St. Patrick’s Lisburn ‘Best 15’

St. Patrick’s GAC Lisburn opted for a committee of four to select their ‘Best 15’ footballers and came up with an impressive 15 as our feature on ‘Best 15’ footballers from your club reaches the closing stages. After today we have O’Donnell’s, Pearses and Ballycastle on file and are still hoping to hear from Eire Og and Lochra Loch Lao if they can forward their teams in the next couple of days.

Super Pats ‘Best 15’

St.Patricks took the creation of their best team to a selection panel, made up of Mick Lynch ( Club President and Club Legend , Peter Burns (Chairperson), Kieran Drayne and Peter Mallon , lifetime  stalwarts of the club ,which stretched back to the formation of the club in 1965 to the present day- which is quite unique. Mick Lynch, as anyone who knows him, regaled us all with the stories of heavy hits, broken noses, an odd melee and of the skilled footballers who played for St.Patricks.

The panel started with 50 players, which was whittled down to the best 15, a subs bench to create an exceptional squad and honourable mentions. The selected players had the following attributes –long term commitment, positional expertise and championship quality. They also acknowledged those who played for Antrim.

  1. Paul Lavery (RIP) – Top class goalkeeper, central to the 1990 JFC win. ‘Lav’ loved the craic and loved to sing. He entertained the Derry fans in ’92 outside the Cat & Cage.
  2. Thomas Burns –‘Tucker’ has played for 8 years on the senior squad. Mc Larnon Cup winner with CBS. Strong under the high ball and a solid man-marker.
  3. Pat Cassidy (RIP) – ‘Shovels’- Quiet and unassuming gentleman. Played with panache, elegance and assurance. Mc Rory and Hogan Cup winner with St.Colman’s Newry. Plucked the ball from the air with hands like shovels.
  4. Peter Mulholland – ‘Elbows’ –Peter took no prisoners, scrupulously fair though back in the day , he hit hard and played harder.
  5. Ben Mc Mullan –‘Benji’ built like a tank , runs like a greyhound, a half forwards worst nightmare. Captain of the 2019 JFC winners.
  6. Eamon Drayne – stylish CHB , great engine , a ‘Lynch’pin for Mick O’Leen.

He took a defeat very badly.

  • Sean Fay –‘Seanie’ – marauding LHB, played Antrim U21s, blighted by a knee injury , but still playing for  the SA footballers when required., from the Fay Dynasty.

Like a lot of clubs, the panel went for the best midfield combination.

  • Liam Mulholland – ‘Doggie’- Captain of the 1990 JFC winners. Covered every blade of grass in every match.
  • Liam Mc Stravick – ‘Sticks’ – Around 6ft 2”. Massive holding midfielder, a great eye for a long-range point, complimented the lung bursting runs of his Midfield buddy.
  •  Kevin Lenaghan – ‘Speedy’ – Incredible pace and very talented baller. Exceled in ’90 JFC final, scoring a goal at Casement, that is still talked about today. Unmarkable.
  • Tony Ferris – sublime skill set, changed the direction of a game with ease. Emigrated to NZ and represented his adopted country at soccar.
  • Mick ‘Og’ Lynch – ‘Wee Mick’ – Quick and accurate with An educated left foot. Perfected the Frank Mc Guigan dummy. Right, Left, Bang. U21 Ulster Chamionship winner with Antrim.
  • Josh Mc Mullan – ‘Twin’ – turbo boosters on, he leaves defenders in his wake. A baller who plays to win. Has his own fan club.
  • Billy Drake – Strong, Robust, pacy and a full back’s worst nightmare. Played for Antrim. Pure Baller. Equally proficient with either foot. When Billy got on the ball, there was only two outcomes a goal or a point.
  • Niall Ward – ‘Wardie’- second player to make onto two teams. Niall managed the senior team to the ultimate goal of a JFC in 2019. His contribution on the field oozed class, toughness and determination.

