Joe Brolly

Joe Brolly bigraphy, stories - Irish hurler and Gaelic footballer

Joe Brolly : biography

25 June 1969 –

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 Derry in the 1990s and early 2000s and was part of the 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.

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.

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.

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".

Playing career


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.



  • All-Ireland Senior Football Championship – Winner (1): 1993
  • National Football League – Winner (4): 1992, 1995, 1996, 2000
  • National Football League – Runner up: 1998
  • Ulster Senior Football Championship – Winner (2): 1993, 1998
  • Ulster Senior Football Championship – Runner up: 1992, 1997, 2000
  • Dr. McKenna Cup – Winner (2): 1993, 1999

Sunday Game pundit of the year 2006-2012


  • Ulster Senior Club Football Championship – Winner (1): 1997
  • Derry Senior Football Championship – Winner (2): 1991, 1997
  • Derry Senior Football Championship – Runner up: 1996
  • Derry Senior Football League – Winner (1/2?): 1990?, 1991
  • Antrim Intermediate Football Championship – Winner (1?): Year?
  • Underage awards