Tuesday 24 October 2017

'Star' waiting for hoop dreams to end before big call on Kerry future

Kieran Donaghy’s autobiography What Do You Think Of That was yesterday unveiled as the winner of the eir Sport Sports Book of the Year, for which he receives a €1,500 cash prize, a specially commissioned trophy and €10,000 worth of TV advertising on the eir Sport channels. Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Kieran Donaghy’s autobiography What Do You Think Of That was yesterday unveiled as the winner of the eir Sport Sports Book of the Year, for which he receives a €1,500 cash prize, a specially commissioned trophy and €10,000 worth of TV advertising on the eir Sport channels. Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

When Kieran Donaghy first sat down to write a book chronicling his life and sporting career, he toyed with the idea of doing it himself.

Donaghy is dyslexic and thought to himself that writing a book would be both good for him in dealing with the condition and as well as being the perfect example to set for other sufferers.

And for about six months he sat down and put his thoughts down on paper. That work would help form the basis of what he'd produce in conjunction with journalist Kieran Shannon, something that would win them the eir Sport Sports Book of the Year.

"I took it on myself, as a dyslexic person thinking I could write a book to try and kind of show kids that have dyslexia that you can do it," Donaghy explains.

"But, not that I couldn't write it - I actually had good stuff written, but what I found very hard was how to tie it in and where the end chapters and start chapters. I think that's what Kieran nailed. I love the end of every chapter."

Challenges

Dyslexia doesn't affect Donaghy in any way in his sporting career but nevertheless there are daily challenges. In fact, he might have come to collect his prize yesterday on an empty stomach.

"Basic spellings and numbers is the one," he says. "I was even in the hotel this morning with Kieran (Shannon) and I came down for breakfast and your one says, 'What room are you?' And I says, '343'. And "she's like, 'You're not on my list for breakfast'.

"Your one told me when I checked into the hotel, 'You've got breakfast here in the morning'. So I was like, 'No, I'm on the list alright' and I was looking down through it and it was 334! So I turned around to Kieran and looked back at your one, and she was a foreigner. And I said, 'I'm dyslexic!' and just kept going, on for breakfast!"

Donaghy's book has won him plenty of plaudits but perhaps the most unexpected development from its release is the number of times his phone rings now with a concerned parent on the other end. Usually they want him to have a word with their own dyslexic child. Things have expanded to the point where he's giving talks on the topic.

"I remember my dad was around when there was a bit more of a fear factor with the old man. If you were to get 10 out of 10 in spellings you'd want to come back in," he says.

"If you got nine, you were sent back out and come in to get the 10. I was actually a great speller up until he left (home) and then when he left there was a bit of up-and-down stuff at home and I probably used it as an excuse not to work on the books. And it went to a level where I did no spellings and my spelling was chronic.

"If I'm on text, it mightn't even recognise the word that I'm trying to spell because it's so off. 'No suggestions' I see an awful lot when I'm looking up a spelling. So I have to go into the internet or ask my wife or my mother or whoever is next to me, people in work or whatever.

"I'm going down to a school in Waterford now after Christmas and I've done quite a number of phone calls since the book has come out.

"I'm just telling kids that, 'Look, listen, it's going to be a bit harder for you in school, you're probably going to have to work a bit harder at home'. There's no probably about it, you're going to have to work that bit harder."

Donaghy insists he won't make a decision on his Kerry future until well into the new year.

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He is committed to playing basketball with the Tralee Warriors, the Superleague team he helped bring about through the amalgamation of two clubs in the town. Their season runs until March and Donaghy revealed that how he'll spend his time in early 2017 will be related to how well the Warriors are going.

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"There might be a bit of double-jobbing - maybe I'll go into a few (Kerry) training sessions to see where I am," he says.

"It depends on how the basketball season is going - if we have the chance for major honours or are in the play-off hunt I might be minding myself for that.

"If we are not in the play-off hunt I might try and get some football sessions into me to see where I'm at in relation to the other lads and if I'm way off the other fellas or not too far off it.

"Then, I'll have something to go after. I'll see where I am; it's month by month at the moment."

Irish Independent

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