50 years of Gaelic Football All Stars: Darragh O Se's all-time selection
1 BILLY MORGAN - Cork, 1 award, 1973 - This came down to two names – John O’Leary of Dublin was the other. But Morgan takes it for me because he was just such a leader. Football was the poor religion in Cork and Billy wouldn’t have that. He was an exceptional goalkeeper and a brilliant captain.
2 ROBBIE O'MALLEY - Meath, 3 awards, 1987, 88, 90 - The art of man-marking is gone or going from the modern game but O’Malley was a specialist. He was a nightmare for a corner-forward. He didn’t have to be a puller or a dragger – he was just a pure defender who never gave his man an inch.
3 JOHN O'KEEFFE - Kerry; 5 awards, 1973, 75, 76, 78, 79 - It’s a different role now than it was but to my mind nobody ever did it better than Johnno. A top-class athlete, he was good in the air and on the ground. He had everything. and he really was the one outstanding candidate here.
4 TONY SCULLION - Derry; 4 awards, 1987, 92, 93, 95 - Maybe a bit under-rated, Scullion was a guy I watched as a young player who really made an impression on me. He was exceptional, not just in 1993 when Derry won the All Ireland, but before and after it as well. Another man-marker who just shut his opponent down.
5 SEAMUS MOYNIHAN - Kerry, 3 awards, 1997, 2002, 06 - An automatic on the team, it was only a matter of where to put him. I always thought this was his best position but he could play anywhere. I never saw him have a bad game with club, college or county. An awesome footballer.
6 GLENN RYAN - Kildare, 2 awards, 1997, 98 - Over a period of a more than a decade, he was just unreal. Powerful, strong, aggressive. Hard when he had to be hard and a leader in a position where leaders are badly needed.
7 KIERAN McGEENEY - Armagh; 3 awards, 1999, 2000, 02 - Another serious leader who was exceptional year after year, not always in teams that were playing at the top. But his standards never slipped. A powerful athlete who had that Roy Keane thing of always performing, no matter what the game was.
8 BRIAN MULLINS - Dublin; 2 awards, 1976-77 - Mullins had longevity and consistency. I loved his doggedness and the way he bullied his way into games. He was going to be the boss, end of story. If there was sorting out to be done, he would do it. Didn’t care how he looked, just did what he needed to win.
9 JACK O'SHEA - Kerry; 6 awards, 1980-85 - All class. One of those guys who never really kicked with his left leg but was so good that he was very seldom blocked down, even though the opposition knew what he was doing. He created his own kind of game and changed what was asked of midfielders.
10 MAURICE FITZGERALD - Kerry; 3 awards, 1988, 96, 97 - I could pick no team without having Maurice on it. He was just a genius on the ball, perfect off left and right. What people don’t get is how tough he was. There was a hard edge to him and he wasn’t afraid to use the six-foot-three God gave him. You’d have him on the frees as well.
11 MATT CONNOR - Offaly; 3 awards, 1980, 82, 83 - The classiest forward that you could ever see. Declan O’Sullivan is right up there but Connor was exceptional. He had such balance for a big man, another who was flawless off left and right. In the 1982 final, he sold John O’Keeffe twice and still maintained his own balance. His scoring feats were astonishing.
12 PAT SPILLANE - Kerry; 9 awards, 1976-81, 84-86 - He was unmarkable for the guts of a dozen years. Had size and strength that was maybe under-appreciated. Another completely one-legged player who was never blocked because he was just that good. Perfected the kicking of points over his shoulder.
13 MIKEY SHEEHY - Kerry; 7 awards, 1976, 78, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86 - Close run thing with Colm O’Rourke here but Mikey was my hero growing up. He was an exceptional finisher off both feet. A great man for a goal and especially a great man for a goal at the right time. Give him one chance and he would put it away.
14 PETER CANAVAN - Tyrone; 6 awards; 1994-96, 2002, 03, 05 - The Bomber Liston would have to get a mention here but Canavan was definitely one of best players I played against. He was brave and strong for the size of him and he had mental toughness that was beyond belief. If I was going into battle and I needed a full-forward I wouldn’t look beyond him.
15 COLM COOPER - Kerry; 7 awards, 2002, 04, 05, 07, 08, 10, 11 - In the mix with Bernard Flynn and Mickey Linden but there can only be one winner for me. The Gooch is probably the most complete player in the game and he’s not even 30 yet. I think we’re going to see a huge year from him this year.