St. Paul’s ‘Best 15’

Today we look at St. Paul’s ‘Best 15’ footballers through the eyes of club stalwart, Brian Coyle. Brian has served the Shaw’s Road club all his life as player and manager and presently manages the club’s very successful ladies team that won an Ulster Intermediate title last year.

He has come up with a strong line-up. As I say every day, it might not get everyone’s agreement but it’s just one man’s opinion. ‘It’s just a bit of fun!’

Brian Coyle’s St. Paul’s ‘Best 15’ footballers

I thought the challenges presented by COVID-19 pandemic was more than enough of a mental battle to a man of my years until being asked to select a Naomh Pol all-time 15. It certainly provoked some mental conflict as my mind was flooded with names such as the great Chris Murphy, Jim Hughes, Gary Flynn, Kieran Killyleagh, Anton Rogan and Aidan McAufield. Then there was the countless number of players from our successful minor teams of the 80s who brought us our senior success in the 90s. Gratitude to Dr Pearse Donnelly for recruiting and nurturing some of this talented group! I know everyone will have their own opinion but see what you think of my selection and I hope it will prompt some healthy debates within our own club. Remember I’m self-isolating and social distancing so no knocks at the front door!

1-The net minder I couldn’t look past our evergreen Sean McGreevy. Undoubtedly number 1 in Antrim and an All Star nominee. A true club stalwart.

2-Ryan O’Neill – a prolific club player who had a great ability of reading the play and was strong in the tackle.

3-Greg Finnegan – Primary attributes was his quickness across the ground and tremendous strength under the high ball.

4-Niall Ward – tough, tenacious in the tackle and pacey corner back.

5-Stephen Mulvenna – First class attacking from wing half back. Seldom that a player would get to the ball before him.

6-Marty Kerr – Wonderful reader of the game and distributor of the ball into the forward line.

7-Anto Finnegan – Immense leadership qualities on the pitch and always first to the ball.

8-Charlie McStravick – excellent all round player who was difficult to stop on his attack. Great distributor of the ball.

9-Joe Quinn – industrious in mid field and an efficient link up player for the forwards.

10-Aidan Donnelly – Our clubs very own Benjamin Button. Unmarkable, agile and a genius on the ball.

11-Donagh Finnegan – Paul McErlean torn between. Donagh was a fantastic winner of the ball and strong going forward. Mackers put his creative basketball skills to effective use on the Gaelic pitch.

12-Fergus Donnelly – Another all-round skilful player. Resourceful on the ball and opened up many a defence.

13-Joe Kennedy – Best Left foot in the county. Could score from any angle. Great work ethic and always got the scores.

14-Barry Burns – Saying he was a nuisance to defenders is an understatement, more of a menace. He worked hard for his team and toyed with his opponents’ mind.

15-John McManus – A natural ability to bring his team-mates into the game. Great free taker.

This was a tough call to make as I could easily create another team of classy players. I need to mention Brian ‘Robbo’ Robinson, Paul Burns, Barry O’Neill and Bobby Hamill (RIP). All great players and contributors to our teams in the past.

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