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23 Sep 12 11:22
Date Joined: 08 Mar 01
| Topic/replies: 8,571 | Blogger: Kelly's blog
Still makes the hairs stand out on your neck , the weight of history and the memories .

Both teams have a checkered history reference All Irelands  , and luckily one of them will be stamping the success book tonight ( draw excluding ) .

Saw some of the RTE up for the match last night , some curious input and views coming across . No great feeling of inner self confidence coming from either side or their supporters , and thats the way I think the match will go .  Back and forward .

For me , its the Mayo forwards versus the Donegal backs  , expect the other end battle to be even .  If Mayo can score a goal or two I think they might win , against the current odds which I think favour Donegal too much on the basis of what I have observed so far this summer from both teams .

But if they( Mayo) dont score goal(s) , think Donegal will edge it .  Could be a cracker !

Cant lose either way , like most of the country who really are unusually neutral for a history defining day for both counties .  Connections and support here for both teams in almost equal measure , although blood connections favour a Mayo win .  As against that , as a county Donegal need the win more .  Roll on the throw -in !
Pause Switch to Standard View Donegasl vs Mayo , --- September...
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Report Rocketfingers September 23, 2012 10:17 PM BST
Irishro & gant, the Sunday game just saying not a good match as well which they're really saying it was brutal. Take off the blinkers lads, freedom of speech et al.
Report GANT007 September 23, 2012 10:20 PM BST
Delighted for Donegal it shows hard work does pay off.......Thet will some homecoming tomorrow evening.........Real sports fans would never sneer to be fair.
Report GANT007 September 23, 2012 10:23 PM BST
Both of us said and I agree it wasn't the best of games..........tune in.
The occasion was superb.
Report Rocketfingers September 23, 2012 10:27 PM BST
Ah ya i was home watching it on my tv so just talking about the game. Anyway enough of that some of the real stuff is on now with MOTD2 now.
Report GANT007 September 23, 2012 10:33 PM BST
You can't beat the real stuff........The Real Madrid game was called off someone cut the power cables to the lights and turnstiles.
Report lustrumm September 23, 2012 10:52 PM BST
TBH I thought it was a poor spectacle and could not agree that the "occasion" was good for the game. In fact the only memorable event in the whole day for me was the first goal which was an example of how Football Should (and can be played)
I didn't bother watching the Sunday Game but I can't imagine the re-run of the game took any more than 10 minutes.
Report richters September 23, 2012 11:29 PM BST
can i just add that micheal murphy the man of the match today carried himself awful well both on and off the field...for a 23 year old he is a credit to his parents his county and indeed his country.....and as for this fantasist rockethead commenting on the gaa.....all i can say have not got a clue you fkn IMBECILE.....and trust me IMBECILE is the only word that describes you......
Report steeringjobnap September 23, 2012 11:41 PM BST
I actually thought the first half was very entertaining.

Donegal started like a train but I liked the way Mayo fought back in the game which some nicely-taken scores.

The best team certainly won. The Murphy goal was a screamer.
Report Rocketfingers September 23, 2012 11:59 PM BST
23 Sep 12 23:29
27 Jan 12
| Topic/replies: 3,674 | Blogger: richters's blog
can i just add that micheal murphy the man of the match today carried himself awful well both on and off the field...for a 23 year old he is a credit to his parents his county and indeed his country.....and as for this fantasist rockethead commenting on the gaa.....all i can say have not got a clue you fkn IMBECILE.....and trust me IMBECILE is the only word that describes you......

The irony of this post from the genius that is forumite richters is brilliant and shouting it too Laugh
Report Kelly September 24, 2012 12:41 AM BST
Great result for Donegal who played well . Everybody in Donegal will be celebrating  , rightly so .

Referee was not great , and some of the players on both sides must have come off the field shaking their heads about that .  Pity when you have been training and practising most of the year and they cant give you a decent referee .  Did not affect the result , just diminished the occasion .

Obvious from the first attack that Mayo had got it wrong in marking Murphy . No idea why they did not switch someone else onto him  pronto, as he is one of the Donegal dangermen on an individual basis .

Some of the Mayo forwards also lacked the physicality to withstand a decent challenge in the air or when trying to beat a man . Had lost their forward leader in the quarter final though , showed today ( but why not in the semi-final ? ) .

Disappointed overall with Mayo , thought they played much better in the rest of the campaign , but it raises questions about the standard of those they beat . Or maybe they just did a little "freezing "today . Those close to the team will know as against us "hurlers on the ditch " .

Expected a good game today , that it wasn't - as most seem to agree on here  , but you cant knock the winners on a day like today .
Report Rocketfingers September 24, 2012 1:05 AM BST
Kelly do you think this Donegal 'system' will go on to dominate for a few years?
Report Kelly September 24, 2012 1:36 AM BST
Unsure about that Rocketfingers .  The trouble about systems is that they evolve from the players at the managers disposal ( and sometimes like with  Maurice Fitz the managers ignore the individual players capabilities ).  If you have 15 short arses in your team you are not going to play catch and kick , and if you have really skilful footballers / forwards ( mainly) you are not going to play the basketball game .

