Stephen O'Neill - The former Tyrone star who won all there is to win 1 year ago

Stephen O'Neill - The former Tyrone star who won all there is to win

Two All-Ireland minor titles, two All-Ireland u21 titles, three All-Ireland senior titles, and now an All-Ireland Masters title.

Last Saturday, Stephen O'Neill ran back the years as he not only represented Tyrone once again, but won yet another All-Ireland with the Red Hand county.


Tyrone beat Dublin in the Masters final, in a game that also saw former superstars Ryan McMenamin and Conor Gormley tog out for the white and red again. However, it was all about one man.

The Clann na nGael clubman has officially become the first ever player to win an All-Ireland title for his county at minor, u21, senior and now, Masters level.

It isn't just All-Irelands that take up room in the O'Neill trophy cabinet either, as he has a very impressive collection of personal accolades as well.

Stephen O'Neill's county career


The firing forward came through the same Tyrone development teams that were managed by Mickey Harte, so when it came to his Tyrone senior career taking off, it was only fitting that Harte was at the helm then as well.

In 2003, when the Ulster side finally got over the line to win their first ever All-Ireland title, O'Neill played a key role, but perhaps not the one he wanted, as he started the final against Armagh on the bench.

Of course he had one of the last says in the game, coming on the field to kick two wonderful scores, thus cementing his name forever with this legendary team.


However, when Tyrone's second All-Ireland success came in 2005, the sharp shooter was very much the main man of this squad, despite the side boasting other top quality forwards such as Owen Mulligan, Brian McGuigan, and God himself Peter Canavan.

No game better displays the true power of Stephen O'Neill than the 2005 Ulster final against Armagh, when he came up against one of the most highly respected, feared, and relentless full backs to ever play the game, Francie Bellew.

This man had made a career of turning forwards inside out, making big men look small, and stopping the seemingly unstoppable, but the Red Hand forward was at the peak of his powers that day.

After kicking an unbelievable 10 points in the match, Bellew returned to the dressing room, looked at his Armagh teammates and said "I never want to see Stephen O'Neill again in my life."


The end of that year saw O'Neill pick up the 2005 Player of the Year award, and confirmed his status as not only the best forward in the country, but the best player - full stop.

Injuries blighted his next two seasons, and despite not even being 30, he opted to retire from the county and focus on his club.

Stephen O'Neill's third All-Ireland


In a bizarre series of events, Tyrone made the 2008 final that year against Kerry, and although O'Neill wasn't involved, his form during the club season was so impressive, that Mickey Harte asked him to join the panel for the final.

The comeback king came off the bench in the first half, and despite not getting on the scoresheet, helped his side get over the line to win a historic third All-Ireland.

However, an emotional O'Neill didn't want to claim his medal, believing that he hadn't done enough to join in on the '08 success.

Stephen O'Neill

Determined to continue his Tyrone career now, he was a stalwart in the forward line for his county right up until 2014.

Over the course of this unbelievable career, he has picked up five Ulster titles, three All-Ireland titles, three All-Stars, and the Player of the Year award.

After representing Tyrone 30 times, he has racked up an impressive tally of seven goals, and a crazy 114 points for his county.

Now with the Masters All-Ireland tucked into his back pocket as well, we might be lucky enough to see a few more flashes of the O'Neill brilliance for a few more years yet.