People in Focus: Mickey Donnelly on tough, fun and memorable times…

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The new season for the Tyrone minor football team will really kick into gear from this Monday with the commencement of the Ulster Minor football league and, as is the case with most campaigns, many will be looking to see what Tyrone have to offer on the field of play in the grade with hopes always high.

The Ulster Championship is still just over two months away but already Tyrone face a stern test in both Minor and Senior grades as a trip to take on Donegal in Ballybofey for both teams is a major assignment, considering Donegal contested All Ireland finals in both grades in September 2014. Tyrone Minor manager, Mickey Donnelly, from the binäre optionen versteuerung Aghaloo club will be going into his fifth campaign at the helm of the squad and has also made a recent shake-up to his management setup with Tyrone football legends, Ryan McMenamin and Brian McGuigan joining his back-room team. Hopes are naturally going to be high but a lot will unfold in the weeks and months ahead, so we caught up with Mickey in our latest People in Focus Profile to talk about this and much more.

Of course he comes from a family background steeped in GAA tradition with his father, Cuthbert, a former chairman of Tyrone GAA and renowned for his incredible work when serving as the custodian for the Sam Maguire Cup following Tyrone’s All Ireland wins in 2003, 2005 and 2008. Mickey’s brother Stephen, an accomplished footballer who won an Ulster minor medal with Tyrone and starred for his club Aghaloo, is now a key full-time officer in the Ulster GAA, while representing the province on the National CCC. Mickey of course has made a considerable name for himself in the management sphere and has already seen schools success as well as successes with clubs such as Mayobridge and Ardboe in addition to the Tyrone minors.


Mickey Donnelly is the current Tyrone Minor Football Manager – pictured on All Ireland Final day 2013…

Another great in-depth read in the latest of our PEOPLE in FOCUS profiles with Tyrone Life as Mickey talks about all of the above plus a host of other items, as well as “tough times” and the impact of being involved in a great community in such times…


go site Q&A, People in Focus profile
Mickey Donnelly, Aghaloo

online dating 16+ Background…

41 years old. Married to Ciara. Father of three – Tiarnan, Blathnaid and Dearbhla. Head of PE at St. Paul’s JHS, Lurgan.


Married to Ciara. Father of three – Tiarnan, Blathnaid and Dearbhla

follow site Honours & Achievements:

As a Manager:
Tyrone, All Ireland minor finalists 2013
Tyrone, Ulster minor champions 2012
Three Down senior championships with Mayobridge
Tyrone senior championship finalists with Ardboe.
Two Ulster vocational schools titles with St. Paul’s JHS Lurgan.

As a Player
Intermediate and Junior championship medals with Aghaloo.
Ulster vocational schools medals.

come iniziare le opzioni digitali Hobbies & Other interests:
Recently I’ve developed a strong interest in running. It came about as a result of poor fitness and gaining a few pounds and a wee bit of a push from my brother Stephen and Kevin McGee. I enjoy most sports, especially GAA, rugby and soccer. Have been known to have a weakness for a nice bite to eat as well 🙂


“I’ve developed a strong interest in running” Can you tell us about your earliest experiences with your club:
I can remember going to under 12 games and not even scoring at all. They were bleak years for our club. We were at the bottom of Division 3 and no sign of a change at underage. Fortunately,  a few boys who enjoyed football came about at the same time and things changed for the better. School Years: get link 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 – sporting or non sporting:
My school years were very pleasant. St Mary’s in Aughnacloy was and remains a great school. Joe McAleese (RIP) and he showed a keen interest in sport. I suppose for me football took off when I went to St Ciaran’s, Ballygawley. Football was massive. It was all people talked about. Getting on to school teams was a challenge. How could you miss?

Robbie Hasson was head of PE. He had played for Derry and had a massive influence on me personally. Mickey Harte was there. Even then, you could see Mickey’s drive to succeed. Boys like Pascal Canavan, Paul Donnelly and a certain Peter Canavan were up the school. Our headmaster Eugene McSorley (RIP) had played for Tyrone as well.


