Thursday 19 February 2009

125 - Derry Player List

Pick of the mighty Oaks

Seamus Mullan picks a selection of Derry players who have brought glory to the county over the years from the breakthrough sides of the 1940s and ’50s to the all-conquering teams of the ’90s and the current crop...

To comment on the list and to put your own opinion across please see the 125 Archive list on the right hand column of this page. You can enter a comment in the box at the bottom of each post.

Barney Murphy
WHEN men of a certain age reminisce, they talk fondly of the powerful displays of this player at the heart of the Newbridge and Derry defences, and at midfield, in the 1930s. Won a senior county medal in 1937.

Mickey McNaught
A POWERHOUSE of a player, he scored 1-1 in the 1945 Ulster JFC decider against Armagh at full-forward and lined out at midfield two years later to help Derry win their first NFL title.

Jack Convery
full-back on the 1947 NFL-winning team and played for Ulster in 1945 before he was 19. An ever-present in the Derry defence for many years.

Roddy Gribben
WAS midfield on the 1947 NFL-winning team and managed the 1958 team to the All-Ireland final. Won seven senior championship medals with Newbridge and a Railway Cup medal in 1958.

John Eddie Mullan
MADE his club debut in 1940 with Drumsurn, playing for Glenullin, Limavady and Magilligan before joining Dungiven in 1945, with whom he won a SFC medal in 1947, the same year as he won a NFL medal with Derry. Another Derry SFC medal followed in 1951.

Harry Owens
A TYRONE man who came to Limavady in the mid ’20s and played club football from then to the late ’40s. One of Derry’s greatest ever full backs, beginning his county career in the 1933 NFL.

Pat Keenan
CAPTAINED Derry to Lagan Cup and McKenna Cup success, and to their first NFL title in 1947. A Derry minor in 1939.

Matthew ‘Sonny’ McCann
Described as ‘tough as nails’ by those who played with, and against him. Played wherever he was needed. Played at centre half-back in the 1947 NFL-winning team and in goals for the 1952 Lagan Cup win.

Jim McKeever
ARGUABLY Derry’s greatest ever footballer, and one of the all-time great midfielders, he played for the county for 14 years. Started his club career with Newbridge before transferring to Ballymaguigan, with whom he won a senior championship medal. He played on the first Derry side to win a senior championship game, against Monaghan. Played a huge role in helping Derry reach the 1958 All-Ireland final. He was Ireland’s best player that year, winning the Caltex Award. His fielding prowess was legendary, his athleticism, skill and leadership set him apart.

Phil Stuart
A MINOR for Derry in 1954 and 1955 and junior in 1956 and partnered Jim McKeever at midfield in the 1958 All-Ireland final. A very elegant player he was equally adept in the attack.

Patsy Gormley
WAS the goalkeeper when Derry won the 1953 Ulster junior title, having played for Derry at minor, junior and senior level the previous year. Took over as the regular senior Derry ’keeper in 1956 and played in the 1958 All-Ireland final.

Hugh Francis Gribben
A MINOR with Derry in 1952, an Ulster JFC medallist in 1955 and full-back on the 1958 All-Ireland final team. Equally at home at midfield.

Tommy Diamond
HAS the distinction of captaining Derry to the All-Ireland minor title in 1965 and the All-Ireland U21 title in 1968. A powerful wing-back he had a distinguished club career with Bellaghy.

Dermot Mullan
PLAYED his first senior game at club level for Ballerin, aged just 13 in 1954 He became one of the most prolific scoring machines in Derry club football, his pace and accurate left foot kicking Ballerin a host of titles, including the 1957 SFC title.

Malachy McAfee
MAYBE not the paciest of players, but had a terrific positional sense and awareness at centre half-back for club and county. Won a Hogan Cup medal in 1965 with St Columb’s College and an All-Ireland minor medal the same year. Won an Ulster senior medal in 1970.

Brendan Mullan
Burst on the national scene in the 1965 All-Ireland minor final when he scored 1-4 against Kerry at the age of 15. Was one of the most exciting players in the county with pace, skill and deadly accuracy. After a period playing soccer, he returned to the Derry scene at senior level.

Henry Diamond
CAPTAINED the Derry junior team which won the Ulster title in 1969. Was corner-back when Mayo beat Derry in the 1970 NFL semi-final and full-back when Derry won the Ulster crown the same year. Won three Derry SFC medals with Newbridge. A no-nonsense full-back who commanded the square.

Larry Diamond
A STORMING display for Bellaghy against the might of the famed St Vincent’s duo, Des Foley and Simon Behan, showcased the emerging form of this powerhouse player in 1965. Three years later, he won a Derry and Ulster medal, although he missed the provincial final.

Mickey Niblock
HIS silky skills as he glided through the heart of defences with consummate ease excited those who had the privilege to see him play. Was also hugely successful with Cork’s Nemo Rangers. He was centre half-forward on the 1965 Derry All-Ireland minor-winning team and scored 1-1 in the 1968 All-Ireland U21 win. Won an Ulster SFC medal in 1970 and scored 2-4 in the 1971 loss to Down.

Tom McGuinness
A NATIVE of Derry city, he will be remembered as the best fielder of a ball since Jim McKeever. As a Sarsfields player, he won a 1968 U21 All-Ireland medal. Winner of an Ulster senior medal in 1970, he played with Newbridge for several years, his free-running play a nightmare for defenders.

Mickey Lynch
MADE his senior debut in 1974, and was man of the match when Derry beat Down in the 1975 Ulster final. In the 1976 NFL final, he gave a superb exhibition of point-scoring. A dynamic runner, he captained Derry to an Ulster U21 title.

Seamus Lagan
CENTRE half-forward on the St Columb’s team that won the 1965 Hogan Cup and a minor All-Ireland medalist the same year. Scorer of 0-6 in the 1968 All-Ireland U21 final against Offaly, he will be remembered for the ‘disallowed’ point in the last minute of the 1970 NFL semi-final against Mayo. A wonderful fielder of the ball.

Gerry O’Loughlin
WON three Ulster SFC medals in the ’70s, winning Ulster and All-Ireland medals at minor (1965) and U21 (1968) and a Railway Cup medal in 1969. A sturdy half-back, he was a powerful dead-ball kicker and a resolute tackler for club and county.

Joe Irwin
MADE his senior debut in 1980 and played at that level for a decade. A versatile and consistent player with tremendous anticipation under the dropping ball, he won two Railway Cup medals.

Plunkett Murphy
ONE of the best high fielders to play for Derry. Marked his senior debut with a goal against Fermanagh in the Ulster championship. Captained Dungiven to a centenary year county title and also captained Derry to an Ulster SFC title in 1987.

Anthony McGurk
WAS the first Derry player to win an Allstar in 1973. Two years later, he was the first player to win Allstars as a forward and defender. A member of the 1968 Derry U21 All-Ireland-winning team. Crowned a glittering career in 1990 when he came on as a substitute to win an All-Ireland club medal with Lavey.

Peter Stevenson
HAS the unique distinction in Derry football of being the only player to captain successive Ulster championship winning teams (1975 and 1976) and he gained Allstar recognition in 1975. With Ballerin, he won an Ulster club medal in 1976 and played on the Sarsfields team that lost narrowly in the All-Ireland club final to Austin Stacks.

Gerry McElhinney
WHEN he gained his Allstar award at right half-forward in 1975, he was the youngest player to reach such heights in the then brief history of these honours. Played in three successive Ulster finals for Derry and won Ulster championship medals in 1975 and 1976. Gave up Gaelic football at the height of his powers to pursue a soccer career. Excited the crowds with his surging runs and stunning scores.

Dermot McNicholl
THE 1993 All-Ireland senior medallist played in two All-Ireland minor finals while still in the U16 age range in 1980 and 1981. Captained the Derry minor team to All-Ireland success in 1993. Succeeded Gerry McElhinney as the youngest Ulster Allstar at 18 years and 65 days in 1984. Had great power and pace.

