Over the course of this week, we will be running a series asking you, the reader, to pick the best midfielder in Gaelic football history.
We’ve thought long and hard about this one. Choosing who is the best can be a tough task with opinions varying from generation to generation while many will feel that their county’s greatest centrefield star was never fully appreciated.
So, we’ve gone through the archives, back as far as 1970, and narrowed our search down to 25 senior inter-county footballers who won All-Star awards at midfield.
Each day this week, we will split our 25 candidates into five different polls and ask you to select who you think was the best. On Saturday, we will have a final poll, involving the winners from each day with the overall greatest midfielder in the history of Gaelic football, as chosen by you, announced this coming Sunday.
Here are our first five midfielders up for selection.
Willie Bryan – Offaly
How Offaly would love to have a man of Willie Bryan’s calibre playing now. The Walsh Island footballer was the key figure in Offaly’s first two All-Ireland titles victories in 1971 and 1972. Bryan captained the side in 1971, while he was named Footballer of the Year in 1972. A true icon of Gaelic football.
Sean Walsh – Kerry
Perhaps best known in the modern era as the father of Kerry’s renaissance man Tommy Walsh, the Kerins O’Rahilly’s man was a force to be reckoned with throughout an 11-year career with the Kingdom that saw him win seven All-Ireland titles.
While he started his Kerry career between the half-forward and full-forward line and ended it playing at full-back, Walsh was most prominent alongside Jack O’Shea at midfield for Kerry en route to four-in-a-row between 1978-1981, winning an All-Star at midfield in 1981.
Paul McGrane – Armagh
When talk turns to the dominant Armagh force of the early-noughties, McGrane’s name is consistently mentioned alongside Kieran McGeeney and Joe Kernan as one of the main driving force behind Armagh’s success. An influential midfielder who could rub shoulders with anyone, the Ballyhegan man finished with two All-Star awards at midfield to go alongside All-Ireland title, National League medal and seven Ulster titles.
Sean Cavanagh – Tyrone
With five All-Star awards to go along with his three All-Ireland titles, Cavanagh is worthy of making any list involving Gaelic football’s greats. A dynamic box-to-box midfielder, Cavanagh was the young star on a Tyrone team littered with immense talent and proved pivotal to the Red Hands being one of the top teams in the country throughout his career.
Brian Fenton – Dublin
A lynchpin on the current all-conquering Dublin team, Fenton, amazingly, has yet to lose in Championship football having made his debut in 2015, the beginning of Dublin’s run to five-in-a-row. To date, the Raheny man has won five All-Ireland titles, four All-Stars and was named Footballer of the Year in 2018. Still just 27-years-old.
All you have to do now is vote in our poll below. If the poll does not display below click here.