    The Bench

  1. Peter O’Neill- youngest player to make the panel, at 21, has played Senior football for five years. Consistent performer in goals, outstanding in 2019 JFC.
  2. Peter Mallon – ‘Muzz’ –stylish and hard-working HB, linked up well with Billy Drake, never got a return ball though. Longest serving member of the senior team & management. Complained to referees on the pitch and nothing has changed on the side line!
  3. Jack Mc Mullan – ‘Jacko’- stylish, hard-working man-marker. Always does the job the manager needs. Horrendous dress sense ! Third Mc Mullan to make it.
  4. Tomas Fay- ‘Big T’ – A foot soldier, who takes no prisoners, loyal servant through two decades, 2019 JFC medal was a fitting reward for his  service to the club. Like a fine wine, getting better with age. Loves Co.Down, as he was born on the other side of the river Lagan.
  5. Damien Morgan- played for the club for a long number of years. A consistent performer.
  6. Francis Mc Meel – ‘The Postman’- Tyron’s loss was Lisburn’s gain. Francie is a stylish and cultured forward who always delivers.
  7. Seamus Mc Grath (RIP) – Seamus tragically died in a car accident in his prime. A fantastic footballer, whose loss was felt throughout the club.

Honourable mentions – players who graced the team sheets with distinction-

Gerry Lennon, Eoin Fay, Mick Jameson, paddy Morgan, Kieran Toal, Kevin Parker, John Toner, Damien Johnston, Mark Chernek and Kevin Fay.

A great opportunity to reflect on those who have created great memories.

St. Malachy’s ‘Best 15’

As we near the end of our ‘Best 15’ footballers feature we would like to thank all the clubs who have submitted teams and the response has been truly remarkable. The feature has been a great success, thanks in no small way to the individuals who have taken on the challenge to select their club’s ‘Best 15’ and, I’m sure have had to take some flak for their selections.

After today we have St. Patrick’s Lisburn and Pearses and O’Donnell’s on file and only Ballycastle and Lochra Loch Lao have failed to submit side but there’s still time. Send your ‘Best 15’ selection to ptrckmclwn@yahoo.co.uk or john.mcilwaine@yahoo.co.uk

Today we look at St. Malachy’s GAC’s ‘Best 15’ through the eyes of someone who simply wants to be known as ‘Oul Hand’ and we respect his request for anonymity. It can be a thankless business this selecting your club’s Best 15 but ‘Oul Hand’ has stepped up to the plate and came up with a strong looking side.

Oul Hand’s St. Malachy’s ‘Best 15’

This was a really tough team to pick and I’m sure I will upset a few friends by not putting them in lol. So if you could just say this came from an Oul Hand that would be great. A serious bunch of reprobate’s but all round good guys that gave it all for the jersey.

1- Andy Devlin. Andy was probably the best keeper in my opinion. Good talker, brilliant shot stopper and brave to a fault. A serious knee injury cut short his playing days.

2- Hugh McGrattan. Scratt was a monster and could really shift over the ground. Very intelligent player and a no nonsense defender who you loved a battle.

3-.Kevin Dobbin. Probably made the team for the years of service he gave. Strong in the air kept things simple and played to his abilities.

4- Johnny Carlisle. One of the nicest people you would ever meet off the pitch but looks are deceiving. A great engine and had pace to burn and he would and literally did run through walls to get possession. I’ve seen many a crumpled body after an exchange with Johnny, but he wasn’t a dirty player just very, very tough.

5-.Anthony Dobbin. Playing Anto out of position here but he could play anywhere. He is the Forrest Gump of the team with a fitness level unmatched and stamina to run all day blended with the skill to take people on and get past as if they weren’t there. That why I’ve put him out wide so he can ran up and down. The only downside is he has chocolate ankles.

6- Mark Connolly. Jimmy is a player who loves to get on the ball (maybe a bit too much) and try and attack at every opportunity but he is a solid defender and a good team player. He just loves the roundabout style of play.

7-.Peter Murray.  Peter came to play towards the end of his time but what an impact and influence he had on the team. From changing the style of fitness training to leading by example on pitch.  A gentleman but he was also some craic. 

8- Ciaran Vernon. A player of pure skill, technical ability and first class attitude. The now club captain just seems to ooze class when on a pitch and is usually these days the go to guy to get things going. He just seems to glide over the surface and makes things look so easy and always seems to know what to do when to do 

. Another player with great fitness levels and a skill to get past people. Worked well with his partner in middle of park and could take a score from most places. Very accurate with frees and 45’s. He would also tell anyone that would listen how good he was and how great his scores were lol.

9- Gerard McMullan. Ulla was the work horse for the team in middle third. He done a lot of the unselfish dirty work that maybe most never seen to allow other people to go forward for the headlines. He was also a proper baller too who could pick a pass and dictate the tempo of a game. 

