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Wednesday 14 November 2018

Select your legends from this mouth-watering list

Michael Byrne: Although he only played four championship seasons, he won three Leinster and two All-Ireland medals. Conceded only eight goals in 14 championship matches, though the goals were six inches narrower than they are today. Won a Louth SFC medal in 1911 with Young Irela

Goalkeepers

Michael Byrne: Although he only played four championship seasons, he won three Leinster and two All-Ireland medals. Conceded only eight goals in 14 championship matches, though the goals were six inches narrower than they are today. Won a Louth SFC medal in 1911 with Young Irelands.

Paddy Larkin: Remarkable achievement in playing more matches for Leinster (7) than for Louth (5). Played championship for the county in 1939 and 42 but missed out on the glory year of 43 when he missed the final trial. With Young Irelands won five Louth SFC medals between 1938 and 47. Was Leinster netminder from 44 to 46, winning two Railway Cup medals in 1944 and 46.

Sean Thornton: Shares the record of 23 championship appearances in the Louth goal with fellow Cooley man Gerry Farrell. Playing with Civil Service, Dublin, he won Leinster SFC medal in 1948, runners-up medal in NFL in 49 and All-Ireland runners-up medal in 1950. The following year was selected on Ireland team v Combined Universities. Was the Irish Independent’s first Sportstar of the Week in 1950 for his display against Kerry.

Right full backs

Sean Boyle: Versatile Cooley performer who made 30 championship appearances with Louth from 1938 to 1950 in various positions, from right full back, half back, right winger to full forward. Renowned for his long-range free-taking, he scored three goals and eight points. While winning three Leinster SF medals, captaining Louth in the 1949 NFL Final defeat to Mayo, he also captained Leinster in the 1949 Railway Cup Final, one of seven appearances for his province which yielded one winners medal. Louth selector in 1953. Four Louth SFC medals – Cooley 1939 and Ardee St Mary’s in 43 and as captain in 1948 and 50.

John Clarke: Only two players have exceeded ‘Claudie’s’ record of 39 championship appearances between 1906 and 20, when he played in six Leinster SFC Finals, winning two All-Ireland medals. Helped Louth to the 1913 Croke Memorial Cup Final v Kerry played in front of 36,000 (a record for an Irish sporting event at the time), 1913 Croke Cup win and 1914 Croke Cup defeat against Cork on both occasions and the 1915 Wolfe Tones Cup win, as well as four Louth SFC wins with Tredaghs. In 1911 he refereed Louth Senior, Junior, Intermediate and Senior League Finals.

Larry Waller: The only member of the All-Ireland Minor winning team of 1936 to make an impression on the senior team. Small, sturdy corner/half-back with superb positional sense, who won a Louth Junior medal with Dowdallshill in 1935 before gaining five Louth Senior medals with Young Irelands in the 40s. Made 10 Championship appearances between 1941 and 45 and was an integral part of the Louth defence that captured its first Leinster Senior title in 31 years in 1943.

Full backs

Eddie Boyle: The ‘Prince of full-backs’ narrowly missed selection on the GAA’s Teams of the Century and Millennium, but was named on greatest team of players who never won an All-Ireland and also won 1990 All Time All-Star award. With Cooley Kickhams won 1934 Louth JFC medal along with SFC wins in 1935 and 39 before moving to Sean McDermott’s in Dublin where he won a Dublin SFC medal 1947. Lost chance of an All-Ireland Junior medal in 1934 when he was promoted to Louth Senior team for third match v Dublin and made his 31st and final championship appearance in 1948 All-Ireland semi-final v Cavan. Between 1935 and 48 played a remarkable 17 Railway Cup matches, winning five medals in eight finals.

Joe Donnelly: Performed unusual feat of winning Louth Senior and Junior medals in the one year – 1920 – his senior being the fourth he won with his beloved Geraldines. Played first of 19 Championship matches for Louth in 1909 when he won Leinster medal and played in losing All-Ireland Final, won second Leinster and his only All-Ireland medal in 1910. Missed out on 1912 All-Ireland winning season but was back for the losing Leinster Finals of 1913 and 1914 when the new power of Leinster football Wexford denied him.