Mickey donnelly and others continue the terrific community volunteer ethos in the Aghaloo community, with youth coaching and training at the new Aghaloo Community Centre.

redes sociales para conocer gente nueva Moments that stood out for me were

1. 1986 – Tyrone reached the all Ireland final and interest in the school was massive. Paudge Quinn was a past pupil and visited the school with Art McRory. I remember it clearly.

2. Failing my A levels helped shape me. I had let myself down and ultimately let my family down. As a sixth former, I enjoyed life and literally didn’t do a stroke. Failing my A levels made me reassess and focus myself on my future.

3. Winning the Markey Cup in 1992 was a very special day. Our school had never won it and to be part of the team that did that was fantastic. I learned a lot from that experience. I saw the value in team spirit. We were a very close group. We really would have went to war together. We lost Paul Hughes in 1997 in a tragic road accident and we miss him dearly. A wonderful character. He would have been so proud of his brother Kevin’s achievements with Tyrone. Teenage years: When growing up can you tell us about your three biggest memories of football in club or county, (i) as a spectator…

1986 All-Ireland Football Final: What a spectacle. My father had taken me to All Ireland finals. For Tyrone to be in it was amazing. There was a sense of achievement, even in defeat. It shows how far we’ve came. We wouldn’t accept being the gallant loser now!

1988 All Ireland minor semi final. There were a lot of St Ciarans lads involved – Peter Canavan, Paul Donnelly, Eamon McCaffrey to name a few. We so wanted them to win. They were beaten by Kerry on a terrible windy day by a point. That team deserved better but would come back to achieve more!

1989 – Aghaloo were beaten in the Junior final by Killyman. There was great buzz in the parish. The disappointment that followed cut deep.

(ii) as a player…

1989 – winning our first underage title against Newtownstewart in Galbally was the stuff of dreams. We had all been on the receiving end of many hammerings over the years. To win a county title was literally unbelievable. These players would form the backbone of championship successes in future years. We lost Michael O’Neill in 1993 and that was a hammer blow. I remain great friends with Michael’s brothers but that was a tough time.

1991 – we lost both minor finals to Greencastle. Sean Teague still gloats a about this!!

1991 – Junior champions! After 18 years without an adult trophy, we beat Strabane in a tense final in Pomeroy. Memorable days.

Tyrone Life – My thoughts on…

Where you came from: Tell us a bit about your community & your club where you grew up?

I am very proud of where I come from. I was brought up just outside Aughnacloy. My pride of my club is for very simple reasons. There were times when it wasn’t cool to be from Aghaloo (maybe it still isn’t!) but despite this, people have kept our club going. There were very hard times during the troubles. No one could understand how hard those years were for our club. Players had to pass through the checkpoint to get to training. Now that’s commitment. There were murders, tragedies and hardships but the “luv” survived. Few clubs have struggled like we did and lived to tell the tale. To move into the future, we can’t forget our past.

The Aghaloo team pictured at the Aidan McAnespie 25th Anniversary Tournament

Your father, Cuthbert, is one of the most well known characters in GAA circles, not just in Tyrone but throughout Ireland. Can you tell us of a few of your favourite memories or stories in relation to Cuthbert’s contribution to GAA? 

Where do I start?

From sitting in the car, heading to watch him referee, or spectate, or cut the pitch, or watch the dressing rooms, or put up the buntings, or lift Sam!!! He’s done it all. As I’ve got older, I’ve become prouder of what he has done. Through his involvement with Sam Maguire he received a lot of acclaim but I can say without hesitation that he deserved it all. He has contributed so much to our club. In fact he’s our club president. A lovely gesture by the club. When I was young, I was probably embarrassed at times. He was refereeing at the time. Lads would come into school and remind me of a poor decision or a bad call.

Ironically, it’s away from the football field where I am most proud. My father has a unique way of dealing with grief. He organises like no one I know. He has done this in times of great grief. When he has lost good friends. It’s just his way and I must admit it makes me very proud.