Most of the really good teams have had some outstanding players who would have stood out in any generation .  The recent trend though has been to "sacrifice" the skilful footballers for the greater ( collective ) good . As regards individual skills , a lot of the current county players do not have basic footballing skills such as shooting , beating a man , hand to toeing  , high catching ability , tackling properly .  They all can run forever , and handpass , and have good upper body physiques  .  Unfortunately the hand passing / possession thing has become "system " football for some counties , partly because its relatively easy to do and you can train most players to do those things fairly competently .  And you become hard to beat ( and watch often  , like Donegal were LAST YEAR ) .

A lot of the counties and managers seem to have forgotten that if 4 men are tackling the one player ( bottled up as they say ) , 3 other players are unmarked . Trick is to get the ball to one of those unmarked men .  Quickly .

The best teams for me have always been those who can move the ball quickly , accurately , and create chances for their skilful forwards ( sometimes big "targetmen " are an integral part of that "system " to win possession and to lay off to a scorer ) .  Donegal did that fairly well today , Mayo did not , and had no target men up front .

And the good teams generally always scored goals . Crowds and team mates love to see the net bulge , like Murphys splendid one today , simple and beautiful .
Report paddletoe September 24, 2012 11:36 AM BST
I have to say Donegal have adapted this defensive counter attacking system to perfection but its a system based on total team collective fitness and for them to maintain that after they have won an all ireland is very unlikely especially when you have a team lacking in any truly great players.

Regarding the point that if three or four players are surrounding one player from the other team you would naturally think that there must be space somewhere else but the problem is Donegal dont pressure the opposition deep. They do it in their own half and the number of players in tat confined area makes it hard to find any space even if you can offload because there are another group of players right on top of you again.

In galeic there will be a lot of times when several players are not active in the play in certain parts of the pitch. What Donegal do is utilise all their players at all times so there is 100% effort and contribution from nearly all their players in active play so finding space is very difficult.
Report kavvie September 24, 2012 11:42 AM BST
their levels of fitness have to be incredible.fair dues to them.i would say that they have at least 3 "stars" for certain murphy mcfadden and lacey?they would get their place on any team in ireland.
Report paddletoe September 24, 2012 11:53 AM BST
With every strategy there is always a counter strategy. The problem is that the counter strategy to the one Donegal use is to use a similar strategy and the problem with that is that the teams with better individual ball players are unlikley to be willing to scarifice football skills for fitness and the team collective in the same way as Donegal. It has taen Donegal two years of total dedication to fitness taraining and upper body conditioning to get where they are. The problem is thats easier to ask from players with less footballing skills than it is to ask from players who are more skillful.
I do think we are witnessing an evolution in gaelic football and we will never get back to the days of 15 players from each team playing in their traditional positions.
Report lustrumm September 24, 2012 12:00 PM BST
Confirming guys that Donegal won't dominate anything. Too one dimensional and won in a bad year.

The curse for Mayo goes on. How many left to die from that 51 team ?
Report kavvie September 24, 2012 12:00 PM BST
it looks like ur right.every team will try to adapt some of it to an extent.its gonna be funny looking at teams trying it who wont be able to carry it out due to lack of conditioning and fitness!!
Report kavvie September 24, 2012 12:00 PM BST
that thought struck me lustrumm but its not pc to ask!!
Report paddletoe September 24, 2012 12:02 PM BST
Mc Fadden, Murphy and a few other Donegal players are better than good. But i would struggle to call them better than very good players. They definately have not any great players under my understanding of great.
But from a management point of view i think Jim Mc Guiness has achieved more than any other manager in recent history in getting this group of players to win an all ireland and not only win it but do it so comfortably. The total domination of all their matches this year was not reflected by how many points they won games by.
Report thegalwayman September 24, 2012 12:35 PM BST
Karl Lacey is a great player by anyone's definition of the word.
Report Monte Christo September 24, 2012 12:55 PM BST
Confirming guys that Donegal won't dominate anything. Too one dimensional and won in a bad year.

Bit of sour grapes there perhaps.Grin

They retained ulster (no mean feat) beating derry,tyrone and down.Then put Kerry,Cork and Mayo to the sword but only because they were bad.Laugh
Report Monte Christo September 24, 2012 12:58 PM BST
If some of the Donegal players played for some of the "bigger" counties the media would be creaming themselves over them.

The continued lack of credit to the best team in the country is a little bizarre.
Report freddiek September 24, 2012 1:03 PM BST
i thought Donegal got plenty of praise this year. Sure Jim mcGuinness must be one of the greatest managerial geniuses of all time, the way they go on about their tactics and game plan. Maybe the media recognised they were a bit harsh on them in 2011
Report wildmanfromborneo September 24, 2012 1:04 PM BST
Donegal are All Ireland Champions and deservedly so,they beat the four best teams in the country,it's great to see Sam moving around.
The complaints about the standard of football are laughable when the complainants are watching scoreless draws without a murmur.
Report bobbybocala September 24, 2012 1:06 PM BST
gaelic football is now a load of old bollloxx......the rules make it so......they need to make changes but they wont.....because they will be too stubborn to do so......what needs to happen is that only one hand pass is allowed......if you receive a hand pass then you hav to kick......easy to understand and easy to score can be attained by the hand......therefore no fisting over the bar and no palming into the net......after all it is football and not handball or palmball or throwball.....
Report Monte Christo September 24, 2012 1:08 PM BST
Fair play wildman.

