Stephen O'Neill

Stephen O'Neill

Infobox GAA player |

name =Stephen O'Néill
irish =Stiofán Ó Néill
countryofbirth=Northern Ireland
occupation=Primary school teacher
sport=Gaelic football
clposition=Full Forward
club=Clann na nGael
clyears=1999 - Present
clubs=Clan na Gael
icposition=Right Half Forward, Full Forward
icyears= 1997 - 2007
icapps(points)=30 (7-114 (133))
allstars =2
icupdate=17:41, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
clupdate=(00:03, 6 September 2006 (UTC))

Stephen O'Neill (born 19 November 1980) is a Irish Gaelic footballer who plays for the Tyrone Senior football team. His style of play is quite traditional as a full forward, often getting on the end of passes, and scoring with his preferred left foot. It's his superior physical strength that sets him apart from his peers, coupled with his agility on the ball, making him very difficult to mark.

O'Neill announced his retirement from the Tyrone Gaelic football team in January 2008 [ [ O'Neill calls time on inter-county career | Sport | ] ] [ citation | publisher = The Irish News | date = 2008-01-25 | accessdate = 2008-01-25 | author = Paul McConville | title = O'Neill hangs up his boots | url = ] , but made himself available for the All-Ireland final of the same year.

County career

Youth Player

O'Neill has had considerable success with Tyrone youth teams winning 2 Ulster and All-Ireland under 21 titles in 2000 and 2001 to add to his Ulster Minor championship medals in 1997 and 1998 and his All-Ireland minor championship in 1998.

enior team

O'Neill burst on to the senior county scene and by 2001 had won an Ulster title and the first of his two All-Star awards. During his time with Tyrone he was first choice penalty taker - scoring three in the run up to Tyrone's 2005 All-Ireland victory, [cite web| url= |title = O’Neill happy to spearhead Tyrone’s assault on the Kingdom|accessdate=2008-09-05 | publisher = Irish Examiner | date= 2005-09-22 | author = Jim O'Sullivan] [cite web | url = |title = GAA: VANTASY | accessdate=2008-01-22 | date = 2005-06-26 | author = Francis Mooney | Publisher = Sunday Mirror] and also shared free-taking duty with Eoin Mulligan—usually dictated by who is kicking on their stronger side.

Stephen won All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medals with Tyrone in 2003 and 2005, and the National Football League in Tyrone's break-through year of 2002, and again in 2003. Serious injury ruled him out for much of Tyrone's unsuccessful 2006 championship.

He won an All-star award in 2001 and 2005. In 2005, he was won a clean sweep of the Texaco award, the Gaelic player's award and the Vodafone award for Footballer of the Year, after a monumental year where he scored over 60 points (5-49).

He was a member of the Irish team in the 2005 International Rules Series.


Stephen's home club is "Clan na Gael" in Aughabrack. With the side he has won one Tyrone Junior Championship and one Tyrone Intermediate Championship.

Retirement and return

Following two years where he was blighted by recurring injuries, O'Neill agreed to undergo surgery before the end of 2007 in order to resolve a complex knee tendinitis condition. It was hoped that this would make him fully fit for the 2008 Championship, but he is now retiring from county football at the young age of 27. [citation | url = | title = Harte determined to take a positive view | publisher = Hogan Stand Magazine | date = 2008-01-21 | accessdate = 2008-01-22]

However, on September 4th, 2008, it was announced that O'Neill would be available for selection for the All-Ireland final, following the approval of the other panel players who had reached the final without his contributions. [citation | url = | title = O’Neill returns for Tyrone | publisher = Hogan Stand Magazine | date = 2008-09-04 | accessdate = 2008-09-05] This was despite the fact that a mere two days earlier he had gone on record denying a return, suggesting that his long absence would affect his match-sharpness. [citation | url =| title = O’Neill cites Kerry as ultimate test | publisher = Hogan Stand Magazine | date = 2008-09-02 | accessdate = 2008-09-05]

O'Neill's return to action came earlier than many expected during the 2008 All Ireland final as a 25th minute sub for the injured Colm McCullagh. Although he failed to register a score he caused the Kerry defence a number of problems and helped Tyrone to their third Senior Football Championship win in six years.


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