Wow. This one was tough!
A few weeks back we asked you to select a Gaelic football team of inter-county players you think are capable of beating Dublin on All-Ireland final day, however, there were a maximum two players per county while each province must have a minimum of three representatives.
As expected, we got hammered for our selection. So why not go again!
This time, the rules are simpler but the selection is arguably harder. We want you to pick a select XV of Gaelic footballers you believe could win an All-Ireland, however, you can only choose one player per county.
Here is our selection.
1 – Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)
When you are picking a team based on one player per county, the burning question is what Dublin player do you choose? The answer for us is Cluxton, a six-time All-Ireland winning captain. Somebody who has revolutionised both the game and goalkeeping. Imagine Cluxton feeding long balls to this midfield or picking out our wing-forwards with deadly accurate diagonal balls.
2 – Gordon Kelly (Clare)
Name checked by David Clifford last week as the toughest opponent he has come up against. That’s from a guy who played in two All-Ireland finals against Dublin in 2019. High praise indeed and enough to make Kelly an easy option at corner-back.
3 – Padraig Hampsey (Tyrone)
Hampsey has kept both Michael Murphy and Conor McManus deftly quiet in Tyrone’s Ulster SFC encounters with Donegal and Monaghan. Named at corner-back on the 2018 All-Star team and while his teammate (Ronan McNamee) was full-back on the 2019 All-Star team, we’re opting for Hampsey to keep tabs on the danger men.
4 – Darren O’Hagan (Down)
Hard as nails. One of the most underrated and under-appreciated defenders in the game. O’Hagan is a match for any defender in Ireland and is confident keeping tabs on any forward.
5 – Niall Daly (Roscommon)
This one is a bit of a cop-out as you could have all three of the Daly brothers. We’ve opted for Niall because of his ability to go forward and pick off scores. Again, a hardy, hardy player who adds plenty of steel to this backline.
6 – Patrick Durcan (Mayo)
Given the praise Mayo have received over the last decade, it is almost criminal that Durcan only received his first All-Star award in 2019. We’re trusting him to command the ship here from centre-back. One of the best man-markers out there, Durcan can also add plenty to the attack.
7 – Donal Keogan (Meath)
The Meath captain has been shoe-horned in at wing-back. Grabbed plenty of headlines in 2019 for his ability to go forward, however, Keogan is equally as dominant on the defensive side of the ball. Adds valuable leadership skills to this side.
8 – Kevin Feely (Kildare)
One of the best athletes in Ireland and one of the best fielders of a football there is, Kevin Feely is one of the few men who can out-fetch Brian Fenton. Influential going forward and can kick frees. The former Newport County centre-half is a no brainer for this side.
9 – Michael Murphy (Donegal)
The best footballer in the game. Murphy can play anywhere. Originally placed at full-forward on this team, the difficulty in selection meant he was moved out to midfield. Has everything you need in a Gaelic footballer and no team is complete without the Glenswilly man.
10 – Shane Walsh (Galway)
One of the most naturally gifted forwards of a generation and the in-form player in Ireland at present. Shane Walsh has been playing at full-forward for the Tribesmen thus far but we feel he brings a tonne of craft and guile to the wing-forward position where he will act as the launchpad for attacks.
11 – Ruairi Deane (Cork)
A standout player in 2019, Ruairi Deane was inspirational for Cork en route to the Super 8s. Put in a phenomenal shift against Kerry in the Munster final so we know he has what it takes. A brilliant fetcher and his languid running style should cause problems for defences.
12 – Stefan Campbell (Armagh)
The Armagh captain is a supreme athlete. Big, strong, quick and two-footed, Campbell would slot easily into most teams in the country. Aaron Kernan compared him to Diarmuid Connolly in the Irish News last week, now that is praise. A nightmare to mark and an easy option at wing-forward.
13 – David Clifford (Kerry)
Because you can never have a full-forward line without the fifth Beatle. En route to becoming one of the greatest ever. Not much else needs to be said really. David Clifford was the first name on this team sheet.
14 – Michael Quinlivan (Tipperary)
While we might not have seen the best of Quinlivan since Tipperary’s incredible 2016 season, it’s important to remember just how good he was en route to an All-Star award at full-forward. Still just 27, we probably haven’t seen the best of him yet.
15 – Conor McManus (Monaghan)
One of the top forwards in the game for the last decade and a half. This writer has been widely slated for leaving McManus out of his team of the decade, a criticism that is accepted, as it was an oversight. Either way, McManus is an incredible talent, and mercurial forward and one of the best players of the 21st century.