I think it's an Ulster thing in my opinion.

Tyrone & Armagh never got the credit they deserved and even back in the early 90's i remember loads of criticism of an excellent Derry team.
Report freddiek September 24, 2012 1:09 PM BST
not to sound cruel but mayo in an All-Ireland usually = a bad game. they re either hockeyed (2004/6) or competitive in poor matches (96/7 and 2012)
Report wildmanfromborneo September 24, 2012 1:10 PM BST
There is merit in what you are saying although the language used detracts from the general points.
Report wildmanfromborneo September 24, 2012 1:12 PM BST
My last post is directed at Bobbybocala.
Report bobbybocala September 24, 2012 1:38 PM BST
thank you is actually the ulster teams who first started this throwball rubbish......they werent competitive so they decided to go the throwball was conceivable for the full back to pick one out of the air on his own goal line......and set up a score at the other end.....where not one of his team mates touched the ball with their feet......they stopped throwing it into the net 30 years ago.....but now its back worse than ever......excuse the earlier language wildman......what i should have said is.....its just not tennis.....
Report Monte Christo September 24, 2012 1:42 PM BST
it is actually the ulster teams who first started this throwball rubbish

Report bobbybocala September 24, 2012 1:44 PM BST
well monte.....kerry .....dublin ......cork.....mayo......they never played rubbish like thats played now......
Report never give up September 24, 2012 1:49 PM BST

Sep 24, 2012 -- 1:38PM, bobbybocala wrote:

thank you is actually the ulster teams who first started this throwball rubbish......they werent competitive so they decided to go the throwball was conceivable for the full back to pick one out of the air on his own goal line......and set up a score at the other end.....where not one of his team mates touched the ball with their feet......they stopped throwing it into the net 30 years ago.....but now its back worse than ever......excuse the earlier language wildman......what i should have said is.....its just not tennis.....


Report Monte Christo September 24, 2012 1:54 PM BST
I'll not be as blunt as never give up.

You must be on a wind up there though.
Report bobbybocala September 24, 2012 1:57 PM BST
well if it wasnt the ulster teams monte......then who started it so......
Report kingrat September 24, 2012 2:55 PM BST
murphy's goal was top class in every department,an absolute gem!
Report erris1 September 24, 2012 6:44 PM BST
as a mayo man at the game yday i really think this was one that got away..donegal just wernt the same team in my opinion the hype had entered into the psyche of some players..unfortunately with the concession of the two early goals mayo could not exploit this..horan has to take some blame as tactically he was way off the mark..the fears that the forwards were not good enough which had always been in the background finally game to fruition..keane should not have been on murphy full stop and if donegal had kicked more ball in during he first half he could have got more goals...the game was slightly disappointing in terms of quality but if mayo had got that goal near the end there would only have been a point in it with a minute left..
the quality was poor yesterday but the two semi finals were exceptional in terms of quality and entertainment so i dont believe that a knee jerk reaction regarding the rules are necessary... 
after the initial celebration with team mates at least 10 donegal players went shaking hands with the mayo players before climbing the podium to collect sam
Report GANT007 September 24, 2012 7:12 PM BST
erris1.........With regard to the rule changes and players not shaking hands pass no remarks on rocketfingers comments.......His anti-GAA bile on here is well known.
Report paddletoe September 24, 2012 7:23 PM BST
In reply to galwayman i think we will have to disagree over the term great. My definition of greatness is very narrow and i think thats the way it should be. Karl Lacey is a very good player and Donegal have a few other very good players but greatness should be reserved for just a very few players such as Colm Cooper and Peter Canavan.
If Kark Lacey falls into the greatness catetgory then a hundred over players in the modern game would also fall into the same category.
Greatness in sport is the highest accolade you can bestow on a sports person and only a very few are worthy of being the best of the best.
Report lustrumm September 24, 2012 7:37 PM BST
Believe it or not Kavvie it was actually Enda Kenny himself who jogged my memory of it when doorstepped on the way into Croker yesterday. I was surprised he was left away with it but it was witty from him to be fair
Report Rocketfingers September 24, 2012 7:41 PM BST
gant 10 players? Try 7 more like it according to my well placed source, ok so we now have a man at the game that says that maybe 10 shook their hands, very poor sportsmanship all the same for the other 10 if Donegal used all their subs not to. You can disguise and hide that all you want as anti-GAA bile but no hiding the fact that sportsmanship in your sport is shocking.
Report thegalwayman September 24, 2012 7:44 PM BST
Karl Lacey is nailed on for his fourth all star and looks a good thing for footballer of the year. There are hardly a hundred others in the modern game operating at that kind of level?

