In 1973, the name Mick O’Donnell first appeared on a team sheet at the Seymour Football Club. In 1989 Mick was still named as a player when he retired after playing 314 senior games and becoming one of the most valuable players and club supporters and being a member of 8 premiership teams during his football career.
Mick started his football at Seymour Primary School. He won selection in the North East Schoolboys team. He joined St. Marys as a junior and played in 3 premiership teams from 1970 t0 1972 and in that year was captain and won the League best player award.
As expected the Lions were keen to attract this top junior into the club and in 1973 he commenced his wonderful 17 year career with Seymour, firstly in the Waranga North East League and then the GVL.
His first year with the Lions saw him selected in the Inter League team against the Latrobe Valley. He also played a reserves game with the Melbourne Football Club but declined an invitation to join the Demons and stay at Seymour, which delighted the Lions as he was a quality player who gave his all for the team. In 1974 he won Seymour’s best player award playing in the centre. The next year he coached St. Mary’s under 12s and played in a premiership team in Seymour’s last year in the Waranga League.
In 1976 Seymour entered the GVL and duly won the premiership under Ron Grattan’s coaching with Mick starring for the Lions.
Mick then played in two losing grand finals in 1977 and 78.
In 1981 the Lions were again successful, winning a flag under Glen Elliot and the following year under the late Bluey Shelton as coach with Mick O’Donnell as Captain, Mick and Bluey raised the premiership cup high on the apron of the Deakin Reserve grand stand. Mick had played a leading role in the Lion’s success and was so proud of his team.
Mick has always had wonderful support from his wife Rhonda who was one of the main instigators of the GVL Netball competition which has been so successful in providing a competition for the girls and ladies associated with football. Rhonda was Secretary/Treasurer of the Netball competition in the early years.
Mick continued to turn out for the Lions and in 1986 he missed the first half of the season due to illness, but finished the year with the Reserves and played in a Reserves premiership team. In 1989 Mick received the “Lions Pride” outstanding achievement award. He retired in 1989 after playing 314 senior games. There is a great photo of Mick in the change rooms after his last game, under the watchful eye of his loving children Amy and Brett.
Mick O’Donnell has been one of the most popular players to pull on a Seymour jumper. He was named in the Seymour Team of the Century. His love of the club was always evident and following his playing days he continued to support the club as a committee member, Vic Kick co-ordinator, a junior coach, a club runner, selector and advisor. He was assistant coach for the reserves when they won the premiership in 2008 and were runners up in 2009.
He still watches the Lions play and also makes time to follow his beloved Hawks in the AFL.
Mick O’Donnell has been a wonderful player and clubman over many years and the Seymour fans will be so proud that he has been recognised by the GVL. Welcome Mick O’Donnell as we induct him into the GVL Hall of Fame.