Who will Erne the nod as the finest in Fermanagh?
FERMANAGH PLAYER PAGE
VOTING STARTS ON FEBRUARY 20TH
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Micheal Breslin picks out some of the players who have graced the Lakeland county over the years...
THE youngest of five Derrylin brothers, all of whom played on the same county team at least once, Eamon is still talked about today. He captained the 1933 Dr McKenna Cup-winning side, playing in his favoured half-back spot. A very strong player, he could be relied on for scores. He also played for Ulster.
RATED by his younger brother, Eamon, as a better player than himself. Blessed with terrier-like qualities in the tackle, he played at full-back and, along with Eamon, played for Fermanagh in the 1935 NFL final where they were beaten by Mayo. Also an Ulster player. He later transferred to the Kinawley club.
STANDING at 6’ 2”, he was the ideal midfielder on the 1932 and 1935 teams. He had a terrific catch and a great kick. He was a big loss to his club when he joined the Gardai and their GAA club. Another who represented his province.
THE Ederney clubman also played on the ’33 and ’35 teams. Although short in stature, his fierce strength and pace made him an ideal corner-forward.
CAPTAIN of the Belnaleck club, which was a force in this era, he went on to represent Fermanagh and, later, switched to Omagh St Enda’s. Big and forceful, he was a reliable and accurate scorer.
THE Lisnaskea legend captained the Fermanagh team that won its very first Ulster (junior) title in 1943. Played in his customary role of centre half-forward. Regarded by many who saw him play as the best player they had ever seen. Renowned as a great free-taker. Played in the Ulster senior final in 1945, having won a Railway Cup medal in ’43. In 15 years as a player and captain, the Emmets won 13 senior championships and 12 senior leagues. At one stage, they went 44 games without being defeated.
BUILT like Johnny Monaghan, with the same pace and strength, he played at half-forward in the winning ’43 Ulster side. Interestingly, he and Monaghan went on to become fiercely loyal clubmen for their respective clubs, in his case Derrygonnelly.
ALSO played at centre-forward on the ’43 team, he came from a renowned Teemore footballing family. Could always be relied on to produce the goods.
THE Teemore clubman is one of six selected from the 1959 All-Ireland junior championship-winning team. Playing at centre-half back, he possessed a great spring off the ground for his size and had a strong kick with both feet.
PLAYED at midfield on the 1959 team and was picked for Ulster. In the following year, Fermanagh ran Down, the All-Ireland winners in 1960, to a couple of points in the Ulster senior championship. Was a good all-rounder, very committed and had two good feet. He possessed a beautiful kicking style off the ground.
WON a fistful of medals with Devenish and had a distinguished county career. Also won on an Ulster call-up. He could play at centre half-forward or midfield, was very good with both feet and had a great shot. Moved to the Carryduff club in Down and played alongside his son, Brendan who sadly died in a road traffic accident in 1986.
THE Belnaleck clubman, along with Kevin Srenan, was the man the ’59 team looked to for scores and, inevitably, he delivered. He was very agile and tricky, making him difficult to mark and he took full advantage of his lack of height to sail past defenders. Tough, with a good shot.
A BROTHER of PT, he is the last of the five ’59 men. Played at right half-back in the ’59 team and, despite damaging his collar-bone in the replayed semi-final, insisted on turning out for the UK All-Ireland final where he was marking Seamus Harrison, a former Kildare and Leinster player. Later steered Fermanagh to successive U21 All-Ireland final and managed the seniors for a spell.
THE Brookeboro clubman played at half-forward or corner-forward. He started his career with the Knocks Club, winning a JFC in 1956. By the time he joined Brookeboro in 1960, he had won an Ulster junior championship medal. He was still playing in 1971 when Brookeboro were beaten by Teemore in the county final. He played in goals in that game and, in the opposite goals was James Cassidy, two greats whose careers were winding down. In the 1971/’72 season, he helped his club to another JFC final, but they lost to Ederney.
WHO was the Fermanagh captain who played under a pseudonym and kept his identity so intact that his vice-captain accepted the 1959 All-Ireland Junior Football Championship trophy? He was Fr Ignatius McQuillan from the Newtownbutler club, who was then on the teaching staff of St Columb’s College in Derry. His football name, ‘Sean Maguire’ appeared faithfully in the team lists for he was playing at a time when some in the Church frowned on clergy taking part in physical sport. That restriction, however, failed to dent his performances for Fermanagh as they careered to their first-ever national title.
THE Belcoo clubman never won a county senior championship medal, but was a regular on the Fermanagh team, usually at midfield, and won an Ulster cap on the strength of his performances which continued well into the ’70s. It was a lean decade for the county.