10- Paddy Neeson. The real good guy that everyone not only in his own team but other teams totally respected. He never caused a fuss or a scene and he played the game the way it should be played. A player who gave his all and had an outstanding pair off hands that never failed. A strong runner with the ball and could use both feet to great effect. Top notch player.

11- Stephen Dobbin. Another player with great fitness levels and a skill to get past people. Worked well with his partner in middle of park and could take a score from most places. Very accurate with frees and 45’s. He would also tell anyone that would listen how good he was and how great his scores were lol.

12- Collie Connolly. The knackers dog as he is known was a very hard working and skilful wing forward back then. He could pull scores out of nothing and change a game when it was needed and would always work for the good of the team. He’s to be found down around the defence area these days.

13-.Karl McKavana. Hyper is something that not many people could describe. A voice that could wake the dead. He is a match winner on his day a forward who once gets the ball is hard to win back off and he could take scores that would grace Croke Park on any Championship Sunday. His only downfall is that there seems to be a broken link between his brain and his mouth because although we know what should be said the nonsense that comes out of his mouth is laughable.

14- Martin Walsh. The Legend that is Walter. This guy was just pure class. I never seen a player who could sell a dummy like him and with a shimmy and a shammy he was away and the ball usually ended up in back of net. A real goal getter but could take a fine point too and was a real focal point and target for the out ball. Very very underrated player.

15- Patrick Turley. The brains of the forward line. Although he would usually play deeper out for his ability to see a pass before anyone else he is in there for his ability to win ball and either take a score or create chances for others with his movement off the ball. 

If it’s ok I would like to give a few honourable mentions to people I left out. Billy McManus Michael Mitchell Jim McGivern Stephen Glennon  Neil and Ciaran Drain and Damien Bannon would all get into the team without doubt but I just tried to balance it out a bit. Ciaran Vernon is another who is an absolute baller and a machine who just glides through games but I only ever played once or twice with him and that’s the only reason why he’s not in. 

The footballing Careys and the Glenravel connection

By John Curly McIlwaine

Last week I spotted a post on the Once Upon A Time in Glenravel Facebook page from Mártan Ó Ciardha from An Spidéal Co. Galway enquiring if anyone had history on his grandfather Henry J Carey who was born in Rathkenny, Glenravel in 1872. I did not know a lot about his ancestors to be honest but Mártan was soon flooded with info about his heritage from some of the many experts on the Glenravel site, and in this short time  is now more or less and honourary Glenravel man.

What caught my eye was the fact that Mártan was from Spidal so I messaged him to say that the local Con Magees club had spent two Easter weekends there in 1973 and ’74 in the Teach Furbo Hotel, had great memories of the place and that Planxty had played in the hotel on both the Easter Sunday nights we were there. We played a couple of challenge games both years, among the teams we faced were the mighty Corofin. However it has to be said that football was not the main focus of the trips.

This is where the story really starts.

Mártan got back right away and thanked me for getting in touch and told me he was a dyed in the wool GAA man himself and had covered the games in Galway, working for Raidió na Gaeltachta. He then dropped a real bombshell as he told me about how he felt his uncle Hugo might possibly be the first son of a Glenravel man to win and All Ireland Senior Football medal. Having worked on the team that produced the club history just four years ago I was knocked sideways by this statement. Nobody in the club had ever heard of Hugo Carey so I ask Mártan to send me on all the info he had on his famous uncle and true to his word he sent me the following email.

Hugo Carey

Hugo Carey (left) with his father Henry, mother Margaret and brothers Joe and Pádraic

Hugo Carey became possibly the first son of a Glenravel man to win an All Ireland Senior Football medal when he lined out at corner-back for Galway in their win over Dublin in 1934.

Named after his grandfather Hugh, Hugo was the son of Henry J. Carey, born to Hugh Carey (b. Rathkenny 1824) and his wife Mary McGowan (b.1829). Henry J. became a member of the RIC and was posted to Carna in Connemara.

There he and his wife Margaret Berry reared a family of seven, Hugo being the middle child and born in 1908.

Hugo Carey (4th player from left on the back row) on the Galway team who beat Dublin in the 1934 All Ireland final
Hugo Carey (3rd from left) on the Galway team in the pre-match parade before the 1934 All Ireland final.

