Donegal GAA

The Donegal County Board (Irish: Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Coiste Dhún na nGall) or Donegal GAA is one of 32 County Boards of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Ireland, and is responsible for the administration of Gaelic games in County Donegal.

Donegal GAA
Donegal gaa crest.png
Irish:Dún na nGall
Nickname(s):The Tír Conaill Men
County colours:        
Ground(s):MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey
Dominant sport:Gaelic football
NFL:Division 1
NHL:Division 3A
Football Championship:Sam Maguire Cup
Hurling Championship:Nicky Rackard Cup
Ladies' Gaelic football:Brendan Martin Cup
Camogie:O'Duffy Cup
Standard kit
Regular kit
Change kit

The County Board is responsible for preparing the Donegal county teams in the various Gaelic sporting codes; football, hurling, camogie and handball.

The football team last won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 2012 and the Ulster Senior Football Championship in 2019. Donegal players comprised most of the 2012 All Stars Team of the Year, and the three nominations for the All Stars Footballer of the Year, ultimately won by Karl Lacey.[1] In addition, having been invited to assist the Celtic soccer team in Scotland, Donegal manager Jim McGuinness became the first Gaelic football inter-county manager to have been offered a role at a professional sports team abroad.[2] McGuinness's services have also been sought by Premier League soccer teams.[3]


Charlie O'Donnell resigned as County Secretary for personal reasons 15 months into a seven-year contract in December 2009.[4]

When John McConnell was County Chairman[when?], he worked with Brian McEniff on plans for a divisional championship in the county; McConnell later resigned and this proposal did not go any further.[5]

Naul McCole was County Chairman in 1992 and was also a selector under Brian McEniff when Donegal won the 1992 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final.[6]

Pat Conaghan was County Chairman in 1997.[7]

Brian McEniff was County Chairman in late 2002 when, unable to find a manager for the senior football team, he did it himself.[8][9]

P. J. McGowan completed five years as County Chairman in December 2012.[10] Sean Dunnion succeeded McGowan.[11]

Colours and crestEdit

Donegal's county teams have played since their foundation in green and gold kits, which are also the colours of the board's logo and of the county crest because they recall the gold of the sandy beaches of the county and the green of the well known Hills of Donegal. Despite the colours have been always the same during the years, their disposal has been very different for much of the team's history. The classic Donegal kit was indeed composed by a green shirt with a golden hoop, white shorts and green and yellow socks (identical to Kerry). In 1966 the board opted for golden shirts[12] but they turned green after only a short period, in the 1980s also often with green shorts. In 1992, when the football team reached the All-Ireland semifinal against Mayo, they had to use a change kit[13] which was a yellow shirt with green sleeves and green shorts. Due to the unexpected victory against the favourite Connacht side, the football team decided to retain this colour combination for the final against Dublin. Donegal won their first All-Ireland title and since then the county teams have favoured a yellow/gold shirt and green shorts.[14]

Usually Donegal wore as change kit yellow shirts or black and yellow ones (recalling Ulster GAA colours). Since they use yellow as primary colour, change kits have been green or white.

Kit evolutionEdit


Gaoth Dobhair club grounds in Machaire Gathlán


The county's most successful football club is Gaoth Dobhair. Gaoth Dobhair have won the Donegal Senior Football Championship on fifteen occasions, and also won the Ulster Senior Club Football Championship in 2018.

There are currently 40 clubs under the auspices of the Donegal County Board.[15][16]

See Donegal Intermediate Football Championship and Donegal Junior Football Championship

County teamEdit

The county team came to the fore of Ulster football in the 1970s, winning their first Ulster Senior Football Championship in 1972. The win coincided with the county's first All Star—in the form of Brian McEniff—in the second year of the award's existence. A second provincial title followed for Donegal in 1974.

The county team won won a third provincial title in 1983. Fourth and fifth titles followed in 1990 and 1992. They team later qualified for the 1992 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, where they defeated heavy favourites Dublin.

