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Joe Brolly

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Irish name  Seosamh O Brollaigh
Years  Club
All irelands  1
Height  5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Nationality  Northern Irish

Position  Corner forward
Role  Barrister
Sport  Gaelic football
Name  Joe Brolly
All stars  2
Joe Brolly Joe Brolly kidney transplant to friend fails RT News
Born  25 June 1969 (age 46) (1969-06-25)
Occupation  Barrister, journalist, television pundit
Education  Queen's University Belfast
Parents  Anne Brolly, Francie Brolly
Similar People  Pat Spillane, Sean Cavanagh, Marty Morrissey, Michael Lyster, Colm O'Rourke

Joe Brolly (born 25 June 1969) is an Irish barrister, Gaelic football analyst and former player from Dungiven, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Brolly played for the Derry GAA in the 1990s and early 2000s and was part of their first ever All-Ireland Senior Football Championship winning side in 1993 and also won two Ulster Senior Football Championships and four National League titles. He also won two All Star Awards during his career.


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Brolly played club football for St Canice's Dungiven for most of his career, before transferring to St Brigid's GAC in Belfast. With Dungiven he won two Derry Senior Football Championships and one Ulster Senior Club Football Championship.

Joe Brolly Joe Brolly has questioned whether Dublin will have the

He usually played as right corner forward and was renowned for his accurate point-taking, goal-scoring ability, pace and ability to take on opponents. He was also known for his goal celebration of blowing kisses to the crowd, and had his nose broken twice during his career immediately after scoring goals.

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Since retiring he has fashioned a niche in television punditry, becoming "the most lippy and articulate pundit on Irish television", and at various stages irking entire counties, including most of Ulster, Cork, Kerry, and in 2012 being dubbed "the Salman Rushdie of County Mayo".

Personal and professional life

Brolly is the son of noted traditional singer and Limavady Sinn Féin councillor Anne Brolly. His father Francie, also a traditional musician, played Gaelic football for Derry in the 1960s, and was later a Sinn Féin councillor and MLA. Joe Brolly is also the first cousin of Derry player Liam Hinphey and Monaghan player Vincent Corey, and second cousin to Tyrone footballers Colm and Plunkett Donaghy. Joe's brother-in-law Ciaran Heron plays hurling for Antrim.

Brolly was a boarder in Saint Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh. He played basketball for Ireland as a schoolboy. After school he went to Trinity College, Dublin, before doing a postgraduate course at Queen's University Belfast. He was a prominent member of the Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC) in his Trinity days, and became a member of the student executive. He is married and has five children, one called Toirealach and one called Ruairi.

As a barrister he has specialised in criminal matters and has defended Irish republicans in court. He was involved in a UK Supreme Court case in 2011 that established a right to compensation for a miscarriage of justice without the requirement to prove the innocence of the wrongly convicted person (in this instance the Derry republicans Eamonn McDermott and Raymond McCartney).

He also works as a journalist, writing a column for Gaelic Life and the Ireland Mail on Sunday. A radio and television football pundit, he is a regular on the long-running RTÉ programme The Sunday Game.


Brolly made his Derry Senior debut against Cavan in the 1990 National League. In 1993 he was part of the Derry side that won the Ulster Championship and the county's first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. His All Stars Award recognition surprisingly came in the relatively barren years of 1996 and 1997. He was top scorer in the 1997 Ulster Championship with 3–15 (24 points). Brolly added a second Ulster Senior Football Championship in 1998, in the final of which he scored the clinching goal in the last minute. Derry won the National Football League four times in a nine-year period from 1992 to 2000 (1992, 1995, 1996, 2000), with Brolly being part of all four. Brolly and Derry finished runners-up to Offaly in the 1998 National League decider.


As a 21-year-old, Brolly was part of Dungiven's Derry Senior Football Championship success in 1991. Brolly won another Derry Championship medal in 1997, and also won the Ulster Club Championship. He was top scorer in that year's Derry Championship with 1–25 (28 points) and was man of the match in the final at Celtic Park.

He played for St Brigid's GAC in Belfast when it won the Antrim Intermediate Football Championship. In 2006 St Brigid's became the first GAA club to play against the Police Service of Northern Ireland Gaelic football team. In 2009 Brolly broke his leg while playing in a challenge match against Cookstown. St Brigid's reached that year's Antrim Senior Football Championship semi-final, but were defeated after a replay by a point by Portglenone.


It was in the Sigerson Cup that Joe Brolly first appeared on the national stage. He won his only inter-varsity medal in 1992, as a member of Queen's victorious Ryan Cup team.


Brolly played hurling for local club Kevin Lynch's when they won Division 2 of the All-Ireland Féile na nGael in 1982.

Coaching career

Brolly helped out with the Antrim team that finished runners-up in the 2007 Tommy Murphy Cup and winners of the 2008 competition.


  • All-Ireland Senior Football Championship (1): 1993
  • National Football League (4): 1992, 1995, 1996, 2000
  • Ulster Senior Football Championship (2): 1993, 1998
  • Dr. McKenna Cup (2): 1993, 1999
  • Club

  • Ulster Senior Club Football Championship (1): 1997
  • Derry Senior Football Championship (2): 1991, 1997
  • Derry Senior Football League (2): 1990, 1991
  • College

  • Ryan Cup (1): 1992
  • Individual

  • All Stars Award (2): 1996, 1997
  • References

    Joe Brolly Wikipedia