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How Kieran Donaghy Got The Nickname 'Star'

How Kieran Donaghy Got The Nickname 'Star'

There are some great GAA nicknames - Fingers, Blue Panther, Sambo.

How players received them is often the source of much speculation. Bubbles O'Dwyer got his due to his hairiness as a baby.

After his breakthrough with Kerry 12 years ago, Kieran Donaghy - who today retired from inter-county football - became known nationwide as 'Star' but he was known as such in Tralee for many years before that.

In his autobiography, 'What Do You Think Of That?' -  superbly co-written with Kieran Shannon - Donaghy dispelled some of the myths regarding the source of his nickname.

It was not for his ability to jump. Nor was it because he often wore an Orlando Magic jacket - the NBA team's logo features a star. Donaghy was named Star by his second cousin Aidan who runs The Greyhound bar in Tralee.

After a bad experience playing U16 football and nearly a year away from it, he was coaxed back to football by Aidan (who Donaghy refers to as his uncle) to play for the Austin Stacks C team.

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How did Kieran Donaghy get his nickname?

After Donaghy won an international tournament with the Irish U17 basketball team and then played corner forward for Stacks the following day as they won a junior league title, Aidan coined the nickname. It quickly became his informal name both in and outside of the bar.

He’d also give me my nickname around that time. Well, him and a certain Monday night regular. I’d just got back from captaining the Irish Under-17 basketball team to that Four Nations tournament win. The C team had a junior league final replay on the bank holiday Monday and we’d won, so afterwards when I was working in The Greyhound, Aidan saluted me before a few punters. “Beat England on the Sunday! Then Annascaul the Monday! What a star!”

John The Mop was perched by the counter. “I’ll have a pint of porter there so, STARRRRRRR!”

Soon it had caught on with everyone in there. Donie would spot me daydreaming or yapping with someone. “Come on to fuck out of your spaceship, Star!”

To this day when I pop the head in to see Aidan and the gang down there, they’ll all greet me the same: “Hey, Star!”

So that’s how it started, before I ever slipped on a Kerry jersey, or even an Orlando Magic jacket with its signature blue star. With a typically affectionate line from Aidan and a typically droll quip from John The Mop.

See Also: Kieran Donaghy Explains How Joe Brolly Spite Motivated Him To All-Ireland Success

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