The ‘Best 15’ footballers launched today

Today the Saffron Gael launches a new article and its one I’m sure will generate a lot of interest as the site goes into year 4 since our launch in May 2017.

We are asking contributors to name the best 15 club footballers from within their time involved with their own club. Remember it’s only a bit of fun and like our very successful team of the week competition it’s unlikely that your selection will find universal agreement.

Say something about the players in your selection and to set the ball rolling Dunloy native and Saffron Gael contributor, Brendan McTaggart gives us his best 15 Dunloy footballers that he has watched.

Brendan’s too young to remember the great Dunloy football championship winning sides from the 1920’s and 30’s so his side includes players from the last 30 years or so and it’s a formidable looking outfit.

Hopefully we will be able to publish a team every day for the next number of weeks but that depends on representatives from each club sending us your best 15 footballers that you have had the privilege to watch.

Later we are going to extend the ‘best 15’ to hurling and you might start sending us your best club 15 hurlers as soon as possible but for now here we go with the best 15 footballers from Dunloy

Brendan McTaggart’s best 15 Dunloy football team

Mission impossible.  Some quite brilliant players in both codes have wore a Dunloy shirt and I’ve tried to narrow them down into a starting 15 from the last 30 years.  Far from an easy task and even now when I’ve finished I could make a few changes in either team.  But here it is.  My attempt at Mission Impossible.

Dunloy’s Best 15 since 1990 – Football

  1. Sean Doherty
  2. Conor Cunning
  3. Conor McKinley
  4. Eamon Downey
  5. Nigel Elliott (senior)
  6. Gregory O’Kane
  7. Kevin McQuillan
  8. Dermot McFerran
  9. Johnny McAleese
  10. Gareth McAllister
  11. Colm McGuckian
  12. Benny McGarry
  13. Kevin McAllister
  14. JJ McFerran
  15. Chris Kearns

There’s plenty to chose from.  Dunloy have produced plenty of quality ‘ballers’ through the years who were equally as gifted with the big ball as they are with the sliotar.  A few notable absences and first names on the bench – Paudie Shivers, Malachy Molloy, Joe McErlain, Sean McIlhatton, Darren Webb and Tony McGrath while Justin Dooey got pipped to the number one jersey by Sean Doherty. 

Woody played in the forward line in recent years but his displays on the edge of his own square during Dunloy’s championship run in ’07 were immense.  Gregory O’Kane could have made any team in the county in any era in my own opinion.  Just like his exploits with a hurl, ‘Dick’ excelled and read the game like no other.  Nigel ‘senior’ was another was one of the first names on the sheet while Kevin McQuillan brought his talents from underage through to the seniors.  Eamon Downey was better known for his displays from half back as a marauder and occasionally in midfield but a superb reader of the game and I’ve moved him back a line to include ‘the Bear’ in front of him.

Midfield was difficult.  I moved ‘Parrot’ to wing forward as I just had to make room for ‘Big Paws’ while Dermot McFerran was one of Dunloy’s mainstays for many’s a year in midfield.  McFerran was another strong ball carrier and excellent in the air while Johnny was one of the best clean catchers of a ball I’ve ever witnessed.  Loved a tackle and relished the challenge and to be honest, he had to be in there for his famous ‘air horn’ celebrations.  Legendary throughout the village.

The forward unit was difficult to choose.  That being said, my first two names on the sheet were ‘The Dip’ and ‘JJ’.  Benny was the most naturally gifted footballer I ever witnessed and could turn his marker in a phone box while JJ’s vision, accuracy and partnership with The Dip was one of the best ever.  On the gaelic pitch and soccer!

Cookie was a fierce competitor and strong ball carrier and a natural at number 11 while Kevin ‘Rev’ McAllister is the ageless man.  Some say he’ll be 38 on his next birthday, some say he’s playing as well now as he did 20 years ago.  Chris ‘Powder’ Kearns led the Dunloy attack for many’s a year and had a burst of speed that saw him leave his marker for dead more often than not. 

We will leave it up to clubs to nominate someone to send us their selection so if you would like to take part send us your ‘Best 15’ club footballers from your own club to ptrckmclwn@yahoo.co.uk or john.mcilwaine@yahoo.co.uk


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