Belfast Telegraph

Jimmy Donnelly respected at Belfast Celtic and beyond


By Stuart McKinley

One of the last surviving players to have represented Belfast Celtic, Jimmy Donnelly, has died aged 87. Jimmy joined Celtic shortly before the club went out of the Irish League in 1949, with manager Elisha Scott signing him after he had scored twice in a reserve game.

Following Celtic's demise Jimmy was loaned to Crusaders, but after a short time he joined Longford Town.

He left a legacy in Amateur League football as one of a group of former St Malachy's pupils who founded Malachians FC in 1963. He managed the club in its early days and among his players was former Northern Ireland captain Martin O'Neill. In later years Jimmy was a scout for Newcastle United and he represented the club in Northern Ireland for over 20 years.

He wasn't just a star on the football pitch. As a hurler he captained the Antrim Minor team to two All-Ireland semi-finals. He was also an accomplished Gaelic footballer and remained closely tied to the O'Donovan Rossa club in west Belfast. An accountant by trade, he was President of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Jimmy is survived by his daughters Collette and Joanne and sons Jimmy and Gerard, as well as his nine grandchildren.

Belfast Telegraph

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