As well as his considerable reputation at provincial and national level in the GAA and his incredible journey with the Sam Maguire Cup following Tyrone’s win in 2003, 2005 and 2008, Cuthbert has made a huge contribution to community and GAA life in Aghaloo. Cuthbert is pictured here being crowned “King of the Clans” following a massive fundraising event in the community, which helped build the new Aghaloo Blackwater Community Centre.

Characters in the Community: Tell us about some of the big characters in your community/club when you were growing up and any memories, stories or ‘nicknames’ that jump out when talking about them?

Jimmy Mullen was always around our underage teams. He used to bring sliced oranges. It might seem like a small thing but it made us feel like all-stars. We would all congregate in Liam Donnelly‘s shop. Liam had a butchers shop in the town. We used to head there on a Monday to discuss the game. Liam lost his life at a championship match against Strabane in Carrickmore. It was tragic but somewhat fitting for that to happen that way. Frank Quinn was another character. He christened me Spla feet. I have no idea what Spla was but it alluded to my poor shooting. We lost Leo McKeever last year. Leo was a wonderful club man. Always doing the unnoticed jobs. I was on the receiving end of his sharp tongue many a time. Great club men.


Former Aghaloo greats: Can you tell us, from playing with and watching Aghaloo teams over the years, some of the club players who stood out for you. What things impressed you about watching these players?

Ray Singleton was the first top player I remember. Ray played for Tyrone under 21s when no one from our club got past a first trial. He had a beautiful spring. He was multi talented.

Eamon Quinn was a player I admired greatly. He struggled with chronic knee pain but he contributed so much. He was two steps ahead of his team mates.

Hugh Douglas wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t mention him. It was brilliant for us to see Hugh play for Tyrone seniors in 1993. I always felt he could have achieved more. Football came late for him and maybe he missed those formative years. On his day he was unmatchable in midfield. I will always regret that he retired before we won the Intermediate championship.

I’m going to take a bit of stick for this but I can’t leave out our Stevie (Stephen Donnelly). He’s quite simply the best player that I ever played with. His scoring records might never be surpassed. It just grates me that he never got the opportunity with the county seniors. Lesser players than him have all Ireland medals now.

“I’m going to take a bit of stick for this but I can’t leave out our Stevie (Stephen Donnelly). He’s quite simply the best player that I ever played with. His scoring records might never be surpassed.”

Aghaloo GAC:  Tell us what your thoughts were on the season just gone by with the club and what now lies in store looking ahead?

Last year was very difficult. We tragically lost Kevy O’Gorman and this had a pronounced effect on a young team. This year brings new hope. We have some fine young players. If they can commit fully, there is no reason why they can’t succeed.

Tyrone: You took on the role of Tyrone Minor Manager in 2010 and having reached an All Ireland final in 2013, tell us about your thoughts on this role, what it entails and how you are now looking ahead to 2015?

Tyrone minors is simply your life. It consumes almost every waking thought. That probably sounds unhealthy.

Ultimately, we are amateur volunteers trying to perform in the most professional manner possible. It has given me so much. I have worked with wonderful people. Kieran McHugh, my right hand man, is as insightful a person as I know. We have brought Ricey and Brian McGuigan in to the backroom team this year and their influence has been fantastic. Being involved in Ulster and All Ireland finals are wonderful experiences but maybe something to reflect on when this journey is over. It has brought some tough times too. Defeats have a terrible effect on everyone, most of all my family. That’s unfair I know but that’s just the way it is.

“Losing hurts. The rejections and backstabbing by people outside the group, at meetings or on social media, can be hurtful and frustrating but probably has strengthened the resolve to succeed.”


Mickey is pictured with “right hand man” Kieran McHugh, following Tyrone’s Ulster Minor Championship win in 2012.

Tyrone GAA: Tyrone last won the All Ireland senior title in 2008 and there are hopes of a resurgence in the not too distant future again. What are your thoughts on gaelic football in general at present, the big county team challengers for Sam and where do you think Tyrone stand now and going forward?

