“I always lived there and I went to primary school in Dungannon. All of my friends were Dungannon Clarkes boys and I sort of nearly always found myself up at Clarkes training even though I wasn’t playing with them.”
Tyrone Gaelic football star Paul Donaghy was one of the best players in the 2020 GAA club championships.
Many observers could not understand how he wasn’t part of the Tyrone panel after excelling in Dungannon Thomas Clarkes shock championship success.
It was Donaghy’s first season playing with the club however, as he had transferred from neighbours Edendork St. Malachy’s.
The Tyrone footballer stated the reason that he switched allegiances.
Dungannon Clarkes beat Trillick in the Tyrone senior final.
“I live in Dungannon. I always lived there and I went to primary school in Dungannon. All of my friends were Dungannon Clarkes boys and I sort of nearly always found myself up at Clarkes training even though I wasn’t playing with them,” Donaghy said.
“I just always wanted to play with my best friends and I just thought that it was the best time to do it and it turned out well so far. I really enjoyed it.”
Paul Donaghy won a senior championship medal in his first year with the club.
Dungannon went to extra-time in all four of their wins in last years competition. A unique feature of the Tyrone senior football championship is that every game is knock-out.
This year’s inter-county championship will mirror that format and Donaghy admitted he is a fan of the straight knock-out approach.
“It definitely has positives and negatives but I am a fan of it. There is this idea that once you knock out a big team it means you don’t have to face them again and other teams can knock out big teams for you,” he said.
“It means you maybe only have to win three or four games to lift the cup which can be difficult to because if you’re beat you’re out but it can make it that bit easier for teams at times.”
Cathal McShane is close to returning but Darragh Canavan is still injured.
Donaghy remarked how Tyrone star Cathal McShane is back training with the squad and is close to playing a competitive match.
“Cathal has been back training for a while now and he’s looking good,” the Dungannon star said.
“He had a really difficult injury to manage and he had a lot of difficulty with it but he’s really mentally strong and he’s fighting his way back through.
“I’d say he’ll feature soon. It’s just going to depend on management and what way they think he’s going but he’s doing well.”
The injury news is not as positive for Darragh Canavan who has not returned to the fold yet.
“He’ll be a wee bit longer. I don’t actually know how long but he hasn’t returned yet,” the Tyrone player said.
Tyrone have a terrible recent record against Dublin, Kerry and Mayo.
Tyrone have not beaten Dublin, Kerry or Mayo in a knock-out clash since 2008 and Donaghy admitted that record it is a concern for his team.
“Yeah it definitely is. It’s a fact and we just have to go and try change that fact,” Donaghy said when asked did the record concern him.
“Maybe there’s a reason for it, maybe on those days Tyrone teams haven’t been good enough.
“Obviously playing and being amongst those players at the minute, we’d have ambitions of being able to beat teams like that on those days in the near future.”
Paul Donaghy was speaking at AIB’s launch of the 2021 GAA All-Ireland senior football championship.