Tony Scullion
WON Allstar awards in 1987, 1992, 1993 and 1995, was nominated in 1988 and 1996 and was a replacement Allstar in 1991. Captained Derry to the 1995 NFL title and was on the successful teams of 1992 and 1996. The pinnacle of his career came in 1993 when he helped Derry to win the Sam Maguire Cup.

Brian McGilligan
GAVE several powerhouse performances to help Derry to the All-Ireland crown in ’93 and his displays were recognised with a second Allstar award. In 1996, he won his third National League medal and, in 1997, won an Ulster club championship medal with Dungiven. His efforts for Derry on the football and hurling fields of Ireland are part of folklore in the Oak Leaf county.

Anthony Tohill
WON a Hogan Cup medal with St Patrick’s, Maghera and an All-Ireland minor medal with Derry in 1989. Has eight Allstar nominations, winning four. In 1992, he played a prominent role in Derry’s first National League title since 1947. An All-Ireland medalist in 1993, he captained Derry to their fifth League title in 2002. He also played on four Railway Cup winning teams.

Enda Gormley
THE most consistent forward for Derry between 1986 and 2000. In championship football, he has scored 2-119, a feat that ranks him seventh in the all-time Ulster list. Top scorer in the Ulster championship in 1987 with 0-20. He scored 0-6 in the 1993 All-Ireland final against Cork to bring his tally to 0-25 for the Championship. His scoring prowess brought him a second Allstar in 1993

Danny Quinn
AFTER winning MacRory Cup, Ulster U18 and U21 medals, he made his senior debut in the NFL in 1987 and had a wonderful career at club and county level, mostly as a defender, but also at midfield, culminating in an All-Ireland medal in 1993. Also won an Ulster SFC medal in 1987.

Henry Downey
AT the age of 21, the inspiring leadership qualities of the Lavey star came to the fore when he led his club to the senior title against Newbridge in 1988. An influential member of the Lavey team that lifted the All-Ireland club title in 1991. Led Derry to National league success in 1992 and a year later joined the pantheon of greats when he captained Derry to their first ever Sam Maguire Cup title.

Joe Brolly
AN All-Ireland winner in 1993, he won back-to-back Allstar awards in 1996 and 1997. By that stage, he had won his third NFLmedal and had been top scorer in the 1997 Ulster championship with 3-15. The following year, he scored the winning goal against Donegal in the Ulster final when all seemed lost.

Damian Cassidy
THE Derry senior manager made his senior inter-county debut in 1983, the same year he won an All-Ireland minor medal. Winner of county medal at all grades with Bellaghy. A 1993 All-Ireland winner, he had a trusty left boot that could open defences and pick off crucial scores.

Sean Martin Lockhart
WON National League medals in 1996 and 1997, an Ulster championship medal in 1998 and played in the 2000 Ulster final. Also won a Railway Cup medal with Ulster that season. Ulster’s only Allstar winner in 1998. A versatile defender, he is rated one of the very best man-markers in the game. He is the most capped Ireland player.

Kieran McKeever
THE ‘Dungiven Dynamo’ finally gained Allstar recognition in 2000. Rated as one of the very best corner-backs in the land over a distinguished senior career that started in 1988 against Monaghan. Played a huge role in Dungiven’s Ulster club final victory in 1997. An All-Ireland medallist in 1993.

Damian McCusker
UNLUCKY not to pick up an Allstar in 1993. But he can still reflect on a fine career that brought him National League medals in 1992 and 1995 and, of course, his All-Ireland medal in 1993. Won Railway Cup medals in 1993 and 1994. A fine ’keeper, he was also a very competent outfield player with Glen and, on occasions, the county.

Johnny McGurk
WILL be forever remembered for ‘that point’ in Croke Park in the 1993 All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin. Ten years earlier, he won an All-Ireland minor medal. Captained Lavey to the All-Ireland club title. A tireless worker and a tenacious tackler.

Eamon Coleman
THE ‘wee man’ from Ballymaguigan will be forever revered in the Oak Leaf county as the manager who steered Derry to the All-Ireland title in 1993. Came to prominence in the ’60s when he won an All-Ireland minor medal in 1965 and an All-Ireland U21 title three years later. Won an Ulster senior championship medal in 1970 and a Railway Cup medal in 1971. He was an Allstar replacement in 1972.

Sean O’Connell
PLAYED for the county at senior level in four decades, winning Ulster medals in 1958, 1970, 1975 and 1976. Captained Derry to the Ulster title in 1970. Won his first Railway Cup medal in 1965 and was successful again in 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1971 as captain of Ulster. Derry’s leading scorer in championship football with 11-118

John Somers
RATED by many as Derry’s greatest goalkeeper, he won an All-Ireland medal at U21 level in 1968 and
Ulster senior championship medals in 1975 and 1976. Was the Dungiven ‘keeper when they regained the Derry senior title in 1983.

Mickey Moran
HAD a distinguished career in the Derry colours and won senior championship medals in 1975 and 1976. He won Railway Cup medals in 1979 and 1980. Was hugely influential in Derry’s 1993 success. A stylish half-back.

Damian Barton
WINNER of a Derry senior championship medal with Newbridge, he was one of the key players in Derry’s All-Ireland success. Always seemed to have time on the ball and his accurate and
perceptive passing unlocked even the best defences.

Eamon Burns
STILL going strong at club level a few weeks past his 37th birthday, this phenomenal marksman (he was top scorer in the Derry SFC in 1989 and 1992) has won two Hogan Cup medals, Ulster minor, U21 and
senior medals and the elusive All-Ireland senior medal in 1993. A wonderful free-taker.

Fergal Doherty
THE current Derry captain rates among the very best midfielders in the land in recent years, not just for his powerful fielding, but also for his work-rate in the defensive zone. Burst onto the scene in the late ’90s as Bellaghy won three county senior titles in-a-row.

Paddy Bradley
MADE his inter-county debut in the National League in 1999 and his Championship debut the following season at the tender age of 18. His phenomenal scoring displays for club and county mark him as one of the very best forwards in Ireland. As captain, he scored the winning point when Glenullin won the 2007 senior championship, the same weekend he was awarded an Allstar.

Enda Muldoon
THIS mercurial player, an All-Ireland U21 medallist in 1997, has produced a range of skills that have lit up games for club and county over the years. His high fielding, pin-point passing and accurate finishing have been the hallmark of his play that has rightly earned him Allstar recognition. Key Ballinderry won the All-Ireland club title in 2002.

Johnny McBride
CAPTAINED Derry to the All-Ireland minor final in 1995 and was again captain when they overcame Meath three years later in the U21 decider. He was full-back in the NFL semi-final against Laois the same year. In the last decade, he has been a great servant to club and county, his indomitable spirit central to Loup’s SFC success.

Remember if you think, we have left someone out who you think merits a place on the top 125 of Ulster's great footballers feel free to add you own.



Wednesday 18 February 2009

125 - Tyrone Player List

Modern stars go Hand-in-Hand with past heroes

To comment on the list and to put your own opinion across please see the 125 Archive list on the right hand column of this page. You can enter a comment in the box at the bottom of each post.

While All-Ireland glory has only been tasted in Tyrone recently, the O’Neill county has witnessed excellence for much longer. Francis Mooney looks at stand-out stars...

Iggy Jones
Small in stature, but blessed with huge amounts of skill, speed and courage, the Dungannon man was one of the greats of his generation. His finest display in a Tyrone shirt came in the 1956 All-Ireland semi-final, when he terrorised the Galway defence but finished on the losing side. A room at O’Neill Park in his home town is dedicated to his memory.

Frankie Donnelly
The late Frankie Donnelly perfected the art of place-kicking, and his scores were largely responsible for taking Tyrone to successive All-Ireland semi-finals in 1955 and ’56. Donnelly registered the highest score seen in an inter-county game, a 4-11 tally against Fermanagh in 1957. He helped Carrickmore to four Tyrone SFC titles.

Thady Turbitt
One of the game’s most renowned goalkeepers, the Omagh man was an outstanding exponent of his art during the ’50s. Helped Tyrone win two Ulster titles, and a superb display against Galway in the 1956 All-Ireland semi-final saw him keep a clean sheet against a star-studded Tribal attack. His brilliance was recognised when he represented Ireland.

