The Late James (Jimmy) O’Donnell

The death has occurred of James (Jimmy) O’Donnell

Oldfield, Knocknacarra, Galway and formerly Manorhamilton, Leitrim, Ballinrobe, Mayo and Ballyjamesduff, Cavan and retired Ulster Bank. Pre-deceased by his parents Anthony and Nancy and his sister Bríd. Sadly missed by his loving family, his sisters Mary Kerrane, Catherine Brogan, and Ann de Paor, his brother Anthony, nieces, nephews, grand nieces, grand nephews, brothers-in-law, sister-in-law, extended family, former colleagues and friends.

Funeral took place at  St. John the Apostle Church, Knocknacarra, Galway for Requiem Mass on Thursday, 3rd March, at 10.15am and afterwards to The New Cemetery, Bohermore.


Another star of the great Leitrim team of the 50’s Jimmy O Donnell  passed away this week.

While McGarty & Flynn stole the headlines Jimmy was a very accomplished midfielder who could play with  the best of them.

When Leitrim played Galway in the famous Connaught Final in 1958 Jimmy made the headlines. No less a sportswriter than Peadar O Brien of the Irish Press stated in his match report ‘ A word of praise for the wonderful find in Leitrim football, former minor Jim O Donnell. At midfield with Mick Mullen he gave McDonagh & Evers a trying time’. Said McDonagh afterwards ‘ O Donell gave me a tough hour. This lad will go places’. Some praise from the great Galway midfielder Mattie McDonagh.

Jimmy was never too far away from the headlines. In the National Football League game v Meath in 1958 which Leitrim won 4-9 to 3-5, the match report said ‘ devastating at midfield, Mick Mullen and Jimmy O Donnell  went into their work with demoniacal fury’.  An interesting fact from this game was all Leitrim scores came from play.

Another brilliant display from Jimmy in the National  Football League  game v Longford which Leitrim won 0-11 to 2-3 in 1958 was reported in the Irish  Independent as follows, ‘the towering midfielder Jimmy O Donnell won control of the vital midfield exchanges’. On that same match a match report by Liathdroim Abu   Jimmy got a special headline ‘O Donnell Shows Up’  and went on to say ,’ O Donnell fielded a long kickout, held the leather firmly, and landed a point from fifty yards – a glorious effort’.

Reading through all the paper cuttings there is no doubt Jimmy O Donnell played a huge part on the team in lifting the spirits of the Leitrim people throughout the  50’s and could hold his place amongst the best footballers in the country.

He was a good one and the paper cuttings are there to back it up.

May Jimmy rest in peace.

Eamonn Duignan

Leitrim GAA Supporters Club