfume(s): Paco Rabanne-Olympea

Item of clothing: St. Macartan tracksuit

Mens Fashion Disaster – What not to wear? Not a huge fan of men who wear boat shoes with no socks?

Favourite fashion trend: Skinny Jeans

Pub: Mc Kennas Augher always sure to have a good night

Nightclub: Spy Monaghan

Shops: Miss Selfridge/Topshop

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter? Why?

Facebook- good for a nosey  at photos and keeping in touch.

Favourites websites? Twinkl for sure – are you really a teacher if you don’t have twinkl?

Inspirational Quote?

Ní neart go cur le chéile – There is no strength without unity

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