Jody O’Neill
O’Neill was just 19 years old when he captained Tyrone to Ulster Championship glory in 1956. A strong and dependable centre half-back who could also play at midfield, the Red Hands benefited from his leadership qualities for many seasons. Coalisland Fianna clubman O’Neill later became Tyrone manager, and guided the county to Ulster Championship success in 1973.

Jim Devlin
For a full-back, Devlin was a small man, but compensated for his lack of inches with impeccable timing, often out-fielding players several inches taller. An integral part of the excellent team of the mid-50s, the late Coalisland man marshalled the defence with authority.

Jackie Taggart
The Omagh St Enda’s star was a giant of Tyrone football in the ’50s. It was the first successful era for the county, and Taggart played an important role in bringing two Ulster SFCs to Tyrone. A forceful centre-forward with wonderful ball-winning ability, he was often seen dropping back to assist his defence in times of need.

Paddy Corey
His debut in 1954 in a National League game against Fermanagh was to mark the beginning of the first genuine period of success for Tyrone. The Omagh St Enda’s man played at centre-back in the team that won back-to-back Ulster titles. A teak-tough defender with a safe pair of hands, he played club football for two decades.

John Early
The Coalisland Fianna man was a diminutive corner-forward on Tyrone sides of the late ’60s.Electrifying pace, elusive carrying and opportunist scoring were among his many qualities. But one of his greatest strengths was his fearless commitment to physically challenge defenders twice his size. His era was an unsuccessful one for Tyrone, but he did savour club championship glory with the Fianna.

Frank McGuigan
The legendary Frank McGuigan was one of the first GAA superstars. His performance in the 1984 Ulster final, when he scored 11 points from play, five off each foot and one with the fist, was one of the greatest individual displays the game has seen. McGuigan played in the minor and senior Ulster finals on the same day in 1972, and captained the seniors to Ulster success a year later. ‘The King’ was honoured as an Allstar in 1984, but never savoured Sam Maguire glory. However, he has seen three of his sons win All-Ireland medals.

Pat King
The Tyrone team of the ’70s probably should have won more than one Ulster title. Pat King was one of the mainstays of that team, and a stalwart defender in the provincial success in 1973. A versatile player who could do justice to virtually any role, he scored a spectacular goal against Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Gerry Taggart
One of the most dependable corner-backs in the game, he made his mark in the Tyrone renaissance which led the county out of the barren ’60s. A skilful footballer with a long clearance, the Derrylaughan man also represented Ulster with distinction.

Peter Mulgrew
Mulgrew was a commanding full-back and a key member of the team who won Ulster in 1973. The Stewartstown Harps man was renowned for his lengthy kick-outs, which invariably dropped into the opposition half. A member of Ulster Railway Cup sides.

Mickey Hughes
One of the pioneers of the age of the attacking wing-back, Hughes in full flight was a delight to watch. His raiding runs down the left wing were a feature of Tyrone’s play in the ’70s. A terrier-like defender, he was a tough opponent whose pace and ball-carrying skills led to many scores for his side.

Brendan Dolan
The Aghyaran man was a high-fielding midfielder in the early ’70s. His performances drew acclaim from far and wide, as he helped his side win the vital battle in the central area time and again. Tragically died in a road accident while in his prime.

Patsy Hetherington
A reliable free-taker is a crucial element of any successful team and, in Patsy, Tyrone had one of the best. His prolific marksmanship coincided with the emergence from the doldrums in the early ’70s. The Donaghmore man was leading scorer for his county for several seasons, and topped the National Football League chart in 1972.

Brendan Donnelly
The Trillick man was a strong and supremely talented wing-forward who possessed a lethal left foot. He was one of the finest attackers to wear the Red Hand, but the barren spell between 1973 and 1984 deprived him of deserved honours. He was recognised with a call-up to travel with the Allstars in 1979.

Eugene McKenna
The Augher man was one of the finest midfielders to play the game, and often performed as an ace attacker for Tyrone.
McKenna won three Ulster SFC titles as a player and two as a manager, and was captain of the star-studded team of the mid-80s, leading Tyrone to a first ever All-Ireland final appearance in 1986. He was the county’s most prolific winner of Allstar awards until the emergence of Peter Canavan, having been honoured in 1984, ’86 and ’89.

John Lynch
Lynch won an Allstar for his performances in 1986, when Tyrone reached the All-Ireland final. He was a ‘lynchpin’ of the county’s defence for many seasons. His distinctive blond locks helped mark him out as a tenacious corner-back of the highest order. Although he played club football at junior level with Castlederg, he had no difficulty in meeting the demands of the inter-county game.

Damien O’Hagan
After starring for the county minor team for three seasons, O’Hagan graduated to the senior side and was one of the top attackers in the country in the ’80s. He won an Allstar in 1986. The Coalisland Fianna man won three Ulster SFC medals but missed out on an All-Ireland, following defeat to Kerry.

Noel McGinn
A strong and forceful centre-back, McGinn was the focal point of the rearguard that helped Tyrone reach the 1986 All-Ireland final. The Killyclogher man, who was a goalkeeper with the Tyrone minors, was an excellent reader of the game. Moved into management, where his greatest achievement came in 2007, when he guided Dromore to a first Tyrone SFC title.

Kevin McCabe
The elegant and skilful McCabe was a constant presence in Tyrone teams for more than a dozen years. In his heyday he was one of the finest attacking wing-backs in the game, and played a key role in helping the Red Hands reach the 1986 All-Ireland final. The Clonoe man won an Allstar in 1984, and also represented Ulster. The versatile McCabe also inspired Clonoe to Tyrone SFC success in 1991 as a full-forward.

Ciaran McGarvey
After launching his inter-county career in the early ’80s as a forward, McGarvey’s conversion saw him become a top-class full-back. A commanding figure, his fielding won him many admirers. The Aghyaran man was one of the stand-out performers in the 1986 All-Ireland final, when he eclipsed the legendary Eoin ‘Bomber’ Liston. Regarded as extremely unfortunate to miss out on an Allstar that year.

Plunkett Donaghy
The Moy man was one of the great servants to Tyrone, performing heroics at midfield for more than a decade.Was recognised as one of the greatest exponents of midfield play during the ’80s. Although he never played under-age football for the county, he became one of the greatest players in the game. Won an Allstar in 1986.

Fay Devlin
The Ardboe man won an Allstar in 1995 after a string of stand-out displays. After winning two All-Ireland U21 medals, he quickly graduated to the senior side, and was a regular at corner-back for almost a decade and was a member of the side that reached the All-Ireland final in 1995.

Finbar McConnell
The older brother of current keeper Pascal was Tyrone’s regular netminder throughout the ’90s.
Remarkably agile for a big man, he made many memorable match-winning saves during a sparkling career.
Played in the All-Ireland final of 1995, and won an Allstar a year later. He also played for Ireland in the International Rules series.

Peter Canavan
One of the most decorated players in the history of the GAA, and possibly the greatest footballer of all time. Canavan’s attacking brilliance enthralled Tyrone supporters for 16 years, during which time he won two All-Ireland medals, in 2003 and 2005, and six Allstars. The Errigal Ciaran man also won four Ulster titles, and played for Ireland from 1998 to 2000. Canavan played in three All-Ireland finals. In 1995, he scored 11 of Tyrone’s 12 points in the defeat to Dublin, before captaining the county to victory over Armagh in the decider eight years later. He retired from inter-county football immediately after the 2005 final, when his goal inspired the Red Hands to triumph over Kerry.

Ciaran Corr
Coalisland’S Corr captained the Tyrone team in the 1995 All-Ireland final. A high-fielding midfielder with an ability to cut through defences, he was also a tireless team player. Corr started his Tyrone career as a half-forward, but soon found his niche in the central area.

Enda Kilpatrick
Always occupied a central position on Tyrone teams of the ’90s, whether it be full-back, centre-back or midfield. His leadership saw him handed the captaincy, a role he fulfilled for a number of seasons. The Pomeroy man was regarded as one of the finest defenders of his time, and was a regular on Ulster Railway Cup teams.