HE joined McPartland when he transferred from his native Aughadrumsee to Belcoo. By then, he had won a handful of Division Two medals and his displays at centre half-back won him a call-up for the county seniors along with a couple of club colleagues. He was both a stylish and inspirational player who would go on to manage Fermanagh, being famously denied a shock win over Armagh in a replay in the 1993 Ulster Championship.
BORN in Coa, he played his club football with Trillick but kept his county allegiance and, in those lean years, was an inspirational full-forward. Won county honours for Trillick but, sadly had retired in 1981, the year before Fermanagh won through to the Ulster senior championship final. A loyal Fermanagh man, he managed the county for a spell.
IN what was a glorious decade for the county, Roslea native, Peter McGinnity’s star blazed right from the start. He won an Ulster Minor League medal in 1970 and, whilst still a minor, came on as a sub for the 1970 and ’71 U21 sides that won Ulster titles in those years, reaching the All-Ireland finals where they were twice beaten by Cork. His senior debut quickly followed. He was then playing for St John’s, helping them to an Ulster club medal. When he transferred to Roslea in the early ’80s, county titles started coming their way, and an Ulster losers’ medal. In 1982, Fermanagh won through to the Ulster final, where they were beaten by Armagh but, in the following year, he became Fermanagh’s first Allstar and was regularly picked for Railway Cup duty. Enjoyed success as manager of St Michael’s, Enniskillen’s MacRory and Corn na nOg sides.
BEGAN playing senior football for Roslea at the age of 16 in 1968, and was still playing at the age of 41, winning a junior championship medal. Won an Ulster Minor League medal and an Ulster U21 medal in 1971, beating Tyrone in the final where he was marking Frank McGuigan.
Left-footed, he played at half-back for the county, but featured at times at midfield for his club, ending his long senior career at the age of 38 at corner-back. He missed only one game for his club in Centenary Year when they won the double. Has three championship medals.
HAD a long innings with Belcoo without winning the coveted New York Gold Cup. However, he had banked a regular spot as the county goalkeeper.
A terrific shot stopper, he did all he could to help his team to an Ulster title in 1982. Should have earned his place on the Ulster Railway Cup team, but the stronger counties won out. Later managed Fermanagh for a while.
IN a football career which was stop-start due to his exploits on the soccer pitch with Glentoran and Northern Ireland, Jimmy Cleary still proved that he was one of the best players ever to be produced by Fermanagh.
A dashing wing-forward, he won two senior championships with his club, Enniskillen Gaels, and also represented Ulster. His journey to the World Cup in Spain 1982 denied him a chance to line out in the Ulster final. Many Fermanagh fans still consider that his presence on the day may have altered the result.
THE Tempo strongman was the ideal full-back. Won an Ulster Minor League medal in 1970 and, still a minor, was picked by JJ Treacy for the 1970 and ’71 U21 teams. A regular on the senior team and, like the rest, tasted bitter disappointment in ’82. Safe and dependable, had the perfect temperament for a footballer.
BRENDAN (Barney) was an iconic figure for Teemore, his head-down approach and never-say-die attitude a constant threat to opposing defences. His unique playing career spanned four decades. He won five county championship medals with Teemore (1969-’83), then switched to Navan in Meath and picked up another handful. In fact, he played into his early 40s. A member of the 1982 Ulster final side, and won two Ulster U21 medals in 1970 and 1971.
ANOTHER member of the ’82 Ulster final team, he took over the full-forward spot from John Donnelly and made it his own. His all-action style and enthusiasm rubbed off on his colleagues, be it with the Kinawley club or the county.
The Brian Borus had previously won county senior premier titles, but not championship and, in Dom’s time, they came perilously close to breaking their duck in 1993 under Jim Carty’s managership. But, like McGinnity, he secured success at college level and managed Fermanagh to a NFL semi-final place and the quarter-finals of the Qualifiers in 2003.
THE former Queen’s Player of the Year (1976) was noted for his deadly left foot which gave long service to Lisnaskea Emmet’s, and county, being a squad member of the 1977 Dr McKenna Cup team and coming on as a sub in the ’82 Ulster final (“I think the occasion alone was just too much for the players,” he later remarked). Won county championships with the Emmet’s in 1977 and 1980. Was in Pat King’s back-up team that helped the county to an All-Ireland B championship success in 1996.
WAS goalkeeper for Lisnaskea and Fermanagh for a lengthy spell and reached the heights when he captained Fermanagh to an All-Ireland B championship success in 1996. Played in all five knock-out matches, a tribute to his fitness. Got his call-up to the county senior panel in 1987, and in 1991 was the Emmets’ Player of the Year after winning the double. Was Fermanagh captain in 1997 when they won the Dr McKenna Cup. Retired in 2000 through injury. His agility and the fact he lives in the townland of Keady near Lisnaskea gave him the nickname, ‘The Keady Cat’.
