Odhran Mac Niallais
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Odhr%C3%A1n Mac Niallais

Odhrán Mac Niallais
Mac Niallais in the Gaoth Dobhair colours
Personal information
Irish name Odhrán Mac Niallais[1]
Sport Gaelic football
Position Midfield/Forward
Born (1992-08-17) 17 August 1992 (age 28)
Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Years Club
Gaoth Dobhair
Club titles
Donegal titles 1
Ulster titles 1
Years County
Inter-county titles
Ulster titles 2

Odhrán Mac Niallais (born 17 August 1992) is an Irish Gaelic footballer who plays for Gaoth Dobhair and, formerly, the Donegal county team.

With two Ulster Senior Football Championships to his name, Mac Niallais was a prominent feature of the Donegal midfield between 2014 and 2018. He is regarded nationally as "one of the most naturally gifted footballers in Ireland".[2]

He won an Ulster Senior Club Football Championship with Gaoth Dobhair in 2018.

Early life

He is a relative of Donnacha Mac Niallais.[3][clarification needed]

Playing career


Mac Niallais won the 2018 Donegal Senior Football Championship, scoring eight points (including six frees) in the final to help Gaoth Dobhair to their first Donegal senior championship since 2006, and being awarded man of the match.[4]

Mac Niallais then starred in Gaoth Dobhair's first ever Ulster Senior Club Football Championship-winning campaign later in 2018. In the Ulster semi-final defeat of Crossmaglen Rangers at Healy Park in Omagh, Mac Niallais scored four points, including one free.[5] In the final against Scotstown, Mac Niallais was again awarded the "Laoch na hImeartha" (man of the match) after scoring four points, including three frees.[6][7][8]


Mac Niallais was first called into the Donegal senior team as an 18-year-old in the winter of 2011 by manager Jim McGuinness. He played in the 2012 Dr McKenna Cup but injuries hampered his progress that year for club and county.[9] He returned to training ahead of the next season and played in the 2013 Dr McKenna Cup.[10][11] During that competition, he scored an early goal against St Mary's in a one-point win at MacCumhaill Park.[12] In the 2013 National Football League he made substitute appearances against Down in the second game and against Dublin in Donegal's final league game of the season, both in Ballybofey.[13][14][15] He also played in the under-21 team that lost to Cavan in the 2013 Ulster final.[16]

Mac Niallais arrived in 2014 having played around a half-an-hour of meaningful senior inter-county football for Donegal.[17] That year would bring his first league start - against Laois at O'Moore Park. He palmed home a goal in the twelfth minute and scored a point later in the same match.[18] The year also brought games in the Senior Championship for Mac Niallais for the first time. Called onto the field when Donegal were forced to make emergency reparations to the midfield following injuries to Rory Kavanagh and Neil Gallagher, Mac Niallais scored four points and collected the man of the match award in the Ulster semi-final against Antrim at Clones.[9][19][20] He then won his first Ulster senior title, helping himself to three points in the final against Monaghan.[21][22]

Under the management of Rory Gallagher, Mac Niallais scored a 52nd-minute goal against Derry from a distance of 20 metres in the opening fixture of the 2015 National Football League.[23]

He scored 1-4 against Cork in the 2016 National Football League.[24]

Mac Niallais scored a brace in the seven-point 2016 Ulster Senior Football Championship quarter-final victory over Fermanagh.[25] He scored another goal in the 55th minute of the semi-final against Monaghan.[26]

He later left the Donegal team.[27] He headed stateside.[28]

Mac Niallais returned to the Donegal team under the management of Declan Bonner in 2018.[27] He scored 1-2 against Kerry in the opening round of the 2018 National Football League in Killarney and repeated the feat against Tyrone in Omagh during the fifth round of fixtures.[29][30] He started the final and scored a point as Donegal secured the 2018 Ulster Senior Football Championship.[31]