Chris Lawn
Lawn is one of the few Tyrone players who lost an All-Ireland final before winning one. A member of the team that lost the 1995 decider to Dublin, he helped the Red Hands lift Sam for the first time in 2003. A quality defender who gave years of service, his experience was a crucial factor in that breakthrough triumph.

Sean Cavanagh
Cavanagh is one of the most high-profile symbols of the golden age of Tyrone football. A treble All-Ireland winner, he has achieved every honour in the game. Three Allstars as a midfielder and one as a full-forward, along with Young Footballer of the Year and Footballer of the Year gongs, have been collected so far. The Moy man captained Ireland to victory over Australia in last year’s International Rules series.

Stephen O’Neill
The former Footballer of the Year stunned the GAA world in 2008 by quitting inter-county football. His decision to return to the fold has already reaped dividends. A gifted attacker with a capacity for racking up big totals, he is set to form a deadly strike partnership with Sean Cavanagh this season. Has three All-Ireland medals and an Allstar award, won in 2005.

Conor Gormley
The Carrickmore man has won three All-Ireland medals, but his trademark remains that block on Armagh’s Steven McDonnell in the dying moments of the 2003 final. A supremely effective man-marker, Gormley has played every defensive role for Tyrone, as well as midfield. Has won three Allstars, and should be a key figure in 2009. He has never skippered Tyrone, but captained Ulster to Railway Cup success.

Ryan McMenamin
‘Ricey’ has been one of the characters of Tyrone’s golden era, winning three All-Ireland medals.A tenacious defender who has humbled some of the game’s top attackers, his attacking has also come to the fore. The Dromore man, who never played under-age football for the county, won an Allstar for his displays in 2005.

Brian Dooher
Dooher belongs to an exclusive club of players who have captained two Sam Maguire Cup-winning teams, but there’s much more to Mr Perpetual Motion than that. His passion for the game and utter determination to succeed, allied to an awesome work-rate, mark him out as unique. Still going strong at the age of 33, he is a triple Allstar recipient.

Brian McGuigan
One of the great playmakers, McGuigan’s vision and creativity were central to Tyrone’s All-Ireland triumphs in 2003 and ’05. A catalogue of serious injuries threatened to end his career, but the Ardboe man displayed great courage and determination to defy the odds and return to win a third All-Ireland medal last September. An Allstar winner in 2003.

Cormac McAnallen
The tragedy of Cormac McAnallen’s sudden death in 2004, at the age of 24, continues to deeply affect his friends within the Tyrone squad. But they have succeeded in honouring the memory of a wonderful player by winning two more All-Irelands. Cormac was one of the game’s outstanding midfielders prior to his conversion to a full-back in 2003, a role in which he revelled as Tyrone won a first All-Ireland title, which earned him an Allstar award.

Enda McGinley
The Errigal Ciaran man has been a key component in all three of Tyrone’s All-Ireland triumphs. But it was the 2008 campaign which saw him become the complete player. Established himself as a top-class midfielder, and a remarkable level of consistency saw him turn in a string of classy performances, which ultimately earned him an Allstar.

Philip Jordan
Triple All-Ireland winner Jordan is recognised as one of the finest wing-backs in the modern game. An inspirational figure in all of Tyrone’s All-Ireland triumphs, he has been a match-winner on many occasions, combining resolute
defending with an attacking flair which has seen him frequently hit important scores.
The Moy man’s brilliance has been rewarded with Allstars in 2003, ’05 and ’08.

Owen Mulligan
The flamboyant ‘Mugsy’ has provided many magical moments for Tyrone fans. Three All-Ireland medals take pride of place in his collection of honours, and he is intent on making his mark in 2009. His wonder goal against Dublin in the 2005 All-Ireland quarter-final will never be forgotten. The Cookstown man won an Allstar that year.

Remember if you think, we have left someone out who you think merits a place on the top 125 of Ulster's great footballers feel free to add you own.



Tuesday 17 February 2009

125 - Fermanagh Player List

Who will Erne the nod as the finest in Fermanagh?

To comment on the list and to put your own opinion across please see the 125 Archive list on the right hand column of this page. You can enter a comment in the box at the bottom of each post.
Micheal Breslin picks out some of the players who have graced the Lakeland county over the years...