RATED by many as the finest full-back of his time, he was full-back on the 1994 Ulster U21 championship winning side, the county’s 16th Ulster title in 110 years. Stylish and unflappable, he possessed vision and pace and went on to represent his county and province, winning an Ulster club championship medal when he transferred to the Loup club. Missed out on an All-Ireland junior championship medal with Fermanagh in 1996 through injury, but was there when Fermanagh won in 2000, being a finalist the previous year.
THE Erne Gaels player was also a member of that 1994 U21 winning side, but was already an established senior county player and in 2000, won a Railway Cup medal. Featured in those two League (semi-final) and Qualifiers (quarter-final) games at Croke Park where, on each occasion, Tyrone came out on top. Had some consolation when he helped Fermanagh to All-Ireland B titles in 1996 and 2000.
A COUSIN of Raymond, he came to prominence when he captained Fermanagh College to an All-Ireland Vocational Schools’ title in 1996, playing alongside the late Paul McGirr. He scored eight points in that game. Another Ulster player. In 1996, an All-Ireland Junior B championship winners’ medal came his way, his pointed free earning Fermanagh a replay against Longford. Won a Dr McKenna Cup medal in 1997 and another All-Ireland B title medal in 2000. Was not involved in the 2003 or ’04 campaigns. While not one for getting possession, he had an outstanding footballing brain, a very accurate kick pass and lethal finishing.
ARGUABLY Fermanagh’s most successful footballer with five Railway Cup medals to his name together with an extended county career that brought him All-Ireland B medal in 1996 and 2000 and, the year before, an Ulster club losers medal with the Gaels. An outstanding and forceful midfielder, he captained the team.
ANOTHER Lisnaskea Emmets player who played for Ulster. Had a distinguished career that should have brought more rewards his way. His superb fitness was the benchmark for his team mates. Won an All-Ireland B medal in 1996, having played in all five knock-out games. Comes from a famous footballing family and is regarded as one of the greats by the Emmets.
MADE his debut for Fermanagh in 1997 and went on to have devastating years at full-forward in 2000, 2001 and 2004. Indeed, rarely did he relinquish the number 14 jersey during his nine-year inter-county career which was cut short at the age of 28 through injury. Known for his physique, Maguire was also quick on his feet and possessed a keen football brain. Always eager to bring others into the game. He finished as Fermanagh’s top scorer on their never-to-be-forgotten run to the All-Ireland semi-final in 2004.
THE Enniskillen Gaels clubman will forever be remembered for his point that, finally, ended Fermanagh’s poor record of losing to Armagh, and set up an All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo to whom they lost in a replay.
Won a Dr McKenna Cup medal in 1997 and was involved in the ’03 and ’04 campaigns, a sub in the drawn game and starting the replay against Mayo. Won an All-Ireland B title medal in 2000 as team captain and, the year before, just missed out on an Ulster club medal with the Gaels. A stylish player, with a gifted left foot, he can double as midfielder or forward.
THE two-time Allstar made a fairytale comeback in last year’s Ulster SFC semi-final against Derry following heart surgery, helping Fermanagh to an Ulster final meeting with Armagh. Sadly, he sustained a cruciate knee injury in the drawn match and is still making his way back to full fitness. An iconic figure for Teemore and Fermanagh, he was part of the dream team that almost made it to the All-Ireland final in 2004. Has represented Ulster.
WAS involved in the 2003 and ’04 campaigns. His Ulster selection reflects his high standing. An attack-conscious player with a gifted footballing brain. Was on the Enniskillen Gaels side that were beaten by a single point by Crossmaglen in the 1999 Ulster Senior Club Championship final.
HELPED St Patrick’s to their first-ever county championship title last year. Part of the 2004 team and, since then, his stock has steadily risen. Although slight of build, his wirey physique and footballing skills brings him into areas where defenders fear to tread. For one who is not so tall, he has a phenomenal leap.
another iconic figure for club and county. His 2003/2004 exploits brought him an Allstar. Came on as a sub in the 2000 All-Ireland Junior B final win. Another who has come through ill-health to don the green jersey once more.
He is a consistent performer who, when he shakes off his current knee injury, will be spurring Fermanagh to even greater heights this year.
Remember if you think, we have left someone out who you think merits a place on the top 125 of Ulster's great footballers feel free to add you own.
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VOTING WILL BEGIN AFTER ALL NINE COUNTIES HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED. THE PLAYERS NAMED IN EACH COUNTY ARE SUGGESTIONS ONLY AND READERS SHOULD FEEL FREE TO NOMINATE ANY PLAYER WHOM THEY REGARD AS WORTHY