Seven Down, Four Armagh footballers on Irish Independent’s ‘125 Greatest Stars of the GAA’

November 10, 2009

Seven Down and four Armagh footballers have been selected amongst the top 125 footballers of the last 125 years in a poll conducted by the Irish Independent newspaper to celebrate the 125 year history of the GAA in both hurling and football.

Kerry’s Jack 0’Shea was chosen as the number one footballer with Kilkenny’s Henry Shefflin the number one hurler.  Sean Purcell (Galway) was second with Peter Canavan (Tyrone) third ahead of Mick O ‘Connell (Kerry).  Down’s highest ranking went to Sean O’Neill who came in at number five. The other Down players selected with their placings in brackets were Paddy Doherty (30), James McCartan Snr (41), Greg Blaney (75), Mickey Linden (88), Colm McAlarney (92) and Tom O’Hare (98).

The top placed Armagh footballer was Kieran McGeeney at number 60. Oisin McConville was next at 100 with Paddy Moriarty (104) and Joe Kernan (120) making up the Armagh quartet.

In all 28 players from Ulster, representative of seven different counties with Antrim and Fermanagh missing out were selected by the Independents panel of experts. Third placed Peter Canavan was joined by fellow Tyrone players Sean Cavanagh (43), Eugene McKenna (48), Brian Dooher (58), Frank McGuigan (71). Derry were represented by Anthony Tohill (80) and Sean O’Connell (107). Donegal were also doubly represented through Martin McHugh (66) and Brian McEniff (89).

Eugene Nudie Hughes (115) is the sole representative from Monaghan.

Cavan join Down at the top of the Ulster representatives chart with 7 players featuring. John Joe Reill leads the way at number 9 followed by Mick Higgins (36), Tom O’Reilly (74), Charlie Gallagher (94), Ray Carolan (119), Gabriel Reilly (122) and PJ Duke (124). Of the current crop of players still in action Colin Cooper (20) and Darragh O’Shea (23) are the only two to feature in the top 25 list.

The special five part series conducted by the paper and the conclusions of its experts in their final selections is sure to cause an awful lot of debate amongst football supporters throughout the land. No doubt it will be a cause for discussion and argument in every pub throughout the country.