Eamon McDonnell
THE youngest of five Derrylin brothers, all of whom played on the same county team at least once, Eamon is still talked about today. He captained the 1933 Dr McKenna Cup-winning side, playing in his favoured half-back spot. A very strong player, he could be relied on for scores. He also played for Ulster.
Charlie McDonnell
RATED by his younger brother, Eamon, as a better player than himself. Blessed with terrier-like qualities in the tackle, he played at full-back and, along with Eamon, played for Fermanagh in the 1935 NFL final where they were beaten by Mayo. Also an Ulster player. He later transferred to the Kinawley club.
Tommy McDonnell
STANDING at 6’ 2”, he was the ideal midfielder on the 1932 and 1935 teams. He had a terrific catch and a great kick. He was a big loss to his club when he joined the Gardai and their GAA club. Another who represented his province.
Johnny Monaghan
THE Ederney clubman also played on the ’33 and ’35 teams. Although short in stature, his fierce strength and pace made him an ideal corner-forward.
Hugh D’Arcy
CAPTAIN of the Belnaleck club, which was a force in this era, he went on to represent Fermanagh and, later, switched to Omagh St Enda’s. Big and forceful, he was a reliable and accurate scorer.
Tommy Durnien
THE Lisnaskea legend captained the Fermanagh team that won its very first Ulster (junior) title in 1943. Played in his customary role of centre half-forward. Regarded by many who saw him play as the best player they had ever seen. Renowned as a great free-taker. Played in the Ulster senior final in 1945, having won a Railway Cup medal in ’43. In 15 years as a player and captain, the Emmets won 13 senior championships and 12 senior leagues. At one stage, they went 44 games without being defeated.
Eamon Maguire
BUILT like Johnny Monaghan, with the same pace and strength, he played at half-forward in the winning ’43 Ulster side. Interestingly, he and Monaghan went on to become fiercely loyal clubmen for their respective clubs, in his case Derrygonnelly.
Paddy Clarke
ALSO played at centre-forward on the ’43 team, he came from a renowned Teemore footballing family. Could always be relied on to produce the goods.
James Cassidy
THE Teemore clubman is one of six selected from the 1959 All-Ireland junior championship-winning team. Playing at centre-half back, he possessed a great spring off the ground for his size and had a strong kick with both feet.
Mick Brewster
PLAYED at midfield on the 1959 team and was picked for Ulster. In the following year, Fermanagh ran Down, the All-Ireland winners in 1960, to a couple of points in the Ulster senior championship. Was a good all-rounder, very committed and had two good feet. He possessed a beautiful kicking style off the ground.
PT Treacy
WON a fistful of medals with Devenish and had a distinguished county career. Also won on an Ulster call-up. He could play at centre half-forward or midfield, was very good with both feet and had a great shot. Moved to the Carryduff club in Down and played alongside his son, Brendan who sadly died in a road traffic accident in 1986.
Frank McGurn
THE Belnaleck clubman, along with Kevin Srenan, was the man the ’59 team looked to for scores and, inevitably, he delivered. He was very agile and tricky, making him difficult to mark and he took full advantage of his lack of height to sail past defenders. Tough, with a good shot.
JJ Treacy
A BROTHER of PT, he is the last of the five ’59 men. Played at right half-back in the ’59 team and, despite damaging his collar-bone in the replayed semi-final, insisted on turning out for the UK All-Ireland final where he was marking Seamus Harrison, a former Kildare and Leinster player. Later steered Fermanagh to successive U21 All-Ireland final and managed the seniors for a spell.
Johnny McDonnell
THE Brookeboro clubman played at half-forward or corner-forward. He started his career with the Knocks Club, winning a JFC in 1956. By the time he joined Brookeboro in 1960, he had won an Ulster junior championship medal. He was still playing in 1971 when Brookeboro were beaten by Teemore in the county final. He played in goals in that game and, in the opposite goals was James Cassidy, two greats whose careers were winding down. In the 1971/’72 season, he helped his club to another JFC final, but they lost to Ederney.
‘Sean Maguire’
WHO was the Fermanagh captain who played under a pseudonym and kept his identity so intact that his vice-captain accepted the 1959 All-Ireland Junior Football Championship trophy? He was Fr Ignatius McQuillan from the Newtownbutler club, who was then on the teaching staff of St Columb’s College in Derry. His football name, ‘Sean Maguire’ appeared faithfully in the team lists for he was playing at a time when some in the Church frowned on clergy taking part in physical sport. That restriction, however, failed to dent his performances for Fermanagh as they careered to their first-ever national title.
Eamon McPartland
THE Belcoo clubman never won a county senior championship medal, but was a regular on the Fermanagh team, usually at midfield, and won an Ulster cap on the strength of his performances which continued well into the ’70s. It was a lean decade for the county.
Hugh McCabe
HE joined McPartland when he transferred from his native Aughadrumsee to Belcoo. By then, he had won a handful of Division Two medals and his displays at centre half-back won him a call-up for the county seniors along with a couple of club colleagues. He was both a stylish and inspirational player who would go on to manage Fermanagh, being famously denied a shock win over Armagh in a replay in the 1993 Ulster Championship.
John Donnelly
BORN in Coa, he played his club football with Trillick but kept his county allegiance and, in those lean years, was an inspirational full-forward. Won county honours for Trillick but, sadly had retired in 1981, the year before Fermanagh won through to the Ulster senior championship final. A loyal Fermanagh man, he managed the county for a spell.
Peter McGinnity
IN what was a glorious decade for the county, Roslea native, Peter McGinnity’s star blazed right from the start. He won an Ulster Minor League medal in 1970 and, whilst still a minor, came on as a sub for the 1970 and ’71 U21 sides that won Ulster titles in those years, reaching the All-Ireland finals where they were twice beaten by Cork. His senior debut quickly followed. He was then playing for St John’s, helping them to an Ulster club medal. When he transferred to Roslea in the early ’80s, county titles started coming their way, and an Ulster losers’ medal. In 1982, Fermanagh won through to the Ulster final, where they were beaten by Armagh but, in the following year, he became Fermanagh’s first Allstar and was regularly picked for Railway Cup duty. Enjoyed success as manager of St Michael’s, Enniskillen’s MacRory and Corn na nOg sides.
Gerry Lynch
BEGAN playing senior football for Roslea at the age of 16 in 1968, and was still playing at the age of 41, winning a junior championship medal. Won an Ulster Minor League medal and an Ulster U21 medal in 1971, beating Tyrone in the final where he was marking Frank McGuigan.
Left-footed, he played at half-back for the county, but featured at times at midfield for his club, ending his long senior career at the age of 38 at corner-back. He missed only one game for his club in Centenary Year when they won the double. Has three championship medals.
Peter Greene
HAD a long innings with Belcoo without winning the coveted New York Gold Cup. However, he had banked a regular spot as the county goalkeeper.
A terrific shot stopper, he did all he could to help his team to an Ulster title in 1982. Should have earned his place on the Ulster Railway Cup team, but the stronger counties won out. Later managed Fermanagh for a while.
Jimmy Cleary
IN a football career which was stop-start due to his exploits on the soccer pitch with Glentoran and Northern Ireland, Jimmy Cleary still proved that he was one of the best players ever to be produced by Fermanagh.
A dashing wing-forward, he won two senior championships with his club, Enniskillen Gaels, and also represented Ulster. His journey to the World Cup in Spain 1982 denied him a chance to line out in the Ulster final. Many Fermanagh fans still consider that his presence on the day may have altered the result.
Ciaran Campbell
THE Tempo strongman was the ideal full-back. Won an Ulster Minor League medal in 1970 and, still a minor, was picked by JJ Treacy for the 1970 and ’71 U21 teams. A regular on the senior team and, like the rest, tasted bitter disappointment in ’82. Safe and dependable, had the perfect temperament for a footballer.
Barney Reilly
BRENDAN (Barney) was an iconic figure for Teemore, his head-down approach and never-say-die attitude a constant threat to opposing defences. His unique playing career spanned four decades. He won five county championship medals with Teemore (1969-’83), then switched to Navan in Meath and picked up another handful. In fact, he played into his early 40s. A member of the 1982 Ulster final side, and won two Ulster U21 medals in 1970 and 1971.
Dom Corrigan
ANOTHER member of the ’82 Ulster final team, he took over the full-forward spot from John Donnelly and made it his own. His all-action style and enthusiasm rubbed off on his colleagues, be it with the Kinawley club or the county.
The Brian Borus had previously won county senior premier titles, but not championship and, in Dom’s time, they came perilously close to breaking their duck in 1993 under Jim Carty’s managership. But, like McGinnity, he secured success at college level and managed Fermanagh to a NFL semi-final place and the quarter-finals of the Qualifiers in 2003.
Gerry McElroy
THE former Queen’s Player of the Year (1976) was noted for his deadly left foot which gave long service to Lisnaskea Emmet’s, and county, being a squad member of the 1977 Dr McKenna Cup team and coming on as a sub in the ’82 Ulster final (“I think the occasion alone was just too much for the players,” he later remarked). Won county championships with the Emmet’s in 1977 and 1980. Was in Pat King’s back-up team that helped the county to an All-Ireland B championship success in 1996.
Cormac McAdam
WAS goalkeeper for Lisnaskea and Fermanagh for a lengthy spell and reached the heights when he captained Fermanagh to an All-Ireland B championship success in 1996. Played in all five knock-out matches, a tribute to his fitness. Got his call-up to the county senior panel in 1987, and in 1991 was the Emmets’ Player of the Year after winning the double. Was Fermanagh captain in 1997 when they won the Dr McKenna Cup. Retired in 2000 through injury. His agility and the fact he lives in the townland of Keady near Lisnaskea gave him the nickname, ‘The Keady Cat’.
Paddy McGuinness
RATED by many as the finest full-back of his time, he was full-back on the 1994 Ulster U21 championship winning side, the county’s 16th Ulster title in 110 years. Stylish and unflappable, he possessed vision and pace and went on to represent his county and province, winning an Ulster club championship medal when he transferred to the Loup club. Missed out on an All-Ireland junior championship medal with Fermanagh in 1996 through injury, but was there when Fermanagh won in 2000, being a finalist the previous year.
Raymond Gallagher
THE Erne Gaels player was also a member of that 1994 U21 winning side, but was already an established senior county player and in 2000, won a Railway Cup medal. Featured in those two League (semi-final) and Qualifiers (quarter-final) games at Croke Park where, on each occasion, Tyrone came out on top. Had some consolation when he helped Fermanagh to All-Ireland B titles in 1996 and 2000.
Rory Gallagher
A COUSIN of Raymond, he came to prominence when he captained Fermanagh College to an All-Ireland Vocational Schools’ title in 1996, playing alongside the late Paul McGirr. He scored eight points in that game. Another Ulster player. In 1996, an All-Ireland Junior B championship winners’ medal came his way, his pointed free earning Fermanagh a replay against Longford. Won a Dr McKenna Cup medal in 1997 and another All-Ireland B title medal in 2000. Was not involved in the 2003 or ’04 campaigns. While not one for getting possession, he had an outstanding footballing brain, a very accurate kick pass and lethal finishing.
Paul Brewster
ARGUABLY Fermanagh’s most successful footballer with five Railway Cup medals to his name together with an extended county career that brought him All-Ireland B medal in 1996 and 2000 and, the year before, an Ulster club losers medal with the Gaels. An outstanding and forceful midfielder, he captained the team.
Collie Curran
ANOTHER Lisnaskea Emmets player who played for Ulster. Had a distinguished career that should have brought more rewards his way. His superb fitness was the benchmark for his team mates. Won an All-Ireland B medal in 1996, having played in all five knock-out games. Comes from a famous footballing family and is regarded as one of the greats by the Emmets.
Stephen Maguire
MADE his debut for Fermanagh in 1997 and went on to have devastating years at full-forward in 2000, 2001 and 2004. Indeed, rarely did he relinquish the number 14 jersey during his nine-year inter-county career which was cut short at the age of 28 through injury. Known for his physique, Maguire was also quick on his feet and possessed a keen football brain. Always eager to bring others into the game. He finished as Fermanagh’s top scorer on their never-to-be-forgotten run to the All-Ireland semi-final in 2004.
Tom Brewster
THE Enniskillen Gaels clubman will forever be remembered for his point that, finally, ended Fermanagh’s poor record of losing to Armagh, and set up an All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo to whom they lost in a replay.
Won a Dr McKenna Cup medal in 1997 and was involved in the ’03 and ’04 campaigns, a sub in the drawn game and starting the replay against Mayo. Won an All-Ireland B title medal in 2000 as team captain and, the year before, just missed out on an Ulster club medal with the Gaels. A stylish player, with a gifted left foot, he can double as midfielder or forward.
Barry Owens
THE two-time Allstar made a fairytale comeback in last year’s Ulster SFC semi-final against Derry following heart surgery, helping Fermanagh to an Ulster final meeting with Armagh. Sadly, he sustained a cruciate knee injury in the drawn match and is still making his way back to full fitness. An iconic figure for Teemore and Fermanagh, he was part of the dream team that almost made it to the All-Ireland final in 2004. Has represented Ulster.
Ryan McCluskey
WAS involved in the 2003 and ’04 campaigns. His Ulster selection reflects his high standing. An attack-conscious player with a gifted footballing brain. Was on the Enniskillen Gaels side that were beaten by a single point by Crossmaglen in the 1999 Ulster Senior Club Championship final.
Eamonn Maguire
HELPED St Patrick’s to their first-ever county championship title last year. Part of the 2004 team and, since then, his stock has steadily risen. Although slight of build, his wirey physique and footballing skills brings him into areas where defenders fear to tread. For one who is not so tall, he has a phenomenal leap.
Marty McGrath
another iconic figure for club and county. His 2003/2004 exploits brought him an Allstar. Came on as a sub in the 2000 All-Ireland Junior B final win. Another who has come through ill-health to don the green jersey once more.
He is a consistent performer who, when he shakes off his current knee injury, will be spurring Fermanagh to even greater heights this year.