Peter Canavan was a fantastic footballer, but his legacy is tainted by his propensity for fouling his opponent, including one notable foul on Cooper, and diving.
Report erris1 September 24, 2012 7:58 PM BST
surely in penalty shoot outs in soccer when a team win they dont stop and shake hands with their opponents?? after the initial two minutes in front of the hill the team were rushed to collect the cup due i would imagine to time constraints with rtes lives coverage of the speech... i dont think michael murphy is aan unsportsmanlike  player in fact hes the exact opposite but he did not shake hands due to the need to collect the trophy
Report Rocketfingers September 24, 2012 8:06 PM BST
Erris all players & captains no matter what the sport in, in a final have to collect a cup but they do still find time to shake the hand of the man they battled to win it from. I honestly could not believe it yesterday when i seen it. The first Donegal man to shake a Mayo's man hand was the keeper Paul Durkin, you could count them i believe 7.
One other thing probably the most insincere thing seen in sport is the hip hip hooray rubbish they do they need to end the GAA finals. It would take one captain with some sort of intelligence to change this, Rugby and football usually clap the losing opponents up the steps. I'm not sure if that is possible but anything is better than what happened yesterday.
Report The Gotchee September 24, 2012 8:27 PM BST
Probably go down as the worst footballing team to win an All Ireland. Good athletes but very mediocre footballers. I thought auld Martin McHugh along with Ger Canning was a bit bias,in their praise for his son Mark during the course of the game. Very unfair to have a pundit from one team giving an opinion during commentary. It appeared to me that there was an  underlying attempt to improve Mark McHughs prospects of winning player of the year.
Report thegalwayman September 24, 2012 8:50 PM BST
That was Martin Carney. The Gotchee, sharp as ever.
Report paddletoe September 24, 2012 8:53 PM BST
Galwayman, i am not dimishing how good a player Karl Lacey. We are disagreeing more about the interpration  of the term great player.

Unless you have a very narrow defination then the term is pretty devalued.

You mentioned Peter Canavan. As far as i am concerned he is the greatest player to ever play the game so its probably harsh to compare other players with him.

My opinion is that Donegal dont have any players who you could describe as great in the purest sense of the term. That have some very good players and the rest are good players who have trained to exceptional standards over the last few years. Great players are born great but other players like many of the Donegal players can become good by dedication and hard work. The problem with maintaining that same level of fitness and dedication is that its nearly impossible to replicate year after year not only in terms of phsicality but also social factors and desire.
I would imagine many of the Donegal players have had to totally devote themselves to a super level of training over the past few years and the pressure and desire to continue doing that must take its toll on their life outside football especially if you have children and you have to make a choice in terms of balance in their life.
Report thegalwayman September 24, 2012 8:57 PM BST
You mentioned him. I would not consider him a great due to his diving and cynical fouling. Good player though.
Report GANT007 September 24, 2012 9:07 PM BST
Rocketfingers........some day when your league gets a decent crowd the fai might put on a hip hip hooray show.........I am sure when the Donegal and Mayo lads sit down for a pint in a few days they will have a good laugh at your thread.
Report paddletoe September 24, 2012 9:10 PM BST
I would disagree Donegal are the worst team to win an all ireland eventhough i think they have a lot of players whose game is based purely on fitness and conditioning. But that in itself is a quality and Donegal took fitness to a new level.They are a far fitter and better conditioned team than Tyrone ever were but Tyrone had much better players. However, there is just no way they can continue to keep up that level of fitness.In my opinion Tyrone are finished as being all ireland contenders and Kerry are in decline so the competition this year was not very high.
Report wildmanfromborneo September 24, 2012 9:12 PM BST
The three cheers should be introduced into soccer,it might stop your fans from fighting and wrecking buses.
The GAA  are in a no win situation for Rocketfingers,unsportsmanlike not to shake hands in time and wrong to ask for a sporting cheer for the losers.
Peter Canavan was the recepient of plenty of rough stuff in his illustrious career,a giant of the game.
Report paddletoe September 24, 2012 9:20 PM BST
When it comes to rating the greatest players in any sport its always a matter of subhective judgement. But for me there is a holy trinity of great sporting figures who are not open to any deabte as being the greatest ever to grace their sport. One is Muhammed Ali, one is Maradona and the other is Peter the Great.
But thats another thing.
I would rather end my posts on this thread by saying i thought Donegal were absolutely brilliant in winning an all ireland with a level of fitness that has never been witnessed before and probably wont ever be repeated.
Report erris1 September 24, 2012 9:39 PM BST
interesting to note also the number of donegal players who were listed as students.... think roughly 20 out of the panel of 30 are in college which makes perfect sense as to reach that level of fitness requires almost complete dedication.
Report Kelly September 24, 2012 9:46 PM BST
Good honest post , Erris . Both the finalists played well in the semis , made me anticipate a good buckle for the final .  But Mayo slept in the boxes , Murphy got free rein and did damage , and Donegal should have won  by a bigger margin than they did .

And some of the Mayo forwards never appeared , making it easy for the Donegal backs .  Only history and next year or so will tell us where Donegal belong rankwise , but their record this year looks very good on paper at least .
Report GANT007 September 24, 2012 9:47 PM BST
Their fitness levels would be on a par with players in the premiership.
Report Kelly September 24, 2012 9:48 PM BST
Previous post I was referring to Erris , no thoughts here reference students etc .
Report The Gotchee September 24, 2012 9:55 PM BST
Their fitness levels would be on a par with players in the premiership.

If you mean the English Premier League, how do you come to that conclusion?