Gaelic football hardly resembles the sport that existed in 2008. Being realistic, we mightn’t have the pool of players that existed then. The defensive systems that counties operate might dull the game for the spectator but doesn’t diminish how “enthralling” the matches are. They are now a tactical battle. I think people are very harsh on how teams like Tyrone and Donegal set up. How you put the team on the pitch is determined by the players you have and the opposition. I feel Sam will be won by Kerry, Dublin or Cork. I think Tyrone can compete to the latter stages and with a wee bit of luck, who knows?

Former Greats and New Stars:

Tell us 3 former great players who stand out for you and 3 younger players who you think could become great?

  • Frank McGuigan
  • Eugene McKenna
  • Peter Canavan
    …were the three greatest Tyrone players that I have seen. Frank is simply the King. Peter is God and Eugene won three All Stars in three different positions. Enough said!
  • Conor McKenna‘s loss to the AFL is disappointing as I feel he could have offered so much. But hopefully he will return.
  • Mark Bradley excites me. Sparky was a brilliant minor. I think he can really make the step up.
  • Kieran McGeary will have a long county career. Fantastic attitude and pace to burn.

Big Tips: Can you give us your tips on the following looking ahead to 2015 – and 2-5 words on why you picked each one?

2015 National Football League Division 1: Cork. Colm O’Neill injury free

2015 Ulster Senior Football Championship: Tyrone. Hard to penetrate

2015 All Ireland Senior Football Championship:  Dublin. Return of key players.

2015 Tip who could make a breakthrough to reach quarter or semi finals in 2015: Galway or Down

2015 Tyrone Senior Club Football Championship: Dromore. Ricey says so.

2015 Tyrone Intermediate Club Football Championship: Pomeroy. Clear potential.

2015 Tyrone Junior Club Football Championship: Tattyreagh. Excellent youth

Big Sports Tip for 2015 – not GAA: Ireland to reach rugby World Cup final; Rory to win the masters

Social Life – My thoughts on…

Tell us about 3 big sporting moments that stand out for you and why?

  1. Barry McGuigan winning world title against Pedroza in 1985. Pedroza had seventeen or eighteen defences of his title.
  2. 2005 champions league final. Liverpool fan. No other reasons needed.
  3. 2003 All Ireland final. Paradise.

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

Sicily is beautiful. Spent my honeymoon there and would love to go back.
I am a bit of home bird and weekends in Dublin are really my favourite. Just love the atmosphere and buzz.

Tell us about what things you enjoy best about the ‘weekend’ and favourite things to do?

Friday night take away.
Catching up on a bit of TV.
A few coffees.
Spending time with the family.

For fun…

3 Funniest Characters/People you know:

My running buddy Kevin McGee. Constantly on the go. Exudes energy.
Judith Mallon: my wife’s best friend and the crudest person I know but a softie at heart (Pictured below – Judith and wife, Ciara)
Dearbhla and Blathnaid Donnelly: they make me laugh every single day.


“Judith Mallon (left), my wife’s best friend and the crudest person I know but a softie at heart, pictured with my wife, Ciara”

One Word Answer: Use one word you think best describes the 3 people you named above: special.

Tell us your favourite Joke? Not suitable for this forum.

Best “Laugh Out Loud” moment you’ve seen in a Movie:

Any Will Ferrell clip in Old School or Step Brothers.

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

The Ardboe lads always thought I looked like Davy Fitzgerald.

My brother in law John Devlin would pass for Paul O’Connell




Gaelic Footballers: Peter Canavan

Gaelic Football Managers: Jim McGuinness

Sports: Rugby

Male Sportstars: BOD

Ladies Sportstars: Katie Taylor

Celebrities: Dermot O’Leary

Book: The Club, Christy O’Connor

Band/Singer(s): U2, Dubliners

Music Video: Band Aid the original

TV Show(s): Only fools and horses, Silent witness

Movie(s): Gladiator, Jerry Maguire

Drink: Guinness

Food: Sirloin steak

Place (apart from home): Dublin

Pub: O’Neills, Dublin

Nightclub: Not a fan

Sports Venue: Croke park

Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Why? Twitter… Slick and succinct. No waffle.

Favourite website?

Inspirational Quote you like?