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Niall “Jib” Donnelly Takes On The Murphy Gloves Q and A

Thursday 07.05.2020
Team Talk Mag

This week’s senior player Q and A in association with Murphy’s Gloves is Trillick’s Niall “Jib” Donnelly. 


1. What is your earliest GAA memory?

Going in with Dad to watch him train with Trillick and kicking about while they trained, I always remember lining up to do sprints with them and I was never too far behind Raymond Monteith I can tell you that!

2. Was your family a traditional GAA family?

Massive, Dad’s uncle Tommy McSorley was Trillick’s First ever winning Championship Captain in 1937, Dad himself has won 5 Senior Championships and 7 Division one leagues with Trillick and he played and captained Tyrone and won 3 Ulster titles with them. Dad’s brothers Gerry, Brendan and Tom also played for Trillick with Brendan and Tom playing for Tyrone as well and at one point all 3 played for the County at the same time!
Mom’s Dad Jim O’Hagan and her brother Declan also have championships to their names with Trillick so both sides of my parents were highly involved!

3. The best GAA venue you have been to?
Hard not to say Croker as it one of the biggest and best in Europe, but my favourite venue is a sunny day out in Clones, handy got to for us as well and normally in the back of Daniel McDonnell’s van!

4. School participation and/or success.
Played up to Rannafast Cup (Didn’t make the cut for the following Macrory years ) for St Michaels Enniskillen alongside my Trillick teammate and cousin Damian Kelly where we lost to St Mary’s Magherafelt in the final. Current Man Utd assistant manager Kieran McKenna was our star player on the day, scored 1-4 out of 1-8 in the final. We had a great team, many of who have went on and played County for Fermanagh and won many senior championships in Fermanagh!

5. Who were the Club/ County role models that you looked up to as a youth
Growing up role models in the club for me would have been Jody and Damian Gormley, both were on the 95 Tyrone panel that reached the All Ireland Final, still have a cap signed by the team that Damian got for me at the time!  Fearghal Donnelly and Blue McAnespy also were good role models as well, both set a good example with their professionalism towards drinking and smoking before games!

6. Other sports that you played or had an interest in.
Ha am I allowed to talk about soccer, touchy subject for me in the club!!  Currently play for Tummery, yip, some would call them a Dromore side but a Trillick man was part of the foundation of the club so its not too bad🤣 Also I’m a nice weather golfer as well. Golf is an easy way to take money off Niall Gormley and my brother Seanie when he’s not injured even for golf!

7. Most difficult opponent you have faced in club football and why?
Championship match in 2006 in Fintona, Davy Harte absolutely destroyed me, probably the worst roasting I think I ever got. I’d say Davy wouldn’t even remember being on me I was that anonymous. I think I was subbed of at half time! I remember going in with a swagger thinking I’ll  see what he’s about, got me eyes well opened, couldn’t believe the power and pace of him! Peter Canavan ended up with a hat trick that day so I think poor Prunchy took all the abuse back in the town afterwards.

8. Best player you have ever seen play Gaelic football
Ha I’m going to name 3. The obvious is Canavan, best ever, glad to have played against him a few times even though he was the main reason we lost those games. Inside my own club Mattie, can’t think of a weakness he has in the way goes about himself on and off the field! Outside of Tyrone I’ll say Trevor Howley. Trevor played for Mayo and I played alongside him during my time in Perth, unbelievable player, have met many Mayo fans and players since and nothing but admiration for him and spoke about how great he was, Rolls Royce of a player, could do it all!

9. Are you a fan of the recent rule changes?
No chance. A forward gets a free for catching a ball. Have a look at Canavan’s highlights reel on YouTube, you wouldn’t have had have them scores if he took his free for a mark. The game is going to lose great scores in return for free kicks.

10. The best GAA match that you ever watched.
Can’t remember what exactly the game was like now but it’s one that always sticks in my mind and probably will never forget – my first time in Croker, Tyrone vs Galway All Ireland Semi in 95. I remember seeing nothing like it ever before, the stadium and the noise and the roar when the teams came out. When the umpire rose the green flag for a disputed Canavan goal which crossed the line the place went bananas, what a win! Canavan was on fire that day also!

11. Apart from Trillick what other club do you like to see doing well?
Carrickmore – they were the team growing up I used to like watching, great club, passionate people about their club, love playing against them, probably my favourite ground to play on outside of Donnelly Park!

12. Your own involvement around the club.
I was recently on the fundraising committee where we organised a Jail Break event. Currently I’m on the Club committee as the representative for the senior team.

13. How important is the GAA in your community?
Massive. After our success last year you can see how much it meant, not just to the younger generation but to the older ones as well. Going back to Trillick after the county final and the streets lined from top to bottom, can’t beat it!!
You know it’s special when Turlough McNulty is in the pub enjoying himself!

14. Favourite county jersey (not Tyrone)
I’ll go Limerick as that’s who I’d cheer on in the Hurling

15. Are you a fan of penalties to decide the outcome of championship games?
Hmmm what you think after last year! But definitely wouldn’t agree with it when there are opportunities available for replays!



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