I suspect, from my own observations that the Donegal players are far fitter than their English Premier League counterparts.
Report Rocketfingers September 24, 2012 9:58 PM BST
24 Sep 12 21:47
19 Sep 08
| Topic/replies: 4,269 | Blogger: GANT007's blog
Their fitness levels would be on a par with players in the premiership.

Is that right i never remember seeing a paid soccer player of any kind going down with cramp after 50 minutes of a game Laugh
Report GANT007 September 24, 2012 10:01 PM BST
I agree........not the loi, sure Colin Hawkins is still tipping away at that.
Donegal made the best out of what they had and fair play to them.
Report GANT007 September 24, 2012 10:05 PM BST
Rocketfingers......a few might go down on a big pitch but the premiership boys are serious athletes.
Report Rocketfingers September 24, 2012 10:06 PM BST
55 minutes, god i might not be fast anymore but i could run 55 minutes. So fit Laugh
Report erris1 September 24, 2012 11:23 PM BST
my thoughts re students is that it enables them to train twice/three times a day much easier than players who work full time..same could be said to be true of the mayo team average age 23 overall do these trends indicate that the inter county career will shorten even further..just a thought..
as to players going down with cramp a huge difference in intensity levels..for example I competed(unsuccessfully) in the 7s competition in dublin with my club this weekend and the amount and intensity of running when compared to a 60 minute game was incredible..a player going down with cramp after 55 minutes is no indication of not being fit...
rocket just saw a photo there that one of my friends took of the aftermath of match and it showed michael murphy and all the donegal subs going towards the podium whilst most of the team were making towards the mayo team..dont think its that unusual that subs would not shake opposing teams hands at end of game
Report GANT007 September 24, 2012 11:35 PM BST
Report GANT007 September 24, 2012 11:39 PM BST
erris1....rocketfingers has an agenda and probably will not reply to you.
Report Bassanio September 25, 2012 1:07 AM BST
Karl Lacey is up there with the best backs to play the game in the past 20 years. He deserves to sit alongside the likes of Moynihan, Fay, The OSe brothers and is a vastly superior player to the overrated McGeeney.

As thegalwayman said, he is going to win his 4th allstar and 3 of those have been on Donegal teams that were average sides.
Report paddletoe September 25, 2012 1:44 PM BST
In terms of comparing the fitness of Donegal players with premiership footballers it would all depend how you measured fitness. The soccer players would come top in terms of speed but Donegal would have better upper body physique and stamina.
I dont think a soccer player even won or even came close to winning to old superstars competition which bbc used to run in the 1970's.
I know the have stats now about how much ground premiership soccer players cover in a match but i would suspect the Donegal players cover a lot more ground and have to deal with the extra demands of a lot of upper body physical contact.
I am always surprised to see just how small Dungannon swifts soccer ground is when i pass it daily and when you factor in the offside rule in soccer the area of the field where play is active is very small indeed.
I would also suspect Donegal would campare favourably with many inter provincial professional rugby union players in terms of fitness. Again the pitches are smaller and the players get very long periods of recovery as the ball is not active in play for long periods.
Report steeringjobnap September 25, 2012 7:44 PM BST
I'd agrue Michael Donellan or indeed, Padraig Joyce as better players than Canavan.

Certainly more influential, as the players surrounding each/both in 1998/2001 were not as influential.

Canavan had the best Tyrone-ever side backing him up.

PJ shades it for sheer longevity.

PS I do not hail from either Galway or Tyrone.
Report tobywong. September 25, 2012 7:46 PM BST
canavan almost won an all ire in 95 on his own!
Report paddletoe September 25, 2012 9:15 PM BST
I doubt any other single player in the history of gaelic football could have taken a fairly average Tyrone team in 95 to within one controversial kick of a ball of an all ireland when he scored 11 of his teams 12 points.
The following year, again with an average Tyrone team, he took them to the all ireland semi final. He was at his prime at that time but taken out of the game within minutes of the throw in by the Meath corner back.
I would agree Tyrone had many good players when they won their two all irelands much later when Canavan was on the team but he was injured and past his best by that stage.
Canavan taking Tyrone to the all ireland final in 95 is up their with Maradona leading Argentina to the world cup single handedly in 86.
I wonder how many other players people can remember from the tyrone team in 95 and the argentina team in 86. That fact alone sums up what great players they were.
I will agree Donellan was a fantastic player. The best player by far in a very very good Galway team.
Report thegalwayman September 25, 2012 9:21 PM BST
Donnellan had one outstanding year in 98 and was never as good after that. His career was shorter than it should have been. A brilliant player, but he was surrounded by players of real class. Padraic Joyce, Paul Clancy, Kevin Walsh, Sean De Paor, and the best of the lot, Ja Fallon, were all outstanding footballers.