Remember if you think, we have left someone out who you think merits a place on the top 125 of Ulster's great footballers feel free to add you own.



Monday 16 February 2009

125 - Antrim Player List

Stars who lit up the Saffron sky brightest

To comment on the list and to put your own opinion across please see the 125 Archive list on the right hand column of this page. You can enter a comment in the box at the bottom of each post.

Though silverware has proved hard to come by over the years, Antrim has produced some outstanding individuals. Tony McGee selects the finest players to have worn the Saffron shirt...

Kevin Armstrong
Undoubtedly one of the best forwards that Ulster ever produced. The O’Connell’s club man was a dual player with both county and province before dual players were fashionable. For a while, he also gave back much of what he learned as Antrim football manager.

Brian Bateson
A strong, attacking half-back from Creggan, whose charges up the right wing relieved many a dangerous moment for the Antrim defence. He had the capacity to set his forwards in motion.

Joe Bateson
Unlike his brother Brian, Joe played in attack, mostly on the half-forward line, from where he took many vital scores in the 1960s. A handful for any opponent.

John Burns
began his county career as a minor goalkeeper, but then moved out to the edge of the square, where he became a permanent fixture. He had many great duels with Sean O’Neill. John also played corner-back with authority and represented Ulster in that position. A quiet style of player who rarely got flustered.

Mickey Darragh (jun)
Antrim produced many excellent forwards down the years and the St John’s man was one of the best in the ’80s. Stocky in stature, he ran at defences with purpose and his speed left many a defender in his wake.

Aidan Donnelly
The utility man of Antrim teams, Aidan had spells in attack, at half-back and corner-back, despite his lack of height. He made no secret of the fact that he preferred playing up front but wherever he played he gave 100 per cent. When at left half-back, he often raced into attack, carrying the challenge to the opposition.

Danny Dougan
The Falls Road postman delivered many a blow to opposing teams’ hopes of success against the Saffrons. Danny was a fine fielder of the ball. He may not have been the best marksman around, but his other talents made up for that.

Paddy Dougan
As a minor, the Dunloy teenager played at full-back in the last Antrim team to win the Ulster title (1951). Even then, he was a pillar of strength in front of goal and his shrewdness as a footballer was later carried into industry. The big hands that so often fielded the ball later shook the hand of US President Bill Clinton.

Greg Finnegan
An ’80s player who was sound as a bell at full-back with good hands and long clearances. He will always be remembered for the performance he gave against Tyrone when he beat off the best that the Red Hands could throw at him. A member of St Paul’s, Greg’s career in the Saffron shirt ended prematurely as he decided to concentrate on his dentistry business.

Frank Fitzsimmons
‘Fitzie’, as he was better known, was the typical rugged midfielder, whose energy never seemed to burn up. A good fielder of the ball and also a good carrier of the ball into enemy territory, the Lamh Dhearg man could swing a game in a matter of minutes.

Donal Forde
Donal made his name early as he played senior county football when barely out of teenage years. He was a full-forward in the Antrim team of the early ’50s, but his veterinary business took him to Galway so his Saffron football career was shortened.

Sean Gallagher
The Irish army captain was an imposing figure in midfield during the better years of Antrim football. At over six feet tall, he was a strong opponent and a good team player. Like Kevin Armstrong, Gallagher also managed his native county for a time and, when in the army, steered the careers of other county footballers.

Sean Gibson
Just what the doctor ordered as a forward. A corner-forward in the 1951 Ulster Championship winning team ‘Medicine Man’ Sean continued his attacking role for some further years. A wily winger, typical of the mode of his time.

Aidan Hamill
The stocky Rossa man completed a highly-dangerous full-forward line, firstly, in the All-Ireland-winning U21 side and then at senior level for a number of years. Fast and accurate, he was a nightmare for opponents as he twisted and turned and was accurate with both feet. Certainly an educated forward.

Ciaran Hamill
Not a lot passed through the middle when Glenavy man Ciaran was wearing the number six jersey. A player who led his line with purpose and was usually available to cover off when the need arose.

Sean Kelly
The St Gall’s defender (below) is another centre-back who can stamp his authority on a game. He has been in the county side since his teenage days and has played with success at corner-back and wing-back as well as in the centre of the half line. He likes racing upfield to have a pop at the posts.

Seamus Killough
The Ahoghill dentist extracted much pleasure from Antrim fans as he bossed forwards from far and wide. Seamus played at full-back in the All-Ireland U21-winning side and continued to make his mark at a higher level in subsequent years. His cool presence in front of goals was a calming influence.

Tony McAtamney
Equally effective at both midfield and centre-back and manned the middle for a long spell. He was another Antrim player who played with Ulster and his height and strength in lar na pairc often proved the difference between victory and defeat. Also liked to drive forward for scores.

Andy McCallin
Antrim’s only football Allstar was the ‘Peter Canavan’ of his day. Another product of the Saffron U21 national-winning side who was a speedy right corner-forward with an accurate boot.Small in stature, he made up for his lack of inches with his ability to evade tackles and speed past opponents for scores.

Joe McCallin
An uncle of Andy’s, but from a different era. Joe shared in the glory days of the ’40s and ’50s and, like his sharpshooting nephew, was a corner-forward.

Gerry McCann
A product of the St John’s ‘football school’, Gerry normally operated at centre-forward, from where he snapped up many great scores. He was a very difficult player to mark as he had a swerve to take him out of close quarters.

Gerry McCrory
Another St John’s player. The late Gerry won a Sigerson Cup medal with Queen’s University and won many plaudits from the Antrim fans who enjoyed his ball-carrying and attacking talents. Gerry made up for lack of pounds with his speed.

