Michael Donnellan (Gaelic footballer)

Michael Donnellan
Personal information
Irish name Mícheál Ó Domhnalláin
Sport Gaelic Football
Position Centre Half Forward
Born (1977-02-28) 28 February 1977
Galway, Ireland
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Years Club
Dunmore McHales
Club titles
Galway titles 1
Connacht titles 1
All-Ireland Titles 1
Years College
IT Tralee
College titles
Sigerson titles 1
Years County
1997–2006 Galway
Inter-county titles
Connacht titles 5
All-Irelands 2
All Stars 3

Michael Donnellan (born 28 February 1977) is a former inter-county Gaelic footballer for Galway. He is the son of former politician and footballer, John Donnellan and grandson of politician and footballer Michael Donnellan. All them have captained the Galway football team in their careers. Michael was one of the most exciting players in the GAA during his playing career.

Playing career

Donnellan first came to prominence as a member of the talented St. Jarlath's College team of the early nineties. He played a crucial role in their Hogan Cup winning season of 1994, alongside future Galway team-mate Padraic Joyce. They reached the Connacht final the following year but lost out to their biggest rivals, St.Patricks. He would later once more star alone side Joyce with the Tralee IT team that won the 1998 Sigerson Cup.

In 1998, Donnellan won his first All-Ireland medal, as part of the Galway side that won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 1998. During the first half of the final against Kildare, Donnellan picked up the ball inside the heart of his own defence and proceeded to go on an amazing run, soloing the length of the field while exchanging a one-two with Kevin Walsh in the midfield. As he approached the Kildare goal, he laid the ball off to Derek Savage who passed to Sean Óg De Paor. De Paor slotted the ball over the bar. The score re-invigorated the Galway team, who were losing at the time. Donnellan's overall performance inspired Galway to their first football title in 32 years and completed a unique hat-trick of senior All-Ireland medals for his family, as he followed in the footsteps of his father John (1966) and his grandfather Mick (1925). The final score was 1–14 to 1–10. That solo run was later voted No.1 in the Top 20 GAA Moments, in 2003. He was named All Stars Footballer of the Year and Texaco Footballer of the Year that year.

After reaching another final in 2000, losing out to Kerry after a replay, Donnellan & Galway returned to win the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. After losing to Roscommon in the Connacht semi-final, Galway entered the newly introduced back-door qualifiers and defeated Wicklow, Armagh and Cork to reach the quarter-finals. They gained revenge over Roscommon with 0–14 to 1–05 victory to reach the semi-finals, where they defeated Derry by 3 points. In the final, they outclassed a Meath team by 0–17 to 0–08. Once again, Donnellan was named All Stars Footballer of the Year for his efforts.

Donnellan went on to win an All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship with his adopted club Salthill-Knocknacarra in 2005. He gave a man of the match performance in the final where Salthill narrowly edged out Antrim club St. Galls.

After being hampered by injury in recent years, Donnellan pulled the curtain down on a career at the end of the 2006 season, a career during which he won nearly ever honour in the game.

League of Ireland

In December 1999 Donnellan signed for Don O'Riordan at Galway United for the rest of the 1999-2000 League of Ireland season. [1]


  1. PHILIP QUINN and TOM O'RIORDAN (31 December 1999). "Galway coup as GAA ace Donnellan switches codes". The Irish Independent. p. H1. |url={{http://www.independent.ie/sport/galway-coup-as-gaa-ace-donnellan-switches-codes-26130477.html}}
Preceded by
Maurice Fitzgerald
All Stars Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by
Trevor Giles
Preceded by
Johnny Crowley
All Stars Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by
Kieran McGeeney
Preceded by
Maurice Fitzgerald
Texaco Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by
Trevor Giles
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