Following the death of a clubmate in a car accident in January 2019, Mac Niallais opted out of the Donegal panel that year.[32] He thus missed out on the 2019 Ulster Senior Football Championship, which Donegal won.[33] But from September 2019, Mac Niallais met regularly with county manager Bonner.[2] By November, Mac Niallais had decided to return to the team.[2] "At the same time", Mac Niallais later said, "it was still in the back of my mind to go away. I did say that to [Declan] and he was fine with it".[2] In December 2019, Bonner confirmed that Mac Niallais had opted out of the Donegal panel for 2020.[34] In February 2020, Mac Niallais moved to Crouch End, close to Britain's Alexandra Palace, with the intention of playing football for North London Shamrocks.[2] He had contemplated going to join friends in Sydney; however, the arrival of a then 18-month-old godson convinced him to remain closer to family.[2] In March 2020, he spoke about the intensity of committing to inter-county football: "Your life's completely taken over by it. It's gone to extreme levels where personally, I don't know. I wasn't built for that kinda stuff. I obviously used to love it but after a few years of doing it, I nearly had enough of it. I wouldn't be a big fan of the travelling. If training was down in Magheragallon every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, I'd be there every time, I'd play for Donegal no bother".[2]

Personal life

He plays golf (reaching a handicap of 9 in late 2020) at his local club, located close to the Gaoth Dobhair GAA club's base.[2] He has also been a regular snooker player in Letterkenny.[2]


Gaoth Dobhair
  • All Star nomination: 2014[32]
  • Midfield on the AIB Club Team of the Year: April 2019[32]
  • Ulster Senior Club Football Championship Final "Laoch na hImeartha": 2018[6]
  • Donegal Senior Football Championship Final "Laoch na hImeartha": 2018[4]
  • Séamus Mac Géidigh Award: 2018[35]