Jack Murray: ‘Cocker’ won two Louth SFC medals with Drogheda Stars in 1917 and 19, the years that covered his nine Louth appearances. Played in 1918 Leinster Final defeat to Wexford, a match delayed until 1919 because of a flu epidemic in the South East.

Left full backs

Jim Culligan: Helped his native Castlebellingham win the 1928 Junior title before being transferred to the GNR in Drogheda and with Newtown Blues won three Louth SFC medals in 1932, 33 and 39. An immensely powerful left-footer, he graduated from the 1932 All-Ireland winning Junior team to the senior side in 1934, making 17 appearances at left full and midfield until 1939.

Michael McKeown Snr: In the barren years of the 1920s, ‘Mikey’ was Louth’s outstanding defender, making nine Railway Cup appearances for Leinster, winning two medals. Fearless and tough, he was left full back on Louth’s Junior All-Ireland winning side of 1925 while playing with the Larks. Moved to Wolfe Tones where he won three Louth Senior medals, two as captain. A Louth selector in 1957 and father of latter-day star ‘Muckle’.

Jimmy Quinn: ‘Bunt’, from Duleek Gate, was another long-serving Louth corner back, making 25 appearances between 1900 and 1914, winning two All-Ireland and two Leinster medals in three Finals. Won five Louth Senior medals, 1902 with Drogheda Independents and four with Tredaghs.

Right half backs

Jimmy Kelly: Highly respected leader of men who captained Glyde Rangers to their Junior success of 1929 and Senior title in 1934. Tough, reliable and disciplined, he formed with Callan and Cluskey one of the greatest half-back lines in Louth history. In a regretfully short inter-county career, he made 11 championship appearances between 1932 and 35, including the famous three-in-a-row Leinster Final saga of 1934.

Joe Mulligan: Another regular during the ‘Golden Era’ of the 1900s, he was one of the greatest Dundalk players of his generation, captaining Young Irelands to Louth SFC success in 1905 and 1911. Between 1903 and 1915, made 32 Championship appearances playing in five Leinster Finals – winning three and three All-Irelands – along with appearances in the 1913 Croke Memorial and Dr Croke Cup Finals.

Paddy McManus: From Bundoran, Paddy moved to Drogheda to work after representing his native Donegal as a 17-year-old sub in one of their rare visits to Croke Park – the 1933 All-Ireland Junior semi-final. A well-built right full and right half back between 1935 and 42, making 16 championship appearances, he won a Louth SFC medal with Wolfe Tones in 1937.

Centre half backs

Eugene Callan: Commanding centre-half back, strong in the air, he made his Louth championship debut in 1933. Following year won Louth SFC medal with Glyde Rangers and took part in famous three Leinster finals against Dublin. Transferred to Sean McDermott’s (Dublin) and on several occasions at Croke Park played in the curtain-raiser – a Dublin Championship match for his club, followed by one of his 21 Leinster Championship appearances for Louth. A noted long free taker, he played for Leinster on three occasions and won three Railway Cup medals (two as non-playing sub).

Jim Quigley: Blessed with the classic footballer’s build, ‘Sogger’ played in all five central positions during a championship career that stretched from 1939-1949, his versatility matching his sublime skills and reading of the game. An All-Ireland Minor medallist as a sub in 1936, he was also a reliable free-taker, scoring 2-26 in 24 matches, including 0-7 in the 1947 clash with Dublin. Won one JFC and six SFC medals with the superb Young Irelands side of the 40s. Made five Railway Cup appearances, winning one medal. He is the last man to train a Louth All-Ireland winning team.

Jim Smith: ‘Jem’ came from Colpe, south of Drogheda, and won a Meath Junior medal with Bettystown in 1908. Played on Meath Junior and Senior sides beaten by Louth in the 1909 Leinster Championship. An extensive farmer, his mother (nee Eakin) hailed from Ardee and the ownership of a farm in Townley Hall, Tullyallen, allowed him declare for Louth and he transferred to Tredaghs in Drogheda. From 1910 made 28 championship appearances for Louth, playing in five Leinster Finals – winning two and captaining the Wee County to their All-Ireland successes of 1910 and 1912, the years he also won Louth SFC medals. A great rallying force in times of adversity with Kevin Moran-type runs out of defence, his Louth career ended in 1919 after the three-game first-round matches against Meath.