Donegal last won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 2012.[17] They last won the Ulster Senior Football Championship in 2019.



Donegal Senior Hurling Championship

County teamEdit

Though hurling clubs are present in Donegal, there has been limited success for Donegal's hurlers at inter-county level. Donegal have three senior and four junior Ulster hurling titles, the last senior win coming in 1932.

Donegal has a residue of pre-GAA hurling. The Burt Hibernians brought Donegal the 1906 Ulster Senior Hurling Championship, defeating Antrim by 25 points to one. Burt later played in Derry. In 1923 Donegal fielded a team of three natives augmented with Gardaí and customs officers from hurling counties to win their second Ulster Senior Hurling Championship. When they lined out for the semi-final, wearing blue jerseys against Limerick on a cold, miserable day in Croke Park, numbers were worn by the players for the first time to help the spectators to distinguish them. They trailed 5–4 to nil at half-time and lost 7–4 to 0–1.

Donegal were National Hurling League Division Three champions in 2001.[18]

Donegal currently compete in Division 2B of the NHL and in the Christy Ring Cup.[19] They reached the final of the 2006 Nicky Rackard Cup, only to be defeated by Derry. They reached the final of the 2009 Lory Meagher Cup, only to be defeated by Tyrone. They won the 2011 Lory Meagher Cup, and then the 2013 Nicky Rackard Cup, their first, beating Roscommon in the final by four points. These games were all played at Croke Park.[20][21][22][23]


Donegal have the following achievements in hurling.

All Stars

Nicky Rackard Cup All Star Awards
  • 2006 – Danny Cullen (Setanta), Aiden Begley (Aodh Ruadh)
  • 2007 – Ger O'Dwyer (Setanta)
  • 2008 – Mickey McCann (Burt)
  • 2012 – Ardal McDermott (Burt), Lee Henderson (Seán MacCumhaills)
  • 2013 – Christy McDermott (Burt), Danny Cullen (Setanta), Sean McVeigh (St Eunan's), Lee Henderson (Seán MacCumhaills)
  • 2014 – Justin McGee (Sean MacCumhaills), Paul Sheridan
  • 2015 – Ronan McDermott (Burt), Jamsie Donnelly (Seán MacCumhaills)
  • 2016– Pádraig Doherty (Burt)
Lory Meagher Cup All Star Awards
  • 2009 – Jamsie Donnelly (Seán MacCumhaills)
  • 2010 – Paul O'Brien (Burt), Mark Patton (Four Masters), Ardal McDermott (Burt)
  • 2011 – Enda McDermott (Burt), Joe Boyle (Burt), Niall Campbell (Burt), Colm Breathnach (St Eunan's)


Donegal competed in the Ulster Senior Championship from the 1930s, hosting Antrim in Letterkenny in 1945. They succeeded in fielding a league team in the 1980s, drawing on the groundwork at Loreto, Letterkenny which fielded successful colleges teams. The Pan Celtic games of 2006 rejuvenated camogie in Donegal and the county returned to competition in the Ulster Junior Championship in 2008.[29]

Under Camogie's National Development Plan 2010–2015, "Our Game, Our Passion",[30] it was announced that Donegal, Kerry, Mayo and Monaghan were to receive a total of 14 new clubs by 2015.[31]