McGeeney is the most overrated footballer in the history of the GAA, in addition to being the dirtiest. A fine athlete, but he wouldn't be in the same league as Karl Lacey skill wise.
Report paddletoe September 25, 2012 9:56 PM BST
Here is something to consider. If you had to chose a list of the greatest ever gaelic players and soccer players of all time but were limited to 10 players in each sport how many defenders would make the list. From socccer i would say you could only make a case for Franz bekenbauer to mae the list as a defender and thats pushing it a bit.
In gaelic how many defenders would make the list of the greatest 10 players of all time.
Its not just because forwards and midfielders are remembered for their scoring. Its because they are far better players than defenders. There will always be one or two noteable exceptions.
Report Kelly September 26, 2012 12:43 AM BST
The general publics assessment of players worth , and from that the medias view , is always skewed by the glamour of scoring . The only people whose view I respect completely are the players who play against the "stars" . As I know quite a few of the players who played back in the sixties , seventies , eighties , nineties , and up to about 2005 I find there is seldom the same assessment coming from the players as from the general view . The players views inevitably come from team talks ,conversations post match , post celebratory dinners etc , get togethers , and travelling with them in cars or buses . Strip out any emotion and analyse .

As for the TV pundits etc , I find most of them being selective when discussing the ability of players involved in the matches they are commenting on . No ex player ( and I can think of a few ) as a pundit will praise ( or mention ) a player who had them in his pocket for a match . If someone outplays you for 70 minutes , he is better than you are , and if you are a pundit , maybe its the wrong man in the seat .

I judge defenders often by the game the man they are marking has had . Too often the forward concerned gets a bye ball comment wise in post match analysis , when the fact is he has been outplayed by his respective defender . In respect of paddletoes comment that the forwards are far better players than defenders I find that much too sweeping a statement . Lots of forwards I have seen could not play in defence , so how could that make them automatically better than a good defender who possibly could play well as a forward .

When Down won in 1991 , two of their forwards were converted defenders , best positions left half back and centre full back  , both starred in that match , puts  paddletoes assertion in the dock . The really good players like Jacko could play any position on the field , and often did through their careers . Anthony Tohill was a brilliant full back , midfielder , and full forward  , also  half forward .  All teams need people who can score , sometimes that becomes the priority and the players natural talent / ability /playing position gets sacrificed for team benefit.

I asked a friend of mine one time who was the best defender he had played against ( regularly , once off is not a good statistical sample) . The player he nominated while a household name was not generally recognised as capable of marking this forward selected on the Team of the Century .

Hard for defenders to be recognised for the unseen hard work , the covering off  ,plus ability to anticipate where the danger is and plug it . In that respect I recall the New Zealanders praising Mike Gibson as the best footballer they ever saw .  Their reason was that he thwarted 90% of their attacks nearly before they started them .  Vision .
Report kavvie September 26, 2012 9:40 AM BST
none would hold a candle to matt connor
Report Bassanio September 26, 2012 11:31 AM BST
Not easy to say they would not hold a candle to your county man kavvie, but without question any list of the best forwards of the past 30 years must include him. A brilliant footballer and the fact that he stuck out a mile in the big games with Kerry when all those other marquee forwards were on the pitch says everything about him.

That comment about Canavan playing with super players was wildly inaccurate. He was 60% the player in 2003 that he was in his prime. He won allstars in 94-96 with a shell of a team around him. I think only Dooher and Chris Lawn remained on the team in 2003. He really should have received 5 allstars rather than 6 however as there is no way he should have got the award ahead of McGuigan in 2005.
Report The Gotchee September 26, 2012 12:00 PM BST
Matt Connor was the best and most skillful I ever saw. Canavan wouldnt lace his boots and  no present day footballer comes close.
Report Kelly September 26, 2012 12:12 PM BST
The Gooch is among the best I have ever seen over a 60 year period . McGuigan ( Frank ) would possibly outrank Canavan if its confined to Tyrone worthies .
Report paddletoe September 26, 2012 1:49 PM BST
When i was a boy Kerry dominated football but i always thought Matt Connor as the greatest player of that time. Definately one of the top 3 or four forward players of all time. I will probably be acused as being biased in rating Canavan as the greatest player ever but putting aside him and commenting as a neutral i would rate Matt Conor as the best player i have ever seen even if it was only on tv. Gaelic football is a very parochial sport in that most people dont matter how their county teams wins an all ireland but for everyone else its about entertainment and Matt Connor had so much flair and grace to go along with his scoring abilities. A player who brought shivers to your spine every time he got the ball.
A lot of the best players from the 70's and early 80's would not be as good in todays game but Matt Connor would still be a superstar if he was playing today and in his prime.
Report paddletoe September 26, 2012 2:02 PM BST
Mc Guigan was a great player. I remember watching him play his first game when he came back from america and seeing the keeper a bit off his line passed the ball over him into the net from thirty yards. But no one will ever convince me that Canavan was the greatest player to ever play gaelic football. I think he won 3 consecutive all ireland u21 titles with an average Tyrone team.

I would say if he had been on one of the better teams when in his prime he could have taken that side to about 5 senior all irelands in a row. You should not just look at Canavans scoring records which were in themselves phenomenal but also how many other scores he set up every time he got the ball. His mere presence on the field created so much space for other forwards even when he did not have the ball.
Report paddletoe September 26, 2012 2:13 PM BST
Regarding defenders i dont wish to diminish their roles but lets be honest here its a lot easier to be a good defender than a good forward. Great forwards are born while hard work can turn most players into good defenders.
Bit of a generalisation but when you start out playing football if your not good enough to be a forward you are put into defence.

