What is a Hero?
A hero is a person you admire because of their exceptional talents and achievements.
Joe McDonagh has used his talents well and has achieved much during his life. That is why we chose Joe McDonagh for Our Local Hero.
Name: Joe McDonagh
Family: Wife Peig, Children – Eoin, Muireann and Eilis.
Occupation: Chairperson of
Greatest Achievement: Becoming President of the G.A.A.
Proudest Moment: Homecoming to Ballinderreen as G.A.A President
Best Hurler Now: Eoin Kelly (Tipp.)
Fundraiser: Joe makes raising money look easy but it is a hard task. Joe raised money for Ballinderreen G.A.A. Club, Omagh Bombing Fund, Special Olympics and Croke Park etc.
Public Speaking. Joe McDonagh can memorise his speeches really well. He is bilingual and deliver speech equally well in Irish. He speaks beautiful Connacht Irish, he calls it his mother language.
Hurler: Joe played hurling for Ballinderreen and
Catholic: He was a good catholic. When he was a child he was a mass server in Ballinderreen parish church.
School: Joe was a great student in school. Joe graduated with a Masters Degree
In Celtic Studies in the 1970’s.
Worker: Joe is a great worker. He worked in Radio West (now Galway Bay FM) (1989-1992) as a part time head of sport; as a teacher in Colaiste Ėanna Galway in the 1978 -1994; Galway V.E.C. (1994-2002); as G.A.A. President (1997-2000); Special Olympics Committee Member 2003 and he is now C.E.O. in the V.E.C (3-4-06)
Singer: Joe was a great singer. He won lots of medals for singing. Everybody loves to hear him sing.
Family Man: Joe is a great family man. He said that if it was not for his family he would not have became the president of the G.A.A.
Joe McDonagh has so many talents and achievements, which make me proud is from Ballinderreen. That is why Joe McDonagh is Our Local Hero
Our Hero Joe - President of the G.A.A.
Joe’s greatest achievement was when he was elected President of the G.A.A. in 1996. At 42 years of age he was the youngest President ever elected and only the second
The election took place in the Royal Lancaster Hotel in
He was accompanied in
He is remembered as one of the best G.A.A. Presidents ever, He had all the qualities and talents to make in an effective President of the biggest sporting organisation in the country.
·Youth and energy- brought a freshness to the G.A.A.
·A keen sportsman – loved hurling. One of the few presidents who achieved the ultimate honour on the field of playing.
·A wonderful speaker in both Irish and English. Master communicator. Articulate in both languages.
·Great singer. The life and soul of every party.
·Very friendly and charismatic- great ambassador for
·Commitment and dedication to the G.A.A.
·Very intelligent – capable of making good decisions.
·Proposed deletion of Rule 21.
·Encouraged young people to become involved in sport. He visited national schools. He appealed to young people and relates to them very well.
·Great fundraiser- Omagh Bombing Fund, Croke Park Development Fund, Special Olympics Fund.
· Great organiser – Special Olympics 2003.
·Encouraged more T.V. coverage of the G.A.A. matches on R.T.E.
·Admired as a great educationalist.
·Loved and respected by all.
Interview with Joe McDonagh
Joe McDonagh visited our school on Tuesday May 23rd 2006. The children interviewed him for an hour and a half. These are some of the questions the children asked him.
Interviewer: Where were you born?
Joe: I was born in Cartoon, Tuam. We moved to Ballinderreen in south
Interviewer: What is your motto?
Joe: My motto is to enjoy life, live life to the full, as life is God given. Also to do my best in life
Interviewer: What advice would you give us as school children today?
Joe: My advice to children is to enjoy life and to listen carefully to parents and teachers.
Interviewer: How many years were you a teacher?
Joe: I was sixteen years as a teacher.
Interviewer: Do you think sport is important for children?
Joe: Sport is very important for children. Camaraderie and fun with teammates is the central point of being involved in sport. Participation for enjoyment is what it’s all about. I always promoted that when I was President of the G.A.A.
Interviewer: What can I do to become a Hero like you?
Joe: Firstly I’m flattered to be called “a hero”. My advice would be to be true to yourself, listen and learn. Education is for life, and respect is very important especially for other people and always do your best.
Interviewer: How has growing up in Ballinderreen influenced you?
Joe: Growing up in Ballinderreen has had a great influence on me. It is a very special place. I did a lot of my hurling in Mikey Joe Fitzgerald’s Paddock. We also played ‘Cowboys and Indians’. Mike Harty and Thomas Gibbons came to visit our house when I was a child. Thomas hurled for
Old Mrs. Hughes used to give me massive ice creams-a sixpenny ice cream was a very special treat on a Sunday afternoon. I also have fond memories of visiting the Lyons and Shorthalls who were among my closest friends.
Ballinderreen is also situated in a very beautiful countryside. I loved to ramble in the fields and to lose myself in the beauty of nature in Clough Woods.
Interviewer: What advice would you give us as up-and-coming hurlers?
Joe: Always listen at training. Practice your skills everyday and learn to use both sides when hurling.
Interviewer: At what age did you start playing hurling?
Joe: I started at the age of six.
Interviewer: What is your job now?
Joe: My job is the Chief Executive Officer of the VEC.
Interviewer: Name some of the famous people you met during your career as G.A.A president?
Joe: I was lucky enough to meet the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern, Mo Mowlan, Jack Lynch, Garret Fitzgerald, John Bruton, Senator Edward Kennedy, Mayor Flynn and Gerry Adams during my G.A.A presidency.
Interviewer: Was there any funny occasion with someone famous involved?
Joe: I remember Mo Mowlan phoning me and saying
“Hi Joe this is Mo!
Oh look, I am becoming a poet.”
Interviewer: Are you rich?
Joe: I am very rich in love and in my family. This is my greatest wealth. Money doesn’t play a central role in my life. I get great satisfaction from work. My family is most important to me. I cherish their love and support.
Interviewer: What is your greatest achievement/disappointment?
Joe: I have had many disappointments in my life e.g. captaining the 1979