John Donnellan

John F. Donnellan (born 27 March 1937) is an Irish former politician and sportsman. He served as a Fine Gael Teachta Dála (TD) for twenty-five years.[1] He played Gaelic football with his local club Dunmore McHales and with the Galway senior inter-county team in the 1960s.[2]

John Donnellan
Personal information
Irish name Seán Ó Domhnalláin
Sport Gaelic Football
Position Right Half Back
Born (1937-03-27) 27 March 1937 (age 83)
Dunmore, Ireland
Occupation Politician
Years Club
Dunmore McHales
Club titles
Galway titles 4
Connacht titles 2
Years County
Inter-county titles
Connacht titles 6
All-Irelands 3

Early and private lifeEdit

John Donnellan was born in Dunmore, County Galway in 1937. He was born into a family that had strong interests in both Gaelic games and Irish politics. His father, Michael Donnellan, had won an All-Ireland medal with Galway in 1925, later becoming a Teachta Dála for the Clann na Talmhan political party. John Donnellan would go on to follow in his father's footsteps in both of these pursuits. John's son, Michael, would also go on to play football for Galway, winning All-Ireland medals in 1998 and 2001.[2]

Playing careerEdit


Donnellan played his club football with the Dunmore McHales club in the north of County Galway. He enjoyed much success with the club, beginning in 1961 when he won a senior county championship for the first time. In 1962 Donnellan won a county league medal before claiming a second county championship title in 1963. This last win was later converted into a Connacht club football championship. In 1966 Donnellan's club completed the double of county league and county championship victories. He completed a great run of success by capturing back-to-back county championship and Connacht club titles in 1968 and 1969.


Donnellan's career as an inter-county footballer began in the late 1950s. He won an All-Ireland title with the Galway junior team in 1958 and he quickly joined the senior side. Two years later in 1960 Donnellan won his first Connacht title, however, Galway were later defeated in the All-Ireland semi-final. Three years later in 1963 he captured a second provincial title; however on that occasion Dublin defeated the men from the west in the All-Ireland final. In 1964 Donnellan was appointed captain of the Galway team. That year he won a third Connacht title before leading his team out in the All-Ireland final against Kerry. Galway were victorious on that day by five points and Donnellan captured his first All-Ireland medal. His moment of triumph was short-lived as, shortly after hoisting the Sam Maguire Cup, he learned that his father Michael had died in the Hogan Stand shortly before the start of the second-half.

In 1965 Donnellan added a fourth provincial medal to his collection. In the subsequent All-Ireland final against Kerry he was sent off but Galway were still victorious, giving Donnellan a second consecutive All-Ireland medal. The following year he won a fifth Connacht Championship title before qualifying for a fourth consecutive All-Ireland final appearance. Galway had a six-point win over Meath thus giving Donnellan a third consecutive All-Ireland medal and establishing that Galway team as one of the greatest of all time. In 1967 he won a Railway Cup medal with Connacht before winning a sixth and final provincial medal in 1968. Donnellan retired from inter-county football shortly after.

Political careerEdit

Donnellan's father Michael died suddenly in September 1964, and at the resulting by-election in December John was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fine Gael TD for the Galway East constituency. He succeeded of election to the next eight Dáileanna, albeit with changes of constituency; to Galway North-East in 1969, back to Galway East in 1977, and - for the last eight years of his Dáil tenure - to Galway West.[3] From 1982 to 1987 Donnellan served as a Minister of State, first at the Departments of Transport and Posts and Telegraphs, and then at the Department of Health. He retired from politics at the 1989 general election.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "John F. Donnellan". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b "The Donnellan dynasty". Irish Independent. 20 May 2006.
  3. ^ "John F. Donnellan". Retrieved 27 September 2012.
Gaelic games
Preceded by
Des Foley
All-Ireland Senior Football winning captain
Succeeded by
Enda Colleran