County finals took place all over the country this weekend, and the contenders for the race for the Andy Merrigan Cup are beginning to emerge.
As part of our coverage of the competition, we profile the five best club football sides since the All-Ireland competition began in 1970. Following on from our hurling list, we turn to the big ball.
5. Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) 2000s
Dublin club football is thriving at present, with the depth available in the county stronger than anywhere else. The Stillorgan side have two All-Ireland Football Championships, winning the county championship on seven occasions.
The southside club have consistently produced footballers for the Dublin team, and are never too far away from another All-Ireland if they come out of Dublin. They capped off a strong period for the club with a 2009 final victory over Crossmaglen.
Video credit Hill16.
4. St. Vincent’s (Dublin) 2000s-Present
The Dublin club are still on track to claim county honours this season, for what would be their 28th county championship victory if they can overcome Ballyboden St. Endas in the final, as they are seeking a third consecutive Leinster title.
They have won the All-Ireland three times, most recently in 2014. In Dermott Connolly, they have one of the very best footballers in the game at present, and it is no surprise that they are among the favourites to go all the way on St. Patrick’s Day again this year.
Video credit to GTV Sports.
3. St. Finbarr’s (Cork) 1980s
The famous blue and gold narrowly missed out in our hurling selection, but make the list this time. They won three titles in the 1980s, buoyed by several dual stars, in a famous period for the Togher club.
They have won the Cork championship eight times, going on to win Munster on four occasions. The ‘Barrs’ are undoubtedly among the most successful dual clubs in the country.
2. Nemo Rangers (Cork)
Cork city is thought to be more of a traditional hurling stronghold, but has two clubs on this list all the same. Nemo have more All-Ireland titles than any other club, with seven. The southside club have added hugely to county success in the past number of decades, and are no strangers to Croke Park themselves.
It is virtually impossible to pick one standout year for the club, who won 15 Munster titles between 1972 and 2010, with legends such as Billy Morgan, Dinny Allen, and Colin Corkery all hailing from the club.
They added to their honours on Sunday by capturing the Cork championship, beating Castlehaven in a replay.
Video credit to United03.
1. Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) 1990s-Present
Crossmaglen are arguably the finest club side to ever play the game. Despite winning less All-Ireland titles than Nemo, they have had more success in recent times, winning six All-Ireland titles since 1997.
Many of their players were crucial to the Armagh side who captured their first and only Sam Maguire triumph in 2002. Players such as Oisín McConville, Aaron Kernan and Francie Bellew led the side to break all records, over a period where they secured ten Ulster titles. Since 1996, they have only not won the Armagh championship on one occasion.
Video credit to Crosslad09.
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