A little teaser question to show their are exceptions to every rule. Which gaelic footballer started out his playing career as a goalkeeper but later became his counties top forward. Not sure if he won an all star but he was a very good forward.
Report Kelly September 26, 2012 3:17 PM BST
Dont want to get into a Canavan debate , Paddletoe .  Brilliant player , often on a not great team ( including St Marys ). But to be the greatest player of all time you would have to do more than score . If a ball had been thrown in 10 times between him and Jacko or him and Anthony Tohill , how many times would he have got clean possession ? Frank would have broken even .

To be the greatest player of all time you would have to be able to master all the skills , and that includes high fielding against taller players . One fairly well known and well respected county fooballer who is one of the ( controversial )pundits we see regularly admits he never jumped for a ball in his  county life .

Reference defenders versus attackers , maybe your criteria for positioning players in Tyrone is different from ours in Down . Personally when I was picking a team the full back and the centre half were the key , invariably my best defenders occupied those 2 spots , and invariably no team scored many goals against us , you cant score goals from the sideline . But even poor enough forwards could score goals against a team with crap central defenders . Murphys goal on Sunday was a prime example of the wrong guy playing full back against him .

We have traditionally always had a lot of good footballers in Down , our record stands to that . We still have a lot of good footballers in our current county set up , most of them are probably starring at midfield for their club teams ( an old Dublin failing in the pick  ) , but none of these "good footballers" can defend properly . Not like the really good defenders we had in the past ( most of whom would have made decent forwards if they had been needed ).  Already quoted re Carr and Mason in  a previous post in that regard .  Better defenders than forwards arguably  , but they both starred as forwards in a winning All-Ireland season . The other 4 forwards never played anywhere but forward in their playing careers , Greg Blaney could have played anywhere  , but the other 3 could not  , they viewed themselves as scoring machines . And did it successfully .
Report tobywong. September 26, 2012 4:33 PM BST
Agree with the mentions of joyce , canavan , connor etc but the most naturally gifted forward I have witnessed is forde with other honourable mentions to declan browne and maurice fitz , all gifted players but I have seen a lot of mattie and he could do things that many others couldn't.

In regards to defenders , glen ryan always stood out to me as an outstanding CH back and lacey is similar to him in many ways imo , also witnessed dual (?) all star full back barry owens of fermanagh , simply class and a player who was extremely unlucky with ill health / illness
Report thegalwayman September 26, 2012 7:00 PM BST
Ciaran MacDonald the best I have seen.
Report Rocketfingers September 26, 2012 7:28 PM BST
Same here only Irish man to stand up to the Aussies and guess what they left him alone after.
Report reb September 26, 2012 7:56 PM BST
One of the better threads on the Irish Forum.


Were you at the Kerry/Down All-Ireland in 1968 ? I went to the game with my father as a 9yr old. It was the first AI final that I attended. I have some fond memories of the day.

Those were the days when kids didn't need tickets and you could be lifted over the turnstile. I was in awe of the huge concrete maze as we made our way up the stairwell at the back of the old Hogan Stand. When we got to the top I asked my dad who he wanted to win. Down, came the reply. I asked him, Why ? Because they're the underdog. Cue me, What's an Underdog ? After explaining it to me, he bought me a Down flag.

When we emerged into the stand I couldn't believe how huge the stadium was and I took a vacant seat close to my father. Fortunately, I was able to remain in an unclaimed seat throughout the game. Sean O' Neill's lucky early goal set the tone for the match. However, my most vivid memory of the day was the rendition of "The Star of the Co Down", on and off the pitch, at half time. If I had hairs on the back of my neck, they were standing then. Another remarkable memory was the Down colours. Black togs !! I thought, up to then, that all GAA teams wore white togs.

The flag and my father are long gone but the good memories remain. UP DOWN !
Report kavvie September 26, 2012 8:50 PM BST
my first all ire was 1969.kerry beat offaly.10pts to 7.johnny culloty made a  few great saves and that was the difference.i too was lifted in over the stiles and sat on my fathers lap all through.needless to say i cried all the way home!!.it was the start of a great period for offaly with players from the 1964 all ireland winning minor idol of the time was the great tony mctague...
Report reb September 26, 2012 9:15 PM BST
kavvie, I was there too. My father had a 10 yr ticket for the Hogan Stand and each year my older brother and I would get the choice between the hurling or football final (those were the days !). The little redhead must have been one of the best free-takers in the history of the game.
Report kavvie September 26, 2012 9:27 PM BST
he was.he done some amount of practising frees.i often kicked the balls back out to him as he practiced!he was as good as i ever seen at frees.not bad from open play either!!
Report erris1 September 26, 2012 9:33 PM BST
many in mayo dissapointed that mcdonald was not brought back into the mayo panel even at 37 would have made a massive difference in the last 20 minutes..if anyones around the west in the weekend following next hel be playing in the senior semi final for crossmolina against ballintubber will be an interesting watch...he was never afraid of losing the ball and would always go for the pass if it was on unlike many of his contempories who would hold possession at all costs
Report Cupwinkcook September 26, 2012 9:56 PM BST
Joe McNally was a Minor keeper, went on to good success as a full forward for Dublin.

