Monday 9 February 2009

Readers to pick greatest 125 Ulster Footballers

To comment on the list and to put your own opinion across please see the 125 Archive list on the right hand column of this page. You can enter a comment in the box at the bottom of each post.

THE GAA’s 125th anniversary will be celebrated by Irish News readers this month when they will help select the best 125 footballers in Ulster of all time.
This ambitious initiative, which has been endorsed by the Ulster Council, will see our county correspondents appraise the footballing talent from each of the nine counties.
Our readers have an integral role to play in this 125th anniversary initiative when they will be asked to sift through the annals of Ulster football and pick their 15 best-ever players from their own county.
Readers do not have to assemble a one to 15 formation, but will simply be asked to choose their best 15 players. When all the votes are collated, the top 30 players from each county, making a total of 270 overall, will be printed in the Irish News before a panel of experts whittle them down to the top 125 footballers of Ulster.
Ulster Council chairman Tom Daly gave his seal of approval to The Irish News’ anniversary celebration plans.
“I am delighted with this fantastic initiative by The Irish News which we endorse and fully support and which brings a further focus on our efforts to ensure that the GAA 125 is celebrated at all levels of the GAA in Ulster,” Daly said.
“This will be followed by a further initiative to celebrate hurling excellence in Ulster, again with a focus on great players down through the years.”
Daly added that the idea will “rekindle memories and provoke a lot of interest and debate” among GAA fans throughout the province.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved and to have their say,” said Daly.
“Our many GAA clubs in Ulster have a special contribution to make to ensure that the names of great players from their own locality, and particularly players from the distant past, are put forward.
“Discussing and debating nominees at club level would be a thought-provoking exercise which would be of real interest in terms of reflecting on each club’s own social history and the contribution made by its great and notable players over the years. I wish the adjudicators well with the unenviable task of coming up with a final list of 125.”
Reader voting, either online or by post, will commence later this month when full details will be outlined.
The 30-strong list from each county will be published early next month before the unveiling of an eight-page celebration of our best 125 players of Ulster.
Irish News editor Noel Doran said: “This is an initiative which we believe will generate a huge debate across the nine counties of Ulster in the coming weeks.
“To be named among the top 125 players of all time in the province would be a massive accolade, so we are anticipating a very strong response from our readers.”


  1. Nice Blog, I can't imagine that any Cavan or Armagh players will make the Final 15. I believe that once you see the Down teams from the 60's you will want all of them.
    Does anyone know when they will be published in the paper and online?

  2. Down will maybe have 2 players max. You Down men think that the teams in the 60's were the best ever! What about Armagh? What about Tyrone? What about Cavan?

  3. Just looking at the Armagh selection.. would John McKnight not warrant a selection. He made the centenary team in 1984 - players who had not won an all-ireland. Over half of the Armagh selection did not win an All Ireland

  4. John McKnight was indeed a fine player but do you honestly think he is Top 15 material?
    There are so many greats in this time period, the Down list will be interesting!

  5. John McKnight should be at least on the Armagh selection...

  6. Who all else was on the Team of the Century of players who never won an All-Ireland?

  7. Just found the full list of the players of the Centuary. This was a team chosen in 1999 by a panel of GAA past presidents and journalists. The goal was to single out the best ever 15 players who had played the game in their respective positions, since the foundation of the GAA in 1884 up to the Millennium year, 2000. Naturally many of the selections were hotly debated by fans around the country. Remember this is All-Ireland. The Irish news are looking for Ulster only!

    Dan O'Keefe (Kerry)
    Enda Colleran (Galway)
    Joe Keohane (Kerry)
    Seán Flanagan (Mayo)
    Sean Murphy (Kerry)
    J. J. O'Reilly (Cavan)
    Martin O'Connell (Meath)

    Mick O'Connell (Kerry)
    Tommy Murphy (Laois)

    Pat Spillane (Kerry)
    Seán Purcell(Galway)
    Seán O'Neill (Down)
    Kevin Heffernan (Dublin)
    Tommy Langan (Mayo)
    Mikey Sheehy (Kerry)

    There were only two Ulster men on that top 15, Seán O'Neill (Down)and J. J. O'Reilly (Cavan)

  8. Couldn't believe kevin Madden wasn't in the Antrim selection! - epecially when you seen some of the names. I've been folowing the county team for 20 years, and he was antrim's best forward in the last 15 years bar none. I think he topped the NFL charts one year and also won a few railway cups with Ulster too.

    Thought John Rafferty was maybe unlucky not to make the Armagh selection.

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