  1. ^ "Donegal's Karl Lacey is named Gaelic Footballer of 2012". BBC Sport. 27 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  2. ^ Moran, Seán (9 November 2012). "McGuinness move would be huge blow to Donegal". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. Retrieved 9 November 2012. Whereas the GAA has sustained a modest loss of players to the AFL over the years this is the first time that a top-rank inter-county manager has been offered a job in professional sport. McGuinness is unusual in the ranks of All-Ireland winning managers in that he has extensive academic qualifications in both sports science and sports psychology, in which he holds a masters degree.
  3. ^ "Donegal dismiss reports linking Jim McGuinness to Liverpool FC". RTÉ Sport. RTÉ. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Martin McHugh will try for a Central Council role again". BBC Sport. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  5. ^ Heaney, Paddy (25 November 2013). "The life of Brian". The Irish News. Retrieved 25 November 2013. When John McConnell resigned as chairman, the idea for a divisional championship was abandoned. But McEniff revealed that their plans had reached an advanced stage.
  6. ^ Foley, Alan (8 January 2009). "The heroes of '92 - Where are they now?". Donegal Democrat. Archived from the original on 18 December 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2009. After a quick word with county chairman and selector Naul McCole... McEniff made his move.
  7. ^ McNulty, Chris (22 September 2017). "Declan Bonner: It'll be 'all or nothing' for Donegal's 'half mad' new manager". Retrieved 22 September 2017. Anthony Molloy, Tom Connaghan[sic] and Pauric McShea all withdrew from the race and Pat Conaghan, the then County Chairman, informed Bonner at 9.29pm [on 11 August 1997] that he was the new Donegal manager.
  8. ^ Bogue, Declan (9 May 2020). "My inspirational quartet that make up Ulster GAA's Mount Rushmore". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  9. ^ McNulty, Chris (15 September 2017). "Lifetime Achievement award for Brian McEniff". Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  10. ^ McNulty, Chris (19 October 2012). "Molloy considers the top job". Donegal News. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  11. ^ "Donegal Chairman Sean Dunnion on County Convention". Highland Radio. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  12. ^ County Colours | About County | Provinces & Counties | About the GAA | Archived 5 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Mayo traditionally play in green and red with white shorts.
  14. ^ Donegal
  15. ^ Comack, Tom (7 September 2010). "County Board Briefs". Donegal Democrat. Johnston Press. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2010. Thirteen of the county's 40 clubs still do not have their registration paid and they were urged to do as a matter of urgency after the matter was raised by Dungloe delegate, Aideen Gillen, who asked should these clubs be competing in competitions. However, treasurer Grace Boyle stated that while the clubs do not have the registration paid they are registered with Croke Park.
  16. ^ McNulty, Chris (7 March 2013). "Clubs pledge €81,000 funding". Donegal News. Retrieved 7 March 2013. Donegal's forty GAA clubs have committed to contributing €81,000 to the county's coffers by August 1st to assist in a number of projects, not least the ongoing development work at Sean MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey.
  17. ^ Jackson, Lyle (23 September 2012). "Donegal 2–11 0–13 Mayo". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  18. ^ "Donegal crowned Division Three champions". RTÉ Sport. 7 July 2001.
  19. ^ "Durack ready for Ring assault". Hogan Stand. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  20. ^ "Donegal thriller at Croke Park". Inishowen News. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
  21. ^ "Donegal hurlers win the Nicky Rackard cup". Donegal Now. 8 June 2013. Archived from the original on 4 May 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  22. ^ "Nicky Rackard Cup final: to Donegal the spoils". Hogan Stand. 8 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  23. ^ "Donegal win Nicky Rackard Cup despite sending-off". 8 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  24. ^ Foley, Cliona (10 July 2009). "Donegal 'sit-in' protest over Campbell ban falls on deaf ears at Croker". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
  25. ^ "Lory Meagher Cup final: Donegal reign supreme". Hogan Stand. 4 June 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  26. ^ "Durack ready for action". Hogan Stand. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. According to manager Ray Durack, the squad has put in a huge effort so far this year in a bid to make up for last year's shortcomings.
  27. ^ "Ardal McDermott steps down as Donegal hurling boss". 5 July 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2017. The Burt clubman and former Donegal player, who retired in 2012, took over from Ray Durack in late 2015.
  28. ^ "Mickey McCann appointed Donegal hurling managerMickey McCann appointed Donegal hurling manager". Irish Examiner. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  29. ^ "Donegal v Tyrone preview on". April 2008.
  30. ^ "Final goal for camogie". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  31. ^ National Development Plan 2010–2015, Our Game, Our Passion information page on, pdf download (778k) from download site

External linksEdit

News links