Is that who you mean, Paddletoe?
Report paddletoe September 26, 2012 11:10 PM BST
First of all thanks for all the different opinions on this thread. It always makes for a more balanced debate. Some great players have been mentioned. Glad someone mentioned Ciaran Mc Donald. A brilliant player to watch. He seemed to always have so much time and space on the ball and was like the michel platini of gaelic football the way he could influence a game from around the middle of the field. The best player i have ever seen passing the ball over long distances with both the inside and outside of his feet.

Kelly once again we shall agree to disagree. I dont think you neeed to be the master of all skills to be considered the greatest. You can be so good in some skills that others are secondary. You posed a question how many times Canavan would win a ball if it was thrown in between him and Jacko. I am not sure what the relevance of that question is, unless Canavan was lining out at midfield and trying to win the throw in. The point is that great forward players like Canavan dont get into positions where they need to fight for 50-50 balls. They make space to get the ball before it gets that far. Balls are not played in high to players like Canavan so high fielding is not important. High feilding is not as important as skill, pace,,vision and pace with most of the great forwards. Canavan had also the heart of a terrier. He was definately not a diver in reply to another post. Remember how he squared up to the aussies in the compromise rules.

In reply to Cupwinkcook, Joe Mc Nally was not the player i was thinking about but i believe you may be right about Joe Mc Nally too. The player i was thinking about was Ger Houlihan from Armagh.
Report paddletoe September 26, 2012 11:25 PM BST
I remember watching one game and the passing from McDonald was out of this world. He had enough time to smoke a cigar as he drilled long range passes into the forward line. Fading or drawing the ball like a golfer to find the right side of the forwards. People talk about two footed players. McDonald had four feet because he could swerve and curl pass the ball with either feet.....

Goodnight chaps.
Report Kelly September 27, 2012 12:32 AM BST
Yes reb , been at  all 6 Down All-Ireland final appearances , the first 5 of which we won as you all know . The first 2 were very special , laying down a marker , dangerous crowds though , over 90,000 I suspect at each match , felt like that anyway .  1968 was a win , but had not the feel of the matches in 61 and 62 , although some of the players were obviously on the 2 previous winning teams .  But the 61 and 62 teams would have beaten the 1968 team fairly easily I think .

The 1991 win was also special as it came after a fairly long period relatively in the doldrums , despite some very good players appearing in that 23 year period . And 1991 was a very special year for football , given the epics between Dublin and Meath ,  both of them very good teams  , full of good tried and trusted players . We won again in 1994 , but the performance was not at  the 91 level either in the way we played or the opposition , just as well as we played with 14 fit men  only from the start . The team started downwards after the match against Derry  , who would have hacked up in the All-Ireland had they got the better of us that year in Derry . They were better than us in 94 but we got lucky that day and a couple of players popped up  for us with no prior evidence of that level of ability in the white heat of battle . But that performance was not repeated again , not needed luckily .

Current squad can all play football , if they have the ball , but they cant stop the opposition getting the ball and waltzing though one of the poorest defences in football . Hence some of the paddletoe debate re footballers , forwards and defenders .
Report thegalwayman September 27, 2012 10:03 AM BST
Peter the great was a diver. Video here-

A nasty bit of stuff.

McDonald was not just a brilliant passer of the ball. He was pretty much unmarkable as an inside forward. He nearly beat Galway on his own in '98, getting 2 goals and rattling the crossbar with a third effort.
Report Kelly September 27, 2012 11:15 AM BST
That was one thing about the old days  , no diving .  If you got tripped or fouled or emptied you got up as quick as possible to let the opposition know they could not hurt or intimidate you .

I blame the managers  , think the players are instructed to "make the most " out of fouls .  Too much soccer influence possibly , lots of them should be in the Olympics .
Report kavvie September 27, 2012 11:35 AM BST
its like every other sport at all vince lombardi said,...winning isnt everything,its the only thing.!
Report Kelly September 27, 2012 12:51 PM BST
Reckon its one place where Lombardi and I would part on that viewpoint .  I love sport for the "buckle " element and the way sport regenerates the psyche .  Winning is'nt everything , unless its in style . Style means treating your opponent with as much respect as you expect yourself .

To win , and to win in style is magnificent .  Victory where there is any element of cheating or manipulation of officialdom etc is shoddy . Looking at yourself in the mirror the next morning feeling there was anything  dubious about a victory must be tricky . Unless its just pure luck , the dubious element , then you take it .
Report reb September 27, 2012 1:12 PM BST
I agree with your sentiments, Kelly, but the vast majority of modern day sports-people, at the highest level, aren't at all bothered by a dubious victory as they look into their gilded mirrors. Most of their fans don't seem to have a problem with it either.
Report Kelly September 27, 2012 1:59 PM BST
One of the reasons I loved  Adam Gilchrist ( apart from his dynamic batting ) was that he always walked when he knew he was out . Comment does not apply to a lot of other cricketers these days , one of the downsides of professionalism .  Guess that when success means bread or none on the table , peoples outlooks change . Mores the pity that it has to be like that .
Report freddiek September 27, 2012 2:12 PM BST
did he ever end up walking needlessly?
Report Kelly September 27, 2012 2:31 PM BST
Dont think so Freddie .  Batsmen nearly always know .

As wicketkeeper also he often adjudicated on his sides appeals if he thought the appeal was invalid . Guess Adam could always look himself square in the face in the morning mirror .
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