Left half backs

Eddie Burke: In 1907 became only the second Louth man to play for Leinster, in the forerunner to the current Railway Cup. His inter-county career from 1906-15 covered the first great era of Louth football when he played in five Leinster SFC Finals (winning three) and three All-Irelands (winning two). With Tredaghs won one JFC and four SFC medals.

Tom Clarke: Strong, well built defender from Mullatee, Carlingford, who helped Cooley win the 1939 Louth SF title progressing the following year onto the Louth senior team. Played nine championship matches up to 1944 when he won a Railway Cup medal as a Leinster sub. A Coastal Watcher during the War, on the lookout for enemy ships, he emigrated to England while still in his prime.

Paddy Cluskey: As a member of Unknowns, starred in Louth’s All-Ireland Junior win of 1932, immediately being promoted to the senior side with whom he played 22 championship matches until 1941 featuring in three losing Leinster final sides, 34, 35 and 37, before eventually being successful in 1943, only this time as manager of the team. A clean, beautifully balanced and entirely left-footed player, he won a Louth Junior medal in 1938 with Darver Young Irelands but when they went out of football in 1941, Paddy retired only to make a brief comeback to help Stabannon Parnells win the 1945 Cardinal O’Donnell Cup Final.

Midfielders

Kevin Connolly: A superlative athlete, blessed with blistering pace, clerical studies prevented Fr Kevin fulfilling his footballing potential. From Ravensdale, he played during the summer vacation for Cooley Kickhams and his only six starts for Louth under the name McArdle were the final three matches of the 1943 and 48 campaigns which both yielded Leinster titles. Also made two appearances as sub – in the 1946 Leinster final but most famously in 1953 when he gave one of the greatest ever individual displays by a Louth man against Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Tom Maguire: From Rockmarshall, Dunleer, won three Louth Championship medals at three different grades with three different clubs, starting in 1929 with a second division medal for his native Hitchestown, 1930 made Louth debut, 1931 Junior medal with St Bride’s, 1932 was back to Hitchestown and an All-Ireland Junior medal, and also a Railway Cup medal with Leinster as a sub. Despite a serious injury in the first replay v Dublin in 1934, he was back to partner Jimmy Coyle at midfield for Glyde Rangers in the 1934 Louth SF Final.

Eoin Markey: No-one has played more Senior Championship matches for Louth than the high-fielding ‘Ian’, whose total of 56 is unlikely to be beaten. Between their first ever Leinster final in 1900 and 1918, Louth played in 15 finals, and from 1902 to 1921 the broad-shouldered Eoin played in 14 major finals, seven Leinster, three All-Irelands, two Croke Cup and a Croke Memorial and Wolfe Tone Memorial Finals. Won Louth Senior Championship medals with Ardee Volunteers in 1903 and again in 1914. When Volunteers went Junior in 1908 he moved to Dundalk Young Irelands for one season and also played for Tredaghs in Drogheda.

Ray Mooney: A tall, powerful player with a deceptive swerve, ‘Gua’ started his Louth career as a corner forward in the 43 campaign, moving to centre-field from 1945-48 and finally two seasons at full forward (1949 and 51) where he played the last of his 17 appearances. Made two brief appearances as sub in 1950, most famously replacing Nicky Roe in the All-Ireland. In 17 appearances he won three Leinster medals and three Louth Senior medals with Ardee St Mary’s.

Jimmy Thornton: The first man to take the Railway Cup across the Boyne when he led Leinster to victory in 1944. The previous year, the high-fielding Jim had beaten Dublin ‘single-handedly’ in Drogheda to set up Louth’s first provincial title in 31 years. Started out as a left half back in 1937 and retired in his prime in 1944, aged 28. An exemplary sportsman, he won two Louth SFC medals with Cooley and came out of retirement in 1948 to help Kickhams win the Junior title.

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