Frank McCorry
Fr Frank was not only a gifted footballer, he was an all-round sportsman, also excelling at golf and basketball. While teaching PE at St Malachy’s College he coached many young footballers.

Jim McCorry
The Glenavy clubman missed the best of Antrim’s days, but he stood out as one of the best full-backs in Ulster and beyond during his county days. A sturdy number three, whose ability to turn defence into attack was as invaluable as his long kicking.

Sean McGreevy
Played between the Antrim posts during the past two decades bringing off many an important save. There have been many good ’keepers in Antrim teams and the St Paul’s man ranks with the best.

Pat McKay
Another prominent goalkeeper who played in the Saffron side of the ’60s that could hold its own with the best, but still didn’t get the results many fel they deserved.

John McKiernan
The strapping midfield man from St Teresa’s was a powerhouse in Antrim teams during the ’70s and ’80s. He played university football also and was included in Ulster teams.

Malachy McMahon
The Rossa player was from the old school. A player who stood firm in the face of pressure. A strong defender, he was a most difficult player to out-fox or shake off.

Alex McQuillan
A product of the ’80s, the Glenravel man was the typical attacking half-back who also had some outings in attack. For both club and county he was a busy-bee type who was always involved in the thick of things.

Stephen Mulvenna
If only for the fact that he is the proud holder of an All-Ireland senior football medal, he deserves inclusion. Granted, the medal was won during his spell playing with Derry, but he gave many good displays for his native Antrim in midfield.

Paddy Murray
Another half-back of quality, ‘The Coggar’ played with success during the ’40s and ’50s. He was a member of the 1951 Ulster SFC-winning side.

Paddy O’Hara
A Wily corner-forward who proved a real headache for defenders the country over, not least defenders from Kerry. The late Paddy was certainly one of the best players that Antrim ever produced.

Peter O’Hara
Paddy’s brother wasn’t far behind on the honours list. A midfielder of great ability he was many inches taller than his sibling and made full use of every inch he had. Fearsome in the air and accurate in attack.

Paul ‘PJ’ O’Hare
AN under-rated player. The St Gall’s man was an exceptional full-forward and deceptively fast for his size. He was the perfect targetman and his understanding with his corner-forwards was uncanny.

John P O’Kane
From Lamh Dhearg, O’Kane first made his mark with Antrim and, later, with Louth, wearing both the Ulster and Leinster jerseys. Normally a centre-back, he came through the ranks to take his place among the best Saffron players of his time. Exceptional in the air.

Hugh O’Kane
A strong player of the ’50s and ’60s, Hugh captained Queen’s in the Sigerson Cup. One of the most polished players of his time, he missed out on laurels with his county, but still made a big name for himself.

Harry O’Neill
There is little that can be said about the ‘Red Dog’ that hasn’t already been said. It seems that Antrim has a tendency to produce a great number of excellent midfielders and full-backs and the Glenavy clubman was among the best centrefielders. Not a player to tangle with by any means, he was a solid block of football power.

Joe Quinn
Another top Antrim midfielder, who only recently retired from county football. He captained the team for quite a spell and led by wholehearted example. A fine fielder of the ball. What he may have lacked in finishing he made up for in his ability to set his forwards in motion.

Jimmy Roe
A tenacious little corner-back who gave opponents little room to run. He was also a fine dead-ball kicker and took kick-outs with precision. The type of defender that forwards didn’t relish facing.

Patsy Totten
A TOUGH tackling half-back, usually playing on the right side of defence. He was a member of the ’60s side that pushed other teams to the limits without really clinching championship honours, although reaching a provincial final. Patsy was a forward going player who set up many attacks.

Liam Vaughan
The life of Fr Liam was cut short, but not before he left his mark on football as a left winger in attack. A speedster whose scything runs cut through many defences. He didn’t have a long football career, which was interrupted by studies, but he made the best of it while it lasted. When captaining an Antrim minor team to victory a big future was forecast for him.

Harry Vernon
He led the way as a goalkeeper in the ’40s. One of the old style ’keepers who had to deal with a lot more pressure from forwards than the present custodians have to. He dealt extremely well with the style of the day.

George Watterson
Not the burliest of full-backs, by any means, but George was a wiry, tall defender who could deal with any style of opponent. He played during an era when full-forwards and full-backs were usually big, strong and, sometimes, immobile players. But he was different, he made full use of the lean frame he had to man the square with confidence.

Remember if you think, we have left someone out who you think merits a place on the top 125 of Ulster's great footballers feel free to add you own.



125 - Down Player List

Remembering the Gaels of Down’s illustrious past

To comment on the list and to put your own opinion across please see the 125 Archive list on the right hand column of this page. You can enter a comment in the box at the bottom of each post.


Down has always been fertile ground for harvesting footballing talent, and Matt Fitzpatrick took a trip down memory lane to pick his top 50 from the Mourne county