He was on the Galway teams that won the Connacht titles in 1933 and ’34, reaching the All Ireland Finals on both occasions. They were beaten by Cavan in ’33 but the following year Hugo Carey earned his All Ireland medal playing on a side took revenge on the Brefni men in the semi-final, and then defeated Dublin (3-5, 1-9) in the final.

Within days of that win Galway headed to the USA where they played games in Boston, Jersey City, Philadelphia and in Giant’s Stadium New York, where Hugo marked Joe Stynes, noted republican and grand-uncle of the Great Jim Stynes the only non Australian-born footballer to be awarded the Brownlow Medal.

Hugo Carey was also a member of the Connacht team that won the Railway Cup final of 1933.

In later life Hugo was well known to people as the driver of the CIE bus from Galway to Longford, where he died aged 87 on Connacht Final Day, 21st July 1996.

Jarlath Carey

There is another twist to this story for although Hugo Carey was the first son of a Glenravel man to win and All Ireland Senior Football medal, he was not the only one – and not the only Carey. When Down made the famous breakthrough by beating the mighty Kingdom in the 1960 All Ireland final Jarlath Carey, son of Paddy Carey and Bella O’Loan, both from Glenravel, lined out at midfield and he was there again in the middle of the park the following year when the Mourne men beat Offaly before a crowd of 90,556, the biggest ever attendance at a football final.

Former Down star Jarlath Carey remembers playing football in the Crossroads field at the Oliver Hall during his summer visits to Glenravel in the 1950s.

Paddy and Bella Carey moved to Ballymartin Co. Down when Paddy was appointed principal of the local primary school and the boys grew up playing their football in the local club. However every summer they came back to Glenravel on holiday and Jarlath, Sean and Malachy played for the Con Magees at ‘Carnivals’ throughout the county, maybe not always strictly legally. Sean actually played for Antrim and was a member of the Saffron team who beat Down in the first round of the Ulster Junior Championship in 1946. Down appealed afterwards citing Sean Carey as being illegal and were reinstated at Antrim’s expense, and went on to win, not only the Ulster title, but also the All Ireland.

Were the two Carey’s connected. Coming from the same parish there is a good chance they were so I will hand the story back to Declan and his team of experts in the Once Upon A Time In Glenravel Facebook page to sort that one out

Greencastle Wolfe Tones GAC – The Resurrection

Wolfe Tones GAC – based in the parish of Greencastle, which straddles both Belfast & Newtownabbey – was founded in 1935 as an outlet for Gaelic games in the local area. The club played Gaelic football, hurling & camogie for 35 years. In the early 70s the club was dealt a mortal blow when the club ground on the Whitewell Road was sold off by the local Church to make way for the new M2. In the period after this the club collapsed & folded as it bounced from pillar to post attempting to find a new home. 

A number of decades have passed without any provision for Gaelic games within the Greencastle area. Young Gaels travelled far & wide to kick a ball or have a puc about and local residents long bemoaned having no local club to get behind.

At the end of October 2019 a small number of young people from the wider Greencastle area got together in the upstairs room of the Fountain Bar and discussed the feasibility of re-forming the Wolfe Tones. The discussion, which went on for a number of hours, revolved around the practicalities involved, enlisting local support and canvassing the views of the entire community. After a number of weeks discussing the prospect with local people & receiving a very positive response, a steering committee was formed tasked with the club’s revival.

Immediately the steering committee implemented a strong and robust off-field structure to underpin the new venture. It adopted the mantra of sustainability and planned for the long-term future of the GAA in Greencastle before a ball was kicked. Individuals with a wide range of skills were recruited to build the wider club and put down the foundations of the house, so to speak. After this an advert was put out for players for a senior men’s football team and over 40 were recruited in the following months.

The committee made their intentions about affiliation known to the Antrim Board and put forward a proposal to the South Antrim Board to enter the South Antrim League for the 2020 season. Both proposals were accepted and the Greencastle Wolfe Tones, once again, became an official club affiliated to the Antrim County Board and the GAA. 

