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How Chelsea Winning The Champions League Cost Kieran Donaghy His Kerry Place

How Chelsea Winning The Champions League Cost Kieran Donaghy His Kerry Place

Kieran Donaghy's autobigraphy What Do You Think Of That? was a remarkable read, but one of the more interesting stories revolved around the Kerry GAA star's love of a different sport.

In the book, Donaghy revealed how travelling to support Chelsea in the Champions League final in Munich in 2012 - as well as having to find a missing dog - cost him his place in the Kerry side for their opening game of the Championship that year.

Kerry manager Jack O'Connor would drop him for the first round of the 2012 Munster championship against Tipperary. Donaghy explained how he told O'Connor he was heading to the final - with plane tickets and hotel room booked - and was met with the response:

No, I’m not happy about this. If you go to that f***in’ match, you won’t be starting next weekend!

Donaghy admits his own contrary nature - "whenever someone says I can’t do something, I want to do it" - made it almost obligatory then for him to go to the game. When he's in Munich and Colm Cooper, the Kerry skipper that year, rings him up to investigate his whereabouts, that nature comes out once more.

It results in the brilliant image of 'Star', surrounded by 'Norf Landan' Chelsea hardcores, belting out RAF songs.

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'If he wants to drop me over going to see them play in a Champions League final, he can f***in’ drop me.'

I hang up the phone in a temper. I hadn’t planned on drinking, but f***it, I’m drinking now. I go into the nearest pub and have a few jugs of beer before meeting the lads.

Trying to get my head around that I’ve just been dropped for the first time since I broke onto the team, yet make sure it doesn’t spoil being at one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

A little while later I’m buzzing. I’ve met up with Gerry Rochford’s friend, Denis Diggins, a Mayo man who secured us the tickets.

We join in with all the Chelsea fans, chanting to the tune of She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain:

'There were eleven German bombers in the air

There were eleven German bombers in the air… …

And the RAF of Chelsea shot one down,

The RAF of Chelsea shot one down!'

Donaghy was certainly his own man, the type of character we don't see in the GAA all too often in the modern era.

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