Tuesday 19 September 2017

The fiery fifteen: An All Star team of the angriest GAA players ever

Colin Lynch (left), Diarmuid Connolly (centre) and Graham Geraghty (right).
Colin Lynch (left), Diarmuid Connolly (centre) and Graham Geraghty (right).

Frank Roche and Conor McKeon

GIVEN the week that’s been in it, he who must be obeyed requested a different twist on our Theme of the Week, one that reflected the madcap events in O’Moore Park last Saturday evening.

The edict: select a team of famous GAA firebrands, footballers or hurlers who have earned a reputation (deserved or otherwise) for finding themselves in some surreal pickles down through the years.

We should stress: this is not a team of hard men. You may wonder at the omission of countless assassins, noted for their ruthless cunning in taking out an opponent ... and usually getting away with it. But that’s the point. Many of our heroes are guilty, merely, of losing their cool and being caught in the act.

For some, it was a case of the red mist descending with a rival. For others, getting embroiled with a referee or linesman.

Or maybe failing to realise, for a few fleeting minutes, that said referee had actually sent you off - hence the inclusion of Charlie Redmond, hero of the Hill, for his famously elongated long walk in 1995.

Brian Mullins is included in honour of the 12 Apostles in ‘83; he is joined now by a fellow St Vincent’s man after Diarmuid Connolly’s latest, ahem, brush with officialdom.

But this is no Dub-only club; anything but.

We were spoiled for choice between the posts - Billy Morgan or Davy Fitzgerald? Our solution is to name our legendary Rebel rouser as manager, freeing up Davy Fitz to mind goal given that he’s currently suspended from sideline patrol.

Paul Galvin was an obvious shoo-in for flying notebook and other reasons, but likewise you couldn’t ignore his old Cork sparring partner, Noel O’Leary. All of which should make for an interesting huddle.

You may wonder at a few other inclusions of varying vintage.

Niall Cahalane gets the nod for his various tussles with the Royals in the late ’80s, while Neil McGee sneaks in on the strength of a fractious 2016 (one retrospective red, another doubled-up suspension and two black cards).

But how could you include a ballroom dancing sensation? Well, Aidan O’Mahony won’t deny his feisty on-field reputation while even on Dancing with the Stars, he was (by his own admission) “like the panto villain” as some other sleeker movers were voted off.

Ryan McMenamin and Graham Geraghty, meanwhile, have been appointed joint-captains.

The fiery fifteen

1. Davy Fitzgerald (Clare)

2. Ryan McMenamin (Tyrone)

3. Neil McGee (Donegal)

4. Colm Coyle (Meath)

5. Noel O'Leary (Cork)

6. Aidan O'Mahony (Kerry)

7. Niall Cahalane (Cork)

8. Brian Mullins (Dublin)

9. John Lynch (Tyrone)

10. Paul Galvin (Kerry)

11. Diarmuid Connolly (Dublin)

12. Colin Lynch (Clare)

13. John Leahy (Tipperary)

14. Graham Geraghty (Meath)

15. Charlie Redmond (Dublin)

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