Eoghan O’Donnell has stressed that his main focus is on Dublin’s hurling team, after a brief spell with his county’s senior footballers.
The Whitehall Colmcille man captained Dublin’s hurling team this year, although despite a notable victory against Wexford, the Dubs didn’t progress past the Leinster Championship, which left O’Donnell with some spare time.
Dublin football manager Dessie Farrell jumped on the opportunity to bring O’Donnell into his panel, and he made his debut for his county’s senior footballers in the All-Ireland quarter-final victory against Cork.
O’Donnell was speaking at the launch of Dublin’s new jersey, and revealed that while he isn’t ruling out a return to inter-county football, he is primarily focused on making an impact under new Dublin hurling manager Micheál Donoghue.
Eoghan O’Donnell is focused on Dublin hurling.
“We believe massively in what we’re doing in Dublin hurling and that’s where a lot of my loyalties lie,” O’Donnell said.
“It was a big surprise to me to get the call from Dessie; he reached out and I took the opportunity with both hands. It was a new environment, different people, with different approaches, so the challenge was there.
“Micheál [Donoghue] now has a fresh panel of 40-plus people and I have to earn my stripes again. As of now, I’m looking forward to the whole hurling side of things again. I have put a lot of time and effort over the last nine, ten years into it.
“I’m not ruling out a return [to the footballers]. I have quite a busy job, personal life. People are trying to get away travelling these days, so I can’t comment as a 27-year-old on what I’ll be doing in a couple of years’ time.”
— Dublin GAA (@DubGAAOfficial) November 17, 2022
Whitehall Colmcille’s rise in prominence.
O’Donnell is just one of several Whitehall Colmcille players representing Dublin at a senior level, as himself and Daire Gray are key members of the hurling panel, while Cormac Costello and Lee Gannon play for the footballers.
Costello was the first of the current crop to make the breakthrough at inter-county level, as he made his debut for Dublin in 2013, which made him the first Whitehall player in many years to make the step up.
He is in good company now however, and O’Donnell has put Whitehall’s recent ability to produce inter-county players down to the dedication of coaches at the club.
“The answer to that is quite easy, it’s just the sheer amount of work going in at underage in the club. We have a lot of really good mentors who are technically good and also very selfless with their time,” O’Donnell explained.
“At any given night nearly in Parnell Park there’s a coaches’ session and you can find any number of Whitehall people down at it. So it’s just the sheer amount of work.
“If you look at the age profile of both our senior football and senior hurling team, I just turned 27 last week and I think I’m maybe the second oldest bar maybe Cormac.
“So the age profile has gotten so young and these lads have been doing gym programmes from such a young age. It’s a very exciting time to be part of Whitehall.”
Zimbabwe-born GAA star.
O’Donnell’s background differs to most involved in the GAA, as he was born in Zimbabwe to Irish parents, and he spent roughly the first seven years of his life enjoying the sunshine the African nation has to offer.
It didn’t take long for him to settle in at Whitehall Colmcille after making the move to Ireland however, as his talent was quickly recognised at the club.
“Both my parents were working with a charity in Botswana and Zimbabwe and they lived there for about 10 years. So me and my three brothers were born over there,” O’Donnell explained.
“I think I was about six, going on seven when I came to Ireland. Both my parents had been involved in the GAA, my dad played football in Roscommon. So they’re both as into the GAA as any Irish people really.
“We moved into the Whitehall area, so my parents had no massive loyalties to any club, but we were in the catchment area. So a leaflet came through the door and we went up to the under eights or under sevens, and we all joined in.
“Really it was the best thing for us because straight away you had a group of mates and people to help you adapt and help you get over the culture differences. It didn’t hurt that we weren’t too bad at the sport either.”
Dublin GAA launched their new jersey today at AIG’s Head Office. Main sponsor, AIG, continue their proud sponsorship of Dublin GAA across all 4 codes as Dublin GAA’s newest kit hits the shelves.
Dublin players Eoghan O’Donnell, Lee Gannon, Leah Caffery and Emma O’Byrne were on hand to reveal the new jersey at its launch in the capital. The Dublin GAA players will debut the jersey in the 2023 season.
The Dublin GAA jersey is available to purchase from Intersport Elverys both online at www.elverys.ie and in stores nationwide. Intersport Elverys is the official retail partner of Dublin GAA.
The new jersey will go on sale on Thursday November 17th and will initially be available through our retail partner Intersport Elverys and our technical partner O’Neills and then available from other retailers from Friday December 16th.