In round two of our public vote to find out Gaelic football’s greatest midfielder, we’ve got an icon of the game, the son of a legend, a so-called weaker county midfielder and a Footballer of the Year who divides opinion.
As stated before, we’ve narrowed our selection down to 25 midfielders who won All-Star awards in the position dating back to 1970. You vote for your winner each day with the final taking place on Saturday.
Here are our five selections for round two
Dinny Long [Cork]
Had a horrific leg break not cut Long’s career short at just 29, who knows what might have came of him or the Rebel County in an era totally dominated by their rivals Kerry. Long won All-Ireland medals with Cork at minor, U21 and senior whilst also winning two All-Star awards at midfield in 1973 & 1975. Having lived in Tralee for nearly 50 years, he is a member of the Austin Stacks club and won an All-Ireland club medal with them in 1977. Despite all of this, however, Long remains a proud Cork man to this day.
Jack O’Shea [Kerry]
The overall favourite to take home the prize. Jack O’Shea is widely regarded as one of the greatest players, nevermind midfielders, to play Gaelic football. ‘Jacko’s’ introduction to the Kerry senior team coincided with the county’s greatest ever run. He won seven All-Ireland titles between 1978 and 1986, was named at midfield on the All-Star team for six consecutive seasons between 1980 and 1985 while he also picked up four Footballer of the Year awards in between then. It’s no wonder he’s the favourite.
Mickey Quinn [Leitrim]
Mickey Quinn’s longevity cannot be understated. Despite hailing from a so-called weaker county, Quinn soldiered with the Leitrim footballer’s for almost two decades and proved pivotal to the county’s Connacht Championship success in 1994, the twilight years of his inter-county career. One of only two Leitrim players to win All-Stars, Quinn was named at midfield on the 1990 select team.
Dermot Earley Jr [Kildare]
The son of a midfield general, who features in tomorrow’s vote, the younger Dermot Earley proved a force to be reckoned with throughout his Kildare career. Earley Jnr played a key role in Kildare’s run to an All-Ireland final in only his second season in 1998 where he won an All-Star at half-forward. Moved to midfield as the years went on and won a second All-Star, this time at midfield, in 2009.
Michael Darragh MacAuley [Dublin]
Haters will say Michael Darragh MacAuley shouldn’t be near a vote such as this but the truth is that despite his unorthodox style, MacAuley has been one of the most influential midfielders of the decade. He’s won seven All-Ireland titles with Dublin and has twice been named at midfield on the All-Star team, winning Footballer of the Year in 2013.