Kieran Donaghy: From getting brought off in a Junior C match to becoming a Kerry legend 5 years ago

Kieran Donaghy: From getting brought off in a Junior C match to becoming a Kerry legend

Kieran Donaghy was this close to jacking in the football.

Fellas were calling him a waste of space, he was feeling too much pressure in that environment, he wasn't performing and, to top it all off, he was actually a star on the basketball court.


He didn't need football. He didn't need the hassle.

The Kerry legend's new book, 'Kieran Donaghy: What do you think of that' has been released and it tells the remarkable story of a remarkable journey of one underrated Austin Stacks man who might never have gotten the chance to roar down the lens at Joe Brolly if he had listened to his doubters.


In 2016, the All-Ireland winner - who retired today with a beautiful poem - sat down with Colm Parkinson for SportsJOE's GAA Hour and recounted one under-16 loss as a bleak example; a time that saw him come face to face with one of his biggest critics.

Whilst him and his mates sat feeling sorry for themselves playing Pro Evolution Soccer and Donaghy was still reeling from the mistake that cost Stacks the game, his friend's dad came in and let rip.

"'Jesus, that full forward. Jesus Christ, where'd you get him? He's useless altogether,'" Donaghy reenacted the encounter.

"I put my head up and said, 'Sorry, Mr Lynch, that was me. I know I'm useless. I know I'm a waste of space.' And he just kind of said, 'Oh, well you gave it your best,' and he just walked out of the room.'"

By that stage, he was captain of the Ireland basketball team and ready to just focus on that. But the rise has been extraordinary.


Even now though, he's humble about his skills.

"I've always been the man who wins the ball and gives it off. Even my scores have come more out of necessity than choice. I never really took a shot unless I was pretty sure I was going to score."

Listen to his fascinating experiences silencing the critics the whole way throughout his career on The GAA Hour below (from around the 19:00 mark). This really is an inspiring story.