St. Enda’s ‘Best 15’ footballers

Today we looked at St. Enda’s ‘Best 15’ footballers through the eyes of Declan Steele (head of football development at St. Enda’s). He has picked his best team over the last 30 years. Declan has come up with an impressive looking side. It won’t get everyone’s approval but it’s just one person’s opinion. ‘It’s just a bit of fun!’

Declan Steele’s ‘Best 15’

Great initiative by you and a bit of craic. A really difficult task to do this as like any club we have had numerous quality players over the years. I made my full debut as a teenager in our clubs first ever Division 1 senior game v Cargin in 1989 so this selection is based on players who I have played with, watched and managed over the last 30 years.

1-Paddy Flood: Straight forward enough selection here. Paddy despite being only 30 seems to have been about a lifetime. Was between the posts for Antrim’s championship 7 goal thriller v Fermanagh in Brewster Park under Liam Bradley. Good hands and has a great kick out.

2-Micky Ferguson: Was a teak tough defender throughout the 90’s. Had an unbelievable engine, tidy on the ball and nobody ever got anything too easy from him.

3-Enda Hayes: Played in late 80’s and through most of the 90’s. Just a natural full back. 6ft 2in tall and quick with it. Enda attacked the ball at every opportunity and was excellent in the air.

4-Damian Gault: St. Malachy’s College only Ulster Colleges football All Star. Natural corner back. Small in stature but quick, strong and read the game brilliantly. Damian also represented his county at all levels.

5-James McAuley: James is one of the new breed of players in St. Enda’s who came through very successful juvenile teams. Played a lot of his youth football in the forward line but recent years has seen him cement his position in the half back line for both club in their run to the All-Ireland Intermediate final and this season with the county.

6-Kevin Devlin: A club stalwart who played senior for over 20 years from the late 70’s through to late 90’s. Kevin was hard as nails as many an opponent will testify but could certainly play a bit too. Read the game brilliantly and always knew where to be.

7-Peter Healy: Still only in his early 20’s. Part of a star studded UCD team that won a Sigerson medal in recent years. Blessed with great pace and ball carrying skills, Peter was phenomenal in the 2018 run to the All-Ireland final and has cemented a place as a regular in the current county senior team.

8-Paddy (Scrubber) Dornan: Paddy was known to all who played against him in 90’s and noughties. Probably the strongest player I ever played with. Built like a brick shit house (and yet never lifted a weight in his life) and pace to go with it. Great engine in him and was renowned for carrying the ball up the field with players hanging off him.

9- Brendan Prenter: ‘Empty’ as he was known graced the county hurling team for quite a few years and played in good Antrim teams that were competitive on the All Ireland scene, but what a footballer he was too. So graceful and athletic with such a cultured left foot who could take points from 40 metres and beyond.

10- Kristian Healy: Another player who has shone in recent years for the club. Blessed with phenomenal pace which can leave all defenders in his wake. Kristian scored a number of crucial goals in the 2018 championship run. Has struggled with injury since but still in his mid-twenties.

11- Michael Coogan: ‘Coogie’ was an unbelievable talent who played in 90’s and noughties and was a mainstay on the senior team that got to the senior county semi-final in that era. Two footed with great hands and lovely balance he flitted between midfield and full forward very effectively.

12- Philly Curran: Versatile player Philly started playing senior when he was 16 and 20 years later is still looking a game J. Good hands and stamina and an ability to read the game.  Philly played on St. Enda’s teams that struggled throughout the noughties but eventually and deservedly won several championship medals in both codes in the last couple of years.

13- Paul Darby: Paul only came to the club when Pearses folded in the early 90’s but what a player he turned out to be for the club. Played senior up until he was 43 he was one of the best strikers of a ball I have seen. Represented the county at senior level and would have played for more years than he did at county level only his first lecturing job taking him to Liverpool for a few years when he was in his prime. Undoubted class.

14- Odhran Eastwood: Another classy player who has come through the ranks. Two footed with great balance Odhran’s greatest asset is his vision on the pitch and his ability to take out 2 or 3 members of the opposing team with a killer pass. Has recently become an integral part of the county panel and was really starting to find his feet at county level before lockdown hit us all.

15- Gerard Crossey: Nearing the end of his career now, Gerard marked Donegal’s Michael Murphy as full back in an Ulster minor football final at Croke Park. Was an unbelievable ball winner and when he started playing club senior football at 16 he was unmarkable. Gradually moved up the field where he utilised his ball winning skills and natural strength to great effect.

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Some quality players on the bench

Ruairi Scott – a very skilful player who can play from No. 8-15

Conor Maxwell-Fitness fanatic Maxi captained the team in my 4 years as manager and would have been on the team that got to an All-Ireland only for injury

Tommy Kelly ‘Tucker’ was a half forward who never stopped. His legs moved as fast as his mouth which was something J

Charlie O’Kane  A very speedy utility player who played senior until a broken cheekbone forced his retirement at 40. Now doing great work coaching U-12’s.

Terry McGoldrick A native of Dromore in County Tyrone who played for the Red Hands. Terry came to us in his late 20’s. What a set of hands and gave us 10 years solid service between midfield and full forward.

Some quality players on the bench

Ruairi Scott – a very skilful player who can play from No. 8-15

Conor Maxwell-Fitness fanatic Maxi captained the team in my 4 years as manager and would have been on the team that got to an All-Ireland only for injury

Tommy Kelly ‘Tucker’ was a half forward who never stopped. His legs moved as fast as his mouth which was something J

Charlie O’Kane  A very speedy utility player who played senior until a broken cheekbone forced his retirement at 40. Now doing great work coaching U-12’s.

Terry McGoldrick A native of Dromore in County Tyrone who played for the Red Hands. Terry came to us in his late 20’s. What a set of hands and gave us 10 years solid service between midfield and full forward.

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