GAA star Donaghy reveals drink ruined father’s life

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From the Irish Independent

ALL-IRELAND-winning Kerry footballer Kieran Donaghy has spoken for the first time about his difficult relationship with his father.

In a candid and emotional interview with the Irish Independent, the former GAA All-Star has opened up about his father Oliver’s lonely death in his native Tyrone last March.

He explains how alcohol and gambling ruined his father’s life but how he would have been proud of the minute’s silence in his honour as his son lined out for Kerry against Cork in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

The soon-to-be-married 29-year-old put it bluntly when he spoke of his father’s battle with alcohol, saying: “He had everything. He had a great family, a fantastic wife, and ended up losing that.


“I felt sorry for him more than anything else. He just f****d up his life and ended up in a one-room apartment with his dog.”

The three-time All-Ireland medal winner said that they had a difficult relationship over the years.

“My relationship with him, at times, wouldn’t have been great. At other times, it would have been good.

“We could be good friends, then we’d fall out over something,” he said, citing one occasion when he had asked his father not to speak to the media and then discovered he gave an interview to a tabloid newspaper.

But he emphasised his father’s love of Gaelic football and support of his exploits on the field, saying: “Look, he travelled the length and breadth of the country looking at football.”

Mr Donaghy played for Kerry the weekend he learned of his father’s death, in a National League game against Cork.

He said the crowd in Pairc Ui Chaoimh honoured his father’s passing with a minute’s silence, adding: “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

“It was obviously sad but, at the same time, I could imagine him thinking, ‘It’s great that they’re all standing up for me!’ He’d have been delighted with that.”

see sport: Pages 66-67