Kieran Donaghy's 11 steps from injury to 2014 All-Ireland, Munster and county champion

Donaghy capped a memorable year by winning yesterday’s Munster club football decider.

KIERAN DONAGHY CAPPED a pretty memorable personal 2014 campaign yesterday when he helped Austin Stacks to land the AIB Munster senior football club crown.

It’s been a remarkable transformation for Donaghy over the past three months. Before the Kerry Mayo drawn All-Ireland semi-final on August 24th, an injury-plagued year  had seen him play less than 15 minutes of football for Kerry.

But his revival has seen him since then win an All-Ireland senior football medal, an Allstar, a first Kerry county senior title and a first Munster senior club crown.

Here’s his 11 steps in 2014 from injured sub to multiple champion.

1. On the bench for the first championship day out

Donaghy came on with three minutes left against Clare in Ennis back in June, a late introduction as Kerry ground out a Munster semi-final win. It was his first appearance of the year for Kerry after an injury-plagued 2014 that saw him battle a groin-hip injury before dislocating his shoulder in a club game in late April.

Getting ready to come into the match in Ennis Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Donaghy surrounded by Clare players in Cusack Park Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

2. Sub again as Kerry are crowned Munster champions

Good day at the office for Kerry as they dismiss Cork with ease in the provincial final but Donaghy plays a peripheral role, coming on as a sub with five minutes to go.

Donaghy shakes hands with Eoin Cadogan Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Donaghy celebrates victory with James O'Donoghue Source: James Crombie/INPHO

3. Disappointment and frustration at no game time against Galway

Donaghy has described his journey home after this game as ‘a lonely old drive’ and revealed he ‘was in a bad place’. Kerry had seven points to spare over Galway but Donaghy didn’t feature against the Tribesmen.

Donaghy is pictured before the game, back row third from right. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

4. Back in action as super sub against Mayo

Donaghy came on to make a major impact as he was fouled for a free that Bryan Sheehan converted and then set up James O’Donoghue for a priceless goal that saved Kerry as they rescued a draw.

Donaghy rises above Mayo's Kevin McLoughlin Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Donaghy and Barry John Keane after the game Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

5. Hitting the net in replay win over Mayo

Donaghy started his first game of the year and smashed home a first-half goal as well as making a major impact in an epic extra-time semi-final tie in the Gaelic Grounds.

Donaghy celebrates raising a green flag Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Tight fit as Donaghy is pressured by the Mayo defence Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Kerry fans congratulate Donaghy at the Gaelic Grounds Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

6. Kerry land Sam as Donaghy strikes crucial goal

Kerry see off Donegal to land Sam with Donaghy netting at a crucial stage in the second-half. He seized a loose kickout by Paul Durcan to fire home a goal that propelled Kerry towards success.

Source: Reviewman/YouTube

Donaghy celebrates with his Kerry teammates Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Donaghy and his wife Hilary Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Donaghy raises aloft Sam Maguire Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

7. A third Allstar arrives

He only started two championship games but Donaghy made a seismic impact to persuade the Allstar selectors that he deserved a place on the team. It was his third individual honour after previous wins in 2006 and 2008.

Source: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

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8. Austin Stacks just foiled in Kerry county title hunt

Donaghy fired 1-1 but Austin Stacks didn’t triumph again in a Kerry county senior final. The match wound up in a draw against Mid Kerry and a replay was on the cards.

Donaghy rises above Mid Kerry's Fergal Griffin Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Donaghy shoots past Mid Kerry netminder Mike Moriarty Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

9. No mistakes at second time of asking by Stacks

The 20-year wait for a Kerry county senior title ends for Austin Stacks. Donaghy had suffered final defeats in 2010 and 2013 but the Tralee club finally triumph here. He scores 1-2 and claims the man-of-the-match award.

Donaghy and teammate Daniel Bohane celebrate Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The Austin Stacks players celebrate club glory Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

10. Munster club campaign starts well

Austin Stacks grind out a win over Cork’s Ballincollig after extra-time in Tralee by three points as Donaghy and his teammates book a spot in the final.

Donaghy under pressure from Ballincollig's defenders Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Point scored and job done by Donaghy and Stacks Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

11. Five goals, plenty mistakes and a Stacks win

It wasn’t pretty and was an error-ridden encounter but Stacks overcame a bad start and Shane Carroll’s sending-off to win out against Waterford’s The Nire. An All-Ireland club semi-final meeting with Derry’s Slaughtneil now awaits.

Donaghy evades a bunch of The Nire defenders Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Donaghy and manager Stephen Stack celebrate Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

‘Trust your instincts’ – How a half time team-talk helped Austin Stacks to the Munster title

14-man Austin Stacks claim Munster club football crown

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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