In the meantime, the committee have been working on an action plan that will ensure that the club is sustainable, viable and in a position to carry local Gaelic games into the distant future. Financial plans have been put in place and the club have begun to work with the Ulster GAA Council to draw up a club development plan to govern the next three years. This is due to be completed in late 2020. The club have also collaborated and worked alongside Gaelfast to put juvenile team plans into place. A plan to build solid relationships with the local schools has been developed alongside the process of bringing various codes to the children of Greencastle – starting with an u6, u8 & u10 sides. Starting with these young children offers the opportunity for them to develop a love for Gaelic games, whilst a fun and well-resourced coaching programme, delivered by passionate and vetted coaches will secure the future of Gaelic games in Greencastle for generations to come. More recently the Wolfe Tones have secured former All Saints, St Johns and Antrim footballer Enda McAtamney as manager for the forthcoming season and all are looking forward to bringing Gaelic Games back to Greencastle after an absence of half a century.

Aldergrove ‘Best 15’

Today Stephen Graham gives us his ‘Best 15’ from St. James’ Aldergrove. ‘Grumpo’ has served the Crumlin club as a player and committee member for over 3 decades and was a solid corner-back who played alongside many of his selection on today’s team.

Not everyone will agree with his selection. It’s just one man’s opinion.

Just a bit of fun!

Stephen Graham’s ‘Best 15’

Having played Senior football for Aldergrove from 1986 to 2014 I have selected my side from the players I played with during that time. I have excluded the players who left th3e club to play for anyone else because it is an Aldergrove 15. We have some players who won championships in 1977 and 2019 and our team in 1997 won 38 consecutive games.

This is my ‘Best 15’ Aldergrove footballers

1 Paddy Campbell Jnr: Great hands, smart kick outs and played like a sweeper giving his defenders confidence. Paddy was also a great outfield player and played on the 97 team.

2 Chris McVeigh: Captained last year’s Intermediate Championship winning team. Chris is a pacey defender who can play anywhere in the back 6. He was part of the Antrim 2009 squad who got to the Ulster final and also enjoyed success with Jordanstown.

3 Seamus Henry: Just winding down his career when I started to play. Seamus was a teak tough defender who relished a challenge. He was a championship winner in 1977. A great reader of the game who always seemed to have time on the ball.

4 Paul Mallon: Gave 320 years of service at corner back. Usually got the man marking job and was rarely exposed and could mix it if he had to. He played on the 97 team.

5 Chris O’Kane: Another Intermediate Championship winner from last year. A Rolls Royce of a player who looks comfortable in any position and would make any team.

6 Joe Donnelly: Played number 6 from 17 years of age and was in the Antrim squad when he was 19. A great tackler with great timing and his departure to Australia really hurt us as a club.

7 Anto Fenney: Another of the 97 team who went a season unbeaten. A great attacking half-back who scored plenty. Edges out Dan Feeney and Mickey Brown who played on the 97 team.

8 James Brazier: I played with James from 1979 to 2014 for Aldergrove. He was a club legend who played mid-field for us in his mid-40’s. A great fielder of the ball who captained the 97 team.

9 Joe Henry: (The Guy) An outstanding Grove player and leader. A great fielder of the ball who scored plenty from mid-field.

10  Hugh Henry R.I.P.: Another who played well into his 40’s. A great athlete and a box to box runner who scored plenty too. Hugh was an inspiration to Aldergrove coming through the ranks and a member of the 77 championship winning team.

11 Fearghal Burke: A brilliant link man who always brings others into play. A great passer of the ball who scored a brilliant point to win us the Intermediate final last year.

12 Mark ‘Snap’ McGivern: Pacey two footed player and a scoring machine with great balance who works hard for the team. He played on the 97 team.

13 Seamus Blaney: A goal machine who could mix it when he had to. Strong, Pacey, direct and loved scoring. Played on the 1997 team.

14 Christy McGarry: Selected at 14 with a free role but could play anywhere. A really smart footballer and ball carrier. He was manager of the 97 unbeaten team, so I’m selecting him as player-manager.

15 Simon McQuillan: Get the ball to Simon and he will score. At times he was unmarkable. In the late 90’s and early noughties he was top scorer every season. Played on the 97 team.

16 Micky Brown: Strong pacey defender who hit some great long range scores.

17 Marty Flynn: Great hard working scoring forward who brought great organization.

18 Bobby Kennedy: Great calming full-back who never lost a high ball.

19 Allan Kelly: Great ball player who could play anywhere with pace to burn.

20 Seamus McGarry: The only one I didn’t play with but has to be on any Aldergrove panel. If all goes well he could go on to be our best ever forward. Scored 0-10 against Monaghan in an U21 game for Antrim. Still 2 or 3 years away from his peak.