Bernard Donaghey

Bernard Donaghey (1882-1916) was born in the Bogside area of Derry, now Northern Ireland, on 23 December 1882 and died in northern France on 1 July 1916. A talented inside-forward, Donaghey played for clubs in Ireland, Scotland and England, and won one international cap for his country. A pre-war army reservist, Donaghey would lose his life on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme.

Football Career

Born into a large Catholic family, Donaghey began his football career at local side Derry Celtic before a brief spell at Ulster. Moving to Belfast Celtic in 1902, Donaghey spent one full season at the club before moving to Glentoran mid-way through the 1903/04 campaign.

In the summer of 1904, Scottish side Hibernian persuaded Donaghey to leave Ireland and move to Easter Road. After scoring eight times in 15 games for Hibs, Donaghey returned to Ireland for a short spell at Derry Celtic but was soon on the move again, this time to English Second Division side, Manchester United.

Donaghey made hisUnited debut in a 2-1 home victory over Lincoln City on 4 November 1905, but would subsequently struggle to establish himself in Ernest Mangnall’s side. After playing just two further games, Donaghey returned to Derry Celtic in August 1906.

In July 1907, Donaghey made a surprise return to English football when he signed for Burnley, but left Lancashire in 1908 after scoring two goals in five matches. He then returned for another stint at Derry Celtic, before finally finishing his career at Dumbarton Harp. During his career, Donaghey was capped once by Ireland, in a 3-0 home loss to Scotland in 1902, and also made two appearances for the Irish League representative side.

First World War Service

A pre-war army reservist, Private 2289 Donaghey joined the 1st Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in early 1915 and would subsequently serve with the battalion at Gallipoli. After receiving a shrapnel wound to the head, Donaghey spent time in hospital in Egypt before landing in France with 29th Division to prepare for the upcoming British offensive north of the River Somme.

On 1 July 1916, Donaghey’s battalion was tasked with capturing lines south of Beaumont-Hamel and the German strongpoint at Y-Ravine. After advancing from their trenches, the Irishmen were halted by uncut barbed wire and came under heavy fire from three German machine gun positions. After sustaining heavy casualties, the attack floundered with no gain. Among the dead was Pte Donaghey, who was one of 115 Derry men, including at least 10 Catholics, killed on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme. His body was never found and he is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing at Thiepval.





Season Club League Pos FA Cup   League Games League Goals FA Cup Games FA Cup Goals
1900 Derry Celtic          3   2
1900 Ulster              
1901/02 Derry Celtic              
1902/03 Belfast Celtic          8    1
1903/04 Glentoran       2      
1904/05 Hibernian       15 7    
1905/06 Derry Celtic              
1905/06 Manchester United 2nd (Second Division) R4   3      
1906/07 Derry Celtic              
1907/08 Burnley 7th (Second Division) R3   5 2    
1908 Derry Celtic         17   4
  Belfast Celtic         8   1
  Burnley       5 2    
  Derry Celtic         20    6
  Glentoran       2      
  Hibernian       15 7    
  Manchester United       3      
  Totals       25 37   7


A full list of sources used to create this page can be found here.