  1. ^ "Countdown to Croker: Donegal name 'team' for All-Ireland final". 20 September 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i O'Kane, Cahair (28 March 2020). "London life lifting Odhrán MacNiallais out of a rut". The Irish News. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ McNulty, Chris (3 May 2020). "Charlie McGeever and a tale of Cup finals, World Cup winners -- and ones that got away". Retrieved 2020. McGeever was joined by Donnacha Mac Niallais, Pauric Gallagher... 'Odhrán Mac Niallais didn't lick his talent off the table; Donnacha for instance was a great player'.
  4. ^ a b Campbell, Peter (21 October 2018). "Gaoth Dobhair end 12 years of pain with dominant display". RTÉ Sport. Archived from the original on 21 October 2018.
  5. ^ Mooney, Francis (18 November 2018). "Gaoth Dobhair on the goal trail to book maiden Ulster final spot". RTÉ Sport. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f McIntyre, Niall. "Odhran Mac Niallais sums up what club is all about in one powerful post-match interview". JOE.ie. Archived from the original on 3 December 2018.
  7. ^ Boyle, Donnchadh (3 December 2018). "Composed Ferry has final say as Gaoth Dobhair see off Scotstown: Carey sees red as Monaghan men come up just short in Ulster decider". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ Mooney, Francis (2 December 2018). "Gaoth Dobhair edge out Scotstown in extra-time to win historic Ulster title". RTÉ Sport. Archived from the original on 3 December 2018.
  9. ^ a b Duggan, Keith (24 June 2014). "Odhrán MacNiallais now at the heart of Donegal's championship drive: Gweedore man repaying the faith Jim McGuinness has shown in him". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2014. Yesterday, he was at the heart of Donegal's drive to a fourth consecutive Ulster final and finished his day in front of the television cameras accepting his first man-of-the-match award in the competition. [...] Both of MacNiallais's championship starts have had a touch of improvisation about them. Just as they did against Derry, the Donegal management was forced to make emergency reparations to its midfield after Rory Kavanagh was unable to recover full fitness and Neil Gallagher broke down after 17 minutes. [...] The Gweedore man was just 18 when McGuinness first called him into the squad and ran the eye over him in McKenna Cup games against Tyrone and Fermanagh in the winter of 2011. Injuries upset his progression that season, curtailing his club career also and it wasn't until last year that he resumed county training.
  10. ^ McNulty, Chris (3 January 2013). "Experimental Donegal for McKenna Cup". Donegal News. Retrieved 2013.
  11. ^ "Mac Niallais catches eye". Irish Independent. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  12. ^ O'Toole, Fintan (16 January 2013). "Dr McKenna Cup semi-final line-up confirmed while Mayo win in FBD League". The42.ie. Retrieved 2013.
  13. ^ "Donegal too good for Down". Donegal Democrat. 9 February 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  14. ^ "Donegal 1-10 Dublin 0-13". RTÉ Sport. 7 April 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  15. ^ Keys, Colm (9 April 2013). "Donegal - the only team to embrace the drop". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2013.
  16. ^ "Ulster U21 Final Live: Donegal 1-06 v Cavan 0-13". Donegal Now. 10 April 2013. Archived from the original on 20 December 2013. Retrieved 2013. And the second half is underway. Odhran MacNiallais breaks through, but his goal chance goes wide. Donegal are looking a lot livelier already.
  17. ^ McNulty, Chris (3 March 2014). "Odhrán MacNiallais now at home in Donegal's first XV". Donegal News. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ McNulty, Chris (6 February 2014). "Odhrán MacNiallais hoping for extended run in Donegal team". Donegal News. Retrieved 2014.
  19. ^ "Donegal 3-16 Antrim 0-12". RTÉ Sport. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ McNulty, Chris (23 June 2014). "Odhrán MacNiallais taking his chance with Donegal". Donegal News. Retrieved 2014.
  21. ^ "Monaghan 1-09 Donegal 0-15". RTÉ Sport. 20 July 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ "Donegal reverse 2013 result to claim Ulster football title". The42.ie. 20 July 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  23. ^ "Gallagher delighted with early statement as McBrearty steps up". Irish Independent. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  24. ^ "Cork crash to 10-point defeat as impressive Donegal go top of Division 1: Goals from Odhrán MacNiallais and Martin O'Reilly spurred Donegal to victory". The42.ie. 7 February 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ Mooney, Francis (12 June 2016). "Odhran Mac Niallais brace powers Donegal into Ulster semi-finals". RTÉ Sport. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ Mooney, Francis (25 June 2016). "Monaghan and Donegal draw in Ulster thriller". RTÉ Sport. Retrieved 2016. Conor McManus came to the Farney County's rescue with three late frees, after their 14-man opponents had pushed ahead with an Odhran MacNiallais goal on 55 minutes.
  27. ^ a b McNulty, Chris (9 March 2018). "Exclusive: 2012 All-Ireland winner to return from Donegal exile". Retrieved 2018.
  28. ^ McNulty, Chris (24 September 2017). "Odhrán Mac Niallais and Leo McLoone set for Donegal returns: Duo opted out of panel in 2017 and have spent summer playing in New York". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ O'Toole, Fintan (28 January 2018). "Casey hits winning point, O'Shea fires 0-7 and 3 red cards shown in Kerry Donegal clash". The42.ie. Retrieved 2018.
  30. ^ Bogue, Declan (10 March 2018). "Two-goal Tyrone move closer to safety with big win over Donegal in Omagh". The42.ie. Retrieved 2018.
  31. ^ Mooney, Francis (24 June 2018). "Energetic Donegal end Fermanagh's Ulster title dream". RTÉ Sport. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  32. ^ a b c O'Brien, Kevin (15 April 2019). "MacNiallais: 'I'm not going back. I just have no real interest in football at the minute': The Gaoth Dobhair midfielder won't be involved with Donegal this summer". The42.ie. Retrieved 2019.
  33. ^ Sweeney, Peter (23 June 2019). "Donegal power past Cavan to claim Ulster title". RTÉ Sport. Retrieved 2019.
  34. ^ "No Donegal return for Odhrán Mac Niallais in 2020, manager confirms". 30 December 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  35. ^ "Odhrán Mac Niallais to receive 2018 Séamus Mac Géidigh Award". Highland Radio. 14 November 2018. Retrieved 2018.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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