Paddy Savage
LED the county to only its second ever Ulster SFC first round victory over Antrim in 1920. The Liatroim clubman, playing in the full-forward line, scored two of his side’s goals as they won by 3-1 to 1-2 in Newcastle. An alert attacker with an eye for goal. A marksman supreme.
Ted Butterfield
THE Mayobridge stalwart with the safe hands gave away few chances. Was a permanent fixture on the county side in the first two decades of the 20th century.
Mick McAleenan
ANOTHER of the famous Liatroim Fontenoys players who donned the county jersey in those early days. Played in several positions, but the full-back line was his favourite position. Read the game well and was always reliable as a sweeper behind the other defenders.
Bernard Venny
BERNARD was the leader and mainstay of the now extinct east Down club Rossglass. Played for several years – mostly in defence – for the county, but was adept at moving forward to take a score.
Brian McCartan
BRIAN was a half-back of distinction. His power, strength and brilliant football skills shone through. Those same skills, power and tenacity rubbed off on his famous sons in later Sam Maguire Cup wins. Brian was an ever-present on county teams for over a decade. He completed his county career at full-forward.
Stephen Rodgers
A LIVELY corner-forward with an eye for goal, the Kilcoo clubman had a few seasons in the Down attack. Played a major part in Kilcoo winning the county SFC in 1925. Scored Down’s goal in the Ulster SFC game against Monaghan, which the Farneymen won by 3-5 to 1-3.
George Mussen
ANOTHER famous name who graced the county teams. Along with Brian McCartan and Paul Murphy (Mayobridge), formed the strongest line on the team. An outstanding half-back line. George was captain of the county junior side that won the Ulster title in 1934. The Mussen name became famous three decades later to start Down’s glory days.
Terry McCormack
THE Warrenpoint player burst on the county scene in the late ’30s, and was an ever-present for several years. Recognised as a talented defender, he became county captain and led from the front. His defensive qualities were outstanding, but his overall versatility saw him make several appearances as an attacker.
Tom McCann
THE Castlewellan defender was one of the most outstanding players of his time. Was named as a substitute on the Ulster team which won the first-ever Railway Cup for the province in 1942.
Tom O’Hare
THE Ballymartin clubman was another player whose football abilities were recognised outside the county. In 1936, the GAA organised an international tournament between Ireland and England. Tom was a member of the Ireland side that won the football competition. Tom was an attacker of renowned ability.
John O’Hare
THE Castlewellan defender or goalkeeper became an historic figure in the county. A brilliant athlete, John played in goals for the county and as a defender for his club. He became the first Down man to win a Railway Cup medal as a player when he guarded the goals for Ulster in the 1947 and 1948 victories. He was between the posts in the 1942 Ulster final, which Cavan won easily in the first Ulster decider played outside the province. The game was played in Dundalk. John was also a well-known administrator, as he was a member of the east Down and county boards. He was also a founder member of the now defunct Ballyhackamore GAA club.
John McClorey
AN outstanding defender from the Warrenpoint club, John quickly established himself on the county side and for a decade was an ever-present on the team. A steady player, he used his strength and pace to outwit attackers.
Gerry Carr
ONE of the famous Carr family Gerry was an attacking half-back with plenty of pace. When the going got tough, Gerry was always ready, willing and able to play a major part in the exchanges.
Jimmy McLoughlin
THROUGH the years, Down have always produced goalkeepers of outstanding ability. Jimmy was in that mould. He was the keeper in the 1940 Ulster final against Cavan. In the opening Ulster game, he was absolutely brilliant against Tyrone. In the semi-final against Monaghan, he was in excellent form again but his luck ran out against Cavan in the final when he conceded a penalty. Jimmy, however, continued to play his part on the county side for several years.
Dan Morgan
WHENEVER football is talked about in Annaclone, Dan’s name always comes up. A midfielder of outstanding quality, his high fielding and forceful play gave both club and county sides a real lift.
Barney Carr
NO man in the history of the GAA in Down is better known than Barney Carr. He was the man who, as manager, guided Down to their first All-Ireland victory in 1960. But, 16 years earlier and playing at centre half-forward, Barney played a major part as Down won their first ever senior title – the McKenna Cup. In the semi-final he scored two goals against Donegal, while in the final he contributed another two goals against Tyrone.
Brian Denvir
IN the days when midfielders started to play a major part in the flow of football games, it was Brian Denvir who shone through. The Kilclief man was a stylish player, and high-fielding was a feature of his play. His qualities were also recognised by the Ulster selectors on several occasions.
Noel McCarthy
ALTHOUGH Noel may have been more famous for playing another code at Glentoran, Gaelic football was his first love. He was the left half-back on the Down side that brought the first All-Ireland football title to the county, when they beat Warwickshire in the All-Ireland JFC final. The Downpatrick man was a real star that season, and played a major role in that victory.
Gerry Carr
ANOTHER of the famous Warrenpoint footballing clan, Gerry – known as ‘Joker’ – was the captain of the 1946 All-Ireland winning junior side. He led from the front, and was a supreme leader.
Martin Walsh
THE Banbridge student came to the fore at St Colman’s College, Newry. Graduated to the county senior football team as a talented attacker whose pace and accuracy, along with Barney Carr, formed a brilliant half-forward line.
Kevin Mussen
THE history-maker. No matter when or where Mourne football is discussed, the name of Kevin Mussen will always be first to be mentioned. Played for Down seniors while still a student at St Colman’s College, he led the county to their first All-Ireland win and became the first man to carry the Sam Maguire over the border.
Leo Murphy
ANOTHER product of St Colman’s College, the big Kilkeel full-back with the massive kick-out saw off the best forwards in the country. His contributions to Down and Ulster wins is well catalogued.
George Lavery
THE quiet man of those All-Ireland winning teams, the Kilwarlin man acted as a sweeper behind the full-back line and guarded ’keeper Eamon McKay. Safe and confident, he gave away few scores.
Dan McCartan
BIG Dan was a centre-half of outstanding ability. He was quick in the tackle, cleared with accuracy and was always in front of his man in the race for possession. Dan moved to full-back in 1968 and, along with Joe Lennon, Paddy Doherty and Sean O’Neill, became the winner of three All-Ireland medals.
Joe Lennon
ONE of the most talented players to wear the red and black jersey. His contribution to fitness schedules and his vision played a major part in restructuring team effort for major games. A great leader, he brought home the Sam Maguire Cup for the third time.
Jarlath Carey
THE Dundrum clubman was at home in either attack or midfield. It was in the middle, along with Joe Lennon, that he found his best position. A tireless worker, he led from the front and was always forcing his way forward into attack.
Sean O’Neill
A FOOTBALLER supreme is the only way to describe the Newry Mitchels man. A team player with a brilliant side-step and a quick injection of pace, he was a player of immense ability and was quite rightly recognised on the GAA’s centenary team.
James McCartan snr
THE Glenn attacker led the line with dash, power, courage and determination. His goal against Offaly in the 1961 All-Ireland was a piece of sheer genius and turned the game Down’s way.
Paddy Doherty
WHAT can one say about the great Paddy Mo? A genius whose left foot wrecked so many team defences. He was Ulster’s leading SFC scorer until Peter Canavan broke that record a few years ago, but Doherty’s feat was in 60-minute games. His 15 points against Connacht in the Railway Cup final is still a Croke Park record.
Tony Hadden
ANOTHER left footer, the Newry Shamrocks man was adept at sending the ball over the bar with an expert fist as with his boot. Roamed outfield to get possession and then race through for a score.
Patsy O’Hagan
THE Clonduff clubman was the ideal full-forward. However, it was when he moved to full-back after winning his All-Ireland medal in 1960 that Patsy really came into his own. After scoring four goals against Galway in the Wembley tournament in London, one English Sunday paper carried a story that Chelsea were interested in him. Thankfully, Patsy stayed at home.
Breen Morgan
FEW players have contributed as much to the Down attack than the ‘Annaclone Cyclone’. Small in stature, his sturdy body saw him dominate much taller outfield players.
Pat Rice
ONE of the most outstanding defenders in the county. A steady player who covered well and gave away few chances. In the days when defenders kicked out the ball, Pat had a great delivery.
Colm McAlarney
AS a College player, the Liatroim Fontenoys star’s high fielding, turn of pace and finishing made him an automatic Allstar. Colm is the only footballer to have won Railway Cup medals in three decades. (1968,1971, and 1980)
Tom O’Hare
ONE of the best corner-backs in the country. His delivery of a ground ball was amazing. It didn’t matter whether it was for his club, Mayobridge, or county, he always played the same steady game.
Ray McConville
AN outstanding half-back with boundless energy. An attacking player who was always in the thick of things. No matter whether for his club Kilclief or county, he always played a steady game.
Danny Kelly
THE Downpatrick keeper was the joker in the pack. His net-minding abilities were immense and, coupled with his quick wit with both colleagues and opponents, he became a legend, and was known as ‘the bearded wonder.’
Willie Doyle
A CENTRE half-back of great talent, the Liatroim Fontenoys man always had a steady game. His high-fielding and well placed deliveries played a major part in any game.
Brendan Sloan
A CORNER-back who made up for his lack of height with quick tackling. There were few better corner-backs in the country.
Mickey Cole
A PLAYER of immense talent with the Sean O’Neill-type body swerve, Mickey was a forward who worked tirelessly for the team
Peter Rooney
A TRULY unique talent, the Warrenpoint player could slide the ball over the bar with accuracy.
Paddy O’Rourke
A BORN leader, Paddy graduated through minor and U21 to captain the side to All Ireland glory in 1991. His steady displays and brilliant leadership played a major part in an historic victory.
Brian Burns
BRIAN emerged through the great Bryansford side to fill the county full-back berth. Used his great strength to best advantage in the red and black
Eugene Grant
ONE of the most stylish players to emerge from Bryansford, Eugene used his pace to great advantage.
Ross Carr
CURRENT senior county manager, Ross has had plenty of experience as a player. A half-forward with a sweet left foot, he played a major part in Down successes in the 90s
Greg Blaney
THERE have been few better footballers in Down over the past two decades than Greg Blaney. He was a brilliant reader of the game. Worked tirelessly at centre half-forward and set up chances, while notching a few himself.
James McCartan jnr
WEE James’ pace and swerving runs terrified defences, and his scores made from nothing changed the flow of many games.
DJ Kane
A FEARLESS half-back, he inspired those around him with his forceful play. Always prompted the attack with expert deliveries.
Barry Breen
THE Downpatrick defender or midfielder’s fielding and finishing power helped turn many games. Encouraged those around him.
Mickey Linden
THE versatile and talented Mayobridge player tore defences apart with his pace and scoring power. Used both feet to expertly notch scores, and always gave 100 per cent.
Dan Gordon
THE big Loughinisland midfielder is the current captain of the county team. His high fielding makes him a vital cog in the machine.
Benny Coulter
A PLAYER of immense talent and power, the Mayobridge man has all the qualities of a great player. A real goal-getter, he can turn games with his scoring prowess
Hugh McNamara
ONE of those players whose defensive qualities were recognised by both county and province. Helped Loughinisland climb from divisional to all county level.

Remember if you think, we have left someone out who you think merits a place on the top 125 of Ulster's great footballers feel free to add you own.